Which exercise bike will tighten my butt on a tight budget?

It always feels as if getting fit and healthy costs a lot. Whether it’s the latest organic food fad, the newest exercise class that all the celebs are doing, or the most high-tech piece of gym equipment (yes, Peloton, I’m looking at you). So, it’s refreshing when you find an exercise bike that doesn’t cost the earth but can deliver on the health benefits.

On paper, the YOSUDA YB001 spin bike looks amazing – fantastic specification and a wallet-friendly price. But, can it deliver the goods? Is it a quality exercise machine that can assist us in our drive for tight buttocks? Or does it just promise a lot but deliver very little in the way of toned muscles?

I was keen to find out so took the YOSUDA for a spin. Below, I’ve got my full assessment of what I like about the bike (there’s a lot), what I don’t like (I’ll admit, this section is fairly empty), and who I think the YOSUDA bike is a great option for.

But, if you can’t wait that long, and just want the answer, then here it is. The YOSUDA YB001 spin bike has excellent build quality, all the features you need, and is at a super-affordable price. If you can stick around, then let’s take a look at this in some more detail.


YB001

YB007A


What do I like about the Yosuda YB001?

The bike I’ve been testing is the YB001 – the original spin bike in the YOSUDA range. There’s also an updated version of the bike, the YB007A, which is priced slightly higher (around $60 at the time of writing). There are a few differences between the two bikes, which may persuade you to upgrade or stick with the original model.

Overall, the updated YB007A bike is somewhat sturdier than the original YB001. The tubes are slightly thicker – allowing a rider weight of 330 lbs (vs 270 lbs for the YB001). The fly wheel is also heavier (40 lbs vs 35 lbs) – this gives a slightly smoother ride but does require extra effort to start the wheel spinning AND stop it when you’re done working out. Overall the YB007A weighs a little more at 86 lbs vs 73 lbs. Our bathroom scales tell me that I’m around 180 lbs and when I cycle on the YB001, even when I’m sprinting, the ride is smooth and shake-free. My recommendation is that if you’re a similar weight to me, or below, then I’d save the cash and get the YB001. However, if you’re getting close to the 270 lbs weight limit (or above it) then go with the stronger YB007A.

Let’s take a look at some of the standout features of the YB001 bike.

Simple and straightforward assembly (30mins maximum, including coffee break)

First up, I want to set your mind at ease. If you’ve been concerned about how difficult the YOSUDA bike is to assemble, don’t worry! The process is super-simple and should take you roughly 30mins to complete before you can begin cycling. The bike comes with a booklet containing clear and easy-to-follow instructions for building your bike. There are clear diagrams too but, if you’re more of an instructional video person, then there’s a link in the leaflet to a step-by-step video that YOSUDA have created (there’s a link here to the video so you can check it out).

I’m no bike mechanic but I had no problems in following along with the assembly instructions and had the job completed in half an hour. Which would have been even less if I hadn’t stopped midway for a hydrating and revitalizing skinny cinnamon dolce latte with almond milk.

I’m no bike mechanic but I had no problems in following the instructions and assembling the bike in half an hour

Along with the larger bike components, and the assembly instructions, you’ll also find a blister pack. This pack contains all of the smaller pieces (nuts, bolts, etc) plus a hex wrench and multitool. You can use your own tools if you have them for assembling the bike, but everything you need is contained in the box.

A quick word on the box. It’s heavy and cumbersome. In terms of weight, you’re lifting a 73 lbs / 33 Kg bike plus packaging. Total dimensions of the boxed bike are around 40x9x34” / 1020x225x870mm. I was home alone at the time when this was delivered and was able to lift the box over the door step, into the house, and through to the area where I was going to build it. It wasn’t that easy to maneuver though and I’d recommend getting a willing friend or family member to help out. With two people it’s a very easy process to move the box into the location you need it.

On the other hand, actually building the bike is easy to do on your own. Once you’ve got the box into position and opened up, then each of the components is easy to lift and straightforward to join together, even with a single pair of hands. The tools are simple to use and the components fit together well.

Smooth cycling with the 35lbs fly wheel

Ok, so once you’ve got your bike built and in position, then it’s time to hop on and get pedalling. When you do, you’ll straight away notice a few things. Firstly, the ride is incredibly smooth without any of the jerkiness or juddering that I’ve experienced on other exercise bikes before. That’s thanks to the fly wheel on the front, specifically the hefty weight of that fly wheel. At 35 lbs, this is just under half the total weight of the YOSUDA bike. It takes a little effort to start it spinning (and correspondingly to slow it back down again. But, once you get it turning, the weight of the wheel gives it a very smooth feel with no vibration. That translates into a comfortable ride.

Something else that’s smooth is the noise. Or, actually, I should say the complete lack of noise as you pedal. If you’re used to biking on a standard push bike outdoors with a metal chain going from the pedals to the rear wheel hub, then this near silence will come as a bit of a welcome surprise. It’s all down to the belt drive that YOSUDA have used instead of an oily clanking chain. Not only is it whisper quiet, but it also requires virtually no maintenance (vs a metal bike chain that you have to apply oil to regularly). And, in fact, you won’t even know that the belt drive is there as YOSUDA have tucked it away inside a protective casing. No mess, no fuss, just smooth cycling.

I’ve seen reviews where folk have said that they felt that there was rocking on the bike as they used it. Well, having ridden the bike (hard) for the last couple months I can say that that hasn’t been my experience. Everything about the bike feels rock solid. Components feel sturdy and substantial. And the belt drive and heavy fly wheel give a very smooth transition of power from your legs to the bike. If you do experience some movement in the bike, then I’d recommend checking two areas in particular. Firstly, go around each of the components you fitted and re-check how tight each joint is. Sometimes nuts and bolts can work loose over time and, in fact, a loose joint in one area can cause pressure on other joints, which can then start to weaken. It’s worthwhile checking and re-tightening joints on any mechanical object like this periodically.

Secondly, rocking of the bike can be down to slight unevenness in the floor surface. You’ll frequently find this with solid wood floors but really any floor will have some degree of height variation across its surface. Thankfully, YOSUDA designers have built a fix for this into the bike. Take a look down at the front and rear stabilizer bars (the horizontal bars at the front and back of the bike). On the black end caps of each of these stabilizer bars you’ll notice a knurled wheel. If you find that the bike is rocking on the floor, start by turning each of these wheels fully clockwise. Now crouch down and take a look at the four ‘feet’ of the bike. You’ll likely find that one (and also possibly the one diagonally opposite) are off the floor. Turn the knurled wheel on these two feet anti-clockwise until they just touch the floor. At this point the bike should no longer rock.

Easy (or very, very) hard pedalling

Hop on the bike and look down at the sloping tube that goes in between the pedal crank and the handlebar stem. You’ll notice a big red knob. This is the single control you use to make pedaling easier or harder, and to bring the bike fly wheel to a complete stop.

To make pedaling easier, turn the red knob counterclockwise. To make pedaling tougher, turn the red knob clockwise.

Hop off the bike (I know, I know, I’m giving you a workout here before you’ve even started your workout!). Now crouch down on the right-hand side of the bike, so you have the saddle near your left hand and the handlebars near your right. Look at the fly wheel and at around the 10 o’clock position you’ll notice a curved felt pad. Try turning the red knob one way or the other and you’ll see this felt pad move towards, or away from, the fly wheel. This is the mechanism that applies braking force to the wheel. It takes roughly 6 full revolutions to take the felt pad from not touching the fly wheel (no resistance) to a full stop.

In the world of spin bikes, there are two types of resistance mechanism: magnetic vs friction. Spin bikes with magnetic resistance work by moving magnets closer to the fly wheel to increase resistance. Or further away to make pedaling easier. These bikes work well however tend to be more expensive to buy than friction resistance bikes like the YOSUDA. On the other hand, the magnets on magnetic resistance bikes don’t wear like the felt pad will. Thankfully, the team at YOSUDA have thought of this and provide a replacement pad which you can fit to your bike if the first pad wears out. You can also buy replacement brake pads and a range of other accessories from YOSUDA.

All the stats you need on one simple-to-operate display

The display on the YOSUDA gives you a variety of data as you pedal: Time elapsed, Current speed, Trip distance, Calories burnt, and Cumulative distance. You can choose to have the display cycle through each of these or stay on one in particular.

I’ve been training through the winter for a long-distance cycling event recently and so I’ve been keeping the display set to Trip distance. That way I can get a set number of miles in with each training session. That might work for you, but equally, you might want to focus on a different stat. For example, if you’re looking to lose fat, then you might be more interested in the Calories burnt figure.

A great alternative to Peloton (at a fraction of the cost)

Many folks would love to get a Peloton bike but are put off by the high costs of both the bike (around $1895) and the “All-Access Membership” fees, which can set you back nearly 40 bucks per month. Is there an alternative? Is there another way of getting something that’s close to the Peloton experience, but at a fraction of the cost? Well, it turns out that there is. With the YOSUDA bike, you get a free holder on the handlebars for your tablet, or phone. Now, for only $13 a month (after a 30-day free trial) you can get access to the Peloton classes on your phone or tablet screen as you pedal on your YOSUDA bike. Yes, there are differences between the two bikes. Yes, the experience you get with the Peloton is more immersive with a few extra features (such as access to the leaderboards). But, for that HUGE a cost saving, both with the initial bike purchase and the on-going membership fees…I think it’s worth serious consideration.

Compact and easy to store, simple to move around

The YOSUDA bike has a small footprint of roughly 22×41” and 48” tall (or 56x103cm and 122cm tall). This makes it easy to find a home for it in your home. I’ve been experimenting with a few different spots in our home to find the ideal place. Ideally you want somewhere that the bike won’t be in the way in, but will be easy to get on the bike and do a workout, without shifting furniture or anything else. So far, we’ve been testing out the bike in a corner of the study, behind the back of one of our couches, and in the guest bedroom. You could also store the bike in a closet and wheel it out when you want to get pedalling.

In fact, moving the bike between each of these locations is easier than it might sound for a piece of exercise equipment weighing 73 lbs. That’s thanks to the transport wheels positioned on the front stabilizer bar. To move the bike, lift up the rear end (I find it best to crouch down, then hold the rear stabilizer and lift up). Then the wheels at the front will touch the floor and you can wheel the bike around easily. Just make sure that you lift the bike up safely and be certain that there are no small children or expensive Ming dynasty vases nearby that you might crash into.


What don’t I like about the Yosuda exercise bike?

When you’re looking for a no-frills exercise bike, that does the job it’s meant to do (i.e. let you cycle indoors), at a price that’s this good, then it’s hard to pick fault…but…that’s what I’m paid to do, so here goes. It’s a short list though, that only consists of a few items. Let’s look see what they are.

Basic stats on the display

The central LCD display on the handlebars tracks your stats for:

  • Workout duration
  • Distance traveled
  • Speed
  • Calories burnt
  • Odometer

You can choose the display to display just one of these stats (for example, calories burnt) or cycle through all of them. Just for the record, more stats does not equal tighter butt cheeks. Ever. Period. Following a regular exercise plan and keeping a tight hold on your diet, however, can do. That said, if you do want more stats and data than the YOSUDA bike display can give you, then it’s a good idea to team it up with either a smart watch and/or HRM monitor.

Just for the record, more stats does not equal tighter butt cheeks. Ever. Period

A bike saddle that won’t suit everyone

Bike saddles are important to get right because they’re one of the main points of contact between you and your spin bike. And, in fact, the saddle takes the majority of your body weight when you’re using the bike. Some cyclists prefer the type of saddle that you see on the road bikes that pro riders use in races such as the Tour de France. These are hard and narrow and they team them up with padded bike shorts. After many hours of using the YOSUDA bike saddle, I’ve found the size, deep padding and rear springs to give a very comfortable seat. I also use padded shorts when I’m cycling on the spin bike and find this to be the perfect combo.

Pedals that don’t fit with everybody’s ride style

With spin bikes, you have a choice of pedal types. There are cage pedals, like you get on the YOSUDA. These combine a flat pedal with straps that form a sort of harness for your shoe to fit inside. They can be used with normal sneakers and allow you to turn the pedals by both pushing down on them and also pulling up. Alternatively, you can get standard flat pedals, which are like the cage pedals but without the straps. You can also get so-called clipless pedals. These look different to flat pedals and feature a clip that connects to a special sole attachment on bike shoes. Flat pedals just allow you to turn the pedals by pushing, whereas the other two pedal types let you both pull and push.

If this is all new to you, then I’d recommend you try out the cage pedals that ship with the YOSUDA first. These are great for spin bikes as they mean that you can use your usual sneakers with them. Clipless pedals on the other hand mean that you need to get a special pair of bike shoes just to use them.


Who is the Yosuda stationary bike great for?

In my view, there are a lot of folks who this bike would be perfect for. If you’re already a fan of spin class workouts, but either can’t get to the studio or don’t want to shell out for monthly gym membership fees, then the YOSUDA is an excellent option at a fantastic price. When you team it up with the Peloton app (at only 13 bucks a month) and pop your phone or tablet on the handlebar rack, then it gives an experience that’s very close to the Peloton bike, but at a fraction of the cost. As a low-cost alternative to the Peloton, it’s an outstanding option.

For people who aren’t able to get out on the roads on a bike, whether it’s seniors with balance problems, parents with young kids, or cyclists recovering from injury, then the YOSUDA can be a huge benefit.

Cycling outside in the winter isn’t everyone’s bag, so having an indoor option that lets you keep up your fitness through the chilly months can be awesome. The YOSUDA is also an awesome choice if your only available workout time is on dark evenings. Or even when you can combine it with work Zoom calls.


Verdict

For the price, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting much from the YOSUDA. But, having used the bike for some time now, I’ve been really blown away by the quality of this bike. The ride is smooth, the resistance is easy to control and teaming it with the Peloton app gives an awesome multi-media workout with instructors whose enthusiasm will make you forget the pain in your thighs a little as you “Crank it up a notch!”

Oh, and my butt cheeks? Yeah, I think they’re a little tighter.

YB001

YB007A