Does It Make Sense To Buy The XTERRA MB550 Indoor Cycle [A Review]

Folks looking for a no-BS, easy to use indoor cycle should certainly check out XTERRA’s MB550 because it’s got a lot going for it.

Most notably, the MB550 has a lot of muscle under the hood – at 48.5 lb, this cycle’s flywheel is more than heavy enough to provide a smooth, consistent pedaling motion.

This bike also comes with a fully adjustable seat, fully adjustable handlebars, and no-fuss cage style pedals, allowing anyone to simply walk up and hop on.

All things considered, I think the MB550 is a pretty solid cycle for its price range, but with a brake pad resistance system and a very simple console, it’s not going to be for everyone.

Before you decide, you need to learn as much as you can about what this bike has to offer – and that’s where I come in.

In this review, I’ll go over all the specs and features this cycle has to offer. I’ll also try to compare it to some of the other top cycles in this price range so you can see how it measures up.

After reading, you’ll know whether or not the MB550 is worth investing in.

Off we go.

The XTERRA MB550 Indoor Cycle

Generally speaking, I think XTERRA is a pretty good brand.

I mean their machines are pretty durable, their performance specs hold up well compared to other comparable brands, and their warranties are longer than most.

All good stuff.

But I feel like they fly under the radar – I know I don’t see or hear much about ’em as a brand…

Anyway, they’ve got a lot of cardio machines to choose from, including really affordable machines as well as more moderately priced options.

Personally, I think they’d do better to concentrate more on the budget-friendlier products, but what do I know.

The MB550 we’re here to discuss now is one of only two indoor cycles in their lineup, with the other being the slightly more affordable MBX2500.

Both bikes cost well under $1k, but more on that in a bit – let’s start with the performance side of things.


  • 48.5 lb flywheel
  • Belt drive
  • Heavy-duty frame
  • Fully adjustable seat
  • Fully adjustable handlebars
  • Toe cage pedals
  • Good warranty
  • Affordable


  • Friction brake resistance
  • Very simple console
  • Weight capacity only 250 lb


Indoor cycles are designed for performance, with the priority being to mimic the sensation of riding a road bike.

Most spin bikes, especially affordable ones, do this by using heavy flywheels that create a lot of momentum as they start spinning.

And that’s because all this momentum helps keep the pedals moving a little between pedal strokes, reducing any lag or awkwardness between strokes.

The result is a smoother pedaling motion, but heavier flywheels also allow indoor cycles to provide a lot of resistance for us to work against.

Which is paramount, when standing up and climbing hills.

Flywheel weights vary a lot these days, but now, even most really affordable cycles are coming with flywheels in the 30 – 40 lb range.

Personally, I think anything in the 30 lb or so range is heavy enough to get the job done.

With this in mind, consider that the MB550 comes with a 48.5 lb flywheel.

This is massive even for indoor cycle standards and certainly enough weight to keep those pedals moving smoothly during workouts.

So no concerns whatsoever when it comes to flywheel weight.

What does concern me a bit though, is that XTERRA pairs that heavy flywheel with a friction brake resistance system.

As the name implies, friction brake systems create resistance by physically pushing a felt brake pad into the spinning flywheel.

Turning the resistance dial pushes the pad farther into the wheel, creating more resistance (and turning it the other way pulls the pad away from the flywheel, reducing the resistance).

Friction brakes work effectively, but they don’t usually feel quite as smooth as magnetic resistance systems (where there’s no physical contact with the flywheel).

Plus, regardless of how nice the cycle is, you’ll still have to periodically replace that felt brake pad because it gradually breaks down with use.

Again, not a huge deal, but it’s still more maintenance than a magnetic system requires.

Now a lot of elite indoor cycles used to use friction pads (and some still do) because they can provide a great deal of resistance and you can make very small incremental changes to the resistance.

After all, it all depends on how you turn the resistance dial – there are no set resistance “levels”.

This is what brands mean when they say a cycle has “micro-adjustable resistance” or “infinite resistance levels” – it just means there aren’t any set levels to choose from.

Which can be a good thing for riders who prefer to go by feel, but it can also be a bad thing for others (like myself) who like to see a resistance level to help gauge their intensity.

Not seeing a resistance level can also make it harder to reproduce workout conditions, although with a little practice you’ll learn how many turns of the dial it takes to really challenge you.

At this price range, there are plenty of indoor cycles offering magnetic resistance systems, so I see the fact that the MB550 uses a friction pad as a disadvantage.

But again, it really depends on what your preferences are.

Folks who prefer a friction pad system and are looking for an affordable bike with a really heavy flywheel should definitely consider the MB550.


Ok, moving on, let’s take a look at this bike’s frame.

Most indoor cycles are all about the same size, give or take a few inches, so physical dimensions isn’t usually that big of a consideration when comparing bikes.

Instead, I think it makes more sense to compare assembled weights and weight capacities.

These are the specs that give us a better idea as to how stable or “heavy-duty” any prospective bike will feel during workouts.

And as you may guess, seeing higher numbers in both categories is always a good thing in my book.

And that’s because heavier bikes will be less likely to move or sway with ya during use.

True, heavier bikes may be a little harder to move around the house, but that also means they’ll be less likely to move when you don’t want ’em too (like during workouts).

The MB550 comes with an assembled weight of 107 lb, but that fact alone doesn’t really tell us much – is that heavy? is that light?

The best way to figure this out is to compare it to other similarly priced bikes.

So, for the sake of comparison, Schwinn’s IC4, which costs about $200 more than the MB550 (full price) weighs in at 106 lb.

There’s also the similarly priced Diamondback 510ic, which weighs in at 104 lb – which I can say from experience feels rock solid during use.

So, at 107 lb, I think it’s fair to call the MB550 heavy-duty, but really any cycle weighing in over 100 lb should feel solid.

Oh, I should mention that Sole’s SB700, another similarly priced cycle, weighs an astounding 141 lb…but more on this bike in a bit.

The MB550 scores highly when it comes to its assembled weight, but with a weight limit of only 250 lb, it’s actually a little behind the curve when compared to most other bikes that can hold folks up to 300 lb.

Which is a little surprising considering how heavy this cycle is.

Overall, I like that this bike comes with such a heavy assembled weight because this is going to make it feel more stable during use; but the 250 lb weight limit is a little disappointing.


XTERRA backs the MB550 Indoor Cycle with the following residential warranty:

  • Lifetime frame
  • 1 year parts
  • 1 year labor

Ah, a lifetime frame warranty, that’s what I’m talking about.

You know, it’s actually kinda rare to see these these days – there aren’t that many brands offering lifetime frame guarantees on their indoor cycles.

So kudos to you XTERRA.

The 1 year parts warranty is ok, but could be better.

Schwinn offers 2-3 year parts warranties on their cycles and Sole offers 3 years on their SB700.

A year on labor is pretty standard, no complaints there.

Overall, the MB550 comes with a pretty good warranty for its price range (and that lifetime frame guarantee is awesome).


The XTERRA MB550 comes with the following included features:

LCD monitor- this cycle comes with a very small, very basic monitor that can only show the most basic workout metrics, including time, distance, speed, and calories. The screen isn’t backlit, so you’ll want to keep it in a well-lit room for optimal viewing. This monitor also isn’t compatible with heart rate monitors.

Fully adjustable seat- you can adjust both the height and horizontal (fore/aft) position of the seat, making it easy to find a comfortable riding position.

Fully adjustable handlebars- you can also adjust the height and fore/aft position of the handlebars for even more customization. A nice feature considering not all cycles come with this.

Toe cage pedals- the pedals are designed for use with sneakers, so you don’t have to worry about finding compatible riding cleats.

Water bottle holder- and yes, there’s a place to hold your water bottle during workouts.


Ok, let’s talk price.

At the time of writing this, the MB550 is going for $799 on XTERRA’s site, but it looks like Amazon has it for around $449 (again, prices change all the time, so don’t hate me if this isn’t true by the time you read this).

Even though this is a lot more than the really affordable, $300 -$400 cycles, it’s still really budget-friendly as far as spin bikes go.

I’ve mentioned a few of the top comps in this price range already, but I want to go in a little more detail here.

First, there’s Schwinn’s IC4, which has become one of the most popular cycles around…for good reason.

The IC4 is $999 full retail price, but it’s often a little cheaper on Amazon (at the time of writing this Amazon has it for $799, identical to what the MB550 costs through XTERRA).

The IC4 comes with 100 levels of magnetic resistance, a 330 lb weight limit, a much more sophisticated console, and a 3 year parts warranty.

I also want to mention Sole’s SB700 again because it’s usual retail price is identical to the MB550 at $799, although it’s often on sale for a bit cheaper.

Anyway, the SB700 also comes with a 48 lb flywheel and friction brake resistance system, but it comes with a much heavier-duty frame, a 300 lb weight limit, a tablet holder, and a 3 year parts warranty.

Personally, seeing these comps makes it hard to make an argument that the MB550 is worth XTERRA’s asking price, but is it worth Amazon’s price?

Final Thoughts

Alrighty, that about does it for the MB550.

I feel bad about how things went for it in the section above because there’s really nothing wrong with this cycle – but the truth is, I just think there are better options in this price range ($799).

I’m not a fan of friction brakes, so I would opt for something like the IC4 over this cycle for the magnetic resistance alone.

But even if you’re looking for a friction brake bike, it makes more sense to me to go with Sole’s SB700 because it’s got better performance specs, a longer warranty, and is sometimes cheaper.

All of that said, I think the MB550 is a very good buy at $450.

I can’t think of any other bike under $500 that offers a lifetime frame warranty and there aren’t many in this price range that come with such a heavy-duty frame either.

So, if you’re on the hunt for an affordable, no-thrills indoor cycle, I think the MB550 makes a lot of sense if you can find it for under $500.

But at $799, I think there are better options out there.


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