Spin Bike Vs. Rowing Machine – What’s Best?

I love Spin Bikes and have always been a massive fan of cycling in general, but I have been using rowing machines recently, and I’m enjoying it. Coming into the market currently are a lot of Smart Rowers, basically like a Peloton but in a rowing format, and it started to get me thinking which is better?

It’s Cardio

As with any machine like this, it helps us work on our cardiovascular health. This simple format means training to raise your heart rate through your different energy systems. The benefits are enormous when training cardiovascular you can expect to see such improvements such as;

  • Better Fitness
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Better Circulation
  • Supports sleep and immune system
  • Improvements on mood
  • Live longer
  • Weight Regulation

Spin Bikes

Spin bikes are an excellent purchase to improve your health, and you will find many people use a spinning bike as their go-to when needing to work on themselves. I have used one for years. The price of indoor cycles ranges from cheap and cheerful $300 like this Kouz Live to $3000 like this Life Fitness IC7. They do the same job, but the more you spend, the more options and probably the better experience.

The beauty of spinning bikes is that most people on the planet know how to ride a bike, so it is as simple as adjusting it and jumping on it. They are straightforward to use and what I feel I like the most about it is you can go on for a light workout to a heavy interval session. The resistance is generally on a dial right in front of you, and the more you turn it into the bike, the harder it will be to pedal. I often use the spin bike as rehabilitation for clients of mine getting back to the gym who might not have a high fitness level. The calories do come easy, and although it might not burn the most calories in the world, it is easier to sit on a bike training than some other forms of exercise machines.

Another great feature of a spinning bike is the fact it is very low impact. This makes it an excellent machine to use for a long time. I can sit on my bike for hours and come away worked but not broken. With low-impact machines like this, it also gives you the opportunity for a quicker recovery and the ability to train more as you might require less rest.

The final thing I want to mention on spinning bikes is the aspect of how social they are. Not only can you go to spinning classes, but you have the option of getting an outdoor bike and joining a cycling club with your gained fitness. Though buying a bike for outdoor is an extra cost. You also have many choices of applications such as Peloton, JNRY, and Less Mills.


  • Fits most budgets
  • Low Impact Exercise
  • Mush easier to do daily
  • Intensity can be regulated much easier
  • It can be done with Friends
  • Application Variety


  • Training Outdoor would require a bike as well
  • You can end up spending a lot on equipment

Rowing Machines

Rowers are machines you usually see in a gym, but they have become trendy in home gyms or garages over recent years. The technology is now coming into the market, and they are, in my opinion, going to be the next big fitness machine. Price-wise, like bikes, you have the options of buying a very budget rower for about $200, or you can buy an impressive rower such as NordicTrack RW900 for around $2000. The more money you spend, the better experience you will get when it comes to the difference between the two.

Rowing has always been seen as a fantastic workout. You get a lot from your legs, back, arms and core when you’re hammering in the meters. A lot of cyclists often turn to row, and a lot of rowers turn to cycle. They are pretty similar, especially when it comes to leg movements. I like the fact it is effortless just to check your gym gear on and go. Unlike spin bikes, they can take some time to get ready for a session. When it comes to Calories, you can get around 600 an hour sustainably, which in general is more than cycling, but it is less sustainable as it uses so many muscles, so longer sessions could be more strenuous. It is low impact, yes, but it will be going into many new movements that your body won’t be used to, so expect some growing pains to start.

With rowing, it will take time to get the movement right, and it to become more natural for you to be training this often. You will need to do lots of shorter sessions to build up slowly to the longer ones. I recommend for my clients who want to get into rowing long distances to start at 10 minutes and up it by 10 minutes every week, basically build it up much slower than, for example, cycling.

Rowing can be social, but it is more complicated than, for example, cycling or running. To join a rowing club location will be crucial and If you’re lucky enough to be near a river though I’m sure by going out you will make new friends. Echelon has recently started rowing as an online community, so it will be huge in the future although not significant now.


  • Cheap to Start
  • Quick to workout
  • Easy to burn a lot of calories
  • Lots more muscles used than other cardio
  • Quiet to use


  • Space
  • More rest required

Indoor Rowers vs Indoor Bikes

The rower takes the win here. You use more muscles and burn more calories if you row for an hour compared to cycling. After all, spin bike are mainly for lower body while rowing machine are designed for a full body workout.

Easy winner here. The rower is much quieter than the spinning bike. Especially magnetic resistance rowing machines. With that said, air rowers are louder than magnetic spin bikes.

Rowers are not the smallest things in the world, and spinning bikes move much more manageable, so this has to go to the cycle.

The Rowers are much cheaper than the indoor cycling bikes. They have much less technology.

Spinning bikes gives you so much more technology than a rower and much more insight into the data.

Years ago, I would have said the rower would be easier to maintain, but with frictionless systems and magnetic flywheels, the bike takes this one.

The rower will be much more comfortable to be on for a longer time but you will not be able to watch TV and use things like your phone on a rowers. On the other hand, multi-tasking is possible on a spin bike.

A Final Verdict

Rowers and Spinning bikes are both excellent machines, and honestly, whatever you pick will give you a tremendous amount of value for your fitness goals. It does come down to personal preference. I feel the bike would keep you entertained and trained for longer.

Robbie Ferri
Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri from “Riding with Robbie” has been cycling for almost ten years. In that time, he has broken World Records, Bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. Robbie picked up a bike and started cycling when he was about 25 years old and said it was the best thing he ever did. The experiences and the fun he’s had have given him a huge passion for helping inspire others to ride further, farther, and get fitter.