Upright vs. Spin Exercise Bike: Which One for Better Workout!

Are you thinking about going to the gym or exercising at home? You should learn more about what type of equipment is available for you to use. And if your choice of equipment is a stationary bike, then which one is right for you? Upright bike or Spin bike? Even though the upright bike and the spin bike look similar, they both come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Both of these stationary bicycles affect the muscles in almost the same way and maintain roughly the same quality when it comes to health & fitness. Therefore, choosing between them can become a difficult decision to make, especially if you are planning on buying a new one. So before making your final purchase, you should learn more about how both of these fantastic exercise bikes work and what their advantages and disadvantages are. That is why we have written this article, to give you a better idea about upright and spin bikes. Below we have explained each bike in great detail. Scroll down below and take your very first step to purchase your brand new exercise bike.

What is Spin Bike?

Spin Bike

Image Source: www.verywellfit.com

A spin bike is basically an indoor and stationary version of a road bicycle which means it duplicates the attributes of a road bicycle. It is a fixed gear exercise bike. The term spinning is used because when you step on the pedals, they begin to spin. The goal is to apply as much pressure as possible onto the pedals so that they stop spinning. This form of exercise engages the legs and lower limbs of the rider and also helps in reducing body weight. So as you can see, spin bikes are used for high-intensity workout sessions and they are very effective for maintaining proper fitness.

Good quality spin bikes don’t cost a lot. Here are some spin bikes you can get for under $500.

What are the advantages of using a spin bike?

  • Exercise & Fitness

Spin bikes make sure that your muscles are worked out effectively. This type of exercise bike allows the riders to exercise in different positions and so thoroughly engages the muscles. Riding a spin bike impacts your legs, feet, thighs, and some portions of the lower abdomen all at the same time. This allows the muscles to go through intense pressure and as a result, the rider can stay in good shape. You can also ride on these exercise bikes while standing up. When you stand up, you have an impact on your entire body and engage all the relevant muscles in the exercise. This can be quite exciting and will get rid of any boredom from your spinning session.

➥ Some budget spin bike options for your considerations.

  • Weight Loss

If you are overweight and you want to lose the extra weight, you should definitely go for a spin bike. Spin bikes excel at getting rid of weight and the best part is they don’t come with any type of side effects. So you can regularly exercise and get in the best shape possible.

  • Convenient

Spin bikes do not require much space and so they can be stored practically anywhere. So you can buy a spin bike and just set it up at home. This means that you don’t really need to join a gym or spin class. You can just have a productive workout session at home at your own convenient time.

  • Stability

All spin bikes come with reinforced frames that are quite sturdy and don’t move around even if you pedal very aggressively. They also have a larger weight capacity than upright exercise bikes which is a huge plus point, especially if you are overweight and you are cycling to lose weight. Spin bikes are well suited for interval and strength exercises and this type of training is known to enhance your stamina and fitness.

  • Flywheel Mechanism

Flywheels are heavier on spin bikes. The good news is that the more hefty the flywheels are the better it is. Even though heavier flywheels require more energy and work, they burn more calories. Such flywheels put less strain on your joints and that allows it to lower the chances of getting an injury. Standard exercise bikes come with flywheels that weigh above 7 kg. For a smooth and quiet indoor exercise session, the suggested weight of the flywheel is at least 9 kg. And, high-performance exercise bikes have flywheels weighing over 20 kg.

What are the disadvantages of a Spin Bike?

  • Performance

Spinning is a great form of exercise that will surely make a huge impact on your personal fitness. However, this impact has its limitations. When you ride a spin bike, it works the muscles of your legs, feet, thighs, and lower abdomen. While that is great, your upper part of the body remains unaffected. One has to carry out some other type of exercise to work those unaffected muscles. So if you are looking for a full-body workout, a spin bike is not for you.

➥ Unlike spin bikes, some exercise bikes will also be able to offer you both the upper & lower body workout, have a look at some of the exercise bikes having movable arms.

  • Electricity Requirement

Spin bikes require a high amount of power to function. Therefore, you will need to pay more for electricity for spin bikes compared to an upright bike or even other types of exercise equipment. So it can get quite expensive to use such spin bikes especially if you are on a budget. So make sure that you will be able to afford the added expense that comes with a spin bike before you purchase one.

  • Comfort & Maintenance

Most spin bikes come with seats with little to no padding. This makes them quite uncomfortable. Spin bikes are known to have very uncomfortable seats when compared to other types of stationary bikes. Also, changing the resistance is manual, you have to use a knob to change the resistance level which can be quite annoying.

What is an Upright Bike?

Upright Bike

Image Source: exercise-bike-review.com

Upright bikes are standard exercise bikes that allow the rider to ride in a position similar to that on a typical road bicycle. It keeps the rider in an upright position and is primarily designed and built to work out the legs and the lower limbs of the body. This type of exercise bike is very comfortable to ride in as most upright bikes are quite adjustable and can be set up according to the specific shapes and sizes of the rider’s body. As mentioned before, upright bikes are great for building up the legs and lower portions of the limbs. They also help to improve your heartbeats and breathing. Upright bikes are also known to aid in relieving stress, depression, and metabolic problems. They are great for both your physical and mental health.

What are the advantages of an Upright Bike?

  • Perfect Size

Upright bikes are smaller in size compared to other types of stationary exercise bikes. There are two advantages because of their size. Firstly, they require a very less amount of space, and secondly, you will not need to use that much muscle power to use them. Therefore, getting an upright exercise bike for your daily workout will save you space due to their smaller footprint and physical effort while providing you with an optimum fitness session.

  • Performance

An upright bike makes sure that you are working the same muscles that are worked during outdoor riding. Therefore, upright bikes focus on the whole body whereas a spin bike focuses only on the lower part of the body. This is because the upright bike works out the upper body as you are using all the biceps, triceps, and shoulders in the upright position in your workout sessions. Upright bikes are the best option for casual riders whose main goal is to get rid of or sustain their weight while also getting some exercise to stay fit. These bikes are not suggested for professional athletes and riders who require a substitute in the winter season for their outdoor biking.

➥ If your ultimate goal is to shed some pounds, then, consider having a look at the stationary exercise bikes for losing weight.

  • Comfort & Convenience

Unlike Spin bikes, upright bikes come with padded seats which are very comfortable and allow the workout sessions to be longer and more enjoyable. Most upright bikes are also equipped with extra features such as water bottle holders and display consoles to track the number of calories burned, time & distance covered, pedal strokes, and other valuable insights & information.

  • Flywheel Mechanism

Upright bikes are equipped with either an electromagnetic or a magnetic resistance system. Very few upright bikes come with built-in fans that provide air resistance. The flywheels of these exercise bikes are lighter and they also allow riders to adjust to several resistance settings according to their physical and fitness needs.

  • Price

Upright bikes are much less expensive than spinning bikes. This is perfect for new riders or other riders who just don’t want to spend that much on the gym or indoor cycling equipment. Upright bikes are also less expensive to maintain as they do not have a high power consumption similar to spin bikes. Therefore, maintaining upright bikes is also quite affordable.

What are the disadvantages of an Upright Bike?

  • Cycling Position

You can only ride in a seated position on upright bikes. Unlike spin bikes, on an upright bike, you cannot stand up and cycle. Well to be completely honest, it is technically possible to cycle standing up, however, you will feel very uncomfortable and unproductive. Due to the lack of variety in the position of upright bikes, workout sessions can get quite boring as well.

  • Impractical

Upright bikes provide a very different experience than outdoor riding. They are impractical and unrealistic. If you are a rider who is planning on training indoors during the winter then an upright bike is not for you. This is because the positioning of the seat and handlebars are absolutely different from that of a typical road bike. As we mentioned above, upright bikes are perfect for casual riders and not for professional riders who require a substitute in the winter season for their road biking.

  • Heavy and Difficult to Move

Many entry-level upright exercise bikes are quite light and can be folded away really easily. However, if you buy a more expensive and sturdy one, you will often find that they are very heavy and can be very hard to move around your home, gym, or studio even if it has transport wheels attached to it.

To summarize what we have discussed in this article we have provided a small chart below that includes some of the major differences between an upright bike and a spin bike.

FeaturesUpright BikeSpin Bike
Cycling PositionHandlebars are above the seat so you will only be slightly hunched overHandlebars are lower than the seat so you have to hunch over
Seat StyleNarrow with some form of paddingCompact with no padding
Resistance SystemElectromagnetic or magnetic resistance systemFriction System
Pedal PositionPedals are in front positionPedals are in down position
Weight CapacityHighHigher than Upright Bikes
Can it be used for weight loss?YesYes


We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you have learned something new about spin and upright exercise bikes. We would like to give you one more piece of advice, and that is to purchase an exercise bike that you will want to use. Do not purchase an upright bike because it is more comfortable or a spin bike because of its stability. You should buy the one you feel will help you achieve your fitness goals and get you motivated to exercise consistently. So with all that being said, we would like to end this article here. We hope we have made a positive impact on your final decision. Stay safe and stay fit!

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Dion Lewis

My name is Dion Lewis. I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions. In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally. Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

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