Gym and home stationary bicycles: How come people don't injury themselves on these things?

So, I recently had to change countries and leave my bicycle(s) behind. Due to necessity, I had to use several gym spinning and upright bicycles and the experience has been terrible when It comes to trying to get comfortable, let alone try optimize a fit.

The biggest offenders are the co called upright bicycles. They invariably come with huge seats with large noses that are too far backwards. They force you to either murder your bland pelvis tissues or sit so far backwards that it is impossible to get proper knee extension, which seems to be the way they are intended to be ridden. This issue really puzzles me, because if there’s one bike fit parameter that seems well known outside enthusiast circles is to allow proper knee extension when pedaling. You find this fact prominently pointed out even on Mom’s first Peloton ride blogs.

The so called spinning bicycles are much better. You can move the seat backwards at the least, and some even let you adjust the handlebars on four directions. However, they have one glaring issue: humongous q-factors. The very well regarded, premium brand Kraiser M3 has a gigantic q-factor of 195mm. cheaper options like the amazon’s best seller Joroto X2 was measured at 203mm and some Sunny’s go to 210 or more. And those are the ones I have found, since most manufactures and vendors won’t even bother to list this at all. The Peloton has a “road inspired, high performance narrow” q-factor of 170mm, which is a mountain bike standard. On the other hand, the Peloton won’t allow you to adjust your handlebars depth.

Now, I understand expect non-racing bicycles won’t be perfectly optimized, but we are talking about injury prevention here. The bikes are designed to perpetuate the two first bad habits that enthusiast cyclist are taught to avoid: having the seat too low and wobbly knees. The only reason why I think we don’t see thousands of indoor cycling injuries (yet) is because most of the client base won’t use their products for more than a half an hour at a time for a few days a week at no more than 150W or so.

I can’t ride em—I always end up on the elliptical.

They don’t get ridden much and when they do get ridden they don’t get ridden very hard. You can tolerate a lot in small doses.


Maybe that’s why, in every advertisement for the machines, the fitness model is standing up sprinting.

I actually have a C2 bikeerg, and it seems to be pretty comfortable. The seat is huge, but gym-quality machines seem to be designed to handle people who weigh 300 lbs. The q-factir is 155

1 Like

Suit the likely user/buyer. A big comfy seat means they’re more likely to buy it/sit on it.

Are power readings accurate on the C2?

I have stages crank power meters on the outdoor bike, and it “feels” like the same power as the C2. The only way to tell for sure would be power pedals which I don’t use. I do most rides outside so no big deal for me at least especially since I’m not a powerhouse to begin with.

On the Concept2 forum, people who have put power meter pedals on the BikeErg report that the PM5 seems to consistently read 15-20 W lower than the pedals, possibly due to drivetrain losses. I’ve been meaning to put on my power meter pedals on my BikeErg to confirm… but I honestly don’t care that much, since I do all my workouts indoors anyway.

1 Like

Speaking of injury, how about those “tap backs”?


1 Like

Probably a few, but most cycling injuries are repetitive in nature, and when you consider how many pedal strokes many of us are taking over a week I imagine the risk for the average stationary bike user is magnitudes lower. I think power would have an impact too- at least from my own experience I’ve found I’m more likely to develop niggles on longer climbs and the like where I’m holding relatively high power for a long time, and while spin classes can be pretty high-intensity it’s rare that you see a hard effort over a couple of minutes.

I suspect the saddle height might have something to do with most people feeling uncomfortable/unbalanced with the proper height at first- my partner got on my bike once and thought the saddle was ridiculously high, and he’s a lot taller than me.

Agree with your observations. Our gym has Stages SC3 stationary bikes with real crank arm power meters. I’ve even connected the gym’s Stages bikes to Zwift app on my phone and did intervals:

The Stages have good road feel, good adjustments, and overall are quite good.


They want me to warm up On this thing for 10 minutes at PT 3x per week, it’s horrific. I’m about to just bring my bike and pedal aRound the parking lot before going in (spending 10 minutes of my appointment on a spin bike after I’ve already ridden that morning aggravates me too!).