Difference between Cycling and Spinning

Key Difference: Cycling refers to the sport or activity of riding a bicycle. The term is generally used for outdoor cycling. On the other hand, spinning refers to a studio cycling workout. 

Cycling refers to the use of bicycles for transport, recreation and also for sport. The term cycling dates back to the 19th century when it was first introduced, and since then has been a popular mode of transportation. Cycling is preferred as it reduces consumption of gas and is also environment friendly. It is a great exercise and works on all parts of the body.

Cycling is also contrasted with spinning, as cycling generally refers to the road cycling and Spinning refers to a studio cycling workout. Spinning classes are group workouts on stationary exercise bikes. Generally, spinning bikes consist of a weighted flywheel in the front that picks up speed as one pedals. The seats and handlebars of the cycles are well adjustable. Due to all these factors, one feels that he is riding on a real bike. A knob is present below the handlebars to adjust the tension.

Some of the important differences are mentioned below in the table:-





Cycling refers to the sport or activity of riding a bicycle. The term is generally used for outdoor cycling.

Spinning refers to a studio cycling workout.  

Set up


Fitness studio, with various light and music settings to create an energized atmosphere


Not necessarily controlled


Gear required

Bike and Helmet

All necessary gears are provided by the gym


Varies from regular or sports bikes

 Specialized stationary bicycles

Need of Instructor

Generally not



Riding at night, dusk and dawn might be dangerous

No apparent dangers


Pedaling against wind resistance and friction of road requires more work from hip flexors and quadriceps.

Most bikes are equipped with a flywheel mechanism and thus calves have to work harder.

Cardiovascular fitness

Comparatively less effective.

According to the study conducted by the American Council On Exercise:- spinners worked at 75-96 % of their maximum heart rate, far exceeding the minimum requirement.


Easiest way to exercise

It builds strength and also tone the muscles

Stamina is build

Calories are burnt

It improves the coordination power of arm-leg, feet-hand and body-eye.

Helps in reducing stress.

Good for the health of heart

One can progress at his own pace (resistance control knob)

Spinning keeps the pressure off of one’s knees and feet.

Can effectively shape thighs, hamstrings and calves

Spinning classes motivate the spinners as it is generally a group activity.


Generally, can be done everyday.

Trainers generally recommend spinning no more than three days a week.


Bike’s cost.

Includes the gym membership that often includes the trainer's fee.

Image Courtesy: richmond.gov.uk, meredone.com

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