There’s hardly an indoor bike out there that can match the pedigree of Keiser’s M line and the M3 was probably the most reliable and effective spin bike we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. The latest iteration of this proven piece of equipment is the M3i. This bike builds on everything that made the original M3 great while adding ‘smart’ features via a Bluetooth compatible computer.
With the newest version of the keiser spin bike receiving rave reviews just about everywhere, we were naturally curious to see for ourselves whether the improvements were substantial and if the smart connectivity is more than a gimmicky feature. First impressions of looking at the bike are very good indeed; the bike is a thing of beauty.
Keiser Spin Bike Features List
Let’s take a look at the bike’s main features before we get into a detailed breakdown:
- Bluetooth™ Wireless Technology and an automatic backlit digital display
- V-shape frame and handlebar combo to accommodate all riders
- Four-way adjustable seat for a perfect bike fit
- Revolutionary re-designed Keiser Bike Pedal with toe cage and auto pedal support
- Water bottle holder
- Magnetic resistance delivers road-bike experience and ensures a smooth ride
- Robust adjustment knobs that require less maintenance
- Rust-resistant design includes stainless steel hardware and rear flywheel
- Quiet, low-maintenance magnetic-resistance belt-drive system
- Lightweight and superior ease of transport
Keiser Spin Bike Features Explained in Detail
Bluetooth & Display
Tech. in cycling seems to get more pervasive with each passing year. Go to any technology, computers or consumer electronics show (such as CES this year) and chances are that you’ll see a ton of products revolving around connectivity and fitness data to make workouts trackable and more engaging.
So this is how things work on the M3i; the computer, apart from tracking and displaying your workout information, also transmits the data wirelessly via a Bluetooth connection. This data can then be read, stored and analyzed by a smartphone app. This is a particularly useful trait during a spin class for example where the instructor can use this feature to monitor each participant’s effort and progress.
The screen features an automatic backlight and is capable of displaying cadence (RPM), Power Output, Heart Rate, Elapsed Time, Gear (resistance level) and trip distance. This data is extremely useful when it comes to tracking improvements over time and comparing your efforts. We’re not huge fans of using distance as a workout metric and suggest the use of Power. The meter on the bike is able to measure pedaling power with a plus or minus 5% accuracy.
We also thought it was important to mention that if you plan on using a heart rate monitor, the bike is compatible with POLAR branded chest straps.
Frame & Handlebars
The M3i uses a V shaped frame that is easy to get on or off, sturdy and lightweight. Coupled with the adjustable handlebars, the bike can accommodate riders of all sizes. The updated model features a sexy black color scheme that looks great with the new red wheel rim. The bike looks as good as it feels to ride.
We spend a lot of time with commercial grade gym equipment and while the M3i doesn’t set any new records for sturdiness, it is exceptionally well built for a home-based stationary bike.
Complimenting the frame is the seat and handlebar system, both of which are fully adjustable and offer the ability to make small, incremental changes to seat height, position and reach.
The M3i uses a rust-resistant design. A lot of the hardware, including the flywheel is made of stainless steel. This makes the bike capable of standing the test of time, stress and sweat (You should still wipe down the bike after every use, it’s just the right thing to do). This thing is built to last.
Anyone that rides pushbikes outdoors will immediately feel at home with the pedals on the M3i. The all new pedal system uses a Shimano SPD style clipless system so that it can be used with cycling shoes. Once clipped, you can stand, sprint, put out power throughout the pedal stroke (just like you would on the road) and not have to worry about your foot losing grip. For those choosing to use regular shoes, the other side of the pedal features a cleverly designed toe-cage* with easy-to-adjust straps.
(Quick note on the toe cage: We felt it works best if you don’t push your shoe all the way in. The ball of your foot should be just above the axle of the pedal. This will make sure your feet don’t cramp and you’re able to apply power through the pedal with ease.)
The new pedal is extremely durable thanks to its forged chromoly steel axle and has a long service life. Check out the following video to know more:
The bike uses magnetic resistance to provide smooth, quiet and linear resistance, which is controlled by a lever just under the computer display. There’s two sets of magnets on either side of the flywheel. The level controls the distance of the magnets from the flywheel and provides increasing resistance as they move closer.
There are a number of advantages to using a magnetic resistance system. Firstly, unlike a brake-based system, you don’t have something constantly rubbing against the flywheel to produce resistance. Not only does that make the bike smoother and quieter in operation, it also minimizes any wear and therefore maintenance.
Ride feel & Quality
The Keiser M3i was designed to feel like a road bike to ride and the flywheel, for the most part manages to emulate the feel of riding on the road quite well. The crank and pedals turn smoothly and quietly, as is characteristic of belt-driven bikes and there isn’t much to be desired when it comes to how the bike feels. The magnetic resistance, belt-driven drivetrain all add to the smoothness and consistency of ride quality
Weight, Portability & Assembly
The bike weighs in at 85 lbs. / 38.56 kg. Not bad at all for this class of bike although we’d suggest picking a spot and just letting it have a permanent home without too much moving about. The bike’s full dimensions are: (H)45″/1143 mm, (W)26″/660 mm, (L) 49″/1245 mm.
We think it’s important to specify that, unless otherwise stated, the bike when ordered should arrive in a disassembled state and would need to be put together. The assembly instructions are critical for doing this right. We know that some of you scoff at reading the instructions but trust us on this one, they’re important. If you do follow them, the instructions are clear, detailed and we had no problems getting ours up and running.
Adjustments & Fit
The seat-post on the new bike has multiple holes which allow for fine adjustments based on the rider’s height and inseam. Because the seat height is such an important adjustment to get right, this fine-tuning ability is really something that’s a must on any performance product since it can really make or break the quality of workouts. When fitting someone to a standard bike with the 6 o’clock position I.e. with the leg at its furthest extension point, we recommend keeping the leg at an angle as opposed to straight down to match the angle of the seat-post.
The seat post uses a dual-locking system that employs both a positive lock as well as the more usual friction based tightening lock. Once you set the seat height, you want it to stay put and that’s exactly what this one does. Few things can ruin a workout (and in some cases, cause injury) like discovering that your seat-post has slipped and you need to get fitted again.
The bike comes standard with a well-designed bottle cage. It’s amazing how many indoor bikes omit this essential feature.
By every measure, the Keiser M3i is an excellent indoor/spin bike that’s just as capable as its predecessors. The addition of tracking and connectivity features have transformed it into an effective training tool that we can wholeheartedly recommend.
While there’s a few bikes out there that come close, nothing really has the entire package that the M3i brings to the table; where the display computer is included in the price for example. If you’re reading this and are new to spin bikes, or haven’t tried a Keiser M bike before, you owe it to yourself to check them out. Consider getting a large fan to put in front of you while riding the bike, stay hydrated and spin yourself to great health. After an extensive review, we’re confident that you cannot go wrong with the M3i.