Spin Bike vs. Upright Bike: Which Is More Effective?

Cycling is widely considered as one of the most effective forms of exercise. Therefore, choosing a suitable stationary bike which matches your body’s needs as well as your personal health requirements, is of utmost importance. While it may seem like a fairly simple decision, it is more challenging than that.

Personally, I think the most important question to ask is why are you taking up cycling in the first place? Are you looking to lose weight? Is your main priority to tone your muscles? Do you want to improve your cardiovascular healthy maybe or will this just serve as a pre-workout exercise? These are just some important factors to consider when making this purchase.

If you are still looking for more information, I would like to talk about two of the more popular types of stationary bikes. In this article, we will be talking about Spin Bikes vs. Upright Bikes, and which one is more suited for you.

Upright Bike

The main feature of an upright bike is it simulates the feeling of riding a normal bicycle but in an indoor and climate-controlled setting. It is built with an upward structure and elevated seat, which allows you a wider range of motion.

Depending on the requirements of your work out, you may choose to either sit up or lean forward towards the handles.

These positions stretch not only your lower body but also workout your upper body (biceps, triceps, and shoulders) and core muscles as well.

Upright Bikes

Using an upright bike is a good pre-workout exercise because it takes up minimal energy from you while helping you stretch a wider variety of your body parts. This is an ideal stationary bike for beginners because it is easy to use, and will not cost as much as other types.


  • Provides you with a more holistic workout – you are able to stretch majority of your body’s muscles
  • Due to its small footprint, it takes up minimal space at home
  • Most of these bikes come with additional amenities such as a water bottle holder or a control panel to track your workout’s statistic


  • It has a small seat which may cause discomfort in the buttocks area
  • The elevated position could cause a lot of strains, not only in the leg area, but also near the neck, back, and even the wrist
  • The pedals are less reinforced so you cannot stand on them directly

Spin Bike

Spin bikes are meant to simulate an actual racing environment. Thanks to its reinforced structure, this bike allows you to lean forward or stand up, even giving you the feeling that you are biking uphill, downhill, or sprinting, which results in a more intense workout

This helps you increase your body’s fat burning, give you leaner muscles, and improves your cardiovascular healthy drastically, thanks to the high-intensity workouts. This is also a perfect training regimen for marathons because of how well it improves your breathing and endurance levels.

Spin Bikes

This all lies in this bike’s flywheel mechanism, which is located at the bottom of the bike. Flywheels are essentially large wheels that require a lot of spin around, and once they start turning, they also take a lot of energy to stop. This is exactly what happens you are biking downhill and is a main driver for the high-intensity workouts.


  • Reinforced structure allows you to have a more intense workout
  • It allows you to have better posture when cycling and gives you overall comfort
  • They have heavier flywheel systems – which require greater force to move, thus resulting in more calories burned


  • Limited toning muscles in the upper body area (shoulder, arms, etc.)
  • It is bigger / heavier which makes moving it around to be a challenge
  • Storing it can be a challenge

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Upright Bike vs. Spin Bike

Indoor Cycling

If the Price is Right

Generally speaking, an upright bike is more affordable compared to a spin bike. If you are only a beginner, and not as invested in exercising as others may be, this should be one factor to consider. You do not want to spend too much money on an exercise machine, only to have it take up space in your home and collect dust.

Sizes and Space Consumption

Another factor that we spoke about briefly above is how much space each of the two gym bikes takes. An upright bike is smaller and more lightweight, which allows you to store it easier. On the other hand, because of the material it uses, a spin bike is heavier and harder to move around. Therefore, if you have limited space and storage capacity, you may want to consider buying a smaller model.

Level of Intensity

I posted an important question to you at the beginning of the article: What purpose do you have buying a stationary bike? I think this is the most important factor to consider, and whether you are looking for low intensity or high-intensity workout.

If you are looking to tone muscles and lose weight quicker, then it might be wiser to invest in a spin bike. On the other hand, if you want a low-intensity workout, where you want to improve your cardiovascular health, while stretching other parts of your body, then an upright bike will do.


In the match of the Upright Bike vs. Spin Bike, I have come to the conclusion that the later more effective. Although the upright bike possesses some very important advantages, if you are looking to lose weight, burn fat, and tone your muscles, in a quicker amount of time, I would suggest buying the spin bike.