Spin Bike Versus Exercise Bike: How Are They Different?

Spin Bike Versus Exercise Bike: How Are They Different?

One of the most effective ways to get a workout is cycling, but not all bikes were created equally.

If you’re someone who prefers to stay off the road and get your workout done at home or in the gym, there are some great models of exercise bikes out there that offer the same results or better.

When it comes to exercise bikes, not all are created equally, but two of the most popular styles, the traditional exercise bike, and the spin bike have a lot to offer.

These bikes are ideal for people who want a good workout without having to head outdoors and if you’re in the market for a new cardio machine they’re great for people of all physical abilities. 

Which is better, a spin bike or an exercise bike?

In the spin bike versus exercise bike debate, it depends on what your fitness goals are.

Standard exercise bikes are good for cycling whereas a spin bike lets you incorporate further moves into the workout like standing up and squatting, just as you’d find in a spin class at your local gym.

Buying a new cardio machine is a major investment so you want to make sure you’re choosing one that meets your fitness goals as well as your physical requirements.

With a better understanding of what they offer, their pros and cons, and who they’re best suited to, you can walk away with the perfect cardio equipment for you.

The Difference Between a Spin Bike and an Exercise Bike

At first glance, you might not be able to tell the difference between a spin bike versus exercise bike, but their subtle variances have a lot of impact.

Here’s a basic rundown on what each of them offers and how their layout determines the type of workout you’ll get.

Spin Bike

A spin bike is designed to look and feel just like a traditional road bike but with more options on how you use it. Their design means you’re able to stand up as you train which means you can burn extra calories due to the huge range of motion available. 

A spin bike comes with features like reinforced pedals, an adjustable seat, and a reinforced frame, and they’re great for all kinds of users. The seats aren’t as padded because they’re designed to be ridden while standing up so they’re better suited for people who plan on using them to their full potential.

Exercise Bike

A standard exercise bike is the most basic kind that you find in health clubs and home gyms

It allows the user to sit comfortably in a position that resembles a road bike so that they get a low impact workout that still burns a lot of calories. And cycle, keeping them in a low impact position that gets the heart rate pumping.  

Common features include textured handlebars, display screen, and a padded seat, with comfort being the most important design feature in this type of machine.

The two most common designs are an upright seat or recumbent bike, both offering something unique for the user. When seated in this upright position and cycling, the user gets an adequate lower body workout that can burn a good number of calories.

Pros and Cons of an Exercise Bike

Exercise bikes remain one of the most popular pieces of equipment in gyms and are great for home use as well.

They can be enjoyed by all types of users and are easy enough for beginners to master and effectively burn calories in a cardio workout. Check out the good and the good of the traditional exercise bike to see if it’s what you need in a cardio machine.

Pros And Cons Of An Exercise Bike


  • Low impact workout
    • The seated position of an exercise bike means it’s not weight-bearing and putting a strain on your joints.
    • This is a low impact workout ideal for people with injuries or those who prefer a less stressful workout on their lower body.
  • Comfortable option
    • Exercise bikes were designed with rider ease in mind and compared to spin bikes and road bikes, the seats are padded and the handlebars are textured and comfortable.
    • You could ride for hours on an exercise bike without feeling any discomfort.
  • Suits all physical needs
    • No matter your physical condition, age, gender, or weight, you’ll be able to ride and enjoy an exercise bike. It requires no special extra equipment or prior skills and it can be done by anyone.
  • Display consoles and settings
    • Modern exercise bikes have better display consoles than their spinning counterparts and can show you things like workout time, calories burned, and distance traveled. They come with programs and settings that can be adjusted to your specific needs.


  • Workouts can get boring
    • Since all you’ll be doing on your exercise bike is cycling, it can become boring after a while. If you like to mix things up with your workouts you might prefer a spin bike that allows you to do more.
  • Not as durable
    • Exercise bikes are usually cheaper but they’re also made less durable. Because there’s no need for them to have reinforced frames and pedals, they might hold less weight and be more likely to break with vigorous use, unless you invest in an expensive one.
  • Doesn’t burn as many calories
    • According to LiveStrong, cycling alone for 30 minutes burns around 300 calories on an exercise bike, which is impressive but nowhere near close to the calories burned in a spin class.
    • If a maximum fat loss in minimal time is your goal, this could affect your decision

Pros and Cons of a Spin Bike

The spin bike was created many years after the first traditional exercise bike and they had a specific audience in mind when they were designed.

These bikes rose to popularity when the spin craze of the 1980s was in full force and they’re still loved today by those who want more than just a standard cardio workout.

Here are some of the pros and cons to consider about the average spin bike if you’re thinking of investing in one for yourself.

Pros And Cons Of A Spin Bike
  • Burns more calories
    • A 30-minute spin class on your bike can burn around 600 calories, which is double what you’ll burn from the same amount of time on a standard exercise bike.
    • This makes it ideal for time-poor people or those with serious fat loss goals in mind and means the spin bike is far more energy consuming than riding your bike on the road.
  • Strength and cardio workout
    • The movements done in a spin class, either at home or the health club, offers a comprehensive workout. This combines both strength training and cardiovascular exercise so you’re getting two separate workouts in one.
  • Similar to a road bike
    • If you’ve ridden a road bike before you’ll feel right at home using a spin bike as they’re designed so you’re in the same position. Some people find this more comfortable and easier to maneuver if they’re used to riding on the road.
  • Strong frames
    • As spin bikes have to be able to take the weight and movement of a person riding them, the frames are made of reinforced materials and they’re more stable to ride.
    • If you’re a heavier user or worried about a stationary bike tipping over when you ride it with force, a spin bike would be ideal.


  • Intense workout
    • Spin bikes weren’t designed to be used sitting down comfortably for the entire workout but rather standing up and performing other moves. Therefore, riding one for 30 minutes would be considered a tough workout.
    • If you’re new to spinning you’ll probably only be able to start with a 10-minute ride until you build your strength and stamina so it’s not as ideal for beginners.
  • Can’t be done every day
    • A spin class or spinning workout is a rigorous form of exercise and to prevent injury and exhaustion it shouldn’t’ be done every day.
    • If you’re someone who prefers to do daily exercise you would be better equipped with a stationary exercise bike that allows low to high effort workouts that can be done every day.
  • Not ideal for injured riders
    • If you’re suffering from an upper or lower-body injury, you might not be comfortable riding a spin bike.
    • As they’re not designed for sitting on and require a lot of additional movements, this isn’t the most responsible choice for injury recovery or pain management. 

Which Is Best For Your Workout?

To determine whether a spin or exercise bike is the best choice, it all comes down to your fitness goals and physical requirements.

The cost of joining a gym or health club is out of most people’s budgets these days due to rising costs, so investing in a cardio machine for the home can be the answer to your problems, but then you have to decide on just one that will work best for you.

If you’re someone who wants a low impact workout because you feel more comfortable doing so or you’re recovering from an injury, the traditional exercise bike is the best choice.

These bikes are usually cheaper and don’t require a lot of practice to master the technique, so even beginners can use them properly.

However, if you want a home workout that targets the whole body and you’re not afraid to put in the extra effort, a spin bike is ideal.

While they’re still relatively low impact they do require you to use your whole body through the movements, so they’re better suited to those with a moderate fitness level, to begin with.

Both options have a lot to offer and you should be able to find a bike within your budget on either side, so it depends entirely on your personal preference.

An exercise bike is a constant and simple way to get your heart rate up and a spin bike offers more of a challenge, so depending on the fitness goals you have, there’s a bike out there to suit.

Related Questions 

Related Questions

Purchasing a new cardio machine is a big decision and one that should be weighed up carefully considering how many options are out there today.

Exercise bikes are a popular choice because they’re tried and trusted machines that have loads of benefits, regardless of the style you choose. We’ve answered some FAQs about exercise bikes and how they work to make your final decision easier.

To amp up your workout on a spin bike there are some things you can do differently that will help to burn more calories.

Work out in a warm environment, turn the resistance up as much as you can handle, don’t take a break from moving even for a sip of water, and do at least 30 minutes of continuous exercise.

If you want to use your standard exercise bike for a spin class workout, you may encounter some problems with space.

A spin bike is designed to allow for easy movement up and down, however, an exercise bike was created for the user to be seated at all times. The frames and pedals aren’t as reinforced as on a spin bike so stability might also be an issue.

Depending on the style of bike, its manufacturer, and the materials and construction used, an exercise bike can usually hold a user of between 200 to 400 pounds.

The better quality the bike and the more durable its materials the more weight it can hold, but in general, a standard spin or exercise bike will have a weight capacity of around 350 pounds.

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