Are Exercise Bikes As Efficient As Bicycles? 

Are Exercise Bikes As Efficient As Bicycles?

An exercise bike can be the perfect tool for getting more active in your home. It comes with a slew of benefits, chief among them being the ability to work out without leaving the comfort of your house. But are these machines really as effective as traditional bicycles at improving your overall health, burning calories, building fitness, et cetera? 

Plus, new innovations are being introduced constantly. Now, there aren’t just exercise bikes, but treadmill desks, walking desks, and other advancements designed to streamline your workout habits during work hours or throughout the day. While these machines are no doubt more convenient than more traditional means of working out, are they as effective?

In this blog, we’ll break down the differences between utilizing a regular bicycle and more innovative technological workout equipment. We’ll also list the pros and cons of utilizing each, and finally, make a recommendation based on the science. The two aren’t mutually exclusive either; you can have both. 

Exercise Bikes Vs. Traditional Bicycles 

While both exercise bikes and traditional bicycles are excellent sources of cardio and promote positive physical health, most experts agree there is no replacing what a traditional bike does for your body. Exercise bikes are good for your legs, but a traditional bike forces more parts of your body to work while you’re exercising. 

Real bikes utilize nearly every part of your body. You use upper arm strength, and abs to maintain balance, speed, and control, and have to absorb different levels of impact from the terrain you’re riding on. 

Advantages of An Exercise Bike 

The main advantage of an exercise bike is, again, the ability to use it in your home. This way, no matter the weather, you can still get a workout in. Rain or snow won’t stop you, and whether it’s hot or freezing outside doesn’t matter. 

You also don’t have to find daylight hours to get a workout in. It’s safer to bike indoors, as you won’t get hit by cars or have to dodge pedestrians. You can get a quick workout in before work or in the late hours of the night worry-free. 

Also, if you have children that need attending, you can still watch them while working out. You don’t have to try and carve out a specific time of your day to prioritize your physical health. Also, if you work from home, you can kill two birds with one stone by working out while working. Overall, an exercise bike provides a versatile workout option that is scalable and convenient for those that are either stuck inside or can’t find time to bike around town or a park. 

Advantages of A Traditional Bicycle 

If you have the time and don’t mind bending your will to the weather, a traditional bike is a fantastic option for staying in great shape and improving your overall physical health. 

Unlike an exercise bike, your environment changes as you continue to bike around, providing a more pleasant visual experience for your biking. You can find an ideal spot or backdrop for your workout and stick to it, or bike somewhere different every time you go out. 

Plus, exercise bikes and other similar machines are expensive. A regular bike is considerably more affordable. You also get a more well-rounded workout with a bike, using all parts of your body and tackling the natural terrain and all its twists, turns, and obstacles. 

Going outside is great for your mental health as well. Sometimes you need and rely on time away from your house, especially if you work from home. That 30-minute bike ride becomes a staple of your routine and is something to look forward to throughout your day. 

Working Out Is Tough, Do What Works for You 

Really, any form of working out is sure to be beneficial for both your physical and mental health. What is tough is finding a habit that works for you. If you’ve settled into a routine, don’t let anyone sway you from what you find effective. 

But it might be beneficial to spice up your workout routine. You may find that you really enjoy the outdoor aspect of getting a regular bike. Or if your job requires you to be running around constantly, you might like staying indoors to put some work in. 

If you really want to mix it up, consider buying a treadmill desk or other work-friendly equipment that allows you to put in work in more ways than one. But the reality is everyone is trying to find something that works for them, and settle into a routine that’s easy to follow. Find your niche and stick to it. Or try something new. The point is your workout is personal and yours; make it exactly what you want it to be. 

Our Recommendation

If you live in a nice weather area, invest in a traditional bicycle. It expands where you can take your workouts, is good for your mental health, and makes your body work harder. But not everyone has the luxury of fair weather. 

If you live in a particularly rainy part of the country or one that is too hot or cold for outdoor activities, bring in an exercise bike. Your body will thank you for implementing a new workout routine in your home, and you’ll feel better mentally because of it. But at the end of the day, it’s all up to you. Our official recommendation is to find something that works for you and stick with it until you see the benefits. 


While traditional bicycles are more effective workout machines than exercise bikes and similar equipment, the effectiveness depends on how dedicated the person working out is. You may not like using a traditional bike and rely on your exercise bike to catch up on a favorite show or sports podcast. Because of this, it won’t be as effective for you. 

The effective option is the one you’ll put more time into. Working out is hard. Do it your way.