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A review of Stages SC3 indoor bikes

July 20th, 2022 | 7 min. read

A review of Stages SC3 indoor bikes

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A review of Stages SC3 indoor bikes

 

At the Paseo Club, we are always on the lookout for new concepts, class ideas, and equipment so that we can stay ahead of the curve on all fitness trends. This approach allows us to provide you with the best fitness experience possible. 

 

One piece of equipment that recently caught our eye is Stages SC3 indoor bikes. Fortunately for you, our enthusiasm for these bikes was so great we decided to update our entire collection with them.

 

In this article, we will review the Stages SC3 bikes, share with you what we love about them, and discuss how they came to meet our strict criteria. 

 

In the interest of transparency, we will also address drawbacks to these bikes and who may not be a good fit for them.

 

Who is Stages? What is a Stages SC3 indoor bike?

Stages is a leading company in the indoor fitness industry with headquarters in Portland, Oregon. They began their business in 2010 by building cycling meters. They added indoor bikes to their product list in 2015.

 

Stages SC3 indoor bikes are bikes that have been developed for gyms, studios, fitness centers, and home users across the US and globally. 

 

Stages boast that they get over 110 million rides per year on their bikes. 

 

Stages SC3’s design

The construction of the SC3 bikes is developed for excellence in performance.

 

  • Aluminum frames are lightweight. So lightweight that they actually weigh three times less than standard steel frames. They are also resistant to rust and have a great strength-to-weight ratio. The frames are stiffer, making them last longer over time and able to take heavy use.
  • CarbonGlyde belt helps to provide an experience comparable to the outdoors. It combines a 5:1 gear ratio with a perimeter-weighted flywheel for a smooth ride.
  • Magnetic braking system gives riders a quieter braking experience because the magnets never touch the flywheel — they move closer or farther away.
  • FitLoc adjustment function allows you to set your seat and handlebars where you need them five times faster than most bikes. The standard twist-to-lock systems are cumbersome and awkward to use. This function is quick and almost effortless. 
  • SprintShift gives you the power to dial the resistance up or back with just the touch of a finger. No need to use a dial to turn to get the level you want. The sensitive lever can be moved easily and responds to even the slightest adjustment.
  • Direct power meters are all crank-based. They use strain gauges to record the flex in the crank arm. This data is collected to measure the power in watts and used to assess the riders' effort. These measurements give riders the most accurate metrics possible while they ride. 

 

Indoor Bike Criteria

When we considered which indoor bikes we wanted, we created criteria to assess the options on the market.

Ease of maintenance

We wanted bikes that could handle constant use and not need lots of care and upkeep. 

 

The maintenance needs to be able to be done easily, without being complicated or time-intensive. Typical care includes tightening pedals, lubricating seat and handlebar stems, and general cleaning.

Well-designed monitors 

The display on indoor bikes is critical for making or breaking the experience for riders. 

 

The metrics need to be easy to read and intuitive to use. A system that requires no batteries or occasional battery replacement is preferred in order to minimize maintenance and costs. 

Smooth ride 

The most important feature for a rider is how the bike feels when they use it. 

 

Selecting a bike that resembles an outdoor ride is a key feature. It needs to run smoothly and, simultaneously, be stable when in use.

Comfort

The saddle of a bike must be somewhat comfortable for riders. 

 

Although, any road or indoor bike seat can be uncomfortable initially. Once you ride a few times, you get adjusted to it. 

 

Padded shorts for newcomers can help, but we recommend you take at least two classes per week for a few weeks in order to acclimate yourself to a new seat.

Pros of Stages SC3

Stages SC3 bikes are designed by riders — and it shows. There is a reason why elite bike and fitness studios consistently buy this model for their cycle classes.

 

  • SC3 is one of the most stable indoor bikes.
  • Height and fore/aft adjustments are easy to make.
  • Pedal strokes are smooth under riders’ feet because of the Carbon Glide belt and high inertia.
  • Direct power meter measurement gives riders the most accurate metrics possible. 
  • The display shows the rider all information — power, calories burned, distance, and MPH. Plus, it doesn't require batteries because it is self-powered by the user.
  • It feels like an outdoor bike.

 

Cons of Stages SC3

The Stages SC3 bikes are not perfect. Some areas of complaint are:

 

  • There are fewer handlebar options.
  • The layout on the console is different and can take time for riders (and instructors) to get used to it.
  • The saddle may feel less cushioned compared to other models. 
  • It may not fit short riders as well.

 

Who will and will not like the Stages SC3 indoor bike

The Stages SC3 can be appreciated by both experienced and new riders. 

 

  • The bikes are strong, stable, and smooth. 
  • They are well-constructed and stay in great shape over time, not losing their overall quality. 
  • The power meter works well, and the metrics are highly accurate. 



There are some people who may not find the SC3 a good fit.

 

  • Short people may find it hard to adjust the seat and handlebars to get a comfortable ride.
  • People who love cushy saddles may find the leaner design of Stages’ seats uncomfortable. 
  • The display is different than other bikes and can take time to get used to.


Indoor bikes in comparison (Stages SC3 vs Schwinn carbon blue)

When Paseo Club last bought indoor bikes, the Schwinn carbon blue was the best on the market. It was selected because of its ergonomic construction, custom options, low-maintenance design, and outdoor feel.

 

Yet, their design is no longer cutting edge. 

 

  • The system for adjusting the seat and handlebars is the dial system which is awkward and uncomfortable to use. 
  • It has a lower weight capacity at 300 pounds versus Stages’ 350 pounds. 
  • The console is dependent on batteries whereas Stages’ bikes use the power generated from the user to operate the display.

Testimonials

Here are what some people are saying about Stages SC3 indoor bikes.

This bike is awesome!
A smoooooooth ride! Easy to turn dials! And the gear shifter is my favorite feature to quickly add or remove tension! I loooooooove this bike!
- Kyra D.

Love my Stages SC3 bike!
Love how all of the adjustments work. Smooth pedal stroke. Comfortable saddle. Love all the handlebar positions. Overall excellent bike.
- Petra C. 

Amazing!
These indoor cycling bikes are the best out there. I was so happy to have found such an amazing company to work with for our fitness and dance studio.
- Cody B.

Choosing Stages bikes was a no-brainer.

We loved the quality and construction of the bike, and how the bike gives you a road bike and chain-like feel but is quiet, smooth, and easy to adjust. Stages bikes enable our members can get the perfect fit because of their adjustability.   

 

Choosing Stages is a great business decision because they have great durable bikes and a team that supports your programming. Stages bikes are a Ferrari compared to a Volkswagen because of the technology behind them. It’s the now and it’s the future.”  

- Alison Zemanek, Owner/Founder of Breakaway Cycle & Strength Studio 

 

Trying out the SC3s

Now that you have completed reading this article, we hope you have a better understanding of the Stages SC3 indoor bikes and some of their key features as well as some of their deficiencies.

 

Do you want to learn more about cycling? Read this article that discusses functional threshold performance.

 

Paseo Club will roll out these bikes in cycle class on August 1, 2022. If you’d like to try them out, you can sign up for cycle class on the fitness class calendar


If you are in the Santa Clarita Valley and are not yet a member of Paseo Club, schedule a tour today and check out our entire facility — courts, pool, fitness areas, and cafe.