When I first started going to the gym regularly I quickly realised that one of my favourite ways to invoke sweat was to use the exercise bike, not least because I like how easy it is to faff around on my phone while cycling. It's boring though, Christ is it boring - I like to have something to stimulate my mind and the 'bonus' of being able to plug an iPod (which I don't own any more) into the screen of the bells-and-whistles Nike exercise bikes just didn't hit the spot for me. So I stupidly signed up for the beautifully named 'Spinning Class', which is the most horrifically energetic exercise class on earth - involving very fast cycling interspersed with slower (but still fast!) periods. The idea is that the changing of speed, tempo and energy used is beneficial to both the burning of body fat and the process of toning up and lengthening the muscle in the legs.
A Spinning Bike, which is what the Bremshey BE7 is, is usually powered by the exerciser - this one is a magnetic model and is operated via a 9kg flywheel. It doesn't need to be plugged in to the electric - if you want the display panel to work you need to pedal hard enough, simples. It feels a bit strange to be using what is, in effect, a manual exercise bike again - but the technology and 'fun' (in inverted commas, obviously) of Spinning soon makes you forget that for once you're not plugged into the mains.
The display is very user friendly, I have ridiculous trouble in setting myself up on interactive gym equipment but this one is so self explanatory that I am always easily able to plumb my details in and start my workout. There are over twenty programmes to choose from so I was glad to be in a gym environment where I could ask advice on the best programme for me - obviously when I am taking part in a Spinning class I have the display in free run as I will be following the instructor, but I sometimes use the fat burn or cardio programmes and have a (far less tiring!) session on my own. I've done the Body Fat test a couple of times and it's nice to see the numbers decreasing as I lose weight, although my instructor tells me not to perform this test too regularly as it's so unforgiving with the results that it can actually become disheartening. I feel his advice of 'you'll know when you're fitter because it won't hurt so much' to be a much better summing up of the exhausting situation I find myself in just lately.
There is space in the memory of the bike to set four user profiles, these have been disabled in the gym as there are far more than four people using the Bremshey bikes every day. You can store your profile and exercise values in the short term, but once the bike has been inactive for a few minutes it'll reset itself ready for the next user. It's a bit of messing to set your profile up so I don't tend to bother unless I happen to be early for the class and have time to kill - it's worth doing if you're in a position to save your profile as after inputting your weight and general fitness level it will begin to count the calories you've burned and work you towards mini goals.
The resistance of the bike is enough to make the muscles in your legs burn, but the beauty of Spinning is that you need only work as hard as you are able. Even trying to keep up with my super-fit instructor for the duration of a 25 minute workout is an exercise in futility for an overweight smoker such as myself, but if I find myself struggling I can easily slow down to a more manageable pace to get my energy (and my breath!) back. There are none of those uber annoying 'PEDAL HARDER' messages flashing up on the display as, irritatingly, happens on the powered bikes available in the gym and for this reason I don't find Spinning anywhere near as daunting as it looks watching other people do it. The flywheel is 'optimally balanced' (said by someone at my gym who knows far more than me about these instruments of torture) and this makes for smooth pedaling action - something I've noticed myself, and a very important aspect considering the general jerkiness of fat people undertaking speed cycling!
Comfort-wise this is a nice bike to use. The body is reasonably streamlined and I can get myself into the most comfortable position possible to get the most from my workout while still keeping my body and limbs as safe as they possibly can be in terms of muscle strains caused by bad positioning. Of course, this was all explained to me by my instructor but if you're thinking of buying this bike for home use you may need to do a little research before jumping on for the first time. The bike has a gel seat and while I don't think it's very comfortable at all, the shaping and vague softness makes it much nicer to perch on than more plastic seats. I like the pedals as they grip my size four feet perfectly; I wear pretty slimline trainers and struggle to keep my feet in the pedals of some of the other pieces of equipment in the gym (rowing machine made for 6ft muscle men, I'm talking to you) but the loops on the Spinning bike keep my feet in the optimum position for powering down on the pedals.
The bike is portable, in fact we have to move them into position for the class ourselves and it's not as heavy as it looks. It's bloomin' bulky though so most of us adopt a zombie-like push-pull-lift motion - it's not graceful, but the fact that it doesn't weigh a ton makes it a fairly simple process to move into place. A bonus of this portability is the versatility of placement if you're using the bike at home - it operates quietly so you could easily use it in front of the tele, and it's stable enough to use outside providing your patio is flat enough. A strong person would be able to get it up and downstairs I should imagine, although to be honest I'd never chance it for fear of toppling all the way back down with it!
I'm not so struck on the handles. Compared to other exercise equipment the heart rate pads seem to be in a really weird position and that means my hands have to contort into a slightly unnatural position if I want an accurate reading throughout my workout. To be fair I'm pretty sure the pathetic quitter in me would have caused me to step off WELL before any machine indicated an impending heart attack, but it's useful to know your heart rate at various points in your workout to assess the fat burning aspect. Another thing about the handles is the fact that they're so upright! Ridiculously designed! When you are shattered out of your face, and pedaling faster than your legs really go, you need handles that you can lean on while you try and eek out a last kilojoule of energy that you don't in all honesty possess; Bremshey, we do NOT want to be forced to sit as straight as a soldier while fighting off the terror of our lungs bursting. Some consideration, please!
Spinning on this, and presumably any other, bike is exhausting. I only have experience with the Bremshey BE7 and it's been a good one - I've learned that it's a good tool for the job, the manufacturer keeping the techie stuff to a minimum so you can concentrate on your exercise rather than constantly needing to faff with the computer. Any alterations you may need to make while Spinning can be accomplished quickly without requiring you to stop or slow down at all, again in comparison to the silly rowing machine which can't be operated unless you have a degree in sports science! I'd suggest taking a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the display, especially if you're setting it up yourself at home - eventually you'll be fiddling when you need to without even looking at the screen, I only use this bike once or twice a week and feel like I know it inside out so a daily home user would really benefit from the simplicity.
I have lost weight recently through a combination of healthy eating and going (kinda) regularly to the gym. It's hard to say how much of this weight loss has been through use of the Bremshey BE7 Spinning bike, but I have confidence that it's helping thanks to the feeling of utter devastation in my thighs and calves after my class - the good thing being that my knee or hip joints don't hurt which indicates that the workout is targeting the areas it should be, ie. my long neglected leg muscles and fatty bits. I suppose it'd be classed as a lower body workout, but this doesn't really seem a good enough label for Spinning on this bike - when 'fat burning' it's truly a whole body workout as you can feel the effort it's taking everywhere, plus you burn fat from your body as a whole when expending the kind of energy required for a Spinning class so your weight loss as a whole will automatically improve if you stick at it.
The maximum user weight is 300lbs, which equates to just under 22 stones. Erm, yeah. OK, however I say this it'll offend a 22 stone person so I'll just have to hope you understand me when I say that although the frame is built to withstand a very heavy person, I doubt the sheer bulk and width of someone of this weight would be very practical considering the slimline proportions of the bike. That's not me being mean, that's me stating a fact - the slimmer members of the class look so much more comfortable and at one with their equipment than us fatties, I think a 22 stone person would fall off within minutes. And that wouldn't be funny at all, would it?
I definitely recommend the Bremshey BE7, although the high cost (£399 at the time of writing) makes me wonder how suitable it really would be for home use. I'd say that if you're a fanatical 'spinner' then it's a good, if expensive, buy for your home gym. For anyone else I have to reiterate that for all its excellence this still remains a glorified exercise bike, it's ace for Spinning workouts but this is one of those 'gimmick' exercise sessions that a lot of people lose interest in when the next fad comes along. I can't say I'd ever lay out that kind of money on an item that would probably be used as a clothes horse for 70% of the time, I'm happy to stick to my weekly (or sometimes even twice weekly, when I'm feeling particularly energetic) use of the Bremshey as it's not something I could see being used at home.
"Bremshey BE7 Self Generating Cycle Take advantage of Bremshey`s innovative approach to warranty and delivery by selecting Free Installation The installation process will take a while longer than a standard delivery-only service but you do get the extra benefit of an upgraded warranty, from 3 yrs to 5yrs - plus of course someone does all the donkey work for you, and they will even take away the packaging! It`s a great deal! BE7 Exercise BikeBrake - Servo operated magnetic brakeTransmission ratio - 1.7Flywheel weight (net) - 9kgCrank - 3pc crankSeat tube - ChromePower output - 250 W / 60 rpmPower Supply - Self GeneratingLength (mm) - 1060mmWidth (mm) - 565mmHeight (mm) - 1430 mm"