Low Spin Bike Q Factor: Will You Benefit From It?

Q factor ( (also know as Tread) might be new to you since it’s typically overlooked. It’s not commonly discussed as well. You can read more information about it here and here.

Q-Factor(Image Source: indoorcycleinstructor.com)

The term Spin bike Q factor went to common knowledge last 2011. That was after Josh Taylor, a master instructor for Spinning ® program, mentioned the Q factor as a new feature for a new design.

The benefits of Q factor became questionable at the time. Spin bike users began to think whether a lower Q factor matters or not. But today, I will share with you some benefits I enjoyed after riding a spin bike with low Q factor for years.

Close Road Bike Experience

Shorter distance between the pedal attachments gave me an almost real road bike experience. After changing to spin bike with 155mm of Q factor, I felt like I’m using my outdoor bike as well.

In other words, working out on my spin bike indoors and cycling outside made me very comfortable. My hips and legs no longer have to adjust from wide to narrow Q factors.

More Efficient For Spin Bike/Indoor Cycling Workouts

There were experts in the past who claimed that narrow distance between the two pedals will allow you to exert more force while pedaling. This is true based from my personal experience.

Typical designs with wide Q factor allows me to burn 750 – 850 calories in an hour. The narrow design, however, helped me burn nearly 1000 calories in the same amount of time. I’m convinced that this is due to greater force needed when working out.

Better Biomechanics and Alignment

Q-factor1(Image Source: spinning.com)

You will notice that spin bikes with low Q factor have better biomechanics and alignment. You will find them comfortable whether you ride through your knees, hips, feet, and ankles.

Shorter distance between your feet will also give you a better alignment for your body and lower muscles with the spin bike. This means that there will be a lower chance for injuries even if you go for a rigid workout.

Perfect For Users with Narrow Hips

You don’t have to force yourself on regular spin bikes/indoor cycling bikes if you have narrow hips like me. Your lower body will experience more stress. Misalignment may also cause you injuries.

Choosing a spin bike with lower Q factor will provide your body with the right fit and indoor cycling experience. However, this is not the case for users with wider hips. They will find narrow spin bike Q factor difficult to manage. Worst case scenario, they may even get muscle strains and injuries from it during rigid cycling.


Q factor is one of the very important features of spin bikes. An inch difference between the distances of pedal attachments may greatly change your cycling experience.

Take note that every person has a different body size and build up. I might find low Q factor beneficial while you might find it otherwise. In short, it is important to find which spin bike fit is perfect for your body and workout routine. However, don’t easily assume that low spin bike Q factor doesn’t matter at all.

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