Spin Vs. Upright Bike

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The numerous benefits of cycling include improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, improved joint mobility, and more.  

Cycling also combines both aerobic and anaerobic exercises in the same session.

Regardless of whether you choose a spin bike or an upright bike, cycling persistently on either will deliver numerous health benefits.

However, these two fitness equipment similarly share a slew of differences.

In the article below, we are going to pit the spin bikes against upright bikes, not to determine which bike is best, but determine what bike is best for your workout needs.

Similarities Between Spin And Upright Cycles

Reiterating what we’ve shortly mentioned in the intro, both of these bikes are fitness equipment.

They’re designed for indoor use and can, therefore, be used in the gym or even in the garage in your home.

More importantly, the spin and upright bikes engage the body is similar motions and in most cases, providing more or less the same level of fitness.

But that is their similarities end there. 

Now let’s look at the take-off points between this two fitness equipment.

Differences Between Upright And Spin Bikes

FeaturesSpin BikesUpright Bikes
HandlebarsHunch furtherSlightly hunch
PedalsFront positionDown
SeatCramped, limited paddingRuns narrow, some form of padding
ResistanceFriction resistanceElectro-magnet resistance
Weight lossYesYes

Cycling Position

The cycling position is dependent on the position of the handlebars.

If the handlebars are lower than the seat as in the case of the spin bike, you will hunch because you’ll need to lean forward more.

In contrast, an upright bike will not require you to hunch forward. In any case, the upright bike will let you take simulate a traditional bike stance.


The spin bike has pedals out and in front.

This makes it hard, if not impossible, to stand when pedaling.

The upright bike, on the other hand, has the pedals positioned down below.

This allows users to change the position of the pedals easily, while either seated or standing.

Seat Position

The seat on an upright bike shares plenty of similarities to that of a regular bike; it runs narrow and comes with some form of padding.

The spin bike, on the other hand, has a cramped seat and with limited padding. 


Spin bikes operate like road bikes, but in place of wheels, they’ve flywheels. The weight of the flywheels is responsible for resistance on a spin bike.

The spin bike provides friction resistance, meaning the stoppage force is provided by components rubbing against each other.

In effect, this system easily wears out and is always a challenge to maintain properly.

In contrast, upright bikes either use a magnetic or electromagnetic resistance system.

The benefit of magnetic resistance is that it delivers whisper-quiet and smooth operation. Additionally, it offers a smooth transition over the extensive range of resistance settings, thus making your workout more challenging over time.

Therefore, if you’re looking for more variety and oomph in your fitness, an upright bike is a more inspired choice.

Muscles Targeted

Upright bikes, especially those with movable handles, will allow you to target more muscles, both in the upper and lower body.

In a spin bike, however, only the lower muscles are targeted.  And given there’re no spin bikes with movable handles, your arms will be minimally used for support. 

So, upright bikes will allow you to target more body muscles than the spin bikes.


Both the upright and the spin bikes are oriented towards genuine workouts as opposed to luxury and comfort.

As we had seen earlier, both these bikes either run narrow on their seats or have minimal padding.

With either a spin bike or an upright bike, comfort is the least of the concerns. Instead, these fitness bikes are more concerned with engaging your muscles.

As it stands, the lack of comfort and the rigorous workouts on this unit means they might cause discomfort, especially if you have a  back condition.

So, the spin bikes and upright bikes are suitable options for pure workouts, but not ideal or those who need comfort due to health issues.


Regarding safety, both the upright and spin bikes have a near-similar level of safety.

Though there’s an inherent risk that these bikes can tip over if you lean too far on one side, they’re relatively stable when in use,

In any case, it’s less unlikely that you’re going to fall over when using either unless the bike is flimsily constructed.

Weight Loss

Weight loss is quite subjective because the results will depend on the effort and intensity you put towards a workout regime.

However, when all things are constant, the upright bikes reign but only by a small margin.

The reason why an upright bike wins is that, unlike a spin bike, an upright bike has various body parts moving, therefore, engaging more muscles.

However, weight loss is more than the number of muscles you’ll engage in, but how intensely they’re involved. 

With an upright bike, the lower body gets more intense workouts. This is because an upright bike will allow you to easily switch positions during the ride.


It doesn’t matter which fitness bike you choose; you can get an incredible workout on either.

Spin bikes, however, tend to feel a bit uncomfortable, especially for beginners, but you’ll get the hang of it over time. 

Something that I would like mentioning is that always choose the bike you’re most likely to use.

You should not purchase an upright bike because it’s more comfortable or a spin bike because it’s a budget-friendly.


Purchase fitness equipment because you want to use it.

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