Chain vs Belt Drive Spin Bike: What Are The Differences?

F5 Fitness is supported by you. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Are you shopping for a new spin bike? You’ve made a wise choice, as far as fitness equipment goes, the Spin bike requires the least maintenance of all the cardio fitness equipment available. If properly serviced and maintained, a good quality spin bike can last a lifetime. Spinning ranks right up there with running as a beneficial aerobic activity to improve your overall health, and a 30-minute indoor cycling workout can burn upwards of 500 calories. Spinning is a safe and effective alternative to bicycle riding with the same positive results as outdoor cycling.

Spin Bike Drive System Types

When comparing spin bikes, one of the choices you will be faced with is the drive system. Spin bikes have one of two different drive systems: chain drive or belt drive. The belt or chain is attached to the pedals and then connected to the flywheel. When you pedal, the motion is transferred through the belt or chain to the flywheel, which creates the spin, just as pedaling an outdoor bike moves the rear wheel.

Chain Drive System

Chain-Drive
Photo from sunnyhealthfitness.com/

Original (older) spin bikes often feature a chain drive system. Many “old school” biking veterans prefer a chain drive for its familiar outdoor-bike feel; however, a chain drive is more likely to require more adjustments, wear down, and even break over time. You will also have to tighten them regularly, requiring a little skill and the proper tools. Be prepared to lubricate (oil) the chain to prevent rust and to allow the chain to pass over the sprocket smoothly.

Despite the occasional inconvenience and required maintenance, if you love to bike outdoors or you are transitioning from outdoor biking to spinning, then you may prefer a chain drive as you’ll get a very similar riding experience on a chain-driven spin bike.

Belt Drive System

Belt-Drive
Photo from sunnyhealthfitness.com/

Your second option is a belt-driven spin bike. The belt of a belt-driven spin bike is similar to the flexible belts under the hood of your car. They are often wide, have “teeth” that fit into grooves in the pedal system and flywheel, and are known for their smooth operation, durability and efficiency.

If you prefer smooth, quiet, and relatively maintenance-free operation, nothing beats a spin bike with a belt drive. The quiet operation also makes a belt drive spin bike much more family and roommate friendly in limited spaces.

Our Top Picks

Best Belt Drive
JOROTO X2 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike (Magnetic)
4.6

A virtually silent bike coupled with solid construction. Solid steel flywheel for stability, with aluminum cover, it will provide you smooth and consistent riding.

Price & Reviews
Best Chain Drive
Sunny Health Chain Drive Indoor Bike (SF-B1002/C)
4.5

This bike has a smooth and quiet chain transmission. The heavy-duty 49 lb flywheel, crank, and steel frame make this bike very sturdy and stable.

Price & Reviews

Chain vs Belt Drive Video Comparison