How To Fix Magnetic Resistance On Exercise Spin Bikes

Most modern stationary bikes use magnetic resistance so that you can customize your workout, but if the resistance stops working, it means the exercise bike is pretty useless.

This can really impact your routine and knock your fitness plan off track. Well, don't worry, because, in this guide, we'll explain how to fix magnetic resistance on exercise spin bikes so you can get riding again as quickly as possible.

Exercise bikes are stationary bikes that give you all the benefits of an outdoor cycle. They're found in commercial gyms but are also popular in garage and home gyms as an effective cardio solution.

Spin bikes are a variation on stationary bikes, but they're pretty much the same thing; they're just designed to closely mimic the riding position of an outdoor bike and force the user to lean forward more. This gives you a more realistic feel and can make your workout harder.

You’ll be able to control the resistance levels of your exercise bike. This is usually done through a control panel, and modern bikes will have touch screen computers on board.

This lets you adjust the difficulty of your ride so you can push your body and get a great workout. Many bikes also have pre-set routines that will move through the resistance levels to give you a workout that helps you achieve a specific goal.  

How To Fix Magnetic Resistance On Exercise Spin Bikes

Most modern exercise bikes use magnetic resistance. They work using an electrical current and magnets, which create a magnetic field. This increases the resistance and makes it more challenging to turn the flywheel, so you'll have to pedal harder to complete each rotation.

Some exercise bikes still use other forms of resistance, but magnetic resistance is one of the most reliable methods because there are far fewer moving parts within the mechanism.

From time to time, your magnetic resistance can stop working properly. There are a few different reasons why this can happen, but you need to fix it to continue using the exercise bike. Unfortunately, magnetic exercise bikes are expensive, and paying to have them repaired will cost at least a few hundred dollars, but the good news is that you can repair them yourself.

We’ve created a quick guide explaining how to fix the most common types of magnetic resistance bikes. You will need to have a replacement magnetic resistance mechanism that is compatible with your bike, and the easiest thing to do is to check the manufacturer's website to see if they sell replacement parts. You’ll also need an Allen key, screwdriver, and socket wrench.

Fixing The Magnetic Resistance On A Stationary Bike 

Stationary or upright bikes are the most common, and you’ll see them in home or commercial gyms. To fix your magnetic resistance, you'll need to follow these steps: 

  1. 1
    Turn Off The Power   
    Unplug your stationary bike from the electrical outlet, so there's no risk of electrocution while you're working. Many upright bikes are battery-powered, so remove the battery pack from the device. Make sure you try replacing the batteries first to see if that's the issue.  
  2. 2
    Remove The Pedal Cranks And Flywheel Covers   
    Pull the cover from the side of the exercise bike so you can reach the flywheel. Hold it still, and rotate the pedals counterclockwise so that they come off the internal pulley mechanism. Set them aside, and completely remove the flywheel covers.
  3. 3
    Remove The V Belt   
    Use a socket and ratchet to remove the nut which connects into the pulley. Move the pulley to the side and slip the V-belt off. Check to see if there’s any damage to the belt, and replace it if necessary.  
  4. 4
    Remove The Magnetic Unit   
    Now that the belt is out of the way, you should be able to access the magnetic unit. Remove the nut which holds it in place, and lift it out of the bike. You'll need to replace this magnetic unit to get the bike working again. Put the new magnetic unit into the bike and secure it in place.  
  5. 5
    Put It Back Together  
    Put the v belt, flywheel, and pedals back onto the bike and seal it all up. Make sure everything is secure, and then test to see if the magnetic resistance is working as it should be.  

Fixing The Magnetic Resistance On A Spin Bike 

To fix the magnetic resistance on a spin bike, you'll need to follow all the same steps as you should with an upright exercise bike. Spin bikes usually have much higher levels of resistance because they’re designed for intense workouts, so it may be that you notice any issues more quickly.

Just make sure you check the manufacturer's guide in case they have any specific instructions to follow.

Related Article - Exercise Bike Vs Spin Bike

how to fix magnetic resistance exercise bike

Fixing The Magnetic Resistance On A Recumbent Bike 

To repair the magnetic resistance on a recumbent bike, you’ll need to follow these steps:  

  1. 1
    Find The Battery Pack     
    Most recumbent bikes run on batteries, so locate the hub sensor battery pack by removing the chain gain on the side of the bike. You should be able to loosen this with a screwdriver and lift it off. Then, rotate the flywheel until the battery pack is visible and accessible.  
  2. 2
    Check The Battery Pack     
    Replace the batteries in the pack and check for any loose connections. If there are any loose wires, you should repair or replace them and then reattach them to the bike. If this doesn't work, move on to the next step.  
  3. 3
    Check The Speed Sensor     
    Recumbent exercise bikes will also have a speed sensor that is located near the pedals. Remove the nut that holds it in place, and then locate the battery cap on the side of the sensor unit. Remove the cover and install a new battery. Put the sensor unit back on the bike and reattach the chain guard.   
  4. 4
    Check The Bike   
    With the batteries and wiring fixed, your magnetic resistance should be fine. Test the bike to make sure it's all working.  

Fixing The Magnetic Resistance On A Mini Pedal Bike 

Mini pedal bikes are designed to be used at home or in the office and a perfect for those who are short on time. There are just pedals and no frame, so you can sit on any regular chair and give your legs a workout while you’re doing something else. If the resistance suddenly stops working you’ll need to follow these steps: 

  1. 1
    Remove The Pedals       
    Use a hex key to remove the pedals and crank arms from the machine. This should allow you access to the main casing.  
  2. 2
    Remove The Outer Casing     
    Undo the bolts and lift off the outer casing. Then, unhook the belt within and remove it.  
  3. 3
    Replace The Magnetic Mechanism      
    You should now have access to the mechanism. Undo the holding bolt and lift it out of the bike. Install the new mechanism in its place, and seal everything back up again. Your mini pedal bike should hopefully work now.  
how to fix the resistance on an exercise bike

Common Issues With Magnetic Resistance Spin Bikes

Magnetic resistance bikes are pretty impressive, but they can still encounter problems. Here are the most common issues to look out for: 

  • Squeaking Noise 
    A small amount of rattling from your bike is pretty normal, but if you start to hear more than usual, it could mean there's a problem with the internal mechanism. Squeaking means there's friction where it shouldn't be, and if left untreated, it could cause the whole bike to stop working. The best thing to do is open it up and lubricate all the gears and moving parts.  
  • Loose Bolts & Screws 
    Magnetic resistance bikes don't have many parts and aren't as reliant on friction, but even a few loose bolts can cause mayhem. Bolts and screws can become loose through heavy use, so if you start to notice anything strange or hear anything rattling around, you should open it up to tighten everything.  
  • Loss of Resistance  
    Loss of resistance is easy to spot and will make your workout much less effective. This is usually because one of the magnets inside has been displaced, or it could mean that the magnetic mechanism needs to be replaced. You'll need to fix this so you can actually get a decent ride.  
  • Error Code 
    Modern exercise bikes have pretty sophisticated computers onboard that can tell you when there's an issue. Error codes will appear on the screen, and you can look up these codes in the user manual to know exactly what the problem is. Common error codes include not being able to start up, or not being able to change resistance levels.  
  • Magnet Issues 
    The magnets generate a magnetic field which gives you an adjustable amount of resistance. If one or both magnets are damaged, it won't operate properly. If you suddenly notice a drop in resistance or that it isn't going up or down as it should, then it could mean your magnet needs to be replaced.  
  • Belt Slipping 
    The belt holds all of the tension in the exercise bike, and it can slip. This tends to happen when it's damaged or if it's too tight, and if you suddenly notice that the pedals won't turn, it's probably because the belt has slipped off. Open up the bike and check if you need to tighten the bolts around the belt or replace it entirely. 
fix resistance on exercise bike

How To Fix Magnetic Resistance Of Popular Spin Bike Brands

Every bike is slightly different, and you’ll need to consult the user manual for your individual spin bike. It's also worth checking your warranty to see if it's still covered because then the manufacturer will repair it for free.

NordicTrack

NordicTrack exercise bikes are advanced and don't tend to break down too easily. If your magnetic resistance isn't working, you should start by replacing the batteries. You should then check the mechanism for any dirt or grime which could be clogging it and apply lubricant to all the moving parts.

If none of this works, open up the bike and locate the tension cable in the gearbox. Moving this should move the magnetic bar outwards or deeper, and if it doesn’t move, you may need to replace the whole gearbox or flywheel.  

Peloton

Peloton is another premium brand, and their magnetic resistance works very well. It's all controlled with the touch screen, and if you notice an issue with the resistance, then you should check all the wiring and connections. You should also look to recalibrate the Peloton exercise bike.

You can do this by tapping on the 3 dots on the bottom right of the home screen, accessing the About menu, and then following the Sensor Calibration instructions. This should reset your resistance and get your bike functioning properly.  

See Also - Hydrow Rower Vs Peloton Bike

Weslo

Other brands, like Weslo, are a bit simpler. It's usually either a power issue or a problem with the moving parts. Check the wiring and replace the batteries if needed. You should also oil and lubricate the moving parts within the mechanism so they can move as they should. If this doesn't work, it could mean a magnet has worn out and will need to be fully replaced.

There's no single way to fix your magnetic resistance because it depends on the type of bike and the issue. However, it usually comes down to the onboard computer and controls or the mechanism. Checking and fixing both should resolve the issue.  

recumbent bike

Fixing Magnetic Resistance On Exercise Bike FAQs 

How do you maintain a magnetic spin bike? 

You should clean your spin bike regularly with a soft cloth, examine it for damage, tighten bolts and screws, and lubricate the gears and moving parts. This will keep it in working order and prevent it from breaking down.  

Do you need a heavy flywheel with magnetic resistance? 

The size of the flywheel impacts how much momentum you’ll generate. You can get a magnetic exercise bike with a heavy or light flywheel, and it should work fine.  

Are magnetic exercise bikes quiet? 

Yes, magnetic resistance is much quieter than other types, and these exercise bikes are perfect for domestic use because they won't make much noise.  

What are the benefits of a magnetic exercise bike? 

Magnetic exercise bikes are durable, require very little maintenance, and run practically silently. This type of resistance is used in most modern bikes, but magnetic exercise bikes are more expensive.  

Related Article - Benefits Of Exercise Bikes


Conclusion

Magnetic resistance exercise bikes won't break down often, but it can be really frustrating when they do. It generally comes down to the power supply, control panel, or a mechanical fault. Still, unless the issue is major, you can usually pick up replacement parts and get your bike working yourself.

Hopefully this guide has given you some useful information, and you now feel more comfortable fixing your exercise bike yourself.  

Paul J