The flywheel bike or "Spin bikes" have a weighted flywheel in the front mimicking the feel of an outdoor bike that’s actually propelled by the pedals. When you tighten the resistance and come out of the saddle, you feel like you’re cycling up a steep hill. Spin-style bikes are made of stronger steel, built for the rider to come out of the saddle and grind on the pedals, which isn’t often done on a regular stationary bike, and in many cases would break the pedal cranks right off the bike.
For this product review we'll be taking a look at the GymPak Flywheel Exercise Bike. There are two versions of the GymPak Flywheel Exercise Bike, the commercial usage one and the home use one. Technically you can use both at either location but the commercial usage one is the higher quality of the two. This product review will focus on the home use spin bike.
For this product review, we actually took a brand new GymPak Flywheel Bike and put it together right out of the box. We wanted to see how the components were put together so we can thoroughly analyze the quality of the bike. The GymPak Flywheel Bike comes well packaged with instructions and all the tools needed to install the bike.
The frame of the bike is made of very heavy duty steel. The flywheel is a 16" weighted magnet and comes already attached to the frame. The frame and flywheel easily weigh over 60 lbs. The handle and saddle of the bike are attached to the frame by a thick stainless steel bar, these are definitely high quality parts. The saddle of the bike is covered with a soft vinyl and stuffed with a thin foam which is relatively comfortable. The saddle can be changed to a high performance saddle since it's the same application as the standard bike. The pedals are made of steel with a hard plastic housing that covers the toe part of the shoe. The plastic housing around the pedals can be removed if you do not like your feet stuck onto the pedals. The handle of the bike is a horn shape and does not have the middle loop that you'd often see on the commercial bikes. The actual resistance knob for the flywheel is actually attached to the handle itself where most spin bikes have a knob on the base of the handles. The knob hooks directly to the brakes for the flywheel and the wire can be adjusted to a lower/higher resistance setting than just the knob itself giving you a higher range of settings. The bike has 11 different seat settings and the dimensions of the bike at the largest settings are: 44" x 27" (which can sit a 6'5 person comfortably).
When testing the bike I noticed that the bike was very sturdy and did not move on the ride. I was able to go through all the settings as well as riding off the saddle with no problem of unbalance. The 16" flywheel allows a vast range of resistance. The lowest resistance level feels like a smooth ride whereas the top level feels like climbing a vertical hill. The flywheel also gives a very smooth "Push/Pull" feeling that gives resistance on both parts of the pedal stroke. The saddle for the bike felt comfortable enough but not too soft. The padding feels like it can take some abuse and hasn't shown any wear and tear over the month we've been testing it. The handle bars have a nice feel through the ride. I was able to rest my elbows comfortably when I was cruising and hang onto the bars when I was riding off the saddle.
There are a few things I didn't enjoy about the bike. First, the resistance knob is different from what I'm generally used to. The knob on the GymPak Flywheel bike is positioned like a gear knob on a mountain bike and I prefer it near the base. In order to brake the bike, you have to turn the knob to the right whereas you press the knob down on traditional spin units. I also like the middle handle on the commercial bikes for another grip setting where this unit didn't have it.
Overall, this bike definitely performed above my expectations. The frame is extremely sturdy and well built. The flywheel rides smoothly and has a good range of resistance settings. I was able to adjust the bike to my exact settings and it felt comfortable throughout the ride. This is definitely a quality product and at $299 it's a steal at that price.