Spin® Bikes Vs Upright Bikes: Which One Is Best For You

When choosing between a Spin bike and an Upright bike, it's important to know what your goals are. A Spin bike offers a full body workout, but an Upright is suitable for all fitness levels.

Spin® bikes or ‘spinning bikes’ are some of the most popular exercise bikes on the market. They tend to give one of the most overall demanding workouts common in both home and commercial gyms. But what is the difference between a Spin® bike and a regular upright bike? Let’s break it down for you and see which one suits your needs more:

What is the difference between a Spin® bike and upright bike?

Spin Bike Workout

While an upright bike and the Spin® bike may look similar, there are a few key differences between them. Suppose you are looking to purchase a Spin® or upright bike but are unsure which one to go for. Here are a few key features of both to help you decide.

Ease of use

An upright bike is relatively easy to use and is suitable for any fitness level. If you are looking to get a Spin® bike, you must consider your fitness level. A Spin® bike is designed to closely replicate what you would experience on a track or road. They have higher resistance levels, and the more realistic cycling is reflected in the rise of spin classes across the world.

Both bikes are easy to use, but a Spin® bike is a way to go if you are looking to get a serious workout in.


Flywheel closeup

Both Upright and Spin® bikes are made with robust and durable frames. An upright bike has a chain or belt hidden under the casing, whereas with the Spin® Bike, the flywheel is in full view. Depending on the weight, the flywheel will add resistance to the Spin® Bike as it works to limit the rotation. The resistance on an upright bike is not as controlled, giving an easier workout than a Spin® Bike does.

The pedals differ between the two as well. On a Spin® Bike, you get pedals with toe cages to keep your feet in position and lessen the risk of slipping. An upright exercise bike generally has a single strap over the top.

Riding Position

Spin bike workout

An upright bike gets its name from the position you sit in, which is upright. While the seat is usually wide for comfort, there is not much adjustability that comes with them. The handlebars are also in an upright position, so you’re sitting straight with your legs nearly fully extended to the pedals.

As a Spin® bike is supposed to replicate riding outside, the seating reflects that. The handlebars are almost fully horizontal, so that you can lean on them when standing up on the exercise bike. While it is narrower than its upright counterpart, the saddle is adjustable, so you have the option of riding upright or leaning forward. As the adjustment is greater than the upright exercise bike, the Spin® bike gives you a similar feeling to riding an outdoor bike.


Spin bike Workout

When you are working out, you want to hit as many muscles as you can. When sitting on either an upright exercise bike or a Spin® bike, you will target similar muscles. A regular workout will have you working your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Your core may also have a bit of a workout as it is used to keep you upright, but not enough to feel it.

A significant benefit of a Spin® bike over an upright bike is that you give yourself a fuller body workout when you stand up and lean forward on it. Standing puts more stress on your lower muscles, especially the calves, while also having the added benefit of working your shoulders, arms, back, and core.

Which one is better for weight loss

Spin bike Workout

You will tend to burn more calories using a Spin® bike because you use more muscles when exercising. The flywheel takes a more considerable effort to use, so that will take up more energy. The flywheel weight is a factor when getting a Spin® bike, as different weights will impact your workout, which means the heavier the flywheel, the more endurance needed for the workout.

If you are standing up on a Spin® bike, you will burn more calories, but if you plan to sit, either an upright bike or a Spin® bike will burn the same number of calories.

The best Spin® bike alternatives

Choosing an exercise that will mimic a spin class can be difficult, and the market is saturated with different brands. Here is a list of some of our favourite brands to choose from.

Hit Fitness

G8 Spin bike

Hit Fitness are an Irish supplier exclusive to McSport. Founded in 2016, while they are relatively young, they are already making quality equipment. They have the extremely popular G bike series, which has four different Spin® bikes to choose from. Each one comes with a flywheel with weights between 13-20kg.

The four bikes range from budget-friendly options such as the G6 and G7 to more top-line Spin® bikes for serious athletes such as the G8 and G12. You can’t go wrong with this brand.

Want to know more about the G bikes? Why not read our article on the Hit Fitness G Exercise Bike Series!


NordicTrack spin bike

NordicTrack is an American Company that began in 1975; with their 46 years in the industry, NordicTrack is a staple in making fitness equipment. Their exercise bikes come with a large console screen and 30-day free trial iFit, allowing you to join in with classes from all over the world.

These bikes are a bit more expensive but are a great option if you are looking for an exercise bike that can take a long, hard workout. These are a good option if you want a large console and longer workout times per day.

Want to know more about iFit? Why not check out our blog on The iFit Experience!