Outdoor cycling is a brilliant workout to exercise muscles and burn calories. But, what happens when you want to train indoors? That’s where stationary and spin bikes come in.
A spinning bike is designed to simulate outdoor cycling with a more aggressive riding position and heavier flywheel, while an exercise bike is designed for a more general fitness workout with a comfortable upright riding position and pre-programmed workouts.
Spinning Bike vs Exercise Bike
Spinning bikes offer a full-body cycling experience, while exercise bikes provide low-impact cardio training.
Most people are confused about the difference between a spin bike and an exercise bike. This guide will walk you through their characteristics, pros, cons, and the best option to begin enjoying indoor cycling.
What Is an Exercise Bike?
An exercise bike is a piece of cardiovascular equipment that is designed to simulate the experience of riding your bicycle indoors.
Research from Harvard University explains that a 70 kg man that rides an exercise bike for 30 minutes, burns at least 250 calories.
Whether you are looking to burn calories, improve your aerobic fitness, or simply stay active, an exercise bike is perfect equipment to buy.
When used correctly, exercise bikes can help your body build endurance, fitness, cut down on calories and lose weight. They come in different sizes and shapes, with the common goal: to simulate the real bike-riding experience without worrying about going outdoors.
There are three types of exercise bikes - recumbent, upright, and spin. They arrive in numerous designs and functionality attributing each type.
The recumbent type works for more comfort due to its seating style and back support. It resembles a chair where you can relax your back during exercise. However, it neglects your core and lower body.
The upright bike type solves this problem by enabling an erect standing posture thereby integrating and strengthening your core muscles. But, it can be painful due to the increased stress on your joints.
Spin bikes offer a complete fitness package that focuses on whole body workout. It has a large flywheel that simulates the high resistance when driving an outdoor bike. The handlebars and seat are also designed like your normal bikes plus adjustable resistance levels that keep you in control of your workout session.
What Is a Spinning Bike?
Spinning bikes are fitness equipment that provides a realistic outdoor road-bike feeling. They have adjustable resistance levels and various built-in features that can make it easier to clinch your fitness goals.
Unlike traditional stationary bikes, spinning bikes are built for performance. They are designed to mimic the experience of outdoor cycling, with features such as adjustable resistance levels, handlebars that simulate the feel of a road bike, and a large flywheel that provides a smooth, realistic ride.
Spin Bike vs Stationary Bike
The difference between a spin bike and exercise bike falls down to their features. Here’s a breakdown of their unique characteristics and functionality.
Characteristics of Stationary Bikes
Here are some of the characteristics that make stationary bikes unique:
Unlike the spin bikes which resemble outdoor cycling, stationary bikes focus on comfort for long training sessions. The seat is its primary characteristic as it is adjustable, maximizing a pleasant workout and perfect if you have back or joint problems.
Stationary bikes also arrive with pedals that can go with normal athletic shoes. However, some types have pedals that can suit cycling shoes and cleats like in spin bikes.
On a stationary bike, the handlebars are usually made to be comfy and convenient. They are adjustable, enabling you to select the riding position that is most suitable for your body. This allows you to target different muscle areas and create a more interesting exercise by having several hand positions.
The fact that a stationary bike offers a low-impact workout is among its many advantages. As a result, it is kind to your joints and may be a fantastic solution for those who have knee or hip issues. It is a fantastic approach to reduce stress on your body while increasing cardiovascular health and calorie burning.
Characteristics of Spin Bikes
Here are some of the characteristics that make spin vs regular exercise bike unique:
The powerful flywheel that simulates an outdoor cycling experience is what makes spin bikes unique. It comes with resistance to assist you strengthen your lower and core muscles. The bike's flywheel, which may weigh up to 50 pounds, is often found up front.
Similar to road bikes, spin bikes include handlebars with variable hand placements that replicate various riding postures. This makes working out more interesting and enables you to train different muscle groups. You can usually find the most comfortable riding posture for your body by adjusting the handlebars.
The flexibility to change the resistance level is another crucial aspect of spin bikes. This makes it perfect for people of all muscular endurance since you may alter the pace of your activity. Riding up hills or down steep hills may be mimicked by varying the resistance level, making for a demanding and effective workout.
A spin bike's pedals are often made to fit cycling shoes with cleats, which can improve your ride's economy and power. Several versions also have normal pedals that may be used with everyday sports footwear, though.
Exercise Bike vs Spin Bike: Summary
Pros/Cons of Exercise Bikes
Exercise bikes are perfect low-impact fitness equipment if you’re starting small or have joint problems. Unlike running, this type puts minimal stress on your joints and makes exercising easier
Additionally, exercise bikes are a great way to burn calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Depending on your weight and intensity level, you can burn anywhere from 300 to 600 calories per hour on an exercise bike
Could be improved:
However, exercise bikes come with limited intensity levels. They’re a poor choice if you want a more intense workout because their resistance levels are usually smaller than spin bikes. They’re also the wrong choice if you want to perform a full body workout and exercise your core muscles.
Also, the basic display panel that displays the standard stats might be unexciting when compared to spin bikes with extensive functionality that allows for an immersive training experience
Pros/Cons of Spin Bikes
The flexibility in resistance levels sets spin bikes one spot ahead of traditional ones. You are always free to increase or decrease your workout intensity depending on your body goals. It also allows you to mimic realistic outdoor cycling up hills or down steep inclines
Another great feature of a spinning bike is the handlebars. They are designed to be similar to the handlebars on a road bike, with multiple hand positions to simulate different riding positions. This allows you to work for different muscle groups and provides a more engaging workout.
Spinning bikes also arrive with various built-in features to enhance your workout. Many models have digital displays that track your speed, distance, and calorie burn, allowing you to monitor your progress and set goals
Could be improved:
However, spin bikes have their downfalls. They’re quite expensive, costing about $700 or more compared to traditional exercise bikes. Also, high-intensity training can increase the risk of pain and injury, especially on your shoulders and back
Stationary Bike vs Spin Bike: When to Use Each?
Which exercise bike — exercise bike or spin bike — is better if you're shopping for a new exercise bike? They’re suitable for various types of exercises and each has its own advantages. Here’s a guide on when to use each type of bike:
When to Use a Stationary Bike:
- You want to have great cardiovascular health without straining your body.
- You want low-impact and arthritis-friendly exercise.
- If you're recovering from an injury or experience joint pain. Stationary bikes offer a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints, making them a great option for recovery.
- If you want a comfortable workout without sacrificing performance.
When to Use a Spin Bike:
- High-intensity workouts to build strength, endurance and muscle training.
- Simulate outdoor cycling regardless of bad weather conditions.
- Interval training requires flexibility in intensity levels.
Exercise Bike We Recommend
The Schwinn upright bike is a perfect choice if you want a stationary bike that provides an enjoyable cardio workout. It is designed to cater for different fitness levels. The user-friendly interface makes it a top choice even for beginners. It also arrives with adjustable resistance levels to allow you to reach your desired intensity.
photo by @oliviajoneslife
Spin Bike We Recommend
The Belt drive exercise indoor cycling bike is the absolute genius we recommend for an amazing home workout. The LCD steals the show by displaying your progress which helps rate your fitness goals. The flywheel’s quality is top-notch and gives you entire control.
The adjustable resistance helps you mimic outdoor cycling so you get the same results. The handlebar is not left out, it’s padded with ergonomic materials for extra safety. If you want a spin bike without breaking the bank, then purchase the Belt drive bike.
Which Burns More Calories: Spin Bike or Stationary Bike?
Spin bike workouts typically involve a lot of standing and pedaling, which can help you engage more muscles and burn more calories than you would on a stationary bike. Furthermore, it allows full muscle exercise that helps you burn calories overall.
What Is Better for Weight Loss: A Spin Bike or Exercise Bike?
Spin bike’s focus is on high-intensity workouts which burn a larger amount of calories compared to stationary bikes. Overall, it provides an opportunity to challenge muscles, increase metabolic rate and consequentially, lose weight.
Can You Use a Stationary Bike for Spinning?
Spinning involves cycling under different resistance levels like climbing up or down the hill. Stationary bikes do not provide the features that allow for this process. However, with an increased resistance level, and adjustment of seating position, you can mimic the outdoor style.
We’ve explained the disparities and uniqueness between spinning bikes vs. exercise bikes. Now, make the decision to get one and enjoy all its benefits.
Do you have questions on the difference between spin bike and stationary bike? Then shoot it using the comment section.
- Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights // The President and Fellows of Harvard College: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-for-people-of-three-different-weights
- Cycling - health benefits // Betterhealth: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/cycling-health-benefits
- The Deadlift and Its Application to Overall Performance // National Strength and Conditioning Association: https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/tsac-report/the-deadlift-and-its-application-to-overall-performance/
- Can You Use a Normal Exercise Bike for Spinning? Our Guide To A Great Workout // Exercisebikeacademy: https://exercisebikeacademy.com/guides/can-you-use-a-normal-exercise-bike-for-spinning/
- What Is Better for Weight Loss: A Spin Bike or Exercise Bike? // Livescience: https://www.livescience.com/are-exercise-bikes-good-for-weight-loss
My name is Ihor and I have been a professional weightlifter since 1996. With over 20 years of competition experience, my resume includes European Champion in 2009 and the silver medalist at 2011's Senior World Championships –105kg division.
I competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
After hanging up my own competitive lifting shoes, I decided to share my huge background as a coach. I am currently coaching multiple athletes who are competing at national and international competitions.