Magnetic Resistance Bikes

Written by Sierra Rein
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Magnetic resistance bikes utilize a series of magnets placed along the drive of the bike to create resistance. The flywheel slows down as the magnets get closer and closer to it, while the resistance becomes lessened as the magnets are brought away from it. These magnets are controlled manually through a knob or lever or, in some cases, controlled through computerized commands via a central display console.

Magnetic resistance bikes are usually silent during operation because the magnets never come into contact with the flywheel. The drive system thus experiences zero friction. Because these bikes have very little moving parts that come into contact with each other, they are also more likely to last longer and break down less often than other types of exercise bikes. Gyms enjoy putting a lot of magnetic bikes together because the cumulative sound and the maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.

Motorized Magnetic Resistance Bikes

A large percentage of motorized exercise bikes use magnetic resistance to slow down the flywheel and increase the level of difficulty. There are two different methods by which the magnets can be attached to the motorized bike. The first uses a motor to move the magnets towards or away from the flywheel instead of the manual knob or lever. The other type employs a separate, fixed set of magnets to create an electromagnetic field. The field is either increased or decreased to change the speed of the flywheel.

Both of these systems can be called an "Eddy Current" system, named after the "water eddy" shape of the magnetic field. These magnetic resistance bikes are extremely capable of simulating a variety of performance-inducing workouts, including the simulation of hills. Since they are already equipped with electronic capabilities, they are also very adaptable to include digital computer consoles that can read a rider's heart rate monitor and adjust the resistance to meet his or her personal target heart rate zone setting.

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