What is the Difference Between an Exercise Bike and a Spinning Bike?

This is a short off shoot of my road bike cycling hubs, but kinda related. A lot of people want an exercise bike or spinning bike for the winter simply because it is either too wet or too dangerous, not to mention cold, out on the roads at this time of year. I can understand that. When I started looking into it for myself though, I found that no one really was spelling out for me the difference between the two systems.

I thought that they were the same thing, or at least the exercise bike was simply an old fashioned version. i was really wrong.

I also discovered that a spinning bike was the land locked version of using a stationary bike trainer, but more on what those are on another hub, yet to be written.

This hub in the meantime is all about what I discovered from reading and asking around about what is the Difference Between an Exercise Bike and a Spinning Bike?

This is a great question asked over and over, and there doesn’t seem to be that much difference between the two different styles, unless you try them out that is.

Starting with an exercise bike such as the Tunturi range, you get:

Variable resistance which is computer controlled, meaning you don’t have to jump off the bike, alter it yourself, and then jump back on. This works together with…

Video footage care of T-Road. It has to be tried to be believed. As the video shows you climbing through the hills, so the pedalling resistance is increased which makes it harder, just like going up a hill. And coming down it gets easier. Pedal harder and you go faster through the video.

trainer will guide you through your ideal exercise program, making sure that you are working at your optimum level. An this is calculated based on…

An assessment program right at the beginning. Enter variables like age and weight, and the initial program will assess your fitness and create the perfect formula for you, and inspire you with a trainer.

To get the best out of an exercise bike you need to look more top of the range to get these features, and price could be the major hurdle.

What are the features on a spinning bike?

In door training is ok, but it can get a bit tedious. Don't forget to check out real road bikes as well since it's always worth riding the real thing. You will certainly get a better workout. Also, depending on the machine, you might find that you will be really well off investing in some clipless road cycling shoes. An increasing number of gyms prefer their members to clip in.

Finally, for a wider discussion on the subject of exercise bikes in general, read my hub on how to choose the right stationary bike.

Change the resistance manually, so there is no variable resistance on your rides. These machines are built to build endurance.

Have a more natural muscle group work out. Exercise bikes work slightly differently, and for some reason many people report that the flywheel of the spinning bike results in a much better replication of your real-bike feeling in the muscles, which is better for those people who are looking to train inside during wet and cold winters.

Join thousands in the gym spinning community. Gyms are stocked full of spinning classes which are filled week after week, complete with sweaty bodies and coaches/instructors from the front.

The downside to the spinner is one of motivation. In a gym you get someone yelling at you to work harder, and as there is only manual resistance, increased power and effort and hence endurance development only comes from the effort you put in. You also get a lot of other sweaty bodies to challenge and inspire you…But in your own home, will you work as hard? Thankfully, some of the higher spec spinners come with computers to tell you how much ‘work’ you are doing, but you still have to be pretty self-motivated.


The bottom line is do you want something that is a full technological wizard such as the Tunturi Exercise Bike range, but costs over £1500/$3000; or do you go for the somewhat cheaper but more natural spinning bike, adored by road bike cycling enthusiasts, but doesn’t have the changes available in terms of resistance, though there is a personal trainer option on the more expensive machines.

I think in the end that it depends a lot on motivation. That is, if you are able to be self motivated and can find other ways of building power muscle, then the spinner wins hands down for it’s natural ‘feeling’ and endurance building dynamic. But if you are someone who is looking for bike tech that mimics the real world, you should go for the more expensive exercise bike.

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Comments 6 comments

heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Never heard this term...spinning bike? The spinning bike is a good way to get your exercise, year round:) Thanks for sharing!

ludmilla701 profile image

ludmilla701 6 years ago from U.A.E.

Great article! Happy hubbing.

crazybeanrider profile image

crazybeanrider 6 years ago from Washington MI

I didn't think there was much difference, but I guess I was wrong, Thanks for pointing out the differences. Now I have a better idea of what I need to buy.

Jordan Riley profile image

Jordan Riley 5 years ago

Fruitful article that you have made. Will check out your other hubs

CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

Interesting article as an alternative I'd recommend the use of a turbo trainer to turn your current bicycle into a spinning bike.

Many road cyclists actually do not like spinning bikes. They find the free form and scattered nature of many classes not to their tastes and also do not like that they cannot match their road position easily when on many spinning bikes (I personally struggle with the saddle height on schwinn spinning bikes)

john000 profile image

john000 2 years ago from Superior, Arizona

Good information. I recently purchased a Horizon EX 57. It's great. I am perfectly happy not having anyone yelling at me at the gym. It is very suitable for me in the solitude of my own home. Voted you up. Thanks.

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