Spin Bike Vs Exercise Bike – Which bike is Superior?

Have you wanted to spice up your home gym with a cycling option? Are you confused on which bike to chose between a spin bike and an exercise bike? This article is for you.

Depending on how intense you want your training to be, there are only two options that will satisfy your needs: exercise bike and the spin bike. Both these bikes are capable of delivering the challenge you require to achieve your fitness goals.

As a gym instructor I get many clients asking me about the difference between the two seeing as they have so many characteristics in common. This inspired me to write up this summary detailing the unique comparisons between the two.

To find out more about who is best suited to use either bike, which muscles are worked and how many calories one can burn per session, keep reading.

What are the key differences between Spin bikes and exercise bikes?

Spin Bike
Exercise Bike
Primary Use
Regular cycling
Ease of Use
Risk of Injury
Calories Burned
Muscles Worked
Quads, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, calves, triceps, core, biceps
Quads, glutes, claves, hamstrings
Increased Challenge
Increase Speed, resistance or stand
Increase speed or resistance

Spin Bike vs Exercise Bike – How do they differ?

Primary Use

If your goal in training is to improve your cardio workout, build muscle strength and achieve greater and faster weight loss results, then the exercise bike is ideal for you. This is the right bike to help your health in general and enhance your fitness program.

Resembling regular bikes in the form or position in training, spin bikes are especially used in spinning classes for groups of fitness enthusiasts. They are most ideal for anyone who takes up cycling as a sport because they mimic the lower hunched back riding position you have to assume to get the most out of your spinning session.

That being said, even if you are not a cyclist and you love to try a spinning class, nothing should stop you. Your body will thank you later.

The spin bike is a favorite of cycling enthusiasts while the exercise bike is for everyone else who is seeking some light cardio and strength training.

Ease of Use in Training

Nothing is easier than riding a bike, or so many people believe. While I can’t speak for everyone in regards to riding the regular outdoor bikes, these bikes are very easy to use.

With your comfortable shoes strapped on, you can hop onto one and start using it immediately. The pedals may have clips or toe cages to keep you footing secure which is important because it gives you the necessary support to help you pedal powerfully.

As opposed to what many people believe, training on the exercise bike provides more than a warm-up. With multiple training programs available and the ability to adjust the bike’s resistance, you can work up a sweat and get great physical benefits from this.

Going fast, then slow and then fast again will fast-track your fitness goals.

Spinning is scary for some who are intimidated by the fast cycling motion at very high speeds. If you can get through your fear and apply yourself to a spinning class for 30 minutes every 4 to 5 days a week, you will reap great benefits in a short time.

Both the bikes are easy to use and should present no problem as you sweat it out in the comfort of your home.

Injury Risk

These bikes differ in terms of flywheels that they operate on. The exercise bike is a perfect option for anyone recovering from a knee injury as it will stop when you stop pedaling. This is made possible by the integrated freewheel system. In reverse and for the same reason, this might make you push less than you are capable of.

The spin bike on the other hand is fitted with pedals that are controlled by the flywheel which is great because the machine adapts to the effort you are exerting by adjusting its resistance. While this is good because it encourages you to push yourself, it takes the wheel a while to slow down and stop.

Anyone with knee injuries who wants to try the spin bike can do so but on a very cautious and low intensity. However, the hunched back cycling position of the spin bike might present back problems to some.

Sitting and low intensity cycling on either bike is less impactful on knee injuries as compared to standing and cycling.

Resistance Adjustment

On both the spin and exercise bike, you can adjust the tension or resistance to pedaling and this will increase your workout in efficiency and effectiveness. By changing up the difficulty in your training, you force your muscles to work harder which works well for toning and strengthening.

As you push harder on the bike, your heart rate increases steadily making this a great cardiovascular activity. You can go fast on both bikes so if you seek some thrill in your workout, go as fast as you can.

Most people like to switch up their cycling position from hunched or seated to standing to increase the variation of their training. While it is a bit awkward to stand on the exercise bike, the spin bike is perfectly built for this.

If standing and cycling is a favorite thing for you to do, you should pick the spin bike because it can do both as compared to the upright sitting posture on the exercise bike.

Muscles Worked

The muscles targeted by both bikes are very similar. The quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and to a small degree for balance and strength, your core too.

To try and incorporate a more full-body workout, stand on the spinning bike. This will increase challenge to your calves, core, arm, back and your shoulders.

If these muscles are your focus or if you don’t have a challenging workout routine already, the spin bike will help you vary your workout techniques.

The spin bike works out more muscles than the exercise bike because it allows you to stand and cycle which exercise bikes do not provide for.

Calories burned

The heavier you weigh, the more energy you will need to make a move on your equipment. As long as you are proactive and seriously focused on losing any excess weight, the spin bike’s technique of standing and cycling will be your best bet.

The weight of the flywheel comes into play here by forcing you to push harder to make a revolution.

Cycling while seated does not do much for burning your calories and while seated on both these equipment, you are not likely to lose any more than 500 calories per session.

Pedaling on the spin bike while standing is your best option if you are targeting to lose weight through cycling.

Verdict: So, between the spin bike and the exercise bike, which is more superior?

The spin bike has proven to be more superior in terms of versatility of use, number of calories burned, muscles worked, type of flywheel used and in the possible benefits you can reap from working out on it as compared to on the exercise bike.

Unfortunately, the spin bikes don’t offer any monitor to display your vitals, if this is a deal breaker, you need to pick the exercise bike.