FreeMotion Indoor Cycle with power – long term review

The FreeMotion Indoor-Cycle with power is the latest entry, from a number of Indoor Cycle manufactures who are now including the option to display power (in watts) indication along with cadence. I have ridden and taught on these indoor cycles a number of times and I will be adding my observations to this page over time.
UPDATE: I've expanded this review that includes the new FreeMotion S11.0 home trainer here + added the details on how you can get a free Power Meter kit on any model.
FreeMotion manufactures two three versions of this Indoor Cycle with Magnetic Resistance:

  • The aluminum framed FreeMotion S11.9
  • The steel framed FreeMotion S11.8
  • Indoor Trainer for cyclist's home use S11.0 review

Beyond the difference in the frame materials, I am not aware of any differences.
What separates FreeMotion from everyone else (besides CycleOps) is that they really measure power (contrasted with estimating power like Keiser and Schwinn) using a strain gauge in the left crank arm so the watts displayed is very close to what a cyclist who has a Power Tap is used to seeing 🙂
There is also the FreeMotion s11.6 which uses a conventional friction pad to create resistance. It is my recommendation that you spend the additional $300.00 for the steel frame s11.8  or the aluminium s11.9, both feature the zero maintenance Magnetic Resistance system.
I teach regularly at a Life Time Fitness where they have purchased a dozen FreeMotion s11.9 indoor cycles to evaluate and compare against the Schwinn AC performance indoor cycle. I hope to include responses from other instructors, along with my experiences, here as this review develops.
My initial reactions:

  • The over all fit and finish appears to be very good
  • The fit is similar to the Star Trac NXT
  • I like the large knobs used to adjust the seat and handle bar positions
  • There is good "sweat" protection designed into many of the components. For example, each adjustment knob covers the threaded rod completely, preventing a lot of sweat from getting in. I should add that all the fasteners are Stainless Steel.
  • The handle bar assemble is solid, and yet lighter than any other bike I'm aware of. This will make it easier for your students to raise the bars, even if the slider is a bit sticky.
  • Life Time replaces the stock pedals with the Schwinn Triple Link pedal, so I can't comment on the stock pedals.

I few things I would have done a little differently:

  • I like the narrow "racing style" saddle - I weigh 160 lbs and my butt has 15 years of conditioning -  but I'm concerned that newer/larger/heavier students may not find this bike seat as comfortable as what is available on other brands. If you purchase these for your club I would recommend outfitting a few with larger saddles - actually it is a good idea to do this regardless of the indoor cycles you use.
  • A few Instructors have said they miss not having "aero bars". I personally dislike using them and never ask my students to get in that position during class... but for some I guess it would make sense to include them.
  • I like my handle bars down as low as they will go and like a longer reach to the bars. With the handle bars set at their maximum extension, I felt like they could extend another 1/2 inch or so... but that's just me 🙂

More on the FreeMotion s11.9