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Ask Levi: Spinning Bike at Home on a $400 Budget?

Today’s question is about picking up a stationary exercise bike for indoor riding on a budget…

Hey Levi,

We’re looking for your input on a stationary bike. We wanted to spend no more than $400, and we want one that looks like something a cyclist would use. What are your thoughts on this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Sunny-Health-Fitness-Indoor-Cycling/dp/B002CVU2HG/

And if you don’t recommend that one, do you see any on Amazon that you would recommend? Thank you so much Levi!

Stationary but not Sedentary

Hi S.B.N.S.,

Thanks for writing in with your question! Let’s start by looking at the bike in question, the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike.

sunny sf-b901 stationary bike

Right off the bat, I’ve never heard of Sunny Health & Fitness. So I wonder if the bikes are made by some other manufacturer that I’ve heard of, then getting some Sunny stickers slapped on.

Though I could find very little information on the company, their About Us page made it pretty clear – they import stuff direct from Taiwan and China.

This essentially means they can get products from the same manufacturers who make spinning bikes for more expensive brands… and sell them cheaper.

Normally this would bring about a big gamble for the consumer – buy from a bigger brand with a reputation for good customer service, or save a ton of money. But in this case, you’re buying from Amazon.com, and you have the help of other Amazon customer reviews to guide you!

Right now, I see an average 4 star rating based on 439 reviews. That’s pretty impressive! There are also 66 answered questions, so you’re bound to find some good answers.

One Amazon reviewer, who happens to be a Spinning instructor, said, “I would compare it to bikes that are in the $1000+ category.”

That’s high praise, considering this bike is a mere $249.

It does look similar to more expensive bikes, such as the $999.99 Nordictrack GX2 Sport Bike (which happens to be on sale for $347, so I wonder if it ever was a $1000 bike.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if it was indeed the same frame, and the Nordictrack has a few upgraded components. But I’m just theorizing here.

Let’s get back on track…

Sunny SF-B901 Stationary Bike vs Expensive Bikes

Brands I’m more familiar with include CycleOps, Lemond, and Keiser, but these are all WAY over budget. As in, they start at $1300 and go up!

But we’re going to compare them anyway.

Flywheel

The really expensive bikes have heavy, 50-70lb flywheels, which help give them a realistic ride feel. The Sunny has a 40lb flywheel. Close enough.

Water bottle cage

There is no bottle cage included with the Sunny, but you could easily mount one yourself. They’re only a few dollars at the bike shop (or free if you know someone who has tons lying around.)

Pedals

You don’t get SPD compatible pedals with the Sunny. Just platform pedals. However, unless you have the necessary shoes and cleats already, you don’t want clipless pedals on here anyway.

Sealed bearings

Bikes in this price range won’t have sealed components, so they won’t have that super smooth feel you get with the $1000 bikes.

Fortunately, if you’re riding indoors, the bike won’t be exposed to the elements. Nor will you be riding it for 3+ hours each day, year round.

Brake pads

The Sunny has side-mounted brake pads instead of a single top-mounted one. I prefer the single top-mounted brake pad because you know it will always hit the wheel where you want it to. With side-mounted pads, more adjustment will be necessary, to make sure that each pad contacts the rim at the same time.

Drive system

Some expensive bikes have belt drives, which can be very clean and quiet. Chain drives, as on the Sunny, are simple and reliable. Just be sure to keep the chain and braking system clean.

So, this $249 bike isn’t quite the same as the $1300 ones, but it’s a lot closer than you’d think!

What about Sunny’s newer models?

I got to looking around www.sunnyhealthfitness.com and realized they released some newer stationary bikes that are still within your budget.

Sunny SF-B1002 Indoor Cycling Bike

This one looks similar, but heavier duty, with more bells and whistles. It includes a bottle cage, offers a better brake design, and best of all, a belt drive!

The belt drive is exciting. It should be super quiet and require no maintenance – ideal for an indoor bike!

The SF-B1002 is on Amazon.com right now for just about $400 (including shipping.)

SF-B1003 Sunny Indoor Cycling Bike

This one is also heavier duty than the SF-B901, and offers accessories like the SF-B1002 does, plus SPD pedals, but it keeps the chain drive.

It’s also slightly over budget. The best price I found was $433 through Wayfair.

What’s the danger with these new models?

Though intrigued by these newer models, I’m still inclined to recommend the tried and true Sunny SF-B901 you asked about.

Why? You just don’t know if the upgrades are done well. Some kinks may need to be worked out!

So, even though the new features look great, without extensive customer reviews, you can’t say for sure.

And the jump from $249 to $400 is significant! Even if the new features are everything they’re cracked up to be, they’re probably not worth paying 60% more.

With the money you save, get an exercise mat, too.

This type of mat, made specifically for spinning bikes, will protect your floor from the bike and from your sweat puddles.

Amazon.com has a few in stock:

My pick? The Body Solid mat.

They’re all in the $30-35 price range, so your total spend is still under $300!

My final recommendation is…

sunny sf-b901 stationary bike

I think we all know, right?

I mean, I have to restrain myself from clicking the “buy with one click” button right now!

This could be the best spinning bike for home use for anyone on a budget!

$249 and free shipping? SOLD!

 

 

 

 


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2 Comments
  1. I recently bought the Sunny Pro Indoor Cycling Bike SF-B901. First, the chain needed adjusting. No small feat, as there was no help in the manual. Next, when adjusting the tension during a ride it made a very loud noise. I figured the brake pads now needed to be adjusted. Nothing in the manual. Can you help, or point me in the right direction for help please. Hope you can help. Thank you. Linda Petersen
    petersen1019@gmail.com

  2. Hell Yeah! Sunny health and fitness bikes are my ultimate choice for the budget option. This bike is tremendously awesome. Cheers!

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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Hometown, PA