Spin Bike vs Smart Bike: Which is Better for At-Home Training?

January 10, 2024 6 min read

Spin bikes and smart bikes are both popular training partners for indoor cycling. Find the key differences and see why picking an indoor training bike should be your first choice.

Table of Contents:

Comparing Spin Bikes & Smart Bikes 

When comparing spin bikes and smart bikes, the similarity is that both are used for cycling at home:

  • Smart bikes - Smart bikes are an advanced type of indoor bike trainer which captures your cycling data and measures your output to help you train for sportives, support your fitness, and excel in your at-home training. The Wattbike Atom smart bike is compatible with multiple apps and provides the most advanced technology in indoor training: it’s called a “smart” bike for a reason!
  • Spin bikes - These are a less advanced type of cycling machine for use indoors. You may have even been to a spin class before! They replicate a traditional road bike in stature, except they’re stationary, allowing you to cycle on the spot. 

The key difference when comparing spin bikes and indoor trainers is the technology they offer. Typically you’ll find an indoor trainer from Wattbike supports every aspect of your training and helps you reach your power targets.

How the Wattbike Smart Bike Benefits Your Training

If you’re stuck between a smart bike or spin bike, remember the ways a smart bike or spin bike alternative can really transform your indoor cycling. The best indoor bike trainers will make a real change in the way you train: 

1. Choose from over 100 curated workouts

There are over 100 workouts available for free on the Wattbike Hub cycling appNot only that but you can subscribe to the Wattbike Hub+ which allows you to create and share your own workouts.

2. Find curated training plans 

Completing training programmes can help you stay on track while you train on a spin bike alternative. Our training plans can feel like you have a coach in your pocket, spurring you on to complete the next stage of your training. 

3. Test yourself to benchmark your ability

With Atom, you can complete performance tests to help identify your ability and establish what your training needs to look like in order to improve. This can help you know the workouts to prioritise and the various aspects of indoor cycling to tackle, from improving your endurance to improving your time during a time trial. 

4. More data than a spin bike, rollers, or turbo trainer

The Atom reads your data 1000 times per second and delivers ±1% accuracy with a power range of 0-2500w. It will record w/kg, FTP, calories burned, max HR. Our unique pedalling insight, Polar Viewwill help you improve your pedalling technique.

5. Alter the resistance to stay in control

The Atom smart bike uses electromagnetic resistance to allow you to vary how hard you need to work efficiently. When comparing a smart bike to a spin bike, you may find spinning doesn’t offer you so much control over your resistance trainer when completing a climb or a structured workout. 

6. Train interactively with compatible apps

Wattbikes are compatible with a number of indoor cycling apps which allow you to compete in virtual races, complete real-world routes, connect with fellow indoor riders and even speak to personal trainers. 

7. Adjust your smart bike to multiple users

Our indoor trainers are easily adaptable to fit every member of the household, where a standard spin bike may restrict you. With the options of a racing saddle or comfort saddle available, adjustable handlebars, and pedals, you can ensure everyone can train effectively on a spin bike alternative.

Pros & Cons of Spin Bikes

When we’re considering spin bikes vs smart bikes, we need to look at the benefits of indoor cyclingWhilst you may be able to find them in your local gym, you can also have your own spin bike at home. 


  1. You can start as a beginner - Though committing to an indoor training plan isn’t for the fainthearted, you can get started spinning even if you’re a beginner to indoor cycling. 
  2. Supports your fitness - Working out on a spin bike can help to improve your cardiovascular fitness. You can complete cycling workouts and increase the effectiveness of your body’s ability to transport oxygen around your body.
  3. Low impact exercise - Spinning is a great way to workout without a significant strain on your load-bearing joints, such as knees and ankles. This is true for all types of cycling and is known as off-feet conditioning.
  4. Helps you build leg muscles - Both spin bikes and smart bikes are ideal tools to help build your leg muscles, as cycling predominantly targets these muscles. 
  5. Can reduce your risk of injury - Using your muscles and joints regularly helps to avoid injury when you’re completing your daily tasks, because your muscles aren’t as weak or stiff as if you weren’t using them. 
  6. Strengthens your core - Cycling requires you to balance in an upright position, so exercising on a spin bike or smart bike engages your core - preventing you tipping over. 

Where a Spin Bike May Let You Down

  1. You could injure yourself- Improper form on your spin bike may lead you to injure yourself. You should ensure you have the perfect indoor bike set up to avoid injuries like knee pain while cycling or straining your muscles. 
  2. Can’t capture as much data - A spin bike won’t capture as much data when compared to a smart bike, which means it may leave you not knowing how hard you worked out and where improvements need to be made. 
  3. You’re not getting a full body workout- If your spin bike is set up incorrectly and you’re not incorporating other non-bike exercises into your training, you may not be effectively training every aspect of your body. 

What to Consider when Choosing

When choosing between a spin bike and smart bike, there are a multitude of things to consider, whether you’re training for a sportive or just wanting to increase your fitness without leaving the house. Here’s what you should consider when comparing a spin bike to a smart bike: 

  • Training goals- If you have set out your plan for achieving your goals, you’ll need a smart bike over a spin bike to get you there. From improving your cadence to starting sprint traininga smart bike will keep you on target thanks to its advanced data technology. 
  • Workout intensity - Smart bikes as a spin bike alternative, tend to be more sturdy, meaning you can really push yourself to an all-out sprint. You don’t have to worry that your smart bike can’t handle the pressure. 
  • Entertainment & motivation- You may wish to utilise the best cycling apps, which means you’ll have to pick a smart bike over a spin bike.
  • Read-road feel- If you pick a spin bike over a smart bike then you may not feel like you’re really cycling as you would outdoors.
  • Comfort- If you are looking for some comfort on your spin bike or smart bike, then choose the Atom with a comfort saddle. 

Spin Bike Alternatives

There are of course more options for your indoor cycling than skin bikes or smart bikes. Whilst we do know a smart trainer will support your training in the best way, and offer more benefit than the road. 

  • Turbos - Requiring your road bike, turbo trainers provide resistance as you pedal on the spot. They can damage your bike and are often bulky. When comparing smart bikes vs turbosyou’ll find a smart bike offers more capacity to support your entire training needs. 
  • Rollers - Cylinders rotate under your road bike as you pedal. They’re often hard to balance on and notoriously noisy. When considering a smart bike vs bike rollersyou find more interactivity and training options with a smart trainer. 
  • Exercise bikes - Limited in capability, as with spin bikes, these will allow you to cycle indoors. Comparing an exercise bike to a smart bike means an easy win for the smart indoor trainer.

Train Better with Wattbike

We’re dedicated to providing an all-round training experience using our unparalleled data technology. Whether you’re looking for workouts to improve your cycling or tips on what to eat after cyclingWattbike has your back.

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