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Informational Guide

Comparing Spin Bikes Vs Exercise Bikes

Choosing a cardio machine for a better workout can be daunting, but our guide on spin bike vs exercise bike will help make your next cardio workout a breeze.

by Josh Mitchell

Choosing a cardio machine for a better workout at home can feel daunting at first, but our guide makes your next cardio workout a breeze by explaining our top exercise bike choices.

Both spin bikes and normal exercise bikes offer superior workouts when compared to elliptical machines or treadmill walking. Bike workouts will jumpstart your cardio health and allow you to burn calories.

If you are a serious fitness enthusiast, read on for our breakdown of the best exercise bike machines for your home gym.

  • Upright Bike 
    An upright bike is a normal exercise bike machine. These exercise bikes are upright, which means that the handlebars are placed higher, and your back will be sitting more upright (closer to a straight back) while riding. These bikes are perfect for leisurely rides and are comfortable for long-distance rides at home. These bikes also tend to be less expensive compared to spin bikes.
  • Recumbent Bike 
    The recumbent bike is another normal exercise bike machine. These exercise bikes offer a sitting position with the feet stretched outward in front of the user. When riding on these bikes, the user puts little pressure on joints and can also strike up a more comfortable, leisurely pace. This is definitely the bike that is best for people with injuries that need to stay active. It is also a great choice for working out while watching television (perfect sitting back position to look upward at the TV).
  • Spin Bike 
    A spin bike is the best exercise bike choice for fitness enthusiasts who want a killer workout. Some spin bikes do not come with the tracking features of exercise bikes, such as heart rate monitors and touch-screen LCD screens, but many now do. Spin bikes offer more intense workouts that raise the heart rate and are perfect for cyclists who can’t ride outside because of weather or because of dangers (living near unsafe roads). Spin bikes also have a smoother ride because of the heavier flywheels and work to tone muscles better than the normal exercise bike machines.
Spin Bike Vs Exercise Bike

Spin Vs Normal Exercise Bikes: Differences Compared

Exercise bikes may look similar, but they have different purposes and different pros/cons. Traditional or “normal exercise bikes” are best for the lowkey exerciser who wants a casual workout but isn’t looking to push themselves with high-intensity cardio workouts. Spin bikes can push users to the max with both intensity and resistance.

Burning Calories

Think about whether or not you want your bike to burn calories at a higher rate or a lower rate. Standard exercise bikes will burn calories at a slower rate than spin bikes because they were designed for a more leisurely-paced workout. Do you want to workout intently for thirty minutes or coast for an hour?

Belly Fat

Can you lose belly fat by riding a stationary bike? You can absolutely lose belly fat while riding a stationary bike. However, you cannot spot reduce fat, and therefore you will need to lose fat at a pace of approximately 1-2 lbs. per week until your belly fat finally reduces.

Weight loss

Which bike is better for weight loss? The best bike for weight loss depends on your body and your goals. Spin bikes offer a better high-intensity workout, but if you have a lot of weight to lose and need to be extra gentle on your joints (or have low cardiac health), then an exercise bike can give you long, leisurely rides that still burn calories.

People with Bad Knees

If you have bad knees, we recommend purchasing an upright exercise bike because they are gentle on bad knees. You don’t want to apply too much force or pressure to your bad knees. A normal exercise bike will give you a more comfortable, cozy position to pedal from and won’t require much force on your knees.

Injury Rate

The injury rate for both the spin bike and normal exercise bike is relatively low. You won’t need to worry about injuries as long as you use the proper form. The spin bike is more difficult to maintain proper form with, and if you are not familiar with the spin bike, you may want to test ride one at a store or gym before deciding to purchase. Spin bikes require that you be bent over, and the handlebars are slightly above your hips. Normal exercise bikes provide a more upright position and are less likely to cause injury.

Workout Variability

Both bikes offer significant workout variability, but spin bikes provide more opportunities to increase cardiovascular endurance. If you want to participate in high-intensity interval training and create more varied, intense workouts, then the spin bike is your best bet.

Machine Durability

Both the exercise bike and spin bike can be durable machines. However, the spin bike is built with more expensive materials and a heavier flywheel. As a result, most spin bikes are more durable than the traditional exercise bike. They also cost more. You can purchase a more expensive traditional exercise bike for higher build quality parts.

Space/Footprint

Consider how much space you have available in your home for your exercise bike and where you might want to place it. Review the bikes included in this guide by checking the footprint of each machine and making sure it will fit well in your space.

Ease of Use

The normal exercise bike is easier to use, but the spin bike doesn’t require much knowledge to use. The spin bike form may take some time to adjust to if you are not used to it, but most exercisers get the hang of it within a few weeks. Look at the handlebar adjustments and seat adjustments on each bike for ease of use as well.


Pros & Cons of Using a Spin Bike

A spin bike is more expensive than a traditional, normal exercise bike; however, spin bikes also offer superior workouts when it comes to cardiovascular endurance.

The spin bike has a fixed wheel, so exercisers can more easily pedal and are better suited for high levels of intensity, including high-intensity interval training and quick changes in resistance levels. 

These bikes also offer greater configurations and are made with higher-quality build parts. Spin bikes can be rough on the lower back, so if maintaining a biker position will be painful, we recommend choosing a regular exercise bike.

Pros

  • Fixed wheel that helps with the pedaling technique
  • Better made and assembled
  • Wide range of adjustments available
  • Easier to configure
  • Easier and faster change of resistance level
  • Great for High Intensity Interval Training
  • Same posture as riding a normal bike
  • Fixed gears

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Tough on the lower back

Pros & Cons of Using A Normal Exercise Bike

A normal exercise bike tends to be more affordable than other spin bike options. These bikes still let you get in a strong cardiac workout with little to no pressure on your joints.

The cost savings mean that you won't necessarily get the same intense workout you would get from a more professional and high-end spin exercise bike.

However, you will still be able to get in a basic low-impact workout and easily monitor your workout data on the bike's monitor screen. When on a budget, choose the normal exercise bike.

Pros

  • Generally cheaper
  • Take up less space in the home
  • Easier to monitor your data
  • Low-intensity exercise
  • Low impact and beginner-friendly
  • Comfortable saddle/seat
  • Less pressure on the upper back

Cons

  • Less realistic cycling experience
  • Not always as easy to adjust
  • Doesn’t provide the same intense workout
  • Unable to stand up on an exercise bike
  • Cheaper models may not be as well made or as comfortable

How to Set Up & Use a Spin Bike

  1. 1
    Adjust the angle  
    First, adjust the angle of your spin bike seat. The angle should feel comfortable to you and should be aligned with the rest of the bike seat.
  2. 2
    Adjust the seat height 
    Next, adjust the seat height. The seat should be parallel to your hip when standing.
  3. 3
    Adjust the angle bar 
    Once you have adjusted the seat height, you can adjust the angle bar. Make sure that this is comfortable. Your knees should be slightly over the back of your foot (not your toes!) and should not be compressed when you have the perfect angle bar position.
  4. 4
    Adjust the handlebars 
    On a spin bike, the handlebars should be slightly above your saddle height. If you have back pain, you may choose to place the handlebars even higher for lower back pain relief. However, we recommend trying to keep your handlebars roughly in line with your saddle so that you can maintain the optimum spin bike position.
  5. 5
    Adjust the pedal clips or straps 
    The pedal clips and straps are designed to keep your shoes in place while you ride. Make sure that these are adjusted for comfort and fit the size of your foot.
  6. 6
    Amend the resistance 
    When amending the resistance, you can choose from a low resistance, medium resistance, or high resistance setting. We recommend starting at a low resistance level for the first week to ensure that you have your bike set up correctly and comfortably. This will also help with any exercise adjustment period you may experience
  7. 7
    Design a safe workout routine  
    When using an exercise bike or spin bike, exercisers should choose a safe workout routine. We recommend beginning with exercising three times per week and increasing the frequency of workouts slowly as stamina builds. Homeowners who choose a spin bike should also purchase spin shoes in order to train safely.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you use a spin bike like an exercise bike?

Yes, in many ways, you can use a spin bike like an exercise bike. However, these two bikes are not the same. Spin bikes require different forms and are best for high-intensity workouts. Exercise bikes are better suited for casual, low-intensity workouts.

Is Peloton a spin bike or stationary bike?

The Peloton is both a spin bike and a stationary bike. The bike itself is a stationary bike that is meant to be used indoors. However, the bike is also a spin bike rather than an exercise bike. The handlebars are at the hip bones, and spinning form is required while riding. This bike is meant for high-intensity workouts.

Is chain or belt better for spin bikes?

Most modern spin bikes use a belt rather than a chain, but some exercisers prefer the chain because it has an outdoor-bike feeling when riding. Chains are more likely to break down and require maintenance, so we recommend choosing an indoor exercise bike with a belt. Belts also give a smoother ride, which is better for high-intensity workouts (and maximum cardiac output).

Where should you place an exercise bike in your house?

The best location for an exercise bike in your home depends on your personal needs. We recommend placing your exercise bike in a convenient location. Consider whether or not you want to look out a window while riding, be near a television, or ride in a secluded spot away from your roommates/family members.

Is it better to have a heavier flywheel on a spin bike?

We recommend choosing a heavier flywheel if you prefer the feel of a traditional bicycle on the road. A heavier flywheel will feel more authentic in that way and more comfortable. However, a lighter flywheel may be preferable for bikers who want an easier riding experience. The lighter the flywheel, the easier it is to sustain a workout.


Conclusion

For exercise enthusiasts who need a powerful and intense workout, we recommend choosing the spin bike for your home workout machine.

For the casual fitness enthusiast, we recommend choosing the more comfortable and leisurely normal exercise bike as your home workout machine. Both bikes make ideal workout companions for homeowners who want to get in shape and stay in shape.

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