Common Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike Problems and How to Fix Them

If you find your magnetic resistance exercise bike not working, here's how to fix it.
Image Credit: RichLegg/E+/GettyImages

With the rise of home gyms, exercise bikes have become increasingly popular. Indoor cycling is a great way to not only boost your cardio but build muscle, too.


But like anything, gym equipment can malfunction or break, so it's time to do some troubleshooting if you find your magnetic resistance exercise bike isn't working.

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How Do Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bikes Work?

As the name implies, magnetic resistance exercise bikes use a magnetic field to create resistance. Do magnetic exercise bikes need electricity? Yes, the field is generated by electrical circuit or by internal batteries and pedaling action.

A control panel is used to adjust resistance by altering the intensity of the magnetic field. Most upright exercise bikes have a magnetic unit that interacts with the metallic surface on the flywheel (a mechanism by which your bike creates a force for you to work against as you pedal) to provide the positive and negative poles.

Chain drive recumbent exercise bikes have sensors on the flywheel and pedal cranks that generate magnetic poles.



It's important to review the warranty conditions of your bike before attempting to fix magnetic resistance exercise bike problems.

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Are Magnetic Resistance Bikes Good?

There are three main types of resistance when it comes to exercise bikes, according to Sunny Health & Fitness, one of the top exercise equipment brands in the U.S.: magnetic resistance, contact resistance and air resistance.

Contact resistance bikes use a leather or felt pad to apply pressure to the flywheel through varying degrees of contact and air resistance bikes have a fan (as opposed to a flywheel) to create resistance, per Sunny Health & Fitness.


So, what are the main benefits of a magnetic exercise bike? According to Sunny Health & Fitness, these bikes are extremely quiet and offer a smooth and gentle ride. So, you if you don't live alone or you live in an apartment building with thin walls, you don't have to worry about disrupting anyone while you ride.

Does Your Bike's Flywheel Weight Matter With Magnetic Resistance?

While bike flywheels come in many different weights, their weight doesn't affect the amount of resistance you feel when pedaling on your bike, according to Sunny Health & Fitness.

How Long Do Magnetic Exercise Bikes Last?

If you're wondering if magnetic resistance bikes wear out easily, we have good news. According to Sunny Health & Fitness, they're very durable and require little maintenance. As such, they're one of the most popular types of exercise bikes out there.



According to Fitness Expo, a Louisiana-based exercise equipment store, the average lifespan of gym equipment like an exercise bike is around 7 to 12 years. If properly maintained, your bike can even last up to 20 years.

How Do I Fix the Magnetic Resistance on My Exercise Bike?

If you notice issues with your resistance while riding your exercise bike, it could be caused by a few things, according to AKFIT, a Canadian fitness specialty store:


  1. Loose cables or bent pins
  2. A wobbly resistance wheel
  3. Loose bolts or screws
  4. Faulty wiring

Contact your bike's customer service center to fix any of the above issues. Loose bolts, screws or cables will need to be tightened to make sure the magnets are secured in place. The hub of the resistance wheel will need to be replaced if it's wobbly. Faulty wiring is often a larger issue.


Tips for Diagnosing What's Wrong with Your Magnetic Resistance Bike

When riding your magnetic resistance exercise bike, you may notice there's little or no resistance being applied, according to AKFIT. That's a sign something is wrong.

Call your bike's customer service center to help you diagnose your specific magnetic resistance bike problem. They can assist you over the phone or send someone out to fix the issue.


Fixing Upright Exercise Bike Problems

If you have questions while troubleshooting your upright bike, contact customer service as indicated in your user's manual.

1. Replace Display Panel Batteries

Unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet. If the unit is battery powered, begin by replacing the batteries in the display panel and re-test the bike. Use an Allen wrench or Phillips screwdriver to remove the bolts that secure the split flywheel covers.


2. Remove Pedal Cranks and Flywheel Covers

Pull each cover to the side to expose the flywheel. Grip the flywheel and rotate the pedal cranks counterclockwise to unseat them from the internal pulley. Remove the cranks and set them aside. Remove the flywheel covers.

3. Remove and Replace Magnetic Unit

Use a socket and ratchet to remove the nut on the pulley. Twist the pulley to the side and slip the V-belt off the pulley and the magnetic unit. Inspect the belt for damage and replace if necessary. Remove the nut that secures the magnetic unit. Remove and replace the magnetic unit.

4. Reinstall V-Belt and Pedal Cranks

Reinstall the V-belt on to the magnetic unit and pulley. Replace the nut that secures the pulley. Position the flywheel covers on each side of the flywheel. Reattach the pedal cranks by rotating them clockwise as you thread them into the pulley from each side. Reattach the flywheel covers.

Fixing Recumbent Exercise Bike Problems

Refer to your user's manual for specific troubleshooting tips if your recumbent magnetic exercise bike isn't working.

1. Locate Hub Sensor Battery Pack

Remove the chain guard using an Allen wrench or Phillips screwdriver to loosen the bolts that secure the guard in place. Set the guard aside. Rotate the flywheel until the hub sensor battery pack is visible.

2. Replace the Batteries

Inspect the insulated wire leads at the connection on the unit. If the leads are intact and not burned, it's not necessary to replace the unit. Remove the cap from the battery pack with a screwdriver. Replace the batteries and reattach the cap to the unit.

3. Loosen the Speed Sensor Unit

Locate the speed sensor unit near the pedal sprocket. Use a hex wrench to remove the nut that holds the sensor in place. Pull the speed sensor out just enough to access the battery cap on the inside of the unit.

4. Reinstall Speed Sensor and Chain Guard

Remove the battery cover, install a new battery and replace the cap. Reinstall the speed sensor and reattach the nut that holds it in place. Reattach the chain guard and tighten the bolts that hold it in place.


A voltage meter is used to troubleshoot problems with internal electrical circuits.




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