Thursday, March 25, 2010

Star Trac eSpinner: Erin’s Review

I discovered a new piece of equipment called an eSpinner, in the gym of which I am a member. The equipment is a spinning bike with a computer that allows you to follow many different types of “solo spinning classes”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with spinning, it is basically a cycling class taught in gyms where everyone uses a stationary bicycle and takes a virtual ride together. There is only one of these eSpinners, which is probably due to its high price tag of approximately $4000. You would think I would never have a chance to give it a shot unless I sat around in line for a few hours. The truth is, I can pretty much get on it any time I want. Why is that? I wondered what it was all about, so I gave it a shot.

Day 1: On my first attempt at using the eSpinner, I wasn’t too familiar with the settings, so I just chose to connect my iPod and sort of create my own class. I happen to have a folder of music on my iPod for fast runs that contains a lot of fast paced, energetic music. I used that folder and when the music was fast, I pedaled fast. When the music was slow, I increased the resistance on the bike and took myself up a virtual mountain. I loved making it into an interval workout and enjoyed my music. By the end of this workout, I was totally hooked!

Day 2: The next time I tried the eSpinner, I chose to follow a video class. The man on the bike who I was watching took me through a spinning class. I was able to watch my cadence on the screen and see how it compared with the range that I was expected to be in for the “class”. Cadence is really synonymous with revolutions per minute (RPM). If I had remembered to bring my heart rate monitor, I could have watched that on the screen as well! Based on my age, the machine calculated an expected heart rate range for me while I was working. That was really cool and I hope to use that next time. The machine also kept track of my calorie burn, which I would assume is pretty accurate considering it was taking my weight, activity level, and age into account. I think it would be even more accurate if it had my heart rate. The negative part of this ride was that the music stunk! A little man on a bike isn’t enough to push me! I need some rockin’ music to get me moving. At one point, I even heard nutcracker music….what???? Another issue that I noticed was that the guy who was leading the “class” had very poor form when instructing on stretches after the workout. So, I really don’t see myself using this portion of the eSpinner too often or ever!

Day 3: On my third try of the eSpinner, I plugged my iPod in and selected the “Create Your Own Workout” option. I chose to do a strength workout and I also remembered my heart rate monitor. With this workout, I listened to my own music; however, you can watch the television on the screen if you choose. Words scrolled across the screen to signal me about what move to make next and how fast or slow I should go. The cadence and heart rate range was easy to see just below the instructions, which kept me on target. This particular workout was my favorite as I got to listen to good music, and I had some guidance about what to do with my workout.

Overall, I am really happy with this new piece of equipment at my gym. I plan to use it on a regular basis and would definitely place it in my home gym if I had the money and space! So why am I the only person that ever uses it? Who knows! I imagine that people who have never taken a spinning class before may be a little afraid to give it a try. If you're one of those people, just get on it and give it a shot. What is the worst that can happen? Here are some pros and cons:

1. Fends off boredom, as there are a ton of different workouts on the machine.
2. It allows you to take a spinning class if you are never able to make to an actual class.
3. You can use this machine no matter what the weather!
4. There are startup/setup tutorials that show you how to properly set the bike up for your comfort and avoidance of injury.
5. This eSpinner can give you a killer workout, if you let it!

1. Unlike a class, there is no one to tell you if your form is getting poor, which could lead to injury. When a person becomes fatigued, this can easily happen.
2. There is no comradery like there is in a live spinning class.
3. Some people may find it difficult to push themselves.

Have any of you tried a new piece of equipment, or this one? I’d love to hear about it!


  1. Cool. Thanks for the review. I will have to give it a shot this weekend.

  2. Hi,

    Have you tried watching a movie/video from your Ipod on the eSpinner? If so what model Ipod are you using? I just tried at the gym with my Ipod Touch and could only listen to music. I read a comment on star trac's website from someone who said that Iphone or Ipod touch didn't work.


  3. I just bought a Polar Wearlink w.i.n.d that transmits at 2.4Ghz to use specifically with an e-Spinner at my gym. What are the specifics of your hear rate transmitter?