Recumbent Exercise Bike vs Spin Bike – Which is Better?

Exercising is fun and interesting but choosing the right kind of exercise bike isn’t. And the fact that exercise bikes are not just used for body weight but also for working on different muscles makes the entire selection process more challenging. 

Over the years, exercise bikes have become quite popular. Everyone from commercial gyms to personal homes uses them to burn calories without super-extra effort.

If you are also confused between recumbent bikes vs spin bikes, you have come to the right place. We will discuss their benefits, pros, cons, and main differences so you can choose the best one. 

Recumbent Exercise Bike 

Recumbent exercise bikes are considered one of the best exercise machines. Instead of upright, this exercise bike is reclined. Its seat comes with a backrest instead of a saddle. So, you will be using this exercise bike while lying down. 

This feature makes the overall experience of using a recumbent exercise bike worthwhile. If you want to do an intense workout and stay comfortable, a recumbent bike should be your choice. 

You need to stretch your legs to the pedals to start working out with a recumbent exercise bike. This exercise bike is the first choice of individuals new to working out or who don’t want to have much impact on their lower body. 

Athletes also like using recumbent exercise bikes to prevent soreness and to workout for a longer period with less fatigue. 

This is my favourite Recumbent Exercise Bike:

Sale
Schwinn Fitness 230 Recumbent Bike
  • With enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, users can set, track and monitor progress with popular app-based tracking tools
  • Discover 50plus global routes that auto-adjust in real time to your speed with Explore the World videos (Explore the World subscription required)
  • Discover 1000 structured workouts and 80plus virtual routes by connecting with the Zwift app (Zwift subscription required)

Last update on 2023-01-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Benefits of Recumbent Bikes 

Here’s what makes the laid-back recumbent exercise bikes a must-have: 

#1 Enhances Cardiovascular Health 

Recumbent exercise bikes help in enhancing cardiovascular health. With regular high-intensity workouts through this exercise bike, you can burn around 900 calories. 

A simple one-hour recumbent exercise bike workout triggers a lot of muscle and enhances overall cardiovascular health. Your heart and lung functions will improve, while your blood pressure will reduce. 

#2 Increase Muscle Strength 

A recumbent exercise bike lets you enjoy a good cardio workout while increasing your muscle strength. Common muscles that get worked during a recumbent workout includes the glutes, abs, hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. 

#3 An Improved Way to Enjoy Cycling 

Recumbent exercise bikes are more comfortable and safer than upright bikes because they offer extra back support. You get more area to sit and relax while working out. 

#4 Longer and Consistent Workout 

As recumbent exercise bikes are more comfortable, you are able to workout for longer and consistently. You can see progress and major gains when you workout regularly. 

#5 Less Stress On the Body 

Regularly working out through a recumbent exercise bike can lower the overall stress on your body. That’s because, with each passing rotation, the knee and hip do not flex too much. 

The pedals in the recumbent exercise bike are placed in front, which also helps in decreasing body stress. That’s why people dealing with arthritis-related problems should consider a recumbent exercise bike workout. 

Pros:

  • Recumbent exercise bikes are easier to use
  • It’s a great alternative for people who don’t find other exercise bikes comfortable
  • It comes with a digital display, allowing you to program your entire workout
  • You can choose from different modes and read your stats

Cons:

  • One major disadvantage of a recumbent exercise bike is that you cannot change your position during a workout
  • It only works on the lower body 

Spin Bike 

Spin bikes, also called indoor cycles, have different structures, and they work in a unique manner. Their design is similar to an actual road bike, and they have an exposed flywheel. This exposed flywheel is much heavier and thicker than the one on stationary bikes. 

Spin bikes come with two types of resistance, i.e., magnetic and friction. The magnetic resistance works similarly to stationary bikes. But in friction resistance, rubber pads are pressed against the flywheel to resist the motion created during pedaling.  

This is my personal recommendation on a spin bike:

Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike with Heavy 49 LB Chrome Flywheel – SF-B1002
  • STATIONARY EXERCISE BIKE: The sturdy steel frame, heavy 49 lb weighted flywheel, and 275 lb maximum user weight gives this bike a rock solid build that will keep it moving ride after ride. Easily move the indoor cycle from room to room with the front-mounted transportation wheels. Stay hydrated throughout your workout. This convenient bottle holder is built into the frame for easy access.
  • RESISTANCE: Resistance system gives you the experience of a realistic, real-road feeling. Push down emergency brake will bring the bike to an immediate stop
  • SILENT RIDE: Experience a smooth and quiet ride with the maintenance free belt drive system which allows you to workout without interrupting your workout or anyone around you

Last update on 2023-01-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Benefits of Spin Bikes 

Here’s why you must consider using spin bikes: 

#1 Strong Muscle Definition

Spin bikes focus more on lower body workouts, offering stronger muscle definition. This bike is also a great option for people who are interested in building leg muscle but don’t want to exhaust themselves with lunges and squats.  

#2 Less Risk of Injury

The risk of injury increases with leg exercises, like squats and lunges. But spin bikes reduce the risk of injury by offering very low-impact exercise. In fact, you don’t have to lean forward while exercising. 

#3 Strong Immune System 

When you regularly exercise using a spin bike, your immune system becomes stronger. It improves your health and decreases your chances of developing serious health conditions. 

The immune system depends a lot on the thymus gland, healthy food, and a good lifestyle. A sufficient level of the thymus gland in the body creates T-cells, which kill the bacteria. 

Unfortunately, when people age, the thymus gland shrinks and reduces the production of T-cells. But older people can involve themselves in spin bike exercises to recover the number of T-cells produced in the body. 

#4 Can Help With Weight Loss 

Spin bikes can help you lose more than 600 calories depending on your body weight and the intensity of the workout. For this reason, indoor cycling is considered an excellent choice for people with quick calorie-burning requirements. 

#5 Better Cardiovascular Benefits 

Regularly working out through a spin bike can improve your cardiovascular health. Why? Because indoor cycling is similar to other forms of cardio like elliptical training, running, and swimming, 

So, people who want to get into cardio without putting too much pressure on their joints must try spin bikes. 

Pros: 

  • A spin bike can be used sitting or standing 
  • It allows you to work for every muscle group in your body
  • It is more versatile in practice 
  • It engages both the upper and lower body 

Cons:

  • The spin bike puts more pressure on the spine, knees, and tailbone 
  • People with special conditions or diseases might not use the spin bike

What is Better: Recumbent Bike or Spin Bike? 

The recumbent bike offers a more relaxed and better workout than the spin bike. That’s because more muscles are activated while using a spin bike, which limits the duration of the workout.  

As spin bikes have heavier flywheels, it allows you to do high-intensity exercises. It focuses more on the core and upper body to have a stronger workout. It also promotes cardiovascular health. 

To sum it up, a recumbent bike should be your choice if you have back pain or joint issues. But if you want to get a feeling that you are doing a high-intensity workout, you should pick a spin bike. 

How Recumbent Exercise Bikes and Spin Bikes Are Different 

Recumbent exercise bikes and spin bikes are different in various aspects. For instance, recumbent bikes are more comfortable to use, and it focuses more on the lower body. Also, it comes with a digital display, allowing you to program your workout. 

But spin bikes offer versatile riding positions. It allows you to do high-intensity exercises by engaging both the upper and lower body. 

Recumbent Exercise Bike vs Spin Bike - Which is Better?

Recumbent Bike VS Spin Bike: Weight Loss 

Do you think one bike offers better fat-burning benefits than the other? Well, it does. 

Spin bikes are considered to offer better fat-burning benefits because it helps you do sprint training better. Regular sprint training is known to burn fat around and helps you reach your goal faster. 

Furthermore, a spin bike allows you to stand up while cycling, which helps you lose weight in a much better way. In contrast, a recumbent exercise bike doesn’t let you stand up. Instead, you use this exercise bike while lying down. 

Beginners might find it difficult to ride a spin bike, but once they understand how it’s done, they can lose weight. 

Recumbent Bike VS Spin Bike: Calories

You are likely to burn more calories on a spin bike because it supports more muscle activation. On the other hand, a recumbent exercise bike comes with a chair seat that mainly supports your trunk. That’s why only legs are involved during the workout. 

Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike with 8 Resistance Levels NS-40502R,Grey

Spin bikes are more tilted, allowing you to workout your arms, core, and shoulders. What’s more? Well, you can even stand up on a spin bike that supports full-body exercise. 

Recumbent Bike VS Spin Bike: Comfortability and Ease of Use 

No matter how beneficial a spin bike is, you can’t deny the fact that using this exercise bike is difficult. Using a spin bike can sometimes be very difficult and intimidating. 

But a recumbent exercise bike is comparatively easier to use and provides better comfort. Its overall design is very convenient.  

Recumbent exercise bikes have large inclined seats and proper space, which reduces the chances of injury. Thus, elderly people can comfortably use this exercise bike. 

Spin bikes also have some level of comfort because you might not like the seats and the overall structure of this exercise bike. Plus, a spin bike puts a lot more stress on the tailbone, knees, and spine. 

Recumbent Bike VS Spin Bike: Versatility 

If you are doing exercise for the sake of versatility, you must choose a spin bike over a recumbent exercise bike. With a spin bike, you can easily try out different positions. You can either workout while standing or sitting; the choice is yours. 

In contrast, the recumbent exercise bike is reclined. Its seat comes with a backrest instead of a saddle. Thus, you can only have one kind of position, i.e., sitting. 

Schwinn Fitness IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike

Recumbent Bike VS Spin Bike: Hitting Different Muscles 

If you want to save yourself from the entire day of workout by hitting different muscles simultaneously, a spin bike should be your choice. You can easily target the biceps, back, glutes, hamstrings, triceps, core, upper body, and quadriceps. 

Whereas, if you use a recumbent exercise bike, you might only target the lower body, hamstrings, and calves. 

Recumbent Bike VS Spin Bike: Program Exercise 

Many exercise junkies look for the feature of programmability in their exercise bikes. That’s because it offers numerous specs to exercise machines, including distance count, calorie count, exercise modes, and heart rate monitoring. 

If programmability is your priority, a recumbent exercise bike should be your choice. The computer screen in the recumbent exercise bike lets you know about your exercise so you can adjust your workout as per your needs. 

Unfortunately, spin bikes do not come with programmability. That means you need to manually control your workout.  

Recumbent Bike VS Spin Bike: Strength Boosting Benefits 

When it comes to strength-boosting benefits, both exercise bikes are known to offer pretty good all round lower body strength-boosting benefits. 

But which one of the two exercise bikes is the best in terms of strength boosting? The recumbent exercise bike is the best because it works on both hamstrings and quads.

However, spin bikes mainly focus on the quads. For this reason, superior muscle growth potential is seen with recumbent exercise bikes. 

You can easily increase the resistance level on both bikes to make your workout much more challenging. 

Recumbent Bike VS Spin Bike: Sprint Capabilities 

As a beginner, you might not follow an advanced workout routine. But at some point, you will get into high-intensity workouts. So, which exercise bike should you pick to see the maximum results? 

A recumbent exercise bike lets you perform sprint training, but you might not get to the full speed. But with a spin bike, you can reach top speeds because it is designed for interval training.

This bike can take you from 0 to 60 in a few seconds. 

Conclusion 

Recumbent exercise bikes and spin bikes are known to offer many benefits. While one exercise bike focuses more on the lower body, the other one works out the entire body. 

So, the best exercise bike among these two depends on your individual choice. You must choose a spin bike if you want to involve yourself in a whole-body workout.

But if you want comfort while working out, a recumbent exercise bike should be your choice. 

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An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!