Upright Bike Vs Indoor Cycling Bike

Whenever people are searching for a good piece of exercise equipment to help them with weight loss, two that always seem to pop up is the upright bike and the indoor cycling bike.

Great, so we know both of these are awesome at aiding weight loss…

But what is the best one for me I hear you say?

Well, this comes down to a few factors such as:

  • Your current fitness level
  • Your mobility
  • Your budget
  • Your fitness goals

Understanding these key factors will help provide a better picture as to what is the best type of bike for you.

But don’t fret…

I’m going to help you make that decision now and decide what is better for you, the Upright Bike or the Spin Bike.

So let’s dive in.

A Quick Look

Before we jump into the details of each bike, let’s take a quick look at both of them so you can actually see the differences and similarities of each.

Schwinn 570U Upright Exercise Bike
Upright Bike
Indoor Cycling Bike

So straight away you can notice how similar the two bikes are.

  • Both have similar seats and handlebar positions (which we’ll come to)
  • Both pedals are positioned very similar
  • Consoles are located directly in front of the user
  • And both have a similar stance with wide feet to ensure complete stability and durability.

Great, now let’s move onto what makes each bike unique in its own sense.

The Seat

Upright Bike Seat
Spin Bike Seat
Indoor Cycling Bike Seat

Between the two bikes it’s clear to see the difference in size.

You see the upright bike tends to have a larger surface area with padded seating.

The reason for this is because all of your cycling is done sitting down for extended periods of time so the seat needs to be comfortable.

With the indoor cycling bike seat, you can see it has a narrow and smaller frame to it.

One of the reasons for this is because on an indoor cycling bike, you’ll be cycling on the saddle but also off it every now again (especially in higher intensity cycles).

However the main reason for this is to resemble that of an outdoor bike.

Most athletes or semi-professionals use indoor cycling bikes to help with their outdoor training when say the weather is poor outside.

By having a narrower saddle, it stops any chafing between the thighs and allows for a greater range of motion of the legs without the saddle getting in the way.

Handlebar Position

Upright Bike Handlebars
Indoor Cycling Bike Handlebars

Handlebar positions do certainly differ in both bikes.

This is mainly due to meet the position of the actual cyclist themselves.

As you’ll notice that with the upright bike, the handlebars tend to be more upright and vertical compared to the indoor cycling bike handlebars.

As the cyclists body has more of an upright position, the handlebars are easier to reach and help keep proper form for the cyclist.

On the indoor cycling bike, you’ll see that the handlebars tend to be more horizontal and facing away from the cyclist.

Once again, this is to meet the form and position of the cyclist.

As intensity increases on the indoor cycling bike, the cyclist can lean into the handlebars in order to keep their back straight and really ‘dig deep’ to push that output into their cycling session.

The Pedals

Upright Bike Pedals
Upright Bike Pedals
Spin Bike Pedals
Indoor Cycling Bike Pedals

The pedals themselves actually don’t differ too much.

There is a slight difference with them though and it really depends on the indoor cycling bike.

You see all indoor cycling bikes come with toe cages so your feet stay firmly put on the pedal.

However, some more expensive indoor cycling bikes can have SPD pedals or Shimano Pedaling Dynamics.

This is where there is no need for cages or a strap around your foot.

You simply wear a pair of SPD shoes or cleats that click into the pedal itself.

This provides a more secure and effective cycle.

The Console

Upright Bike Console
Spin Bike Console
Indoor Cycling Bike Console

So this completely depends on your budget and how much your willing to spend on an indoor cycling bike or upright bike.

What you’ll find though is that any good upright bike will have a larger console in front compared to that of any indoor cycling bike.

The reason for this is that indoor cycling bikes intensity is controlled by the knob/crank in front of you where you can turn up the resistance or lower it down.

Upright bikes don’t have this function and so the resistance needs to be controlled by it’s electronic console.

The only reason a console is needed on an indoor cycling bike is to see such data metrics such as speed, distance, cadence or calories burned.

With upright bikes, you can get access to difference training programs, interval sessions, fitness tests or custom made sessions.

Their is a lot more functionality with an upright bike.

Seated Vs Non-Seated Cycling

Now, this is where you’re cycling style is going to change between the two bikes.

With an upright bike and due to your bodys form and angle, you would really only cycle seated for the entirety of your workout.

With an indoor cycling bike, you can choose to cycle seated or standing.

This is what any standard spin class is made up of anyway.. both seated and standing intervals.

This is what changes the dynamic of every workout and allows you to change up the intensity, which is what we’ll come to next.


When it comes to really improving your level of intensity and making a really gruelling, heart thumping workout – the indoor cycling bike is the one that’s going to do it best.

As discussed, standing and sitting during your workout is one way to increase intensity but the indoor cycling bike is known for HIIT interval training where you can cycle as hard as you can go between 15-30 seconds and rest for 30-60 seconds.

You can do the same on the upright bike but the indoor cycling bike is where you’re really going to achieve high levels of intensity and get more from your workout.

Body Angle Position

We briefly covered this but the position of your body on these bikes is completely different.

On the upright bike you’ll have more of a straight frame at a vertical to slight leaning form.

Your centre of gravity is usually above the seat.

On the indoor cycling bike, you’ll be more facing forwards and leaning into the bike with your centre of gravity aiming towards the handlebars.

This is to give that ‘racing’ style form and allows you to use from your core muscles down to your legs to really increase your output and drive as much as you can into the bike.

It’s all about keeping proper form to reduce any chance of injury.


So, prices between upright bikes and indoor cycling bikes don’t necessarily have a larger price point than the other.

However, different bikes within the upright bike and indoor cycling bike range will certainly differ.

What I mean by that exactly is, for example; 

An indoor cycling bike with SPD pedals, belt driven and Bluetooth connectivity is going to be more expensive than a standard bike with minimal features.

It really comes down to what you’re after exactly and how much your budget can stretch.

Which Is Better For Weight Loss?

First and foremost..

Whatever bike you feel is best for you – as long as your exercising and improving your cardiovascular system then it will do wonders for you.

Weight loss being one of the benefits.

However, it’s all about consistency and eating balanced diet.

By sticking to these, I can guarantee you will lose weight.

Now, in terms of losing weight the fastest, I would have to say that an indoor cycling bike is going to get you there quicker.

The reason why? 

Down to the fact that you can get a high intensity workout with it.

The greater the intensity, the more your body must work to move the pedals and keep the flywheel turning.

This will have you burning calories off in no time!

Who Is Suited To What Bike?

I feel this mainly comes down to two factors:

  • Your fitness goals
  • Your mobility

If your looking for something that is going to provide the ultimate workout and really melt that fat away I would recommend an indoor cycling bike.

The Schwinn IC7 is an awesome indoor cycling bike that combines durability and functionality.

If you feel you need something with comfort and support and perhaps you have poor mobility and after something less intense – then I would suggest the upright bike.

Here I would recommend the Schwinn 570U – a great multi-functional upright bike.


So there you have it

A full breakdown of the upright bike vs the indoor cycling bike.

Both have their own benefits but it really does comes down to your personal goals and current abilities.

Choose a bike that is going to slightly push you in every workout so you’re working up that sweat and really boosting your overall health and wellbeing.

Choosing an indoor cycling bike will have you burning calories and dropping pounds in no time at all however you need have a decent range of motion and mobility without injuring yourself.

Opting for an upright bike is going to be working those legs and melting that fat also but helping to keep a safer and structured form when cycling.

If you do have any questions, please drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

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