How-to-Convert-a-Bicycle-to-an-Exercise-Bike

How to Convert a Bicycle to an Exercise Bike

If you regularly commute on a bike but the bad weather (or some global pandemic has forced your government to issue a safety regulation limiting your outdoor activities) is preventing you from doing so, you need to know how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike so you can turn your bicycle into a stationary bike and continue to exercise and be productive even when you’re not on the road.

So if you’re all cooped up inside your home and you want some biking exercise for better health conditions and more endurance, then cycling indoors would have come into your mind. Obviously, not all of us have enough space at home or in our apartments to do this. But there are various tools that have been created which will allow you to cycle inside. 

The bicycle to stationary bike conversion market is a cluttered one. You think you’ve got a handle on it until you realize there are many types of devices available that can turn your bike into a stationary bike. But you know what?! What you simply need is bike trainers or the best bicycle indoor exercise trainer stand to convert your bicycle into an exercise bike and get in the mood for outdoor riding again.

Additionally, a variety of equipment has been developed that will let you cycle indoors without missing the outside view. Dive in and learn how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike with a trainer and what trainers can serve you best.

But first…

What are the Benefits of Converting a Bicycle to an Exercise Bike?

Ask yourself: Is it worth converting my bike to a stationary version to be able to cycle indoors? Then you might want to take a look at these reasons why you should know how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike and make the switch.

1. Keeping yourself hydrated and energized

When you’re exercising outside of the house, healthy food options can be hard to find. Some fresh, healthy food items like fruits and veggies can go bad within a few hours, making them unpalatable and unappealing while on the go. 

2. Repair Costs

Indoor cycling reduces the cost of repair. Every so often, cyclists lose hundreds of dollars in one go. Whether it be for brake repairs, tire replacement, or a broken chain, this happens even when riding inside. However, since you are not riding outside as much, indoor cycling greatly reduces the chances of incurring large costs on repairs.

3. Uncooperative Weather

It is no secret that the weather can make or break your daily ride. Whether it’s the heat of the sun or the uncertainty of impending rain, cyclists are well aware that Mother Nature can be a powerful force.

4. Some Serious Pandemic

Due to the spread of a coronavirus that’s not letting us enjoy outdoor rides, those who depend on cycling can no longer ride their bikes. So indoor cycling has become more popular than ever before. More and more cyclists are taking refuge in indoor cycling because the roads are so busy with things like day-to-day life and sickness. But this virus will eventually come to an end and the roads will open up. We know that indoor cycling will still be around even after that.

Before we get to the bike trainers, you might want to check out the best indoor cycling shoes and consider buying the indoor cycling accessories below for a much better indoor cycling experience.

Saris Training Mat for Indoor Bike Trainers

Saris Training Mat for Indoor Bike Trainers

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Saris is a Wisconsin-based company that has taken cycling to the next level. Their ultimate training mat makes exercising in a professional manner possible even in one’s own home.

No matter where your indoor cycling exercise takes you, this 10-pound training mat is versatile enough to go. This sturdy training mat is durable and grips the floor firmly, reducing creeping and scuffs and helping you avoid sliding. It absorbs sound while catching sweat and grime.

This is how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike. Start with a training mat first!

Also, a front-wheel riser block is usually seen as an accessory for riding the trainer, but there are trainers that don’t need them. But when the bike is mounted in some trainers, the rear axle may sit high while the front is low. This can shift a disproportionate amount of weight onto your hands, and move weight onto soft tissue in your butt and thighs causing discomfort.

Indoor trainer riser blocks are available in an array of shapes and sizes. The KOM Front Wheel Riser Block is one such product to stabilize your front wheel.

KOM Front Wheel Riser Block

KOM Cycling Indoor Trainer Front Wheel Riser Block on how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike

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If you’re looking for a well-built Trainer Block to completely turn your bike into an indoor exercise bike, the KOM Bike Trainer Block will serve you well. It’s sturdy, provides three different training heights, and will not move around when you’re training hard.

Now let’s get down to business.

What is a Bike Trainer?

Perhaps you think of stationary bikes when you hear indoor cycling. A stationary bike is a wonderful option, but I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s more expensive to purchase, takes up more space, and not as easy to move from place to place.

A bike trainer lets you ride when you can’t be outside. It will turn whatever bike you have into an indoor exercise machine you can use to work out year-round, even in the winter.  Three different types of trainers are direct drive, friction, and roller. We’ll focus on friction trainers, which are the most accessible and most affordable.

Bike Trainers Vs Stationary Bike

So why would you bother learning how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike to be able to do indoor cycling exercises when you can just buy yourself a stationary exercise bike? 

Although there isn’t a cut and dry answer, we can simply break it down. If you’re already a proud bike owner, you should consider buying a bike trainer. This doesn’t just save you money; it gives you more chances to use your bike if you want to ride outside.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with terrible weather, or can’t envision yourself going outside within the next few months or just want to keep up with your exercise routine indoors and out of the elements, AND if you have the means, then why not get a stationary bike!

You might just find the YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary perfect for your needs.

YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary

YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary

See the latest price on Amazon.

This indoor cycling bike can go further than you think. The YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary is smoother, more durable, and easier to maintain than many other stationary exercise bikes on the market. Due to the powerful steel frame and almost noiseless belt drive, this machine offers an incredibly smooth ride. It also comes equipped with many customizable settings.

It comes with a flywheel that weighs 35 lbs. There’s also a water bottle holder and an LCD monitor. Get ready to ride with its 2-way adjustable handbrake and 4-seat options. The maximum weight that the bike can support is 270 lbs.

But if you prefer exercising with your two-wheeler indoors or outdoors, then you need to know how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike using a bike trainer. Below are the three types and our most highly-recommended trainers.

The Three Types of Indoor Bike Trainers

Using bike trainers to turn your bicycles into indoor exercise bikes is simple and great for those who want to get fit or stay fit all year round, even in the winter. A bike trainer has three kinds. You have the rollers, direct drive, and friction. We’re going to explain each of them briefly. 

1. Roller Trainers

As the most basic of all the bike trainer styles, rollers require the most skill. These trainers offer little resistance but also require a degree of control, as you balance atop them. But if you want to do some exercise by doing indoor cycling and perfect your pedaling technique at the same time, you can’t go wrong with rollers as your style of choice.

Rollers have an external frame with a set of cylinders attached to them. They are similar to a treadmill, but your bicycle gets on it first, then you’ll hop on your bicycles and start riding. You can easily move backward and forward. However, by far they provide the most realistic workout and are the best at simulating outdoor cycling.

Do you want to own one of the best rollers? Try the one below.

Tacx Antares Indoor Retractable Bicycle Rollers

Tacx Antares Indoor Retractable Bicycle Rollers

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How to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike? Get hold of this budget-friendly roller trainer from Tacx.

In 1972, the very first set of Tacx rollers was created by the company. The first set, called the Tacx BV, sparked a 48 year legacy of bicycle training roller excellence. That longevity is a testament to the quality of the Antares Indoor Retractable Bicycle trainer rollers — a product that continues the tradition today.

You can’t use apps like Zwift with these rollers because they are not “smart” trainers. However, these heavy-duty conical rollers are built to keep you in the seats while also making your ride smooth and solid. These rollers are portable. Simply fold them into their 8-inch transportable size and bring them to your local time trial event or hill climb for a pre-riding warm-up.

But if you want bicycle trainers with more features to offer, proceed below.

2. Friction Trainers

A friction trainer is an excellent option for most people who want to do some indoor cycling workout. It’s an easy and inexpensive way for most riders to get a simulated road ride in their own home. These trainers work by creating friction on the rear wheel. The bike and rider get supported by a frame. The bike gets secured to the frame using a clamp. And there’s a drive that creates resistance.

Friction trainers are portable, lightweight, and much cheaper than direct-drive smart trainers. However, they can be less accurate and quite noisy. But what makes them more preferable than direct drives is that you can get them, even a “smart” one, for only half the price of their direct drive counterparts. 

Here’s one of the best smart friction trainers out there.

Saris M2 Smart Indoor Electromagnetic Resistance Bike Trainer

Saris M2 Smart Bike Trainer

See the latest price on Amazon.

As to how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike, this Saris M2 Smart Bike Trainer is easily one of the best solutions!

With integrated power, speed, and cadence data, this smart trainer by Saris saves you from needing to purchase external sensors to track your training. It’s compatible with 650b and 700c wheels. In addition, its design accommodates tires ranging from 26 to 29 inches. 

This indoor bike trainer from Saris fits most standard road and mountain bikes, thanks to its multiple dropout settings and quick-release skewer. If you’re a road bike enthusiast, you will love this amazing piece of equipment. It’s a good fit for mountain bike riders as well.

Once you’ve assembled the Saris M2, you’ll be in for a fun and meaningful workout. With its PowerTap technology, you can rely on accurate power data within 5%. You can also take advantage of how it easily transmits data thanks to the integrated Bluetooth and ANT+ FE-C technology.

The trainer is fairly quiet, making a 69-decibel noise level when it’s used at 20 miles per hour. And with progressive fluid resistance and a maximum of 20-percent climbing grade simulation, you will have a similar uphill experience as street riding. This bike trainer can accommodate 1500 watts at twenty miles per hour, so you can get a good workout from your indoor training.

When people feel the urge to train indoors, they’ll go crazy if they don’t have the right tools. The M2 Smart Trainer is compatible with popular virtual training apps such as Rouvy, Zwift, and TrainerRoad. It also receives Bluetooth firmware updates — important for keeping it up to date with the latest technology. 

Let’s get to the next type of bicycle trainer and perhaps the most expensive of the three types.

3. Direct Drive Trainers

Direct drive trainers replace the rear wheel and use a cassette to connect the bicycle directly to the trainer. They are the most advantageous, accurate, and quietest types of trainers and have the highest levels of resistance, but they also tend to be heavier and more expensive. Smart bike trainers are usually of direct drive type. 

In addition, they also tend to wear less on your precious rear tire. Thus, they tend to make you feel more like riding on the road. Some direct-drive trainers also have more features and are more accurate when it comes to measuring power than friction and roller types of trainers.

Definitely, the price will always be a huge factor. There’s no getting around the fact that direct drives are really expensive. If the price is not an issue for you, though, and you want to enjoy your indoor training, these trainers may be a good option.

Check out this bad boy!

ELITE Suito Direct Drive Bike Trainer

ELITE Suito Direct Drive Bike Trainer

See the latest price on Amazon. 

The Elite Suito is the next generation of smart trainers. It uses cutting-edge technology to help you train more effectively. It’s easy to use and comes fully assembled out of the box. So, there’s no fussing around with difficulties such as set up. You can have it ready for use in minutes. With its competitive price point, it’s a great option for riders who want to get started with their own home-based virtual training studio.

It comes with a front-wheel riser block, 142mm thru-axle adaptors, a preinstalled 11-speed Shimano 105 cassette, and much more. All of this is included at no extra cost. Ride quality is impeccable, especially when you look at its weight and flywheel size. The stability of the bike when under a heavy pedaling load was impressive.

Elite’s Suito has built-in sensors that measure and transmit your cadence, speed, power output, and heart rate. This allows you to train with Elite’s online training software on desktop and mobile, which will provide accurate ride-specific data.

This is an easy-to-use device that can help you juice up your machine by 15 percent. It can reach 1,900 watts of power, which is more than enough for most users. For the strongest riders out there, we know this might not be enough, but for everyone else — it’s a winner.

So if what you want is how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike the quietest, most accurate, and most luxurious, you know you’re getting your money’s worth with the ELITE Suito Direct Drive Bike Trainer.

And also, consider getting yourself a trainer standing desk if you don’t have one and you’re planning on buying a bike trainer.

RAD Cycle Products Bike Trainer Standing Desk

RAD Cycle Products Bike Trainer Standing Desk

See the latest price on Amazon. 

Keep your tasks in front of you with the Adjustable Bike Trainer Fitness Desk, keeping smartphones, notebooks, tablets, touchpads, laptops, and drinks within arm’s reach as you exercise on your indoor bike trainer. With this apparatus, you’ll be able to watch movies and YouTube videos on your laptop while cycling.

Conclusion

There you have it. Knowing how to convert a bicycle to an exercise bike is a fairly simple process. Bike trainers are a popular solution. A wide range of them is available, so be sure to consider the type of bike trainer, resistance levels, price, and any other useful features. Because not only do they help you stay healthy, but you get to enjoy indoor cycling with them as well. Have a great indoor cycling exercise!

So which bike trainers are you getting? Why?

And if you have questions about your bicycle conversion, just let us know in the comments, and we’ll try our best to help you.

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