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Does It Make Sense To Buy The Johnny G Indoor Bike? [A Review]

Johnny G Indoor Bike review

The Johnny G Indoor Bike is the newest addition to Sole’s already impressive lineup of elite home exercise bikes. With a modern, quasi-space age look, the Johnny G is one of the more interesting looking products Sole has to offer.

In terms of performance, this spin cycle has a lot to offer, including a 46 lb flywheel, a heavy-duty frame, and a smooth acting magnetic resistance system.

But it might be the advanced console and its ability to track metrics most bikes can’t that steals the show here.

There’s really no denying that the Johnny G is a very nice spin bike, but is it really $3k nice?

Well, that’s what I’m here to help you figure out.

In this review, I’ll go over everything this bike has to offer. After reading, you’ll know everything you need to in order to decide whether or not this is the right bike for your home gym.

The Johnny G Indoor Bike

Johnny G Indoor Bike review

Photo courtesy of Sole Fitness

Sole is easily one of my favorite home fitness brands. I love that all of their products put more of an emphasis on performance than fancy tech features.

With Sole, you know what you’re getting: high-end, well-built products that are easy to use.

I also love that they back their products are with great warranties, but more on that below.

Sole has a pretty extensive lineup of cardio machines to choose from. They made a name for themselves with their treadmills, but they’ve got a great selection of best-in-class exercise bikes and ellipticals to choose from.

When it comes to spin cycles, they’ve got 3 to choose from- the SB700, the SB900, and the Johnny G we’re here to discuss.

In case you’re wondering, the Johnny G is named after the creator of spinning, Johnny Goldberg and is also available for purchase through Spirit Fitness.

The Johnny G is Sole’s highest-end cycle to date and will cost ya just under $3000.

Pros

  • 46 lb flywheel
  • 20 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Fully adjustable seat
  • Fully adjustable, multi-grip handlebars
  • Heavy-duty frame
  • Sophisticated belt drive system
  • Large, sophisticated console
  • Bluetooth/ANT+ compatible
  • Convenient resistance controls

Cons

  • Price
  • Only 4 workout programs
  • Warranty could be longer

Flywheel

Most spin bikes are designed to utilize a heavy flywheel. I say “most”, because some, like the famous Keiser M3i, do just fine with very light flywheels.

But a bike has to be designed properly (like the Keiser) to provide a smooth ride with such a light flywheel.

It’s easier for home bikes to provide a nice smooth ride by adding weight to the flywheel.

This is because a heavier flywheel is going to build more momentum as it spins. And more momentum means less unwanted lag between pedal strokes, resulting in a smoother feel.

Heavier flywheels make for a more substantial ride too, as they’re able to provide a little more resistance than their lighter counterparts.

It seems like spin cycle flywheels are getting heavier and heavier these days, but how heavy is heavy enough?

Personally, I think any bike that has at least a 20 lb  flywheel is ok to say they have a “heavy” flywheel, but there are plenty of bikes out there packing a lot more weight than that.

And the Johnny G is one of ’em.

The Johnny G comes with a 46 lb flywheel, which is pretty massive by anyone’s standards.

With a flywheel this heavy, this cycle is going to be able to provide a very smooth ride, but it’s also going to be able to provide enough resistance to challenge even the most advanced cyclists out there.

When it comes to resistance, the Johnny G utilizes a magnetic system with 20 levels. Resistance levels are adjusted with the use of conveniently located up/down buttons.

These resistance controls are located in 3 different handlebar positions, making it easy to change your resistance regardless of which hand position you’re using.

The heavy flywheel and magnetic resistance system are paired with a sophisticated belt drive system, which creates a quiet, smooth workout that closely resembles the feel of riding a road bike.

Overall, the Johnny G scores highly in this department, with its heavy flywheel, and sophisticated drive train/resistance system.

Seat

All spin cycle seats are pretty much the same. These bikes are designed to mimic the sensation of riding a road bike, so they all come with pretty standard road bike seats.

This means they’re all small, firm, and fairly uncomfortable.

I’m not hating, this is just the way it is.

If you ride often, you’ll be used to the seat and won’t mind. If you’re new to cycling, you’ll probably find the seat to be uncomfortable until your butt gets used to it.

Well, the seat on the Johnny G isn’t any different.

What’s worth noting though, is that the seat on this bike is fully adjustable, meaning you can set both the height position and the fore/aft (horizontal) position.

The height is adjusted using a locking pop-pin and the fore/aft is adjusted using a lever lock. The result is an easy to adjust seat that allows you plenty of customization to find the most comfortable riding position.

Handlebars

The Johnny G comes with fully adjustable, multi-grip handlebars. This means you can adjust the height and fore/aft position of the handlebars too.

This is great, because it gives you another level of customization to ensure you get the most comfortable fit possible.

In terms of grips, these handlebars offer all the different hand positions you could ever want during a ride- narrow, wide, and everything in-between.

And as I mentioned above, you can control the resistance level from either the wide or narrow hand grip- something I’ve never seen on a spin cycle before.

Overall, the Johnny G comes with premium handlebars that should be comfortable to use during workouts.

Frame

I think it’s a good idea to consider how heavy-duty a bike’s frame is when comparing models. When it comes to pretty much all exercise equipment, I’m of the opinion heavier is always better.

A heavier machine is going to feel more stable, as it’s going to be less likely to move- especially on a bike like this where you’ll likely be standing and pushing against heavy resistance.

In terms of weight, the Johnny G is definitely what I’d consider heavy-duty. With an assembled weight of 151 lb, this is a beast of a spin bike.

For the sake of comparison, my Peloton weighs about 135 lb (and the Johnny G doesn’t have the weight of the large console).

The heavy assembled weight of the Johnny G is a good indicator of how stable it’s going to feel during use, but looking at the weight limit is another way to get an idea as to how tough the frame is.

This bike comes with a weight limit of 350 lb, which is impressive for a spin bike, considering most top out at 300 lb.

Overall, the Johnny G is a very heavy-duty bike that comes with a higher than normal weight limit, making it a great choice for larger users.

Pedals

Working our way down, we make our way to the pedals. Spin bikes come with pedals that are to be used with sneakers (toe cage) or with cleats (the type can vary, but most are SPD compatible).

Some, like the Johnny G, come with dual-compatible pedals, meaning you can wear sneakers or cleats.

This is awesome, because it means you don’t have to buy riding shoes if you don’t want to, but if you already have cleats (or want to get some new ones), you can use them.

There’s a toe cage on one side of the pedal and a SPD compatible clip on the other.

And just for the record, if you’ve never tried riding with cleats, you should consider it. Clipping in allows you to pedal more efficiently and reach faster cadences, making for a better workout.

Console

The Johnny G comes with a “cockpit style”  console that makes it easy to see all your workout metrics at once. It’s a brightly-lit LED screen that’s conveniently located in front of the handlebars.

Not only is it large, but it’s bluetooth and ANT+ compatible with heart rate monitors and fitness apps like Garmin, MyZone, and Strava.

It can also connect with leaderboard programs to make for a fun, competitive environment (often seen in cycling classes).

The console displays all the normal metrics you’d expect during your workout, including time, distance, watts, and speed.

But unlike most, after your workout is done, the console will display additional info, like peak watts, peak speed, and peak heart rate.

The Johnny G does come with a few workout programs, but there’s only 4. These include heart rate zone, power zone, lap, and FTP test.

Overall, this bike comes with a large, easy to read console that can track more metrics than most. It would be nice if it came with a few more workouts to choose from, but at least it’s bluetooth and ANT+ compatible.

Warranty

Sole backs the Johnny G with the following warranty:

  • 10 year frame
  • 2 year parts
  • 2 year labor

At first glance, this warranty looks a bit disappointing, especially considering all other Sole bikes are backed with lifetime frame guarantees.

After a little digging (on Spirit’s site), I was able to find that the Johnny G is sold as a commercial bike, so this is actually the commercial warranty it comes with.

Commercial warranties are always shorter than residential warranties because you’ve got multiple daily users using the bike for possibly hours a day.

If you’re thinking about buying this bike for residential use, I’d contact Sole (or Spirit) to see if they will offer the same guarantee for home use- they might, but it’s not guaranteed.

Overall, as commercial warranties go, this one is pretty par for the course, but I’d expect longer from a home model in this price range.

Final Thoughts

The Johnny G Indoor Bike is an impressive specimen. I like the sleek exterior and when it comes to performance specs, this bike can hang with any indoor cycle on the market.

I also like that it comes with a fully adjustable everything and that the console is surprisingly sophisticated.

But that said, I think it’s a bit over priced for home use – this is a commercial bike and it’s priced as such.

If you’re really looking for a commercial spin cycle, then that’s a different story- I think the Johnny G makes more sense in that case.

But I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to spend this much on the Johnny G considering Sole’s SB900 comes with a heavier flywheel, a longer warranty (residential), and costs almost $2000 less.

(Unless you’re just really into that space ship look, which I have to admit does look awesome).

 

Will

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