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

The difference between a spinning bike and an exercise bikeThis is often an area of confusion when it comes to deciding what the best stationary bike to buy is.  If you are attending spinning classes at a gym it might be that you now want to do this at home, but are confused as to whether you should buy a spinning bike or an exercise bike.  There are differences between spinning and exercise bikes and here is an overview of what those differences are, although please be aware, these differences are very slight and in truth will probably only matter to a serious cyclist.

The Riding Position on a Spinning Bike versus an Exercise Bike

Spin bikes have more options when it comes to seating and standing adjustments.  Specialist spinning bikes are designed to adjust in order to replicate the aggressive riding position that you would use if cycling on the road.  Exercise bikes however are designed to make the user sit in a more traditional and upright position – if you are used to cycling outdoors and take your cycling seriously you might find that this approach to posture on an exercise bike is not comfortable or natural to you.

Fitness Motivation versus Data Read Outs

With most exercise bikes you will have a pre-programmed selection of courses and data readouts that are accessible via the LCD computer display that usually sits above the handlebars.  This is a great way to motivate yourself and continually beat personal bests.  With spinning bikes your motivation tends to come from the trainer which you can only really experience in a gym.  If you are going to be spinning at home then we would recommend that you buy a bike with an LCD display so you can monitor your speed and progress in the absence of having someone there pushing you on.

Durability and Maintenance of Spinning Bikes

Because spinning bikes are designed for pure cycling they don’t have any electronics in the design, unlike exercise bikes that have heart rate monitors and displays.  This means that spinning bikes are easy to fix, plus they are occasionally made from non-corrosive brushed steel meaning they can withstand heavy and sustained high energy usage.  A spinning bike will usually last a lot longer than an exercise bike as they are built to last and take a lot of punishment.

Exercise Bike Freewheel versus Spinning Bike Flywheel

Most exercise bike will have something called a freewheel which means when you stop pedalling you will be able to coast – kind of like when cycling outdoors when you pick up some speed or coast down a hill – with the pedals stopped.  On a spinning bike you will have instead a flywheel and direct drive train.  This means that when the wheels are spinning the pedals must also spin – which will inevitably make the user work harder and continue cycling during their workout.  Of course, if you are constantly pedalling then you are guaranteed to burn more calories than if you were coasting.

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