Want to buy a spin bike but not sure whether you should get one with a belt drive or with a chain drive? Well, the debate of which drive system is better has been going on for many years now, and there is no definite answer. In this exercise equipment buying guide we will compare the two different drive mechanisms and which is best for a stationary bike.
Chain vs. Belt spin bike: Key Differences
Before we dive into how the two types of bike fare in different aspects, let’s take a look at some of the major differences between the two:
Chain drive spin bike
Belt drive spin bike
Movement like an outdoor bike
While there may not be much difference in performance, the above points clearly show that the two types vary in several important aspects. So, the choice of an indoor cycle must be made after deliberation.
What is a chain drive spin bike?
If you have ridden a bike before, you know exactly what a chain drive spin bike is. It is similar to a regular bike or a mountain bike and includes a chain drive mechanism. The chain connects the pedals to the wheels. As you pedal, the chain rotates over the sprocket present to generate power for the front flywheel to rotate. As the flywheel rotates, you gain momentum and produce resistance that you have to work against.
What is a belt drive spin bike?
A belt drive spin bike is a bit different from a regular bike. The chain mechanism is replaced by a belt mechanism. A belt made of rubber connects the pedals to the flywheel. As you pedal, the belt moves, and the wheel rotates. As you keep pedaling, the wheels gain momentum and create more resistance which improves your workout. Unlike a chain mechanism, the spinning bikes with belt drive are smoother and hence, quieter.
Chain vs. Belt Drive Spin Bike: Head-to-Head Comparison
Chain drive spin bike: A spin bike with a chain mechanism is almost like an outdoor bike, except that it is stationary. Quite like an outdoor bike with a chain mechanism, these bikes too need some maintenance at regular intervals. The continuous movement of the chain causes pressure and friction. This can cause the chain to wear out with time. That’s why the bike chain must be well lubricated at all times, and the chain tightened for best performance.
Belt drive spin bike: Spinning bikes with belt drive are as smooth as they come. Hence, damage caused is little or none at all, even after repeated use. You needn’t worry about maintenance of a belt bike much unless the drive unfortunately snaps. In that case, you will need a replacement for the bike belt, which will put some pressure on your pockets. But such incidents are very rare.
Chain drive spin bike: If you like the performance of an outdoor bike and want your indoor bike to replicate the same, then a chain bike is what you need. A chain spin bike is a great option for anyone who wants a power-packed performance like that of a road bike.
Belt drive spin bike: The performance of a belt driven spin bike is no less than one with a chain mechanism. The absence of the chain mechanism results in smooth rides that can increase the quality of your workouts.
Chain drive spin bike: If you like the experience of riding a road bike and want your workout sessions to be as natural as possible, then you definitely need a chain bike. The chain mechanism creates the same experience as that of a regular bike and is, thus, a favorite amongst veteran cyclists and cycling enthusiasts.
Belt drive spin bike: A belt drive bike may be smooth and low maintenance, but it will never be able to give you the feel of cycling. The bike belt makes riding the bike smooth, something that’s quite alien to cycling, even on smooth roads.
Chain drive spin bike: A chain driven spin bike is no doubt a bit noisy. It may not be a big bother, but you will hear the clinking of the chain over the sprocket. Unless you want to work out in the dead of the night or very early morning when everyone is sleeping, the sound produced will be no issue. You can easily listen to TV or music while working out on a chain drive bike.
Belt drive spin bike: Belt bikes are quieter than any chain stationary bike. This is because the belt smoothly moves over the relay system, which produces practically no noise. That’s why a belt spin bike good for anyone who may be sound sensitive or want to work out without disturbing anyone at all.
Chain drive spin bike: Chain bikes are usually less costly because of a few factors. For one, the chain mechanism is cheaper. Naturally, these bikes cost less. Moreover, chain drives do not require exact measurements when fitted to a bike. This is because the user has to tighten the chain at regular intervals. Being an older version, they are comparatively less in demand. For around $300, you can get some good models from Sunny Health & Fitness like Pro I/Pro II, P8100, etc.
Belt drive spin bike: A Belt drive bike is comparatively costlier than its chain drive counterpart. This is mainly because of the precision required to run a belt drive smoothly. Also, because of the high-end features in modern belt drive spin bikes and their increasing demand, the price is quite steep. You can get bikes like the Sole SB700 at around $700, while the Myx Fitness costs a whopping $1300. That said, prices can go southward $700 on brands like Yosuda, Sunny Health & Fitness, etc.
Which is better – chain drive spin bike or belt drive spin bike? The Verdict
Buying an indoor bike may be the best decision that you make for your home gym, but the choice of the type of bike chain may confuse you. But it shouldn’t be that way. While the chain drive mechanism is found in all old models and many new ones, belt drives are gaining popularity. There are still many takers of a chain driven spin bike, but that doesn’t make a belt bike any less important. It all comes down to what your requirements are.
- If you like a smooth, noise-less exercise bike, go for a belt driven spin bike.
- If you like the feel of a regular bike and bear with some noise, a chain drive bike will suit you.
That said, no one type of indoor cycle is better than the other. You can achieve the same goals on both types of bikes. Both types of bikes guarantee high-quality workouts when the right model is chosen. So, set your priorities right, and you will find the best spin bike for yourself.
Are chain spin bikes loud?
This is a common question that pops up when you get to know the bike comes with a chain mechanism. The chain will create a lot of noise, isn’t it? Well, it will produce some noise, but it’s not deafening if that’s what you fear. The sound that a chain exercise bike produces is from the clinking of the chain against the sprocket. That’s the same sound that any outdoor bike produces. If it doesn’t bother you outside, it will probably not bother you when you are indoors. If, however, you want to practice in silence, chain spin bike may seem to be loud.
Is Peloton belt or chain drive?
Peloton is belt driven spin bike as it includes a high-end belt drive with magnetic resistance. This improves the durability of a Peloton and makes it more efficient.
Once you have decided what is important for you and how you want to work out, you can easily choose a bike that suits you. The choice should be easy given that you can find top models online. Get one for yourself today and workout your way to fitness!