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It's always Sunny in my creepy basement

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
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I've been on a fitness kick over the past couple years, and without getting too deep into what I've been up to, I wanted to start a thread on one of my key helpers- the Sunny Health and Fitness Spin bike. I scooped it up on Amazon for $240, but it's a little more now, $270. I know that most of the denizens of Ridemonkey don't give a crap about indoor riding, particularly not in a spin bike, and those that do probably sprang for a smart trainer or full-on peloton instead. Regardless, the cost of entry for this thing is so low, and the performance is so high, that I felt compelled to hang onto it and post about my adventures with it.

To start, I love having a dedicated training device. Smart trainers are undoubtedly better, but they are way more expensive, you still need to pay for a third-party service for training, and at the same time you are putting miles on your bike and drivetrain. With my dumb-bike, my drivetrain sits unbothered, my dropouts undamaged, and everything is comfortably anchored to the floor. It's relatively easy to get the thing set up close to my road bike in terms of geometry, and then it's just a matter of jumping on it and going- no messing around with air pressure, lubing my chain, or worrying about having to replace parts to stay comfortable.

So far, the Sunny has required almost no maintenance. I did have to lube the flywheel. First with a little tri-flow, then I got some silicone lube, which is the recommended solution. I've also used mineral oil (used brake fluid- thanks Shimano!) with success. I have not had to tighten the belt/chain nor adjust the brake pads nor tighten the cranks or anything- it's been a couple of years of just hard use and no issues.

I use the Peloton digital app for all of my spinning activities. I recognize that it's not a direct crossover to road or mountain biking, but it's so easy to pop into the basement and bang out 20-45 minutes of HIIT, tabata, climbing, or endurance riding that I think I'll be in great shape come riding season.

To start, here's my bike as it sits today:



Also, I fully recognize that this is a pretty ghetto setup. I haven't spent much money on it but I've gotten a ton of use out of it, and I keep adapting it to my needs, so it's working wonderfully. I totally get that you can spend $2G on a Peloton and get a cleaner setup, or $3500 on a road bike and $900 on a trainer. This isn't that- it's making the best of a cheap device and taking it as far as I can.
 
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Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
18,135
2,293
01776
The very first mod was clipless pedals. I grabbed some used spuds and they threaded right up:


Originally I had my SPD-636, but decided these 530s fit the bill a little better.

Next was a water bottle holder. This el-cheapo model did not come with one, but a couple of zip ties fixed the issue:


Next was the saddle. As posted elsewhere, I had issues with post-vasectomy pain. I tried a bunch of different saddles, including ISM, WTB, SMP and a few others. The winner was the cobb Plus2, which is padded enough to ride on without chamois shorts and has a healthy cutout for taint-relief. I found it to be not tactile enough on my road bike in that I was slipping around everywhere, and the added height made it so I'd have to cut my seatpost a third time. On the spin bike, it's perfect:


Another "mod" was a bit of gorilla tape over the junction between the seatpost slider's female and male parts. It cause irritation if my shorts weren't long enough to cover it.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
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Next up was a cadence sensor. At the time, I didn't have a GPS head unit, so I wanted and bought a cheap amazon "Suaoki" Speed/cadence setup. I was able to do spin classes for a couple months without a cadence sensor, but wanted to take more advantage of the cues so I decided I needed one:


This one requires a speed signal to read cadence, so I had to really ghetto rig it:


Thankfully, it has worked for about a year and a half or so. I think it came un-stuck once, but that was fixed with MOAR tape.


 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
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May 23, 2002
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Next up, and most recently, has been messing around with adapting my garmin 530 to the spin bike. Currently, my computer is sitting idly because fuck riding in the cold, in the salt, and in the snow with idiot drivers and cold fingers.

I was able to mount it pretty easily with some long O-ring/rubber bands.


I moved my cadence sensor over from my road bike to compare it to the suaoki:


Currently it's reading a few RPM lower than the suaoki, but I'm not sure if that's just the polling rate or if it's because the sensor might be a little loose.

I'm looking at getting some power pedals, which would be really neat. Combined with my HR strap, I might be able to get some interesting metrics out of pedals that read cadence and power. I'm just not sure I'm ready to make the $$$ leap.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
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May 23, 2002
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Finally, I've begun messing with the geometry again to try and get closer to my road bike. I'm like 15mm shorter on saddle height compared to my road bike, and I moved my saddle back for more out-of-saddle clearance while "spinning". Now that I'm looking at doing longer, road-ride esque riding, I'd like to get a little bit closer to how I have my road bike set up, which means dropping the bars, moving the saddle forward, and trying to figure out a way to get the saddle height closer to right. A couple of adjustments were easy, just lowering the bars a notch and adjusting the saddle, all of which got me really close to saddle fore/aft position, saddle to bar drop, and reach from saddle to grips. The hardest was height, but I think I've found a solution:



By raising the saddle about 1cm on the "post", I'm within a few mm of my saddle on the road bike. We'll see if it stays up. I can either drill another hole in the post in between settings, if need be, or potentially raise the post and remove the stop on the saddle clamp to lower it further.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
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May 23, 2002
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My suaoki head-unit is reading a little over 500 miles at this point. I have no idea if that's calibrated as it's like a 20" diameter wheel, but that's similar to how much road biking I got this summer, so I'm putting miles on this thing. I'll try to keep this post updated with other crazy modifications I make, or if I end up getting power pedals and therefore can start zwifting or whatever.

I apologize if this is useless to most folks on RM, but my hope is that somebody out there got one of these for christmas or to start a fitness kick, and wonders how they can squeeze a little extra out of it- maybe this post will help.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
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May 23, 2002
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Check that, according to my little cycle computer, I'm at 1592 miles as of this morning.
 

Pesqueeb

bicycle in airplane hangar
Feb 2, 2007
34,603
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Riding the baggage carousel.
I have a similar setup. Spinner that my local bike shop sold me at cost after my accident. Collected dust for most of the last decade, but I really started putting some "miles" on it last winter and have been hitting it regularly. I've been toying with adding a cadence sensor and speedo the same way, and for the same reasons. Normally I just find a spin class on Youtube and follow that. I just can't justify the cost of all these fancier trainers. Though I suppose one will be able to pick them up cheap on craigslist here in a year or two once the novelty/COVID wears off.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
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Word nerd. I like the suaoki- it was the cheapest cadence sensor that was also wireless I could find on amazon. I don't love it though- there's no way to enlarge the cadence display and it requires speed to show cadence, so you can't just leave that sensor off. I absolutely love my garmin 530, and I suppose a 130 would also suffice (or even a well used older model), but I use the 530 on my road and mountain bikes and it has a lot of nice features for real cycling, so this is really just maximizing its use. I bought a $23 cadence sensor on amazon that works a treat, and a $30 heart rate strap to get the full workup, so I'm getting a lot of functionality out of the garmin that the suaoki can't do. Debating Assioma single v dual pedals to get power as well.

As for youtube, yes there are some decent classes, but variety is tough. There was one particularly...um...interesting GCN spin class that I did a couple of times before realizing how much better the classes on peloton were.

While I certainly wouldn't mind a smart trainer, prices are ridiculous right now and the additional cost of a new cassette or tire and having to attach/remove my bike for real rides vs. indoor makes me want to maximize this silly thing.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
18,135
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01776


got my power meter, golden cheetah, and DONGLE working.

I know fuck-all about goldencheetah though.