Spin bike -v- Turbo

I've only recently had the use of a spin bike and its got me wondering which one is better for indoor training or is it no different?

Both seem to get my HR up but does the constant pedaling of the spin bike make me work harder?


  • I would have thought turbo, as it uses your normal bike, in a proper position, so its more like the real thing

  • I think I work harder on the spin bike cos its in the gym and I normally have an audience   image

    *when I say audience, I dont sell tickets or anything like that

  • depends how you mean - work harder.

    the spin bike has a large flywheel which gives it the inertia to carry on turning until your pedalling cadence catches up a bit if you slow down, (im also assuming it has some sort of slipping clutch inside) whereas your turbo has a tiny flywheel which is why it slows down quick due the small amount of inertia, so i think if you slow down and speed up frequently the turbo will make you work harder because of the reduced inertia but the spinner will make it easier for you to keep up high cadences. 

    as i have said many a time - i may be wrong, i often amimage 

  • You mean they're free meldy ? Gladys made me pay a fiver for mine !
  • M...eldy wrote (see)

    I think I work harder on the spin bike cos its in the gym and I normally have an audience   image

    and she works harder concentrating as not ot fall offimage


  • you can peep through her curtains for nothing - shes never spotted me 


  • She likes an audience! She knew you were there DK! 

    M...eldy wrote (see)

    *when I say audience, I dont sell tickets or anything like that

    But I do. And you got mates rates Cougie, it's a tenner for most!image

  • Donna .. be warned I am armed and dangerous !

  • This might be worth a listen? No idea as to the creds or qualifications of these guys, just came across it yesteday by chance


  • FF,

    Which one makes you work harder? Not sure.

    If the question is do you work harder in a spin class than at home on the turbo then it depends on whether you are trained to train and know how to push yourself until it hurts or if you need the instructor to shout at you. Note: I have never been sick doing intervals in run training but have been sick doing intervals in rugby training - there is nothing like a big scary man shouting at you (except Melds which is scarier).

    If the question is should you have a spin bike at home or a turbo then I would probably go with a turbo, unless you can afford a wattbike. It comes down to measurement. Spin bikes have no measure of progress, you can work out how hard you are working from HR but you can't work out if you are progressing. A turbo lets you measure distance, a gradient proxy and HR. Gradient proxy is lever on a set level or watt output etc. They are never accurate but accuracy is over-rated. As long as they are consistent accuracy doesn't matter so much unless you have 4 houses wit ha different turbo in each.

    So the speed (distance/time comp) at a fixed gradient proxy for a given HR will indicate progress.

    That said a Spin bike with Spinervals is enough for a hard workout if you can push yourself. I have Spinervals and a turbo with PC link. I can choose Spinervals, virtual courses, video course and pre-programmed interval/pyramid sessions (Tacx Catalyst).

    Spinervals and video courses get expensive fast whereas the catalyst pre-programmed courses has 40+ courses which provides lots of variety. I have Flow with i-flow upgrade.



  • Useful thread thanks. I'm considering these options myself

  • Ta for the discount Gladys !

    Spin bike vs turbo - if you're doing the same work out on them - then I think they're the same. I've used my fixed wheel on the turbo but I don't see any difference to a geared bike - unless you're slacking and freewheeling on a turbo session ?

    Spin class v turbo session - whatever work best for you.
  • I think they are the same, until you get to the top of a (vitual) 5 min hill on the spin bike, forget where you are and stop peddling/freewheel to stretch the legs.

    nearly threw me off the first time I did that!  image

  • From the specificity POV I reckon turbo.

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Spin bike, 40lb flywheel, HR monitor, two fans, towels & drinks. Ideal.

  • I like m..eface's answer!  (But just to add...)

    I mix up use of spinning classes and individual sessions on the exercise bike/turbo on a weekly basis.  What I find is that spinning is better for practising high cadence, and is just generally something I look forward to more because it's more bearable in the class/instruction format, but the turbo will be better for specificity, especially threshold type sessions on your own bike where you're basically doing more race-pace like efforts.  (Assuming we're talking about the bike leg of a tri.)

  • So...the general answer is we don't think theres much in it.

  • I occassionally use the spin bikes at my gym and do a session with a few friends if the weather is really bad.  My take on it would be, as long as you are putting in the effort to turn your pedals, whether thats on the turbo, spin bike, mtb or road - it is better than sitting on the sofa.  2 hours on the turbo/spin bike is worth a good 3 on the road.  I find I get motivated more when doing a training session with friends than looking at my garage wall on my own, so for me the spin bikes tend to win.  I must add it needs to be pretty awful for me not to cycle outside, last weekend I was caught in a freak snow storm.

  • I saw a gresat bit of kit in a gym once. This was about 8 years ago so maybe its common place now but... a load of spin bikes were in a circle facing inwards. Each had a screen and a games console.

    You played shoot em up games against each other. the harder you pedalled the more bullets you had/lives you got etc etc.

    I guess you could design the game to have action to coincide with intervals etc, but it just seemed to me to be a great motivator, knowing that you were competing against mates in a shoot em up with your pedal power being a major determinant.

  • I have got 3 'Sufferfest' videos and a dronky old TV that I got by making a donation to a school charity... great in the garage on turbo! Work like a dog without having to take the time to actually GET to the classes. 'The Wretched' - as close as I've ever come to vomitting on a bike - Different timings and paces - sad I know but does the trick and more versatile than a class-  'knowing' the course also means you can goal set to work harder or cut it off as you please.

    Do have a spare wheel with 'quiet' turbo tyre which helps alot!

  • "got 3 Sufferfest videos"

    You need to get all twelve, until you've been to a Very Dark Place or Revolver who've not lived...or Suffered hard enough

Sign In or Register to comment.