Spin Bike vs Exercise Bike

Spin bikes and exercise bikes, they look the same and you even see them both at the gym. Does riding one over the other matter? While they may both look the same, they also have their differences. In this article, we’ll tackle the spin bike vs exercise debate and provide you with information on what bike you should use. 

Spin Bike vs Exercise Bike

You can categorize both bikes as a fixed or stationary bike. Both work by pedaling to give you a workout. The bikes help strengthen your leg muscles. You also get to improve your cardio. They help you improve your breathing, strength, and endurance. 

However, both bikes do have their differences and we’ll look into them. 

Row of spin bikes in a gym

What is Spin Bike?

Spin bikes copy the same movement of a real bike. Spin bikes support a lot of exercises because the design supports different positions. You can operate the pedals even when you’re in a standing position. 

You can mostly find spin bikes in gyms and training centers. Spin bikes provide you with a full-body workout and effectively strengthens your:

  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Abs
  • Shoulders

Spin bikes allow you to stand up as you pedal that maximizes your weight loss. Spin bikes also come with a useful console for tracking your progression.

What is Exercise Bike?

Exercise bike or also known as stationary bikes pertains to upright bikes. A lot of people use exercise bikes because they’re a cheaper option for incorporating into their home gym.

Exercise bike provides a great cardio workout. It effectively burns calories and body fat. Exercise bikes put less stress on your joints while still giving you a great aerobic workout

Primary Use

Most people generally use the exercise bike for general health and fitness program. It works for everyone regardless of fitness level who want to work on their cardio. It also helps with muscle building and weight loss. 

You mostly find spin bikes in spinning group fitness classes. Most people who use spin bikes usually participate in cycling. Cyclists use the spin bike to practice for competitions as it closely mimics the body position in regular bikes. 

Therefore, depending on what you want to achieve with biking, you may want to prefer one over the other. Generally, a lot of people would pick exercise bikes yet if you want to get into competitive cycling, going for a spin bike would be the obvious choice. 

Ease of Use

You can easily use both bikes the way you would ride a regular bike. You won’t really notice much of a difference in terms of ease of use. 

Man using an exercise bike

You can probably nitpick how the handles position differently on each bike. It may make it easier for you to ride based on this. 

Some bikes also have consoles which may vary on different models so we can’t really compare which one is better between spin bike and exercise bike. 

Resistance Progression

When it comes to adjusting the resistance level, both bikes work the same. You can increase the resistance level for each bike to add more difficulty. 

You can also adjust the bikes to go faster if you want to work on speed. However, the spin bike allows you to stand during cycling. Exercise bikes don’t allow you to do so. Standing allows for more exercise variations. 

Exercise bikes come with actual wheels. It operates on a magnetic resistance or electromagnetism and you can freely adjust the resistance. While spin bikes come with heavy flywheels to give them a regular bike feel. 

Muscles Worked

Both will work your muscles the same way. However, the spin bike has the advantage of allowing you to stand up. Regular biking works your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. You also work the core a little bit by balancing. 

It’s a different thing when you stand. You put more stress on your lower body muscles. However, you also work some of your upper body muscles like your shoulders, arms, back, and even your core.

Standing makes biking more of a complete workout. Therefore, if you want to build muscles, you have to go for the spin bike. It allows you to stand while pedaling. 

Risk of Injury

Technically, the spin bike should have a lower risk of injury than an exercise bike. You have a much easier time pedaling with the flywheel of the spin bike. This puts less stress on your joints. 

However, spin bikes make use of speed and standing up. This adds more pressure to your joints. Most biking injuries come from the joints. If you’re just using the spin bike for regular biking, you shouldn’t have any problems. For additional support, wear workout shoes for plantar fasciitis to prevent your joints and feet from hurting.

However, if you want to engage in fast spinning and standing while pedaling, you should keep in mind that you’ll have more risk of getting injured than you do with an exercise bike.        

Various gym equipments at home

Fat Burning

Most people want to try biking because they want to burn body fat. For this, you’ll definitely go for a spin bike. You burn more calories in a spin bike than you do with an exercise bike. 

The spin bike gives you a full-body workout whereas the exercise bike only works on lower body muscles. Working more muscles into the exercise means you spend more energy doing it. Therefore, you burn more fat. 

However, if you plan to go biking in a seated position, you won’t notice much of a difference in fat burning. So you can go with the bike that you’re most comfortable in. 


Consoles depend on the model. However, spin bike consoles tend to be a little more detailed. Most owners of spin bikes do competitive cycling that’s why you get to see a lot of features on spin bike consoles for data and recording progression.

Some exercise bikes also have this type of consoles. Therefore, it’s up to whatever bike you prefer that also has the console that you think would help you out a lot. 


You get a whole lot of variety in exercise bikes. Most spin bikes hover around the expensive side. With exercise bikes, you get expensive ones and you can pick cheaper ones. 

That’s why many homeowners own exercise bikes more than spin bikes. If the budget decides what you should buy, then going for the exercise bike should give you a lot of cheap options. 


Spin bikes and exercise bikes have a lot of common in them. In fact, if you bike in a seated position, they almost have the same effect. The only difference would be the wheels used for each bike. If you want to do some outdoor biking or cycling, going for the spin bike would do you good. For casual use at home, exercise bike won’t disappoint you.  

Robert Lemus has been a natural competitor for 6 years, starting in Men’s Physique, then Bodybuilding, and then into Classic Physique. He is the Orange County Bodybuilding champion in 2016 for the Musclemania Organization. In 2018, he received his Pro Card with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Classic Physique.