Another bike repair article as I seem to have a mild addiction to them! Used exercise equipment ends up in the bin far too often when all it lacks is a few simple repairs so hoping this could keep a few more in use.
I picked up a Sportplus SP-HT-9500-E-B exercise bike for free locally as the owners had used it heavily during lockdown but had found the belt had gone, so wanted it out their way and hoped someone could repair it.
It’s not a bad German made unit, was available on Amazon and has app control and Google street view so you can feel like you’re riding a real street. Not quite Peloton but kind of fun. Or you can just stick you phone/iPad in the cradle and watch Game of Thrones and use the buttons on the machine to adjust it all. The slightly updated model is around £500, this one seemed to be about £400 when new. It has electromagnetic resistance (the system moves a row of magnets closer to flywheel to add resistance) rather than more crude physical pad rubbing on the flywheel, also heart rate monitor, exercise programs and 24 resistance levels.
Manual is here – https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1257901/Sportplus-Sp-Ht-9500-E.html
To take apart there’s a couple of screws on one side and approx. 8 on the other side to release the side panels. You also need to remove the pedals, note the right hand pedal is reverse thread so opposite direction to loosen. Each side panel has a rubber section of trim around the pedals that needs popping out to clear the crank arms.
Once covers are off it was obvious the belt had slipped off the tensioner/idler so was just loose in frame.
It was also significantly worn on one side, having worn a whole rib away. I put the belt back on and it was sufficiently worn in width as to be a sloppy fit in the main plastic drive wheel (the big disk attached to the pedal crank) and allow side to side movement, not ideal with ribbed belt.
With the belt off again and the pedals turned there was also a little play in the main bottom bracket bearing, which could have lead to misalignment and belt wear. The previous owners assured me they’d used it heavily so wear on bearings is not suprising.
New belt needed – the one on the machine is a Fengshou 380J 007 4F. I’ve found replacement belts for exercise bikes are a pain as manufacturers seldom stock them, or if they do stock them have them so overpriced it makes the repair too expensive, the bike ends up in the bin, and the manufacturers sell a new bike. They are also very hard to find the spec of what you need so you end up measuring what you have and hoping. Luckily I found www.simplybearings.co.uk stock a suitable replacement. It’s a 965PJ/380J, 6 rib belt and 965mm/38in long. The was delivered for £11.84 including VAT.
New bearings needed – For the bearings they are old fashioned bike 5/16” caged bearings rather than modern sealed bearings. These are available in any bike shop, or £3.95 in Amazon. Note that the assembly on this side is also all reverse thread so you need to remove the outer nut, then the washer, then the inner nut that goes against the bearing by turning clockwise.
Once bearings lubed and installed, I put the new belt on. You’ll likely need to remove the bolt holding the tensioning spring completely to get the belt on (big arrow in photo). Then by pulling down on the spring manually you should get enough tension on the belt to turn the pedals and check alignment. Essentially the spring pulls the arm down, which pushes the idler/tensioner into the bottom of the belt and applies enough pressure to stop slipping.
On mine I found the double bearings on the idler/tensioner were sitting too far from outboard (away from centre of bike) causing the belt to want to run inwards, off the bearings and either rub on the flywheel, causing the wear seen or fall off completely and lose all tension. After checking the bearings were all good the alignment was still a little off so I gave the bolt on the arm a smack with a hammer to bring it slightly inwards and the belt ran well.
Getting the spring on the tensioner reattached is a mission. In the end I resorted to a g-clamp and a block of wood to apply pressure and push the arm closer to the hole, then inserted the threated section and got a bolt on quickly.
Work done, reassemble and test.
All works well. It’s very quiet but has a slight rubber noise from the belt- could be you can only notice it as everything else is so quiet.
I tried the app to connect the phone and for free it’s not bad. Struggled to get the Google street view maps to work but may be lack of signal as was in garage. Did get the basic display as per below up though.
Total money spent – about £15.80.