Indoor Cycling vs Spinning – What’s the Difference?

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Trying to figure out the difference between indoor cycling vs spinning?

Is there even a difference?

A lot of people think these terms are basically the same – especially when it comes to buying an exercise bike.

You often hear the terms spin bike, indoor cycling bike, studio bike, spinning bike – all used interchangeably.

However there is a difference.


What’s the Difference between Indoor Cycling vs Spinning?


Technically, the term spinning® is actually a registered trademark.

The sport of spinning® was developed by Johnny Goldberg and John Baudhuin and the first spin bikes were developed in 1991.

The trademark was registered to Mad Dog Athletics Inc in 1994 and referred to the spinning® bike classes in a gym setting led by a specially trained instructor.



You’ve often heard of people taking a spin class at the gym. Chances are their instructor has been specially trained in leading spin classes.

Spin bikes tend to be bikes specifically designed for these in-class type of settings.

They tend to be heavy on construction and lighter on the fancy stuff like color-consoles, Bluetooth etc. This is because the emphasis here is on the instructor and the class.

The draw for the spin class is that you get a good workout in a community type of environment, led by a motivating trainer that you really like.

exercise bike with screen
Indoor Cycling Bike

Indoor cycling bikes came along a bit later than spin bikes – but were really focused on home workout environments.

They also tend to be fancier than spin bikes with the focus more on providing the individual user a more fun, immersive experience in a private setting.

However, with new developments in at-home bikes, the distinction between spin bike and indoor cycling or studio bikes is not as obvious.

Bike manufacturers like Peloton and Nordictrack have really blurred the lines these days because they’ve also added bikes with big screens where you can take classes with instructors in real time (or recorded) from your home.


Cycling Classes on Indoor Cycling Bike


This is why people do get confused between the terms spin bike and indoor cycling bike. And some sellers or reviewers even use the terms interchangeably.


What Should You Look For: A Spinning Bike vs Indoor Cycling Bike?

Basically an indoor cycling bike is what you’ll be looking for if you want to buy an exercise bike for your home.

If you’re opening your own gym and want to offer specialized spin classes, then you’ll want to be shopping for a spin bike. (Also you might want to contact Mad Dog Athletics for help with instructor training and buying the bikes themselves).


Spinning Bikes

This site – because our web visitors are mainly focused on researching exercise bikes for their homes – focuses on indoor cycling bikes (also called studio bikes). So we don’t review a lot of spin bikes since most of our visitors aren’t interested in equipping a commercial gym.

So those are some of the key differences between indoor cycling vs spinning bikes.


Which is Better for You?

Each one has advantages.

Taking a spinning class is great for building that sense of community and meeting new friends.

If you like to be motivated by an instructor leading the class while you’re cycling, then spinning is a great option for you.


Getting an indoor cycling bike is more for you if you want the freedom to exercise in your own home on your own time.

With indoor cycling bikes now offering classes, you can still get that class experience if you want it. Plus you can also get a lot more – like world trail rides, online goal setting and personalized workouts.

So the focus with an indoor cycling bike is more on the cool stuff you can do with it – not necessarily on the group class experience (although that is an option with some indoor cycling bikes today).

What are some popular indoor cycling bikes?

One of the most popular bikes for example is the Nordictrack S27i Studio Bike.

You get streaming and live classes. Plus you can also cycle famous world trails (where you watch the scenery pass you by in the console screen for some virtual-reality fun).



And the bike also inclines and declines to match the actual terrain for a more virtual-reality-type experience.

If you want something more budget friendly and simpler, the Schwinn IC4 is worth checking out.

You have to add your own tablet but you can connect with multiple riding apps including the app of your choice through your own tablet or phone.

You can also read through our latest reviews of indoor cycling bikes here to find a good fit for you.

So those are some of the main differences between indoor cycling vs spinning. Hopefully it gives you an idea of which option is best for you.

Do you prefer indoor cycling or spinning? Leave a comment below!




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