How To Adjust Indoor Cycling Bike Resistance (Everything You Need to Know!)

Indoor cycling bike resistance refers to your workout’s level of intensity. The higher the resistance, the more effort your body exerts during the workout. You end up burning calories and toning your muscles because of how hard you push your body. When on low resistance, you can also get many health benefits depending on your consistency and length of the workout. If you are not one with chronic knee or back pains, you should definitely consider upping the dial.

Indoor cycling bikes particularly offer highly intense workouts if you are up for it. The front flywheel for instance is made entirely out of steel and weighs about 40 pounds. Depending on your fitness, you can flick through the different resistance levels from low to high. The low option is relative because it is still quite intense.

Adjusting between these different levels gives different simulations as if you are riding outdoors. You can choose the highest resistance that will take a lot of effort from you to even budge the pedal. This leads to more burned calories as if you were outdoors riding up a steep slope. Its workout intensity makes an indoor cycling bike useful and challenging for fitness enthusiasts, pros and amateurs alike.

Types of resistance

In most indoor bikes, the type of resistance is either direct contact, magnetic, air or brake-based. In indoor cycling bikes, they are designed using flywheel resistance. While this type of resistance has a few drawbacks compared to others like magnetic resistance, it is still one of the best designs to use. As already stated, an indoor cycling bike is specifically designed to offer a full body workout that is intense and a test to your endurance.  This is because the flywheel is already heavy enough without any modifications.

In this kind of resistance found in indoor cycling bikes (flywheel), energy is created according to your cadence and power. The front flywheel on an indoor cycling bike is connected to the cycling pedals through a belt. As you ride, the wheels rotate according to your speed. Due to its heavyweight, rotating the wheel at your own speeds creates different levels of resistance that still start off quite high.

How to adjust

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Understanding how cycling works is quite easy. On the flip side, learn how to adjust indoor cycling bike resistance does take a bit practicing though. For example, some users find it hard because there is no measure to the level of resistance you want. It is all kind of a trial and error process where you try to feel the different levels of resistance.

For indoor cycling bike trainers and pro riders alike, properly adjusting a indoor cycling bike’s resistance can be a bit difficult. How to adjust the levers and which levers to settle for exactly are some of the common questions regarding resistance. This guide offers answers to both these questions.

First, to adjust the resistance on an indoor cycling bike, most modern bikes come with a knob that is easy to use for various configurations. For instance, indoor cycling bikes include a resistance knob that allows you to flick through the different resistance levels. This process is swift and smooth. It is also quite silent for added ease.

Therefore, to adjust an indoor cycling bike’s resistance, all you need to do is choose between the different levels available. This is easy to do with the flicking of the resistance knob on a indoor cycling bike.

Failure to use the resistance knob can greatly limit your workout results. While pedaling fast might make one assume they are doing well, the real calorie burner is in high resistance. Resistance that is also too high is another indoor cycling mistake. To get it right, mastering how to adjust the bike’s resistance is a must-do. Also remember that after turning the knob, the resistance remains constant throughout the workout. No matter how hard you cycle, the resistance can only be changed with the twisting of the knob.

How do you know which indoor cycling bike resistance to choose?

To know which resistance you should settle for, there are a few factors that weigh in. For example, the different levels depending on your regular exercise routines. If you are a rookie to cycling, you might want to start with low resistance as you work your way up.

If you do not know which resistance to settling for on your indoor cycling bike, this can lead you to fatigue and overuse of your muscles for no added benefits. Simply put, it is like breaking into a sprint before you have started jogging first. If you are physically unfit and a rookie to indoor cycling, riding at whatever level of resistance your bike is set is something you should avoid. It is an indoor cycling mistake as resistance is not something to guess about.

Once you have known how to adjust the indoor cycling bike resistance, you should regularly tweak it according to your performance. With constant indoor cycling classes, you will gradually progress in your strength and endurance levels. Make sure you align your indoor cycling bike resistance to your fitness developments. When you make constant adjustments to challenge yourself, you can only get better at indoor cycling. The boost in your strength and endurance levels is one benefit of this.

Safety Tips

Remember, riding is more than just resistance. You have to make sure your posture is correct and you are engaging your core with every spin. With proper adjustment of your indoor cycling bike’s resistance and other factors, you can be assured of a highly efficient and beneficial workout.

While pedaling fast has many added benefits, setting the right resistance is highly important. Cadence measured in revolutions per minute (rpm) only leads to significant gains with the right level of intensity. An example is often stated by riders who start pedaling at really high cadence (more than 110rpm) and power through really long workout sessions because of low resistance. In such settings, losing weight or toning muscles is something that might not happen. One need not simulate a steep slope but some sort of resistance is important for an exhilarating body workout.

Thirdly, remember that indoor cycling does take a toll on your body. The front flywheel especially is heavy enough for a decent resistance level without any adjustments. While following the steps above, be sure to have this in mind. Take it easy on your body and adjust according to your fitness level.

Also, consider having regular upper body workouts. Lifting weights and using dumbbells every so often is recommended because indoor cycling bikes lay a lot of emphasis on your lower muscles. For a full body workout, go the extra mile.

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Benefits of knowing how to adjust indoor cycling bike resistance

There many benefits to knowing how to adjust the resistance on your indoor cycling bike. Once you are able to maneuver between the different levels, you will be opening up yourself to the advantages of joining an indoor cycling class.

First, it vastly increases your cardiovascular fitness by keeping your heart muscles toned and oxygenated blood flowing. Cycling at the right resistance for you is also a great mood booster. With every intense pedal at your set speed and level, your body releases endorphins that are happy-feel hormones. You will also have way more energy than you are used to.

Finally, once you learn how the proper resistance level for you, you will burn more calories and lose weight as a result. Riding hard, but on low resistance can be futile if you are looking to lose the extra weight.

It really is important to know how to adjust indoor cycling bike resistance. If you do not, you might find yourself missing out on these health benefits because you are not pushing yourself hard enough.


Remember to be gentle with yourself. It takes some time to master the resistance dial for an optimized workout. Once you do, also remember not to compare yourself with other people’s progress and resistance levels. As already stated, the different stages of intensity are unique for each rider depending on their fitness levels.

Everyone has their own capabilities so it does not matter if others are progressing to higher levels if you are not. Once you adjust your indoor cycling bike resistance after following all the steps stated above, ride on it for as long as it feels within your fitness journey.

The different kinds of resistance levels have their own kind of pros and cons. In high resistance, for example, it greatly tones your body and dials up your physique. It can also lead to injury because of overuse. This is why it is important to know how to adjust an indoor cycling bike’s resistance. Knowing the right way to do these modifications is sometimes difficult for all kinds of riders. This guide tries to make all that easier by spelling out how to go about it. By following all the guidelines stated above, you will be saving yourself a whole lot of trouble.