Recumbent Bike Vs Spin Bike – Which Is A Perfect Fit For You?

Whether you’re just getting started with your workout routine or you’re a seasoned pro, choosing the right fitness equipment is still going to be essential to success. Many people are not fully aware of how they need to go about completing their exercise sessions to get best results, which is why educating yourself on the equipment options is often the most important step to take.

When looking at cycling you have two options: the recumbent bike vs. spin bike. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, so taking this into account is what will help you best make an informed decision about which one is going to go that extra mile for you.

Let’s take a look.


Recumbent  Bike Spin Bike
Sprint Capabilities Yes – To A Degree Yes
Strength Boosting Benefits Yes Moderate
Fat Burning Benefits Moderate High
Variability No Yes
Programmability Yes No


Let’s take a closer look at what all of these mean for you.

Sprint Capabilities

If you are a beginner, this may not apply to you just yet, but as you advance with your workout routine, there is going to come a point in time where you should be looking at doing high intensity interval training. It’s been proven time and time again that this form of training is going to best lead to maximum results and help people reach the goals they are going for.

So which machine stacks up best here? With the recumbent bike, you can perform sprint training, at least to a degree. While you may never get to full top speed due to the nature of the position you are in (going very fast on this bike tends to ‘bounce’ you around in the eat), it’s still possible for sure to raise the intensity level up a notch.

With the spin bike however, the opposite is the case. This bike is made for interval training so you can certainly reach top speeds and go as hard as you possibly can. Spin classes are all about alternating low periods with high periods, so this bike is designed to take you from 0-60 in a seconds.

This can really factor into the total progress that you are able to see with these bikes as sprint training does take your results to a whole new level.

Strength Boosting Benefits

Next you want to look at the strength boosting benefits that you are going to get from doing your cycling training. Which bike, the recumbent bike vs. spin bike offers better benefits here?

Both bikes give pretty good all around lower body strength boosting benefits. You can increase the resistance level on both bikes readily, increasing how much of a challenge it is for your muscles to keep pushing through the pedaling motion.

The one thing that you will want to note however is that the recumbent bike does work both the hamstrings and the quads rather evenly while the spin bike focuses more exclusively on the quads. For this reason, you may see superior muscle growth potential doing the recumbent bike since both of these muscles will be worked.

Fat Burning Benefits

Which now brings us to the fat burning benefits that you can be seeing. Does one bike offer better benefits in this regard?

It does. The spin bike can take your fat burning up a notch for two reasons. First, it helps you do sprint training better, as we noted earlier. Sprint training is the best way to burn fat around, therefore it’s important that you are getting that into your workout at some point if that’s your goal.

Additionally, with spin biking, you can actually stand up while you cycle, which adds a whole new layer of calorie burning to it. It’s harder to stand than sit, therefore this will increase the total amount of energy that you are using.

With the recumbent bike, you could never stand up, so that’s a non-possibility.

Beginners may not be able to stand up right away on a spin bike either, but down the road, there is the chance to advance and include this to help burn more calories each and every session.


When looking at variability between the recumbent bike vs. spin bike, the spin bike does offer that ability to stand, so that gives you far more variability than the recumbent bike does.

Both bikes do let you increase speed as well as resistance of the flywheel, so there is nothing different between them there. So really the only advantage here is the spin bike providing greater ability to stand versus sit.

When you’re designing workouts however, this does open up a whole new door to how you can program them, so that’s an important benefit you don’t want to overlook.


Speaking of programs this brings us to our next point, programmability. With the recumbent bike, you’ll almost always get a console on the bike, which means that you also get different program options.

It could be the manual mode, the fat burn mode, the interval mode, or some other mode designed by that brand itself. If you want to just ‘plug and play’ so to speak and not have to think about designing a workout for yourself, this is a great option to have at your fingertips. This can help add variety to your workout program and reduce the chances that you become bored or your body stops showing optimal results.

With the spin bike however, there typically is no console, so programming workouts is 100% up to you. You’re going to have to figure out what it is you want to do and adjust the speed and tension accordingly. For those who aren’t as experienced with training or who just don’t want to do this, that could definitely be seen as a drawback.

So there you have the main differences between the recumbent bike vs. spin bike. Both bikes are going to serve different needs and can help people in different ways. It’s up to you to determine what is most important for you in a bike and then make your purchasing decisions accordingly. It may also help to keep in mind that spin bikes are traditionally a lot lighter to move than recumbent bikes, so if you plan to move this bike around the house, that may sway your decision as well.

Be sure to get onto any bike you are considering and give it a try before purchasing it to ensure that it’s comfortable and you have many enjoyable hours of exercise ahead of you.

Photo credit: Lucky Business/Shutterstock; baitong333/Shutterstock; Jaaak/Shutterstock

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