Today we are going to look at two similar yet different machines used for cardio. The first is the standard exercise bike, commonly found in the cardio sections of your commercial gym. The second is the intense HIIT machine, the spin bike.
You can utilize both of these machines for massive weight loss, huge calories burned, and cardiovascular training like few others. Professional trainers and novice gym-goers alike love both of these machines, and entire communities have sprung up around them.
Spin Bike Pros & Cons
What We Like
What We Didn’t Like
Comparing Spin Bikes Vs. Exercise Bikes
Now we are going to look in a bit more detail into both machines. Using these comparisons, you should be able to make an informed decision about which machine is better for your needs and goals.
If you're looking into a workout bike but can't decide between a spin bike and an exercise bike, then which muscle groups you're trying to strengthen and tone will no doubt influence your decision.
Exercise bikes are essentially the older version of spin bikes. Spin bikes were developed to improve the performance of traditional stationary bikes while also pushing users to perform at a higher standard. As such, spin bikes naturally engage more muscle groups than exercise bikes can.
On a stationary bike, you make use of your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. On the other hand, the spin bike targets your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, and core. You get much more of a full-body workout using a spin bike than an exercise bike. Even the muscle groups both machines hit are hit harder by spin bikes due to the intensity of the workout routine.
Winner - Spin Bike
In terms of the calories burned, we will assume that the same amount of time, energy, and effort was put in during hour-long sessions. The spin bike, utilizing a much wider range of muscle groups, requires a lot more energy from your body and burns a lot more calories.
Also, the heavier you are, the more calories you're going to burn on either a spin bike or an exercise bike. Since spin bikes are high-frequency, high-intensity workout, heavier people can expect to burn far more calories if they stick a fast pace and consistent movement.
However, spin bikes are also much more awkward to use than traditional stationary bikes. While exercise bikes are easier to cheat with, they're also easier to use correctly than spin bikes. If you feel like you aren't able to spin correctly, then it could be that you actually burn more calories on an exercise bike.
To summarize, you shouldn't go for a spin bike just because everyone says it burns more calories. If you can, try to use one first. If you feel like you can't get the hang of it at your current weight, then go for an exercise bike. If you are able to use a spin bike, you should definitely go for it as long as you can stick to your routine.
Winner - Spin Bike
Calories burnt is only one part of the equation for weight loss. Combined with your diet, sleep schedule, and the specific areas of fat on your body, spin bikes typically equate to far more weight loss than traditional exercise bikes.
Since spin bikes engage more muscle groups than exercise bikes, you can be sure that you're going to lose fat from more places. Also, the workout intensity increases your heart rate and muscle burn, further increasing the likelihood that you'll lose weight.
Winner - Spin bike
One of the most significant differences between spin bikes and exercise bikes is the cost you could face when purchasing one. Since spin bikes are newer and more high-tech than most exercise bikes, you wouldn't be wrong to assume that they are more expensive.
While this is typically true, the higher-end exercise bikes may cost more than lower-end spin bike models. Generally speaking, however, spin bikes are more expensive when compared to a similar quality model of exercise bike.
If you're a beginner at working out or just getting back into the swing of regular exercise, then we wouldn't recommend purchasing a spin bike right off the bat. Since they're more expensive, it's better to be sure that you will indeed workout regularly and not skip out on your investment. Exercise bikes are distinctly cheaper, so they're a great starter machine for beginners.
Winner - Exercise Bike
Alternatives Cardio Options
If neither a spin bike or an exercise bike tickles your fancy, here are two alternatives for you to sink your teeth into.
If you're looking for a killer cardiovascular exercise machine but aren't a fan of spin bikes or exercise bikes, then maybe a treadmill is more your speed. Treadmills are a staple of any home gym or commercial fitness facility, so you can be sure to find one wherever you workout or for purchase online.
Compared to your average exercise bike, a treadmill burns more calories, hands down. It engages more muscle groups more intensely, leading to more toning and overall weight loss.
However, compared to a spin bike, a treadmill almost always falls short. Spin bikes, especially when used in a spin class, are unrivaled when it comes to burning calories. In an hour of intensive spinning, cycling around 8mph, a 160-pound person can burn up to 800 calories. Even at a leisurely pace of 5mph, you can burn up to 600 calories.
Whether you choose a spin bike or a treadmill is up to your personal preference. Although you can burn more calories on a spin bike, you might not like the feeling of riding one. You should pick whichever machine you're most comfortable with to increase your chances of sticking to your workout routine and not giving up before reaching your fitness goals.
Keep in mind that treadmills typically cost more than exercise bikes and spin bikes. Also, they are larger and bulkier than either type of bike, so make sure you have enough space in your house and your budget if you decide to pick one up.
An elliptical is another mainstay in many workout enthusiasts' homes and commercial gyms. Many people use the machine to burn calories and get in a nice full-body workout.
Generally speaking, ellipticals burn fewer calories than spin bikes but more than stationary bikes. Because spin biking is a HIIT workout, your heart rate is higher, and you can feel the muscle burn in your lower body more than an elliptical.
However, spin bikes focus entirely on your lower body, while ellipticals also provide a decent upper body workout. The resistance for the grips on the handle can be changed to intensify the exercises, so you can expect more toning on your arms, back, and shoulders than you could ever on a spin bike.
As a rule of thumb, ellipticals and spin bikes cost around the same amount of money from the low-end to high-range models. Both machines cost more than exercise bikes, so if you're on a strict budget, then maybe an elliptical isn't for you.
By now, you should have a good idea of whether a spin bike or exercise bike is right for you. Spin bikes are the better machine in almost every way, burning more calories and hitting more muscle groups than exercise bikes can.
Despite this, many people opt for exercise bikes because they are cheaper and more comfortable to use, much better suited to home workout use. No matter which machine you choose, we're sure you'll be hitting your fitness goals quicker than you imagine!