Best Spinning Bikes for 2016

Spin bikes are gaining popularity because they are a fun way to work on your cardio and tone the lower body. Here are our picks for the best spin bike.

Smart Mom Pick for 2016 – Sunny SF-B1423


The Sunny SF-B1423 comes in a huge box, and the advantage of this bike is that the main frame has already been assembled. When it comes to the rest of the assembly, it takes between 30 minutes to one hour to put the pedals and seat together, a little longer than average. Nevertheless, you have an excellent and reliable monitor that will track your riding performance that includes speed and calories. When we look at price, you have more expensive bikes that do not offer the same level of quality that the Sunny SF-B1423 offers.

When it comes to the total weight when shipping, it will weigh about 106 pounds, which is somewhat heavy compared to some of the other exercise bikes that you can buy. The heaviest parts of this bike include the flywheel and the frame. Unfortunately, there are no wheels, so if you plan to move this exercise bike around, you should carry it piece by piece to avoid hurting your back. After you have figured out how to put this bike together, it does not take a lot of work to assemble. Another nice thing is that the instructions of this bike are fairly clear.

This exercise bike operates pretty quietly—the belt will make a somewhat swishing sound, and that is all that you will hear. In terms of the seating, you have a comfortable ride that will allow for longer sessions without discomfort and hoping that it will end. You also have a 40 lbs flywheel that guarantees a longer and smoother ride. With a lighter flywheel the problem is that it will sometimes vibrate, and you want to avoid that where possible. Because of the 40 lbs flywheel, you can work up a sweat in no time!

You could probably compare this little tracker to the FitBit HR, and they will only be a few calories off from each other. The distance could be slightly over, but if that does not matter much to you, then you have an excellent ride. You can have a great workout while writing down the information so that you can track your progress over time.

The greatest problem of the Sunny SF-B1423 is that it does not have a great deal of stability. Neither the seating nor the overall bike feel completely sturdy when riding compared to what you might have with a gym bike. Nevertheless, there are advantages to that, such as you can move around more freely.

The Sunny SF-B1423 has a solid construction of excellent quality, and it does not come in a cheap tube stock. The heavy duty steel frame also adds to the ideas of top-notch quality. In addition, this bike comes with box wrenches so that you can put it together more easily. Another thing worth noting is that they are not throw away tools. You can use them even after you have finished putting this bike together.

Schwinn IC2


The Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycling Bike is a stationary bike that’s intended for home use. The indoor bike has a 31-pound flywheel, a wheel on a stationary bike that provides continuous resistance for the rider, placing the bike on the low-end in terms of flywheel weight. This, in turn, makes the Schwinn IC2 both less difficult and slightly less stable to ride. For this reason, it’s a better choice for those looking to do lower-impact home training, than those looking for a higher-intensity program. It is also not suitable for commercial or high-use settings.

The use of an over-sized steel tube provides safety and support and offers protection from corrosion over time. The support frame utilizes a wool felt pad to provide a smooth and consistent resistance, as well as allowing the rider to increase or decrease resistance for a customized workout. The bike uses direct drive gearing, which does create some noise with the drive chain, but not enough that it’s overly problematic, particularly if the user listens to music while riding.

The Schwinn IC2 indoor bike includes a BioConnect Feedback system that is comprised of an easy-to-read LCD screen that shows the rider the distance, time ridden, wheel rotations per minute (RPM), current speed and number of calories burned during the ride. For an indoor bike in this price range, this is a nice feature, but for those accustomed to using stationary bikes in a professional setting, it has the potential to fall short. The screen cycles through the various data points one at a time and is neither interactive or intuitive. One major drawback is that there is no measure of what resistance level the rider is at, other than feel.

Additional features of the Schwinn IC2 include:
Adjustable seat, handlebars, foot pedals and straps
A water bottle or mp3 holder
Distance displays available in either miles or kilometers
Easy-to-assemble and includes two AA batteries for the display

Measuring just over 4-feet high and just under 4-feet long, the Schwinn IC2 is fairly compact and a good size for use in the home. It weighs 83 pounds and is rated for people who weigh up to 250 pounds. The bike is backed by a manufacturer’s warranty providing five years of coverage on the frame, one year on the mechanical and electrical systems and 90 days for wear on parts.

Avid bikers note that while it’s not the top-of-the-line indoor bike model, the Schwinn IC2 offers a great value at an affordable price and allows any rider to continue to train during inclement weather or at periodic times throughout the day when it’s impossible to get out for a long ride. Users may feel that the handlebars are tilted forward more than they are used to, particularly mountain bike riders, which may cause lower back discomfort. Additionally, bike seats are not one-size-fits-all, and some riders may find the seat uncomfortable.

If a buyer is looking for an indoor bike for long, daily use, the Schwinn IC2 may not be the best performer, sometimes experiencing problems with wear on the resistance pad or giving an overall less consistent ride. However, with an affordable price point, often running several hundred dollars less than higher-end stationary bikes, price-sensitive or entry-level buyers will find that the Schwinn IC2 provides suitable features and comfort, and overall provides a good workout at a good price.

Xspec Pro


While the Xspec Pro does not feel like a sturdy cycling bike, it does get the job done, and you have a great deal when compared to spending $2,000 on the latest spinning cycle. It is a more affordable option, and this is an item that does not take a lot of expertise to assemble. Because it only weighs around 66 pounds, you can move it around easily when needed.

What makes the Xspec Pro a great purchase? First, you have all the technology that makes the higher end spinning bikes great. For example, it will look at speed and count your calories. The Xspec Pro will even track your heart beat, and it has two wire plugs that let you connect to the device. One has been intended for the cable and the other goes to the heart beat sensors. The main reason for sharing that is because it could take a person a while to figure that aspect of it out.

The Xspec Pro has been manufactured with a high quality heavy aluminum frame, and what is nice about that is that it highlights the classy design of this spinning bike. Luckily, you can also adjust the seat to suit your height, and you can read the feedback information of your session on the LCD monitor, which will track your speed, distance, calories burned and the total time spent on the cycle. The bike offers you a simple but elegant style, and it has become known for its marvelous appearance and quality.

Crosslinks, a brand of exercise bikes, takes indoor cycling to the next level, and you have a distinctive appearance with this bike. One of the advantages of this bike is that you have excellent rust resistance that makes the bike one of the best in its class. Do you want reinforced bearings, axle and cranks that will give you a dependable performance with every ride? If so, the Xspec Pro has a non-slip grip and comfortable handlebars that make the experience that much better. Along with the bike, you will also receive a water bottle and cup holder that comes with this bike. Riding can sometimes be a tiring exercise, and you want to stay hydrated while riding on this exercise bike. What are some of the other features?

Wheels for Easier Transport
No-slip Pedals
Emergency Breaks

The maximum weight that the Xspec Pro can hold sits at around 250 lbs. You have a 28 pound flywheel, which is in the medium to higher range of weight for a flywheel. However, a heavier flywheel has the advantage of less vibration, and it will give your muscles an even better workout. The latest exercise bike from Crosslinks has more navigable features, and it fits for riders of all abilities. Whether you are a beginner or hardcore expert, this bike will give you a great return on your investment. If you are looking for a more affordable choice in an exercise bike, the Xspec Pro might be a better choice for you.

Tie Chair: A Portable, Easy To Use High Chair


Here’s what I know about high chairs: they are kind of a pain to deal with. They’re bulky and take up a lot of room. Even if you get the kind that just is strapped to your counter or to a regular kitchen chair, they’re still hard to keep clean and they’re not exactly the nicest thing to look at. And if you are visiting friends or family who don’t have children? They don’t usually have a spare high chair laying around, and trying to lug one around with you isn’t at all convenient. Which is why I love the idea of the Tie Chair.
The Tie Chair is a portable, washable highchair. It’s all fabric, with no hard plastic or metal buckles. It’s easy to fold up and store in a diaper bag or to keep in your car for when you need it. This means that you’ll never be stuck holding your child and trying to eat at the same time again.

All you have to do is slip the cover (it kind of looks like a pillow case) over the back of the chair, tie one set of ties on the back of the chair, place your child on the it, and then wrap the second set of ties around the chair and back to the front to secure your child and create a little seat for them. If used correctly, it’s extremely safe and almost impossible for your child to get out of!

The Tie Chair will fit most dining chairs and can be used from the time your child can sit up all the way until preschool age. And? I saw the Tie Chair priced much cheaper than your regular, old high chair!

This is a product I think would make a great baby shower gift, and one that I wished I’d known about when I had my kids. What do you think? Is this a product you would use?checkprice

Review of Modern Co-Sleeper: the Baby Bunk


The Baby Bunk is very clean lined, extremely useful co-sleeper that is both beautiful and functional. Its wooden design is such a welcome change from the frilly bassinets or the plain jane co-sleepers out there like the Arm’s Reach.

The Baby Bunk is a wooden bed with three sides, two arms that fit under your mattress and two legs that go down to the floor. It offers a separate space for baby while still having her “in bed” with you.

I’ve used this co-sleeper now for 2 babies and it’s really made those first few months possible. I mean, sure, you’re sleep deprived and all but with this bed you don’t have to get up to check on the baby, just turn and open your eyes. Boy, does that make getting back to sleep easier.

And, as a new mom, you check on your new baby A LOT. There is this fear that overtakes just about every new mother I know…the fear that your baby has stopped breathing. I mean, when I brought my first baby home I must have put my finger under her nose a thousand times if I did it once.

The Baby Bunk is easy to lift your baby out of, and to put her back without really waking her up. Believe me, in the middle of the night after you’ve fed her and burped her and finally gotten her to close her eyes again, the last thing you want to do is wake her when you lay her down. There is less jostling, less up and down than with other beds because of the way this co-sleeper is designed. It has 3 sides and your mattress makes the fourth side. So, you can simply lean over and pick up baby then lean over and put her back. Easy peasy.

The 3 sided configuration may make you wonder about how to keep the covers from drifting over and smothering the baby. It definitely crossed my mind, too. All I can say is that I push the covers over to my husband’s side of the bed so there is not enough fabric from my side to migrate over. It’s never been a problem for us.

Another concern that I’ve heard about the 3 sided design is what if the baby wiggles over and plants her face in between your mattress and the bunk. First off, the bunk is stable, so moving it isn’t easy, especially not for a baby. You do have to make sure that it is properly positioned next to your bed. Each time I make my bed I push it in so that I know it’s in the right spot because it can move.

Second, the mattress you sleep on is really no different than a bumper, that is if you don’t have a large feather top on your mattress that goes down around the sides. If you do have a soft, fluffy feather bed that fits around your mattress and makes the side a suffocation hazard, then best to remove that before using this co-sleeper.

The Baby Bunk can be used for 4 or so months or until your little one is able to sit up and possibly pull on the sides and fall over. Then, it’s time for the next step in infant sleeping arrangements.

If you are interested in to co-sleeping but don’t want the baby in the bed between you and your partner, then this is a great solution. Like I said, I’ve used it for 2 babies and have loved it. I’ve even had friends come over and ask to borrow it when their time comes because they like it so much!

But, the thing that sold me on this (and it’s really a little thing) is that you can buy 4 short legs for it and make it a bench for your child when she is old enough to use it. Imagine it sitting near the front door – a perfect spot for putting on and taking off shoes. I love it when something has multiple lives!checkprice

A Clever Way to Protect Your Baby’s Hearing


When you’re buying items for your baby’s wardrobe, consider picking up a hat that helps protect baby’s hearing.

The noise reduction hat from Dots on Tots is a combination of the company’s ear protection hat and infant noise reduction hat. It has removable hearing protection inserts that reduce outside noises while protecting baby’s ears as much as possible.

The hat is made of soft organic cotton, with two layers on the flaps and one extra inner layer of fleece cotton to make a pocket for the insert. The inserts are made from two layers of organic hemp fabric and stuffed with organic cotton fiber to increase sound absorption. The straps stretch to help keep the hat in place.

Dots on Tots hats are made in the USA. They come wrapped in tissue paper with a thank you note packed in a eco-friendly, recyclable pillow box.

The noise reduction hat from Dots on Tots comes in small and medium sizes. The small hat should fit most babies from 0 to 8 months, while the medium hat should fit children from 8 months to 20 months. Both hat sizes sell on Amazon or Dots on Tots website.

My son was a fairly easygoing baby, but he was very sensitive to loud noises. If someone so much as raised their voice in his presence, he’d have a total meltdown.

I would have loved to have had a noise reduction hat from Dots on Tots when he was an infant. (We didn’t go to parades, fairs, or fireworks displays until he was in kindergarten and could better cope with the unexpected sounds.)

What do you think of this product?checkprice

A Portable High Chair That’s Perfect for Family Picnics


Where will baby sit? If your family is on the go, figuring out a safe place for baby to eat can be a challenge. The ciao! baby Portable High Chair was invented by two mom’s, Kim Strong and Jamye Baker, to help solve this problem.

It’s a foldable and easily transportable high chair that can be used indoors or outdoors. It’s perfect for trips to grandma’s house, a family picnic, or baby’s first camping trip.

The chair is intended for babies and toddlers up to three years old. It is a freestanding chair with a proprietary flexible seat and tray that requires no assembly. It includes a seat belt to hold your child in place, a built-in cup holder, and a clear vinyl tray cover for easy cleaning.

The ciao! baby Portable High Chair has been tested and approved to meet ASTM high chair standards. When open, it measures 23″x 23″ x 32″. It weighs approximately nine pounds.

The chair comes in black, chocolate, navy, purple, royal blue, orange, red, and sage, as well as a mossy oak infinity pattern. You can also get your favorite collegiate team log printed on the chair. Visit ciao! baby Portable High Chair website for details.

When I went on picnics with my son, I always ended up sitting him on my lap or spreading out a blanket on the grass so I could sit with him while everyone else ate at the table. A product like the ciao! baby Portable High Chair would have been very helpful.

I’m not sure how well it would hold up to daily use, but this also seems like a good alternative if you live in an apartment and don’t have the space needed to keep a traditional high chair in your dining room at all times.checkprice

ZingAnything Citrus Zinger Offers an Alternative to Boring Tap Water


At this point in my life, soda is my biggest vice. I crave it more than anything else, including chocolate! Cutting back on the number of Diet Cokes I consume is at the top of my list of 2013 New Year’s resolutions.

One thing I’ve often heard of as helpful for people trying to kick the soda habit is to make their own flavor infused water.

I’ve tried this in the past and haven’t had much luck. My water either seems to have no flavor at all or I get weird fruit chunks in my water and it looks totally unappetizing. However, I’m very interested in the ZingAnything Citrus Zinger.

This unique water bottle has a compartment for your oranges, lemons, or other fruit at the bottom. You put the fruit in the compartment, fill the top with water, shake it up, and enjoy.

The ZingAnything Citrus Zinger is made with BPA/EA-free Tritan Plastic from Eastman and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. It also has a finger hole at the top for easy carrying.

The ZingAnything bottle holds 27 ounces, which I think is great because I personally hate having to get up to refill tiny water bottles all the time.

However, I think it would be nice if they had a smaller size available for children to use. I’d love to try to get my son interested in drinking flavored water, but a bottle this big would probably be spilled before he was finished drinking.

The ZingAnything Citrus Zinger gets overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, but I’d love to hear what my fellow Smart Moms think. If you’ve tried this product, would you recommend it to others?


Zenni Optical Glasses Are Good for Kids Going Back to School and Moms, Too!


Ive ordered at least five pairs of glasses from Zenni Optical and Ive enjoyed all of them (except one oddly-shaped pair) much more than any pair of glasses Ive ever bought at an optical shop (and I used to work in one!).

There are glasses on the site that cost just $6.95, including single vision lenses. Prices go up from there, of course, but the frames are still much more reasonably priced than the designer ones in other stores. They just dont have that designer name on them.

What I like about the Zenni Optical glasses Ive purchased:

  • Ive almost always gotten plastic frames and theyve always fit me well and hold their shape! For years! I cannot say that about any pair of frames Ive gotten from anywhere else. They always need to be adjusted, heated up, bent back into shape, etc. Its a pain. I havent had to fix any of the Zenni Optical frames. I dont know what it is.
  • Theyre cheap! Even if you need bifocals, theyre still much less than youll spend elsewhere.
  • Ive never had anything go wrong with my order. Now that Ive said that, Im crossing my fingers that I didnt just jinx myself, but so far, so good.
  • You can try on the glasses online before you purchase them. Ive never done that, so I dont know how accurate that is. Its better than nothing, but it still may not be a perfect representation of how theyll look on your face if the picture isnt just right.

The downsides:

There are only two things Im not a huge fan of when it comes to Zenni Optical, and it goes along with ordering glasses online anywhere, so it isnt specific to this company:

  • Measuring for your PD can be a little nerve-wracking. Im always nervous that I got it wrong.
  • You cant actually try them on your face before you buy them. You can upload a picture, but they may not be as perfect as you thought when you got them.

If you need a pair of glasses and dont want to pay a fortune, or if your child wears glasses and you know you need a few back-up pairs for school, I suggest giving them a look.

You Don’t Have to Be an Athlete to Use a SPIbelt


A few years ago, I started running. When I could leave my daughter at home with my husband, I didn’t have the convenience (ha!) of a stroller with a basket on the bottom where I could stash my stuff. I couldn’t go without my phone, ID, keys, a little bit of money, etc, and a purseeven a small one–just made absolutely no sense.

I saw the SPIbelt on a YouTube video and there was a coupon code listed, so I went for it. The other option was a traditional fanny pack, and, well, I just wasn’t ready to go there yet. Too many awkward elementary and middle school memories are attached to those.

The SPIbelt is small, stretchy, and discreet enough to be perfect for running, but it’s also ideal for days at the park. I can’t fit everything I need in my pockets and sometimes I don’t even have pockets.

Chasing around a kid on a playground isn’t exactly fun, and I wind up with back pain, the strap catches on equipment, and it’s just generally unpleasant. Plus it could complicate things if I needed to help her climb or catch her if she fell.

I can tuck my iPhone, a key (not my whole keychain, but it’s massive), money, my license, and a debit card in there, and completely forget about it. The pouch is stretchy, so though it looks small, more can fit in there than you’d think.

My hands are free, the SPIbelt is hidden under my shirt, and I’m not without the necessities. Even if I’m just standing around while she plays, I’m not killing my shoulder with a heavy bag.

The SPIbelt is available in a wide range of color combinations, some of which are designed for high visibility. I noticed they’ve added other options as well, like an arm band and a messenger bag. The belt is adjustable.

I’ve never had trouble with the material chafing my skin, even while running, because the material is extremely smooth, not like the belts on the fanny packs from 1990.


Would a Balance Bike Help Your Child?


Teaching my son how to ride a bike was one of the hardest parenting tasks I’ve faced so far. He struggles with hand-eye coordination and was terrified of falling.

He refused to even attempt to ride a bike with no training wheels until several of the kids in our neighborhood started to tease him.

He can ride a bike fine now, but it was quite a struggle. The day he rode around the block without falling was the happiest day of my life, aside from the day when I purchased my last pack of baby diapers!

If I even end up in the position of having to teach another child how to ride a bike, I will definitely be looking into getting a balance bike. This is a bike with no pedals or training wheels that helps your child develop the balancing skills necessary for riding a real bike.

I only recently learned about this type of product, but it seems like something that would be helpful for kids like my son.

There are apparently several different versions of the balance bike available, but Smart Gear seems to be a popular seller of the bikes on Amazon.

The classic balance bike in this post has several positive reviews from satisfied parents. It’s more money than a regular toddler sized bike with training wheels, but anything that would keep other parents from going through the same disastrous teaching experience I had seems like a great idea to me.

Have you ever used a balance bike to teach a child how to ride a bike? If so, do you think this method is helpful?

Photo credit: Amazon