Spin Bike vs Upright Bike – Which Is The Better Option For You?

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spin bike vs upright bikeMany people find it difficult to choose between a spin bike vs an upright exercise bike due to how similar they are. There’s often a lack of information about the differences between the two.

Despite the similarity of both bikes, there are some vital differences that make each one suited for certain people and not others.

In this article, we will share with you all the necessary information you need to make a decision on which bike suits you the best, as well as the pros and cons of the two types.

Spin bike vs upright bike: A summary of each

To understand the difference between spin bikes and upright bikes, we first need to tackle some basic information about the way they function.

Spinning Bikes

spin bike

It’s like riding a road bike (you can even stand up when pedaling)

Spinning bikes give people a similar experience to what it feels like riding a road bike, but without the fresh air!

This bike allows the user to train in numerous positions that maximize lipolysis (fat burning), and offers the option to stand up while pedaling.

By standing, you will engage the vast majority of the core muscles, which promotes the burning of more calories and permits users to strengthen various parts of the body.

Moreover, the multiple positions that these bikes offer will reduce the chances of getting bored, since every training session will be slightly different.

Excellent stability

Another advantage of choosing a spinning bike is its stability, regardless of how hard you cycle. This is crucial to maintain the display console (if available) in one position.

Heavier weight capacity

These bikes also tend to have a heavier weight capacity, which allows individuals of all weights to start their fitness journey. It depends on the model though – there are some heavy-duty exercise bikes available in the upright bike category too if you shop around.

Burns more calories

One of the core differences is the flywheels that tend to be heavier. This requires more energy expenditure, and consequently, more calories burnt.

This mediates the flywheels’ mechanism of action and also supports the joints to minimize the risk of getting injured.

Upright Bikes

upright bike

You can’t stand when pedaling

Unlike spinning bikes, you cannot stand on an upright bike due to the absence of any reinforcement on the pedals and how they’re built.

More comfortable for long hours of exercise

The padded seats, however, make the experience more enjoyable even after hours of exercise. What these bikes lack in mobility, they compensate for with other features, such as high-quality display consoles, water bottle holders, and other custom commodities.

More affordable than spin bikes

These bikes are less expensive, which makes them a favorite for newbies on a budget who want to improve their fitness.

Good for beginners and regular fitness

Overall, these bikes are a perfect choice for beginners and regular people who want to stay fit and improve their cardiovascular health.

However, they are not recommended for professional athletes since they don’t provide the endurance and cardiac challenges relative to spinning bikes.

Now that you’re familiar with the two bikes, let see how each one compares when it comes to different features:

The differences: Spin bike vs upright exercise bike

Ease Of Use

An important factor to keep in mind is the degree of experience required to maneuver each bike.

Generally speaking, both bikes are easy to use and require similar levels of fitness. In fact, anyone of ANY level of fitness can use either bike.

While the upright bike might feel different than the one you’re used to as a kid, you will get the hang of it after a few minutes.

In this category, both bikes get one point.

Injury Risk

When it comes to risk injury, it really depends on the type of exercises you’ll be performing. Overall, even though a cycling workout can be intense, it is easier on the joints than, for example, running on a treadmill.

We stated earlier that spinning bikes cause fewer injuries due to the flywheels’ design and the ability of the pedals to handle heavy weights, which keeps the bike at constant motion and reduces the risk of sprains and strains.

With that being said, when you use the spinning bike, you will most likely stand and cycle vigorously to further challenge your body. Consequently, your ligaments and tendons will be at risk of microscopic tears.

To summarize, both bikes are relatively safe to use, but upright bike generally causes fewer injuries as its a lighter workout. It’s all in how you use them.

Muscle recruitment

The muscles that get used for both bikes are very similar unless you decide to stand while cycling on a spinning bike.

Here is a list of the muscles that you will working:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteal muscles
  • Calves
  • Core muscles (e.g., abdominal muscles)

Once you stand on the spinning bike, all the muscles get used, and the training becomes a full-body workout, which is definitely an extra point for spin bikes.

Calorie Burn

Another important factor is the number of calories each bike burns during the training session.

As you probably deduced, spinning bikes burn more calories, especially if you perform the cycling while standing. You just end up working harder in that position.

This is due to the number of recruited muscles and the tension they have to endure. Moreover, the flywheel of the spin bike is heavier, which requires more muscular strength to complete each repetition.

With that being said, the difference between the calories burnt while on a stationary bike versus spinning bike is not that significant, and therefore, you shouldn’t base your decision solely on this factor.

If you are a professional athlete, it is a good idea to go with a spinning bike.

Display console

While this may seem like an odd factor to include in your decision, you should be aware that most spinning bikes are not equipped with a display console.

As a result, you won’t be informed about the distance you traveled, the calories you burnt, and other performance statistics, which may inconvenient for some people.

On the other hand, stationary bikes almost always come with display consoles that contain impressive programming technology to keep track of your progress.

This point goes for upright bikes.

Conclusion

Choosing between a stationary upright bike vs spinning bike is not as easy as it seems because you need to take into account all the points above. You also need to take into consideration your personal needs.

Are you a beginner, or just looking to work on building or maintaining fitness? Then an upright stationary bike might be the best option for your home gym.

Want a real cycling experience (without the wind in your hair)? Want a harder, more intense workout and serious calorie burn? You might want to try a spin bike.

If you still have any questions regarding the spin bike vs upright bike, please do not hesitate to ask in the comment section below.

About the author

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is a husband, dad, fitness enthusiast and personal trainer who has been working out since he was 18 years old. He enjoys the gym as well as exercising at home, and loves testing new fitness equipment and gadgets that aid in fitness and recovery.

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