Exercise Bike vs Spin Bike

Exercise bikes and spin bikes are two very common pieces of cardiovascular exercise equipment, with both having massive benefits for your health.

That said, although both are types of stationary bicycles, there are some big differences between them.

Right now, we're going to figure out what exactly both exercise bikes and spin bikes are, and what makes them different from each other.


Differences Between Exercise Bikes and Spin Bikes

There are a few main differences between exercise bikes and spin bikes to be aware of, which will help you make a decision between the two.



Appearance & Design

Exercise bikes are designed for users of all kinds, whether beginners looking for a light workout or more seasoned cardio experts looking to get their hearts pumping. 

Although they are designed for everyone, their highly adjustable nature and more comfortable design makes them beginner-friendly.

Spin bikes are designed for high-intensity cycling, and are usually used by group cycling classes.

These lean forward and have a minimal design, with the aim being to mimic riding a real road bike. These bikes are made for challenging workouts and usually aren’t very beginner-friendly.

 Want to find a good spin bike? Take a look at our best spin bikes for home list.

Appearance & Design

A big difference is that regular exercise bikes usually have large pedals, an oversized seat, have you seated upright with a relatively straight back, and usually have handlebars that allow for multiple grip positions.

Plus, they often have large consoles built into the bike with a variety of extra features such as tablet holders so you can watch your favourite show as you exercise.

They can be quite large and heavy, plus they usually have a large magnetic flywheel to provide smooth and constant resistance.

Whereas spin bikes are much more minimalistic in nature, as they often have small seats and pedals, like a real road bike, and often feature the ability for riders to use specialised cycling shoes.

A spin bike has you leaning forward, in true race mode as a result the console tends to be quite basic only showing the essential workout data.

Generally, a spin bike will have a flywheel mounted at the front which uses either friction or magnetic resistance.


Upright Exercise Bike

Adjustability and Comfort

Regular exercise bikes generally have an adjustable seat, handlebars, and many different resistance levels, which makes them versatile and beginner-friendly.

Spin bikes usually aren’t nearly as adjustable, although they are designed to replicate a real road bike riding experience.

Normally, the biggest difference in terms of comfort is the seat, if you aren't used to using a spin bike, then the seat may feel quite uncomfortable at first. Especially if you don't have the spin bike set up correctly for you.

 Related: The Best Exercise Bikes USA

The Type of Workout

Exercise bikes are usually used by people working out on their own. They can be used for exercise sessions of all intensity levels, although the experience is usually a bit more relaxed.

Spin bikes are most often used in high-intensity group cycling classes. Spin bikes are made for those looking for a serious workout.

 Spin Bike Riding


Spin bikes are quite expensive due to their high-end designs, but a good regular exercise bike can be just as expensive. The difference is that you can find lower-end exercise bikes at much lower prices than starter spin bikes.

Pros and Cons of Exercise Bikes

Now that we know what the main differences between these two types of exercise equipment are, let’s figure out if it’s an exercise bike that you want.


  • Exercise bikes designed for regular home use tend to be fairly affordable. Although you can find very expensive high-end units, there are also cheaper ones. Exercising with this kind of bike doesn’t have to be very costly. 
  • Another bonus with exercise bikes is that they are usually quite comfortable. While they are made to get your sweat running, they're also made so that normal folks can feel comfortable while using them. 
  • Regular exercise bikes tend to be ideal for people of all skill and fitness levels, perhaps besides the most advanced cycling fanatics. 
  • Exercise bikes are great because they can be adjusted, which usually goes for at least the seat, the handlebars, and more. 


    • One drawback with most exercise bikes is that they can be pretty big and heavy. They can be difficult to move around, they take up a lot of space, and storing them can be quite a challenge, especially if you have a relatively small home. 
    • If you are looking for a very heavy workout, then a regular exercise bike isn’t the best option. 
    • Exercise bikes don’t work as many muscles as spin bikes.

     Read more: Exercise Bike Benefits Guide

        Pros and Cons of Spin Bikes

        With the pros and cons of exercise bikes covered, let’s now do the same for spin bikes.


        • Something that most people should be able to appreciate about spin bikes is that they are fairly space-efficient. Their minimalist design means that they don’t take up too much space, which is ideal if your home has limited space. 
        • If you are looking for an intense workout that will have you feeling like you biked the Tour de France, then a spin bike is the best option for you. These are designed for intense exercise. 
        • Spin bikes are ideal for those looking to push their fitness levels and for those with plenty of experience. 
        • Due to the nature of the spin bike, it more or less qualifies as a full-body exercise. Standing up while you bike means that you’re engaging your upper half too.


        • A big drawback with spin bikes is that they tend to be quite expensive. While there is a certain price range here, with both more and less expensive options, none of them are cheap. In the grand scheme of things, expect to spend more on a spin bike than an exercise bike. 
        • Spin bikes certainly aren’t designed for comfort. In fact, most people stand up while using them, so the seat is only minimally cushioned, and small as well. More often than not, sitting on a spin bike for too long can become painful for your behind. 
        • The level of intensity that spin bikes involve can be too much for beginners, the elderly, or people with disabilities. 


            Exercise vs Spin Bike – Which Is Right for You?

            If you are looking for something versatile, relatively comfortable, adjustable, and you just want to get some movement in, then a regular exercise bike will do the trick.

            However, if you’re looking for an intense workout, and you want the experience to closely mimic riding a real road bike, then a spinning bike is what you need. 

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