Bike Trainer vs Spin Bike: Which is More Convenient For You?

The winter and a number of other reasons make avid cyclists, and even beginners consider upgrading their cycling equipment. This could either be a spin bike or a smart indoor trainer. Both of these have done wonders for fitness enthusiasts. And they can be the guarantee that you don’t lose all you’ve gained from months of commitment, hard work, and strict dieting when the conditions don’t allow you to go exercising outdoors.

Now to the million-dollar question, what is the difference between a spin bike and a smart indoor trainer? Well, we can tell you that they put you on a bike with pedals, handlebars, and a seat. Those are similarities; keep reading as we delve into the several differences between them.

Smart Trainer Versus Spin Bike

If you’ve ever visited a gym, then there is a good chance that you’ve been on a spin bike, if you haven’t, we’re sure you’ve seen one. You’re not alone if you’ve ever confused a spin bike for a stationary bike, but we should tell you that they aren’t the same. Spin bikes provide you with cycling experiences that are more realistic. And they’re definitely more robust than stationary bikes.

Spin bikes became more popular during the pandemic as their demand and purchase spiked, with top brands like Schwinn and Peloton taking center stage with their designs and inventions. Smart trainers require less space than spin bikes, and the obvious difference between both devices is that you need a bike to use a smart trainer.

You will also require a membership to a suitable cycling app like Wahoo or Zwift. These apps help enhance your cycling experience on a smart trainer by allowing you access to training programs, races, and virtual worlds. The table below summarizes the difference between a smart trainer and a spin bike.

Bike Trainer vs Spin bikeEpic battle between bicycle trainer and spin bike
More NaturalWhich one provides a more natural ride
Longer RidesWhich one is better for longer rides
Less Impact and Saddle SoreWhich one has less impact and saddle sore
Storage SpaceWhich one takes less space for storage
Computer IncludedWhich one comes with a computer
Space While in UseWhich one takes less space while being used
More Calories in Short TimeBurns more calories in a 30-minute ride
CostsHow much they cost
A Decent Trainer + Bike $3000
A Decent Spin Bike With Screen $1500
NoiseWhich one makes less noise
MaintenanceWhich one has less maintenance
SetupWhich one requires less setup
House CleaningWhich one makes less mess in the house
Extra Accessories and CostWhich one requires less accessories
Recommended ForWhich is better for you
Serious Cyclists
Gym Goers

What are Smart Trainers?

best turbo trainers for indoor cycling review plus comparison

These refer to specially designed cycling equipment that lets you connect your bike (mountain or road bike) to a drivetrain/ flywheel without the need to spend extra money buying a specific indoor bike.

Smart turbo trainers are decent options that allow riders to use their bikes, provide a natural riding experience, let you easily sync your cycling apps, and accurately track your riding data. Having said that, these devices are relatively expensive and can be tasking for inexperienced riders.

There are two major types:

Direct- Drive


With direct-drive, you are required to take off the rear wheel of your bike and attach the bike to a cassette on the trainer. Resistance in this type is generated by the motor or belt.

A plus of the direct-drive is that it accurately tracks your data and metrics since your bike is directly connected to the trainer which delivers your data along with instant feedback. This option might seem attractive, but before jumping on it, you should know that they’re high-end and unless you’re a serious cyclist, you should consider looking into other available options.



With this type, your rear wheel stays in place and is attached to cylinder or smooth metallic flywheel to generate and regulate the power. These make good choices if you’re constrained by budget. In addition, they’re quite easy to set up, but nothing is ever 100% efficient, and this trainer is no different.

The rear tire of your bike is likely to wear out fast, and you need to calibrate the trainer before every session, which might take some time if the wifi connection isn’t very good.


  • Riders can use their bikes on the trainer
  • The riding experience is more realistic
  • Option to sync cycling apps that you love
  • Allows you to accurately track cycling metrics/data


  • A decent turbo trainer is relatively expensive
  • Takes time to get used to, especially for beginners.
  • It’s takes time to setup the bike on the trainer
  • Turbo trainers require more maintenance than spin bikes
  • More cleaning is required with turbo trainers
  • Turbo trainer requires more accessories like desk and computer

What are Spin Bikes?

Spin bikes are sturdy and arguably designed for athletes or fitness enthusiasts. They were first designed by Mad Dog, a renowned company that was also the original manufacturer of recumbent bicycles and stationary bikes. A good number of household names like Peloton and Schwinn now also offer spine bikes that feature cutting-edge technological features.

It is quite easy to track data and metrics with most spin bikes as they can track time, calories, distance covered, cadence, and heart rate. Also, the ride ergonomics like handlebars and seats can be adjusted, which is a plus.

Another merit of spin bikes is that the resistance is magnetic, and this makes for a smooth ride. It is also easy to adjustable the resistance level by turning a mechanical knob fixed on the frameset. Furthermore, spin bikes possess dual-purpose pedals and are suitable for anyone at any fitness level, including beginners.

You can also sync cycling apps with your spin bike and access live or pre-recorded training sessions. However, spin bikes can be pretty expensive, depending on the brand and type. Certain spin bikes like Nordictrack S22i come with accessories such as built-in fans, water bottles, and sometimes lightweight dumbbells.


  • Well-thought ergonomics
  • Saddle and handlebars are adjustable
  • Suitable for users at virtually all fitness levels
  • Access to high-quality pre-recorded and live training sessions
  • Takes less space while being used


  • Spin bikes can cost a lot depending on the manufacturers and model
  • Spin bikes require more space for use and storage when compared to smart trainers

Detailed Comparison Between Indoor Trainers And Spin Bikes


Resistance is a key point of difference between spin bikes and Bicycle trainers. Smart trainers provide mechanical or physical resistance depending on the model, while spin bikes provide users with electronically-controlled, micro-adjustable resistance, which results in a smooth-riding experience.

Also, adjusting resistance is different for both types of equipment. Smart trainers make use of technological advancements. The resistance they provide can be easily adjusted via a smart device or PC. Conversely, spin bikes require manual adjustments that’s simply achieved by turning the knob present on the frame of the bike.

This difference in the resistance both devices offer means spin bikes are more suited for general fitness enthusiasts. On the other hand, smart trainers are perfect for hardcore and avid cyclers who prefer the more realistic experience the turbo trainers offer.

Training Sessions

Training classes are quite similar for both as the app does most of the work and not the bike. So whatever your workout or training goal is, both types of cycling equipment are more than capable of delivering. All it takes is just a few clicks on your screen if connected to cycling apps with features that suit your riding needs.

Let’s beam the spotlight on Peloton. With this brand, you get access to training sessions put together by some of the most recognized cycling coaches across the globe. We love that they’ve got something for everyone from races to live classes and group leaderboards.

Zwift and Wahoo are popular apps that go well with smart trainers. With them, you can experience the routes of popular cycling events such as the Tour de France and much more.

Ergonomics and Bike Fit

For comfort, convenience, and efficiency, ergonomics and bike fit are two important aspects to consider. This is why the trainers are mostly preferred by serious cyclists for the fact that they can use their personal bikes. For this reason, they don’t have to interrupt the geometry and ergonomics that they’re used to.

Another option would be buying a spin bike, but this would only be reasonable if you don’t own any bike at all. Spin bikes, as alternatives, offer varying riding positions, and although you can adjust the seats and handlebars, they are not as customizable as road bikes.

If you own a road bike, though, then chances are you’re a serious cyclist, and purchasing a spin bike would be an extra expense, plus you would be tampering with your usual pedaling stroke and bike fit.

Objective of Main User

The decision is yours to make, and this might put some pressure on you but don’t worry, we’ve provided some helpful points to guide you. If you own a bike already and are into running, cycling, or rowing, then you should consider getting a smart trainer, but if you don’t have much experience with indoor cycling and don’t own a bike, then a spin bike would be the right option for you.


When deciding between bike trainer and stationary bike, you should consider your fitness goals, your budget, the available space, and if you currently own a bike to help you make the right choice. All the information you need has been shared above, and you should be able to decide what works best for you.

spin bike vs turbo trainer?

There are a few key differences between spin bikes and turbo trainers. First, spin bikes typically have heavier flywheels, which results in a more inertia and calorie burn. Turbo trainers, on the other hand, tend to be lighter and more compact, making them ideal for traveling or storage.

Second, spin bikes tend to offer more resistance options than turbo trainers. This means that you can fine-tune your workout on a spin bike to better match your needs and goals.

Finally, spin bikes usually come with built-in computers that track your metrics and progress over time; turbo trainers typically do not have this feature.

So, which is better? It really depends on what you’re looking for in a bike. If you are a pro cyclists, I would say go for a turbo trainer. But if you are semi-pro or a casual road cyclists, I would recommend spin bikes. From maintenance to setup and noise, spin bikes are superior to bike turbo trainers.

Can you use any bike on a turbo trainer?

No, you can’t use any bike on a turbo trainer. You need to have a bike that is specifically designed for use with a turbo trainer.

The reason for this is that the bike needs to be able to attach to the trainer, and the trainer needs to be able to hold the bike in place so that it doesn’t move around.

If you try to use a regular bike on a turbo trainer, it will probably move around too much and it will be difficult to keep it in place.

This can cause damage to both the bike and the trainer. So if you want to use a turbo trainer, make sure you have a bike that is compatible for that purpose.

Can you do a spin class on a turbo trainer?

Yes, you can definitely do a spin class on a turbo trainer! In fact, many people find that turbo trainers are actually good for spin classes since they offer a more consistent and controlled pedaling resistance.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when doing a spin class on a turbo trainer. First of all, make sure your bike is properly mounted onto the trainer – you don’t want it slipping or coming loose during your ride!

Secondly, you’ll need to adjust the resistance level on your trainer to match the instructor’s instructions. And finally, be sure to stay hydrated.

Can a turbo trainers connect to peloton?

Yes, a turbo trainer can connect to peloton. There are several ways like power meters or cadence sensors that allows you to either connect your bike directly to the peloton app or use a Peloton-compatible turbo trainer. There are many different types of turbos out there, so make sure to do your research in order to find the best option for you.

Some factors you may want to consider include IOS operating system, price, level of resistance, connectivity and compatibility, durability, and noise level.

If you’re looking for a specific recommendation, the Tacx Neo Smart is a great option that ticks all the boxes. Whichever turbo trainer you choose, following these guidelines will help ensure that you have a great experience working out with peloton.

Spin bike or Turbo Trainer is better for online cycling classes?

There are pros and cons to using both a spin bike and Turbo Trainer for online cycling classes. Spin bikes are more expensive, but they offer extra compatibility, since you can actually setup up certain bikes like Peloton Bike+ to change resistance automatically.

Turbo Trainers are less expensive, but they can be quite loud and require additional maintenance. On top of that, most turbo trainers can’t transmit data to applications that offer online cycling classes. So, you wouldn’t be able to see your cadence, gear, watt, etc on the app.

That said, ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. If you want a more realistic cycling experience, go with a bike turbo trainer. If you can afford to buy a good quality spin bike with screen for your cycling class, go with spin bikes.

Is a spin bike or bike trainer better for Zwift?

There isn’t necessarily a clear answer to this question since it largely depends on what you’re looking to get out of your Zwift experience.

If you’re primarily focused on improving your cycling fitness and can afford to buy one of the spin bikes that fully functions with Zwift, then a spin bike is probably going to be the better option.

On the other hand, if you’re mostly interested in racing and wants the most immersive experience possible, then a bike trainer is likely going to be better since it provides more accurate data tracking and potential for customization. Ultimately, it depends on your budget to decide which type of setup will work best for your needs.


Hi there, I'm Sayed Hamed Hosseiny, the founder and one of the authors at (YEB). I am a former indoor cycling instructor and personal trainer with nearly 20 years of experience. With a passion for indoor cycling, I have spent years designing cycling parts, repairing, and importing exercise bikes. All the articles, tips, guides, reviews, and comparisons on (YEB) reflect my personal opinion and expertise in the field. I'm excited to share my knowledge with fellow exercise bike enthusiasts and help people find reliable indoor cycling information and the best exercise bike for their needs. If you have any questions or suggestion, you can contact me at

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