Indoor studio biking is an intense training regimen that helps you burn a substantial number of calories per workout. A typical 40 minute workout can burn 400 to 500 calories, depending upon your body weight and intensity. At the heart of an indoor cycling bike is the flywheel, which helps provide a smooth resistance to your workout.
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Design of Stationary Bikes
Indoor cycling bikes are basically modified upright stationary bikes designed for high-intensity training that traditional stationary bikes are just not meant to handle. They are built from strong materials, such as steel frames, and the pedals are connected to a fixed gear and flywheel mechanism that provides constant resistance – in other words, you can't cheat by coasting during your workout. The flywheel varies in weight; the heavier ones provide greater momentum during your workout.
How Flywheels Work
As you pedal an indoor cycling bike, the flywheel – located where the front wheel of a traditional bike would be – spins and builds momentum. It provides a smooth ride that is designed to feel a lot like biking outdoors. The design more accurately simulates pedaling uphill, because there is a constant resistance. You can adjust the resistance using the bike's tension knob. Flywheels continue moving until you apply the brake.
Common Flywheel Weights
Flywheels on stationary bikes vary in weight and size, but the majority of them weigh about 38 lbs., according to Canadian fitness resource, MyFit.ca. However, the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1003 bike features a 55 lb. flyweight and the SF-B1001 model has a 30 lb. flywheel setup. So, it varies by model. Stationary bikes with heavier flywheels will typically cost more than those with lighter ones.
The main advantage of a stationary bike with a heavy flywheel of 40 lbs. or higher is the combination of momentum and resistance you can generate during your workout. It allows for a more realistic feeling of traveling uphill. The disadvantages include the fact that the overall weight of the stationary bike is heavier, which hinders the portability of the bike, and the price tag is usually higher.