Which Exercise Bike Resistance Types Is Best For You – Read Our Guide To Learn More!

Exercise bikes are common workout equipment that helps in keeping fit and maintain a healthy body. The benefits of using exercise bikes is that they allow you to change the level of resistance.

For instance, if you want to engage in challenging workouts, you increase the resistance. And if you want less challenging workouts, you need to decrease the resistance level.

Different stationary bikes have varying types of resistance. So, which exercise bike resistance is best for you? We made this detailed guide to provide you the various forms of resistance, their pros, and cons so that you can choose the most suitable for you.

Different Types Of Exercise Bike Resistance With Pros And Cons

Exercise bikes use different ways to generate workout resistance. Some of the most common types of resistance you will find in different exercise bikes like recumbent exercise bikes, folding exercise bikes, spin bikes, upright exercise bike include the following:

Magnetic Resistance:

This is a type of resistance that doesn't use friction. Instead, two magnets are placed on both sides of the flywheel. This brings about resistance, depending on how close the magnets are to the wheel.

In some bikes, you can find a knob to help you adjust the level of resistance. In other bikes, you can move the magnets through the onboard console. Magnetic resistance reduces the limitations of friction resistance.


  • Smooth and quiet- Magnetic resistance is smooth and quiet as compared to direct contact resistance. There are no parts that need to come together to build resistance. Therefore, you can enjoy your workouts.
  • Minimal maintenance- Bikes with magnetic resistance require minimal maintenance as compared to those with friction resistance. There are no pads to replace, and neither do you need to dust or lubricate the moving parts.
  • Marked levels- Friction resistance does not have marked levels, so you estimate the resistance. In magnetic resistance bikes, there are marks to guide you.


  • The resistance can increase when you are pedaling.
  • Bikes with magnetic resistance are expensive.

Fan Based Resistance:

This is another type of resistance that doesn't use a flywheel. Instead, it uses a massive resistance fan. Generating resistance is easy because the fun is always set to start when you begin pedaling. It will start to turn at a slow speed, and when you increase cycling speed, the rotations will increase too.

Fast rotation of the fun increases air resistance. And if you want to gain more resistance, you need to ride faster. For beginners, this can seem challenging, but it gets easy when you continue with your workouts.


  • It offers quiet and smooth performance since there are no contacts with the moving parts.
  • Gives you a cool breeze that cools your body when working out.
  • Require less maintenance because there are no moving parts needed.


  • Bikes with these types of resistance are expensive and require expertise to set up.

Flywheel Based Resistance:

Most workout bikes have a flywheel, which is a mechanical part that keeps the rotational energy. Many manufacturers make the flywheel heavy to help riders get higher resistance. The flywheel is connected to the cycling pedals with a chain or belt. When you ride, it will store the momentum and release it when you complete it.

Most of them can weigh between 40-50 pounds. Making the first few rotations can be challenging when the speed increases and builds momentum, it is easy to spin.


  • It can help you burn more calories at the beginning of every session.


  • The weight of the flywheel is a drawback because the wheel has to be heavy to bring about resistance.

Read: Benefits Of Spinning: Everything You Need To Know Before Getting Started!

Frictional Resistance:

This is the most popular type of resistance. It utilizes a pad that comes into contact with the flywheel to decrease or increase the resistance level. You can choose to put the pad on the top or side of the flywheel.


  • The main benefit of frictional resistance is affordable to manufacture. This makes it pocket-friendly as compared to magnetic resistance. Frictional resistance also remains the same whether you are pedaling fast or not so you can enjoy consistent workouts.


  • This type of resistance can be noisy when in use.
  • It also requires more maintenance because the wood pads wear out with time.

Frequently Asked Questions -FAQs

Q: What resistance should I use on a stationary bike?

A: It is great if you maintain a cadence of 80-100 rpm on flat ground and 60-89 rpm on hills. If you find it difficult to maintain 60 rpm, you can decrease the resistance level to suit your needs.

Q: What is magnetic resistance on an exercise bike?

A: This is a type of resistance where two magnets are put on both sides of the flywheel. The magnets get closer to the flywheel when the pedal resistance is high to create tension. They also move far from each other when you reduce the pedal resistance hence making pedaling easy.

Q: How do I fix the resistance on my exercise bike?

A: There are some tips that you can use to fix the resistance on your exercise bike. First, use a wet cloth to wipe the unit and then check the sensor for accuracy. Also, inspect the straps and pedals and then lubricate the motor, pedals, and flywheel. Then ensure you adjust the belt tension regularly.

Q: Are air resistance exercise bikes good?

A: Yes, they are great for people who want to lose weight. They help you tone your muscles and offer low-impact workouts that are ideal for people recovering from injuries.


Knowing the different types of resistance in exercise bikes is essential for achieving your workout goals. It will also help you choose the right bike that is easy to use. So, depending on the type of bike, skill level, and budget, you can select bikes with the above forms of resistance. The resistance levels will help you increase or decrease in the rate depending on how challenging or easy you want your workouts to be.

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