Front Flywheel vs Rear Flywheel Spin Bike – What Difference Does It Make?

The flywheel is perhaps the most important part of a spin bike. It is responsible for a lot of the overall ride experience. Does it matter if it is placed at the front or the rear of the bike? Some say it does, others say it doesn’t.

Read this front flywheel vs rear flywheel comparison to find out.

Hi my name is Gayle. I am a trainer at a local Fitness Studio. At the studio we have several types of spin bikes. Some with front flywheels and others with rear flywheels. I often see clients opting to wait until a front flywheel spin bike is free even when there are some rear flywheel bikes available. It is clear they believe rear flywheel bikes are not as effective. Is there any truth in this belief? Here is a front flywheel vs rear flywheel spin bike comparison to answer this and other common questions.

What Are The Differences Between Front And Rear Flywheel Spin Bikes?

 
Front flywheel
Rear flywheel
Sweat protection
Low
High
Corrosion risk
High
Low
Maintenance required
High
Low
Price

 Front Flywheel Vs Rear Flywheel Spin Bikes. How Do They Compare?

Sweat Protection

The primary benefit of a rear-mounted flywheel is the fact that the wheel is removed from the sweat zone. This means that it, unlike a front-mounted flywheel, is not along the line in which a user’s sweat falls.

Does it matter where sweat falls? Yes it does. When sweat falls on the metallic wheel, it causes atmospheric corrosion. The main cause of corrosion in sweat is chloride although other constituents also contribute but to a minimal extent.

Rear flywheel spin bikes are better because the wheel is completely removed from the sweat zone.

Maintenance

In order to prevent corrosion caused by sweat, spin bike owners have to wipe down the bike regularly to make sure no sweat remains on the metallic surface for too long. If you are using a single spin bike at home, it may not betoo much work.

If however, you are in a commercial setting such as a gym or fitness studio with many front-mounted flywheels, it can be extremely tedious to wipe them down after every few hours. At the very least you need to clean the wheel at the end of every day.

For the same reason, front-mounted flywheels (especially those which are not cleaned regularly) are less likely to develop drive train problems.

Rear flywheel bikes are better in this regard. You don’t have to put much time and energy to keep the wheel clean because it is not in the sweat zone. You are unlikely to encounter drivetrain problems even after many years of use.

Riding Experience

It is worth noting that Keiser, a leading manufacturer of spin bikes and other fitness equipment were the first to create and market a rear-mounted flywheel spin bike. Although a flywheel at the back seemed strange to users at first, the bike did not disappoint.

What we have found is that Keiser bike’s superior performance has little to do with the position of its flywheel and more to do with a different drivetrain design. These bikes have a single poly-V belt which produces high speeds required to make a light flywheel produce a road bike feel.

Neither can be said to be better. There isn’t much proof that a rear flywheel is the reason you get a superior riding experience. It may be a coincidence that the company which pioneered rear-mounted flywheels designed their drivetrain differently. This design is what is responsible for a superior riding experience.

Front Flywheel Vs Rear Flywheel Spin Bike – A Comparison Overview

Front Flywheel Spin Bike Overview

Front Flywheel Vs Rear Flywheel Spin Bike

A vast majority of spin bikes in the market have front flywheels. This means when you go out looking for a spin bike whether it is for home or commercial use, you will find something that suits your needs. You are also assured that you will find something that is within your budget since there are front flywheel spin bikes in virtually every price range.

The downside, especially if you are in a commercial setting is that you need to clean the flywheels(and other parts of the bikes) regularly to prevent corrosion. Corroded flywheels have been known to tarnish an establishment’s image. After just a few months of use, what was once a shiny, new bike quickly turns dull, discolored and corroded.

Pros

  • Wide range to choose from
  • Standard spin bike appearance

Cons

  • Requires consistent cleaning
  • Likely to develop drive train problems if not well maintained

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Rear Flywheel Spin Bike Overview

Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle
  • Incredibly durable, No Wearing Parts, Nearly Maintenance Free
  • Whisper Quiet Operation

There are only a few spin bike brands in the market which have a rear-mounted flywheel. It happens that they are premium bikes built with top quality parts and are sure to give you a great workout.

These bikes are more or less maintenance free because you don’t need to wipe sweat off it. Sweat falls directly to the ground. In the Keiser M3 bike there is an angled channel which makes any sweat which may fall on it flow away from the drivetrain thus furtherreducing the chances of damage to the drivetrain.

On the downside, some people doubt the ability of a rear-mounted spin bike saying it may not produce sufficient inertia to give you the kind of workout you are looking for. Others feel that a rear flywheel makes a spin bike look strange and consider it to be less aesthetically pleasing.

Pros

  • Not much maintenance required
  • Minimal chance of drivetrain problems
  • Generally top quality bikes

 Cons

  • Some say they look strange

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Conclusion

The main role of the flywheel in a spin bike is to simulate the feel of an outdoor bike by storing enough energy to createsmooth cycling motion. Both front and rear flywheels successfully achieve this so there is not proof that either type of spin bike make it better.

Verdict: So Which Is Better Front Or Rear Flywheel Spin Bike?

Rear flywheel spin bikes are the better bikes to have. The main difference is in maintenance required because front flywheel bikes, especially in commercial settings, have to be cleaned regularly to avoid corrosion. If this is not done, the bike’s dashingly shiny appearance could deteriorate quite fast and leave you with a tarnished, not-so-attractive bike.

FAQs

Is there a link between Keiser’s light flywheel and rear placement?

Flywheel weight and placement are two hot debates in the fitness world. Keiser opts to go against the grain on both. Other brands have rear but heavy wheels while others have light front wheels. 

Which brands of spin bikes have rear flywheels?

Keiser and Life Fitness are two common ones.

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