Upright vs Cycling Bike – Which alternative is Better?

If you have been wanting to spice up your home gym routine and you are confused about the choice between a cycling bike and an upright bike? This article is for you.

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

As a gym buff, my friends always askme 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 Cycling bikes and upright bikes?

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


Cycling Bike vs Upright Bike – How do they differ?

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 cycling 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 this equipment, you are not likely to lose any more than 500 calories per session.

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


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 upright 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.


If your goal in training is to improve your cardio workout, build muscle strength and achieve greater and faster weight loss results, then the upright 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, cycling 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 cycling bike is a favorite of cycling enthusiasts while the upright bike is for everyone else who is seeking some light cardio and strength training.

Resistance Adjustment

On both the cycling and upright 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 upright bike, the cycling bike is perfectly built for this.

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

Risk Level

These bikes differ in terms of flywheels that they operate on. The upright 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 cycling 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 cycling bike can do so but on a very cautious and low intensity. However, the hunched back cycling position of the cycling 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.

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 cycling bike will help you vary your workout techniques.

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

Verdict: So, between the cycling bike and the upright bike, which is more superior?

The cycling 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 upright bike.

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