Real Bikes Vs. Stationary Bikes: Which One Is Better For An Exercise?

Do you know that there are many benefits of cycling regularly? If you are wondering which type of bicycle you should ride, Give this guide a read!

Do you feel that burn in your thighs while riding a bike? This is a guarantee when you are a cyclist. You’re going to get a great workout in the process of enjoying your favorite hobby. Everyone knows how good cycling is for your health.

However, a lot of people who want to stay fit (or get there) don’t choose cycling as often as they do at the gym. When you think about it, though, this is the same as cycling, so why not ride instead?

Excercise bike cardio

Real Bikes vs Stationary Bikes: Which One Is Better?

Real bikes are taken by most of us cycling enthusiasts to be the classics. While it is great to stick to tradition, it isn’t that great an idea for you to just vehemently oppose exercise bikes for no reason at all. Even “real” bikes have a bad side. Set your titanium baseball bat aside, and let’s talk about the good bits of real bikes when it comes to working out.

If you’re looking to buy a bike but can’t decide between a recumbent or spin bike, check out our detailed comparison to help you make an informed decision.

Two fast bikes

1 – Real Bikes Have An Impact On The Whole Body

Stationary bikes are great for exercise, as long as it is focused solely on your legs. The whole point of a stationary bike is to make it a hard, intense workout for your thighs and buttocks. You won’t get much of an upper-body workout. When using a stationary bike, you are going to have to think about other exercises as well, because just having toned legs is not going to be enough.

Real bikes, however, include every part of your body in the ride. While legs still play the biggest part, your entire core is going to get a workout. Because you are going to be using your body to maintain balance, streamline yourself, and stand or sit to gain or reduce speed. You will also get something of a mental workout, all of which are great for increasing calorie consumption.

Want to know if cycling works your abs? Read our article to learn more about the benefits of cycling for your core muscles.

Cycling through the crowd

2 – Stationary Bikes Lead To A Quicker Burn-Out

Thinking about heading over to the gym to pedal on that stationary bike till you drop? The chances are that you will “drop” a little earlier than you thought you would. It is very easy to feel exhausted faster when cycling indoors rather than outdoors. This isn’t your body’s fault. Your body could probably go on for an extended period. It is your mind that is playing games with you.

Since you are going to be on the inside, you are going to have a hard time staying focused for that long on the same task. When riding a real bike, the workout is the same (and sometimes more). But you find yourself caught up in the scenery and life in general moving past. Boredom is very common in indoor cyclists, and this can lead to your brain deciding that it needs to do something more.

Exercise cycling uphill

3 – Stationary Bike Seats Are Not Replaceable 

Standard bike seats are the norm when it comes to most exercise bikes. These are small and are usually very uncomfortable. Why the manufacturer can’t change this feature, no one knows. The fact remains that exercising on a stationary bike can lead to health problems if done too often for extended periods. The habit of leaning forward because of the seat can also put stress on the lower back.

The good thing about real bikes in comparison is that they have easily replaceable seats. Not many enthusiasts keep the stock seats for their bikes unless they have picked them for their comfort or versatility. This ease of customization means that you will be able to ride on them for far longer without much discomfort. It leads to a better workout and not many post-workout health issues.

Cycling is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Check out our article to learn more about the benefits of cycling and how it can improve your overall well-being.

Cycling around a corner

4 – Real Bikes Are Great For Building Stamina

Indoor bikes are used quite often by amateurs training for races and triathlons. The standard reason that is given for this is that the weather conditions at the time aren’t suitable for outdoor training. However, it is highly recommended that if you are training for an outdoor race you do it outdoors. This will allow you to become accustomed to the weather conditions and terrains so that you have a better shot at the title.

While exercise bikes are great for increasing stamina, they aren’t as effective as real bikes if you use the real bike for proper hardcore training routines. You can always be sure of increasing your endurance and adaptability by training for the outside on the outside. If you have to train indoors due to the risk of injury, make sure that you push yourself much further than even you think you are capable.

Recumbent bikes are a popular choice for people who want a low-impact workout. Read our article to learn more about the benefits of recumbent bikes and why they might be the right choice for you.


5 – Stationary Bikes Are More Expensive

Stationary bikes cost more than standard road or mountain bikes. While the actual device itself will only set you back a few hundred dollars, there are other factors to be thought about. Stabilizing mechanisms along with performance monitoring devices and the software they require all are going to come together and cost you quite a pretty penny.

On the other hand, getting on a real bike is only going to cost you a few hundred dollars, period. Of course, if you are going for a high-end bike then you will have to pay more. But the standard bicycle costs less overall than its stationary little brother. You will only need to buy an odometer if you want to check your stats, and you will be ready to go!

Cycling is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental health. Check out our article to learn more about how cycling can make you healthier and happier.

Uphill exercise benefit

6 – Real Bicycles Are More Environmental Friendly!

Bicycles, real bicycles, have little to no adverse effects on the environment. They are completely green. The only CO2 emissions that you will see in a normal bike are the breathing output of the person riding it. This is extremely desirable because it is after all one of the main reasons to buy a bike in the first place.

Stationary bikes, on the other hand, usually use power. This can be either to charge up all the monitoring devices and software or even to power up the bike itself. This means that every time you work out, in addition to your CO2 emissions you are also going to add the power consumption of the bike during your workout. This can lead to quite a bit when it adds up over time!


Group of cyclists

7 – Crowds Can Be A Bad Thing

There is a dark and a light side to cycling indoors. When you go to classes for this activity, you end up cycling with a group of people. While this does help push you to newer heights, you are also going to run the risk of feeling left out. People aren’t going to slow down or stop for you. So if you have to get off early, you might wind up feeling like the odd one out.

Riding a real bike with your group can be better for you. It becomes more of a social activity than one that is all about the workout. People are generally friendlier on real bikes, mainly because it isn’t the harsh indoor setting of the gym, but the wonderful outdoors!

Three pro cyclists training

8. Real Bikes Are Not Great For Average Enthusiasts

A real bike makes use of pure leg power to steer, propel, and drive. When cycling outside, you find yourself facing a whole range of problems, the biggest of which is bad weather. The thing is that if you want to get a proper workout on an outdoor bike, you are going to need to be motivated. Unlike indoor cycling, you won’t have a crowd to spur you on.

Instead, you have to rely on your motivation to get you to that level of strain. Because of this, you are going to need to do something other than simply cruising around. To get a real workout going, you will have to push yourself to greater heights on your own. For serious, professional cyclists and athletes, this shouldn’t prove to be a problem. For the regular Joe, however, indoor cycling may be a better bet.


Fixing bike gear

9 – Real Bikes Require More Technical Know-How

When you are an outdoor cyclist, you need to be able to focus your workout on different muscle groups. Unlike in indoor cycling, upping the difficulty isn’t as simple as turning a knob or tapping an upwards-facing arrow on a display in front of you. Instead, you are going to need to have a lot of technical knowledge about how cycling works, if you want to get the best workout.

Simply cycling down the streets to work every day is good for your health, for sure. But it isn’t a workout. If you go to an indoor cycling class, you are going to feel like you have been shoved into the deep end. If you want to get to the same level of intensity, you will need to get onto different terrain, longer distances, and more obstacles. All of these will require technical knowledge on your part, to keep safe during these rides.


Tired after road bike exercise

10 – Outdoors Can Be Inconvenient

While outdoor cycling is usually classified as fun, it isn’t the best way to have a focused workout. You will have to think about a lot of other factors too like the right clothes to wear. This isn’t a problem inside a nice, cozy gym of course. However, on the outside, you will have to deal with things like bad weather conditions, tire blowouts, traffic, and other factors as well.

All-Important Cardio-Which Type Bike Is Better?

What is the first thing anyone does when they go to the gym? Well, cardio of course. Cardio exercises are important right at the start of any workout, no matter whether you are looking to lose fat or build muscle. You must use cardio exercises to give your body a warm-up before you begin the rest of your workout.

As per the experts at FitnessVolt, to build muscle and burn more calories needed to lose weight, HIT or HIIT workouts are highly recommended along with pre-workout supplements to boost the intensity of your gym sessions.

Some people take a run on a treadmill, while others do high-intensity aerobic training. However, for the most part, people take a ride on a stationary bike or exercise bike. This is a common sight at nearly any gym across the country: a bike with one front wheel that is not touching the ground. It usually features an adjustment knob for different difficulty levels as well.

People are constantly debating the benefits of one versus the other. Some people argue that the stationary bike is way better for a grueling workout, while others say that real bikes are the way workouts were always meant to be done. Each has its perks, and also its cons. While there can be no straight-up contest between the two that will ever yield a clear winner, you can choose one or the other.

However, this will depend on your personal preference. Different options allow you to have different workouts. For example, road bikes and mountain bikes have different health benefits because of the terrain and riding style. Although they are generalized in this article, you really should look into which is more suited to you before you buy a bike.

Does cycling get a good-looking butt? Cycling is a great way to achieve that. Read our article to learn more about how cycling can help butt you’ve always wanted.

Cyclist drinking water


Do you burn more calories on a stationary bike or a real bike?

You can burn more calories on a stationary bike.

Is a stationary bike good for belly fat?

A stationary bike will target your leg muscles more than your belly. 

Is 20 minutes a day on a stationary bike enough?

Yes, 20 minutes a day on a stationary bike is enough according to medical guidelines.

At what age should you stop riding a bike?

There is no set age when you should stop riding a bike. If your health allows, cycling is a good activity for all ages.

The Verdict

Ultimately, there can be no clear winner in this debate. Sure, real bikes can be as amazing as aerobic exercise machines, and they have a lot of advantages over their fixed counterparts. However, you must also realize that there is bad mingled with the good.

The final decision comes down purely to personal preference. What do you want to be doing? How do you want to be doing it? Choose wisely, and you just might have the best workout ever. So what’s it going to be? Let me know in the comments below!

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This article was crafted by Nishan Udam, a seasoned expert, bringing years of experience and knowledge about all types of bikes. Our goal is to provide you with accurate, reliable, and valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and enhance your biking experience.

Should you have any questions or require further clarification on the topic, please feel free to connect with our expert author Nishan Udam by leaving a comment below. We value your engagement and are here to assist you.

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7 thoughts on “Real Bikes Vs. Stationary Bikes: Which One Is Better For An Exercise?”

  1. This is the most biased article I have ever read. You could tell your bias on the cost front. A decent indoor stationary bike can be purchased for under £300. For that on a proper bike you will get something that will not perform and will not last. I agree outdoor cycling is the best option but on a budget there is no comparison. The safety gear and winter clothing alone costs more than the indoor bike!

  2. Really enjoyed reading your article, thanks very much. Apart from the risk aspect of riding a bike outdoors I don`t see any value in sitting bored stiff on a stationary bike in a gym.
    Get out, get some fresh air in your lungs and socialise.

  3. Great Stuff Nishan Udam! Most informative and helpful resource on “7 Exercise Benefits of Real Bikes vs. Stationary Bikes”. This article helps me a lot. Many many thanks for sharing with us.

    Reed Cooper

  4. I don’t thinks it’s an either/ or proposition. I’ve done both and find real bikes more pleasurable, satisfying, and a great hobby, but stationary bikes are more convenient and practical. While riding my stationary bike I watch television, Youtube videos on my smart TV (including cycling videos) or read books or mail if I’m peddling my easy days. I work the swing shift and I can stationary cycle at midnight if I chose. Since I live in Los Angeles, a town known for apocalyptic traffic, road rage and hit and runs of cyclists, a major advantage of stationary cycling is not getting run over by cars.

  5. It’s cool that you mention that outdoor cycling is a great activity for keeping your body healthy. I want my son to develop a healthy lifestyle, so I’m thinking about buying him some cycling gear. I’m going to search for a reputable business that can sell me some cycling gear.

  6. I enjoyed readìng this and yes some say road bikes is better however a spin bike can give you a good hard work out like if you do 2hrs and most is standing pushing uphills it depends how motivated one is personly I love both but can still work hard on a spinner .


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