The Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Cycle is currently available for less than $500, with a warranty and flywheel weight that place it among the bestselling spin bikes for this price category.
In our review of the M4, we wanted to take a look at the various design and console features, make some important comparisons to other bestselling spin bikes at this price point, and build up an unbiased picture of user reviews to help you decide if this is the best choice of bike for your own home workouts.
If you’re considering buying a new spin bike, the Horizon Fitness M4 has a number of useful design features and customizable options that makes it one of the top models to buy for under $500.
The seat and handlebars both offer vertical adjustments, with the seat also offering fore and aft adjustment, allowing you to recreate your preferred cycling position from your outdoor road bike.
The pedals are also interchangeable, meaning they can be closely matched with any standard 9/16″ designs, including the bestselling MG-1 Sealed Platform Pedals from Wellgo.
It’s also incredibly important to stay hydrated during high intensity exercise, if you want to achieve your best performance.
That’s why Horizon have also added the cage on top of the main bike frame, to store a water bottle within easy reach during your workouts.
Although this is one of the most compact spin bikes available in terms of its footprint, you may still need to move the M4 to a different space after you complete your cycle.
If this is the case, then having the set of transport wheels attached to the front base stabilizer makes it much easier to move the bike’s 88 lb frame.
The handlebars have also been ergonomically designed and coated to provide a comfortable grip and plenty of support for a number of common spinning grip positions.
One last minor feature we wanted to mention was to do with stability. While the weight of the frame and flywheel does an excellent job of keeping the bike stable, you also have a set of base levellers attached to the underside of the frame.
Positioned in each corner, the height of each leveller can be adjusted individually, to compensate for any slightly uneven ground the bike may need to be placed on.
Horizon Fitness M4 – Features Summary
- 42-lb. flywheel
- Vertical adjustment handlebars
- Fore and aft adjustment on seat
- Console computer features Time, Distance, Speed, Calories, Scan
- Chain drive system
Flywheel and resistance system
One of the main measurable differences between spin bikes is the weight of the flywheel.
To get a sense of proportion, the Horizon Fitness M4 flywheel weighs 42 lbs, which is less than the flywheel for the Sunny SF-B1002, but more than the Phoenix 98623 (both bikes that are priced in the $350 to $500 range).
Like most spin bikes, the flywheel itself is fixed, meaning that once you build up momentum by cycling, the pedals will continue to move with the flywheel even after you stop pedalling.
In terms of flywheel systems, there are really just two main types; belt driven and chain driven.
The M4 falls into the latter category of being a chain driven bike, which can create slightly more noise if the chain rubs against the guard, but still provides a smooth cycling motion.
If you want to adjust the resistance, this can be achieved using the resistance knob positioned just before the handlebars.
Depending on which way this is rotated, it will force the friction pad underneath to apply more or less pressure to the perimeter of the flywheel.
This has the effect of increasing or decreasing the intensity of your workout, which is ideal for interval workouts, but can require slightly more maintenance than magnetic resistance cycles due to replacing the pads.
If you do need to replace the friction pads at any point, it’s best to contact Horizon Fitness customer support directly.
Display console design
As with many spin bike consoles, due to the fact that you can’t enter your bodyweight, the number of calories burned reported on the screen tends to be inaccurate.
That being said, you can still track your distance using the odometer, monitor your speed, and perform high intensity interval training using the feedback on your cycling time.
This also has the benefit of being simple to use, with just a single button that can be used to scroll through the different feedback and reset the counts.
Ease of assembly
If you’ve ever owned one of the treadmills from Merit Fitness, the style of the assembly instructions will probably feel quite familiar.
This might have something to do with the fact that both Horizon and Merit are companies that have the same parent company – Johnson Health Tech.
But this is certainly no bad thing, as the user manual spares you the pages and pages of parts lists that refer to sections that are already assembled, and only includes the information you need to get cycling.
As seems to be the trend for modern spin bikes, the entire frame arrives pre-assembled, complete with adjustment knobs and flywheel already fitted.
It takes just 3 pages of exploded drawings, detailed textual explanation and clear parts references to go from having the parts unpackaged on the floor, to having a bike that’s ready for you to start your first workout.
Although this is one of the few spin bikes that includes a performance monitor, Horizon have made connecting this up to the bike an extremely simple process.
There’s no need to be adjusting resistance dials and clamping two ends of different cables together like you might have to do with some upright bikes.
Instead, all that’s required is to route the computer cable through the zip tie attached to the frame, then insert the end of the cable into a groove on the front fork, adjacent to the flywheel.
All things considered, it shouldn’t take much longer than 30 minutes to complete the assembly.
Horizon Fitness M4 vs. ProForm 290 SPX
Before buying any new spin bike, it’s always important to make sure you’re getting the best value for money.
The last thing you want to do is spend hundreds of dollars on a spin bike, only to find out there’s a better model available.
This is why we wanted to make some quick comparisons between the Horizon Fitness M4 and the similarly priced ProForm 290 SPX, which are both studio style spin bikes.
Although the designs may seen quite similar, the M4 actually has a number of improvements, including an extra 35 lbs of weight capacity, and a big increase in the warranty coverage.
Whereas the ProForm cycle only provides 5 years on the frame and 90 days on parts, the M4 offers twice the warranty length on the frame, and 8 times the length on the parts (10 years frame, 1 year parts).
Despite the fact that you don’t have to worry about circuit boards and complicated electronics the same way you do with treadmills, it’s still nice to know that parts are covered for a longer period of time.
This warranty also eclipses that offered by some of the leading spin bikes produced by Sunny Health and Fitness.
That being said, there are still a lot of similarities between the two bikes.
Both use a chain drive system instead of belt drive, both only offer the vertical adjustment of the handlebars (not horizontal), and they both provide base levellers and transport wheels to improve stability and make the bike easier to move around.
If space is limited, it can also be worth knowing that the M4 has a smaller footprint, being 5 inches shorter than the 290 SPX.
One last difference we thought would be worth a mention is the addition of the console.
While the M4 includes a display console as standard, the 290 SPX does not, meaning that if you wanted to track your workout information you would need to try to find a compatible external monitor.
After our earlier comparison with the ProForm 290 SPX, we thought we should also make a comparison between the customer reviews and average ratings.
We were surprised to find that in both cases, the two bikes were almost identical. At the time of writing this review the Horizon Fitness M4 was marginally higher than the ProForm, with an average rating of 3.7 compared to ProForm’s 3.6.
The number of reviews is certainly a lot higher for the ProForm bike, but this can be due to a number of reasons, such as the product being listed on Amazon for a longer period of time, so isn’t something we give much thought to.
After read through each review for the M4 spin bike, we noticed a few points were being mentioned time and time again.
As a quick reference summary, we decided to combine these points (both good and bad) into the lists of pros and cons below, to help build up a clearer picture of what other people thought about this bike after buying.
- Quiet to use
- Compact footprint
- Display console provides useful feedback for goal setting and measuring progress
- Resistance control adjusts in small increments
- Pedals are interchangeable with the standard 9/16″ designs
- Sturdy frame design
- Excellent customer support
- Quick and easy to assemble – all necessary tools are provided
- Longer warranty coverage than similarly priced bikes
- Wide range of seat adjustments
- Feedback for number of calories burned is often inaccurate
- Display console lacks cadence monitoring and heart rate tracking options
- Chain can occasionally rub against the guard, although customers have easily been able to open the compartment and add a spacer to resolve this issue without the need for customer support
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 10 years
- Parts and labor: 1 year
As with most home fitness equipment that we review, the Horizon Fitness M4 warranty is only valid for the original owner. This means that if you’re thinking about buying a used model, you won’t be covered by any warranty.
If you are looking to buy the M4 new, Amazon currently has the best price online, which also has the bonus of free shipping within the US.