Spin Bikes vs Exercise Bikes: How to Avoid Making a Bad Choice


Spin bikes vs exercise bikes; which one should you choose?

You need to decide depending on your fitness goals and current level. Don’t choose the bike that offers more glimmer, but the one that’s most useful to you.

Take into account the training type you favor, the type of position that feels more comfortable, the risk of injury, measured stats, muscled worked, and calories burnt.

Does that seem too complicated? We’ll figure it out in the article below. 

Difference between Spin Bikes and Exercise Bikes

difference between spin bikes and exercise bikes

The main difference in spin bikes vs upright bikes is flywheel design. The spin bike’s flywheel is heavier and a chain binds it to the pedals. This perimeter-weighted design creates momentum, so it requires more force to activate the pedals, meaning you’ll work your legs more.

When you stop moving, the pedals will keep spinning, just like with an outdoor bike. This feature is called variable resistance control and it helps you pedal faster and get a more effective workout out of your muscles.

On the other hand, an upright bike has a higher profile because of the handlebars, plus a larger and usually a more comfortable seat.

Spin bikes:

  • More force needed
  • Natural position
  • The pedals keep moving even when you stop
  • The handles and seat are at the same level
  • Smaller seat

Exercise bikes

  • Less force needed
  • Upright position
  • The brakes allow you to stop instantly
  • The handles are higher than the seat
  • Larger seat

Should you choose a spin bike or an exercise bike?

Take your goals into account. What is your fitness level now? What are you trying to do? 

What about spin bikes vs recumbent bikes?

recumbent exercise bike vs spin bike

Recumbent bikes have front pedals and chair-like seats, so they’re better for mobility-challenged people, those with chronic pain, or recovering from illnesses.

Recumbent bikes isolate your leg muscles, so they can get an intense workout. Even if you don’t have any health issues, recumbent bikes are effective if you want more muscle mass without weight training.

Advantages of Spin Bikes vs Exercise Bikes

The differences in design between spin bikes vs normal exercise bikes translate into a whole range of unique advantages:

The fixed spin bike wheel means that spin bikes help improve your technique to get on a real bike outdoors. Regular exercise bikes won’t teach you how to pedal better.

Spin bikes are sturdier and with better craftsmanship. While regular exercise bikes are cheaper, they’re also smaller and compact. You can also fold an exercise bicycle when you don’t need it.

Spin bikes are better for more intense workouts because you can customise them according to your body size, plus you can change resistance levels easier. If you want an intense workout, you can even stand up on a spin bike. 

Regular exercise bikes are better for smart training. These bikes are more versatile because they have different customisable workout programs and allow different workouts, from low to high-intensity.  You can keep track of your stats like calories, speed, and time to plan your workouts and reach your goals faster.

advantages of spin bikes vs exercise bikes

Spin bikes are better if:

  • You want to learn how to pedal
  • You need a sturdier bike
  • You want an intense training
  • You don’t care so much about gadgets and stats

Regular exercise bikes are better if:

  • You don’t want to learn how to ride a real bike
  • You need a foldable, compact training bike
  • You value versatile training vs HIIT
  • You want to keep track of your stats and value gadgets like Bluetooth connection, speakers, and water bottle holders

Which One Is Better For Weight Loss?

Spin bikes are better for weight loss than regular exercise bikes because they burn slightly more calories and activate more muscles. 

Here’s how:

  • More muscle engagement. When you sit upright on a spin bike, you’re using more muscles including from your core and upper body. More muscles used equals more calories burnt.
  • More movement. When you stop pedaling, your legs will keep working to slow down, which means more calories burnt.
  • More force. The heavier, perimeter weighted flywheel is more difficult to push, so it activates your glutes and thighs more.

The difference in calories burnt in spin bikes vs regular exercise bikes isn’t tremendous, especially if you’re never sitting up on your spin bike.

However, if you’re engaging your muscles more, you’re increasing your muscle mass. A bigger muscle mass increases weight loss because muscles help burn more fat even when you’re at rest. 

What Muscles do Spin Bikes and Exercise Bikes Target?

spin bike or exercise bike for weight loss

Spin bikes and exercise bikes work similar muscles:

  • Thighs
  • Glutes
  • Calves

If you stand up on your spin bike, you will work more muscles and get:

  • A more intense calf workout
  • A moderate core workout for improved balance
  • A low to moderate upper back, arms, neck and shoulders workout

Spin bikes are, therefore, better for total body workouts if you’re not doing any other type of training.

Which Bike Feels More Comfortable?

Regular exercise bikes are more comfortable than spin bikes because they have higher handlebars and wider seats. The result is that you can sit upright without straining your lower back, shoulders, and neck. The wide, comfy seat cushions your glutes and doesn’t dig into your sacral bone. If you’re not used to the position of an outdoor track bicycle, regular exercise bikes feel cosier and easier to use.

Spin bikes are not uncomfortable, because:

  • They offer plenty of adjustments for the seat and handlebar height to fit your shape and size. These ergonomic adjustments ensure that you won’t strain your muscles and joints, although you will challenge them more.
  • They keep a similar posture to riding a real bike. If you’re used to riding a normal bike, this position won’t feel agonising, but rather challenging.

Final Words

The choice between a spin bike vs a regular exercise bike boils down to your fitness goals and preferences. 

Spin bikes are better if you already have a moderate fitness level and no chronic pain. They will exercise your muscles more comprehensively and will allow you to push faster.

On the downside, spin bikes aren’t foldable, don’t keep track of all your stats, and they pose a higher injury risk especially if you stand and spin at a high speed. 

Which type of bike have you tried and/or which one are you going to choose?


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