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Spin Bikes vs Exercise Bikes: What’s the Difference?

best exercise bikes for indoor training

Everyone has heard about cycling’s benefits for health. As a low-impact form of cardio, cycling takes care of everything from muscle toning to weight loss and heart health. That’s why people are also moving to indoor cycling equipment to make it a part of their fitness routine, as outdoor cycling can often come with accessibility constraints. 

Even gyms and health studios keep stationary bikes for the same reason. Using an exercise bike is a trend that has been around for a while, though. People have relied on them to build their endurance and stamina for years. These exercise devices have evolved, and the spin bike is a perfect example of this. These are different from those upright stationary bikes. Let’s dig into this.

What’s the Difference Between Spin Bikes and Other Exercise Bikes

As the foundational cycling component in most spin bikes, exercise bikes, and bike trainers – the flywheel is one of the main differentiators between standard exercise bikes and spin bikes. Think of the flywheel as the rear wheel and hub on a standard bicycle.

The difference? Regular exercise bikes come attached with lightweight flywheels that rotate even when you stop pedaling. So even if you don’t pedal, the movement of the flywheel will continue to spin like an outdoor bicycle.

With spin bikes, the pedals/cranks and flywheel remain fixed, as in the case of a fixed-gear bike. Consequently, the pedal will move as the flywheel moves even after you stop pedaling. You can control the momentum of the flywheel only by reducing your speed. 

In terms of physiology, regular exercise bikes have been shown to be gentler on the body, taking less toll on your knee joints compared spin bikes. Besides that, you must use more resistance to move the heavy flywheel. Because of the rigorous workout experience, your entire body benefits from the experience, and you can shed extra weight, also. Some believe these latest bikes mimic racing bikes in position and posture compared to the others resembling regular outdoor cycles. 

The inclination of the bike handles allows you to lean forward a little more. Plus, different seat heights are also a comfortable option. A spin bike can be the perfect answer if you wish to upgrade your home gym experience. But remember, it can be a slightly more expensive addition.

Spin Workout Experiences 

Beginners should take it easy in the initial days to avoid injuries. Also, don’t worry if you notice muscle soreness in your back and pelvic region in the early days. It’s normal. Once your body adjusts to the workout, you will not face this issue. 

During exercise, you can experience heavy breathing and sweating. Since not everyone can acclimatize instantly, you can increase your workout intensity as you go forward. Start with a lower setting and slower pedaling. Take adequate rest after an intense move. 

Any form of indoor cycling mainly works your lower body parts more. Hence, you can expect your leg joints to become stronger. Depending on the intensity levels, you can also see a vast improvement in your heart and lung health. You can do different spinning exercises or movements to achieve specific fitness. These include Tabata, ladders, etc. Each follows a particular pattern with intense pedaling to slowing down to pause. 

You can pick and train in one based on your physical strength and motivation. Many exercises require less than 30 minutes of your time. In turn, it can be easy to introduce a spin bike into your daily routine.

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Tyler Tafelsky Gravel Cyclist
Head of Content at Better Triathlete | Website

Endurance athlete, professional off-road cyclist, and avid blogger, Tyler Tafelsky participates in long-course multisport and cycling events. Today, Tyler competes in ultra-distance cycling races at the professional level. Since starting Better Triathlete in 2014, he has been the head of content for the site's editorial team. Learn more about Tyler