Exercise Bike vs. Treadmill: Which Is the Best Cardio Machine?

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It helps us maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and enhances our physical and mental well-being. If you're exploring ways to burn calories and elevate your fitness levels, you've probably encountered exercise bikes and treadmills. These are two popular types of cardio equipment found in gyms and homes. But which one is better: exercise bikes or treadmills? In this blog, we will delve into their differences and guide you in choosing the one that aligns with your fitness goals.

Is an Exercise Bike Good for Cardio?

Exercise bikes offer a low-impact cardio workout. They are especially great for people recovering from injuries or those experiencing joint pain. An exercise bike is a stationary machine that mimics the experience of riding a bicycle, making it perfect for cyclists who want to train indoors.

These bikes offer different resistance settings, making it easier to adjust your workout and push yourself to the limit. Additionally, many exercise bikes come with built-in programs that range from beginner to advanced, making it easier to track your progress and challenge yourself.

What Was the Treadmill Invented For?

Treadmills present a high-impact cardio workout option, suitable for those seeking more vigorous exercise. They simulate walking or running and can offer a more intense workout than an exercise bike. A major advantage of treadmills is the ability to set your pace and incline, diversifying your workout.

Like exercise bikes, treadmills often come with integrated programs for adjusting pace and distance. Many are also equipped with heart rate monitors, assisting you in tracking progress and maintaining your target heart rate zone.

Exercise Bike vs Treadmill: Which One Burns More Calories?

Both exercise bikes and treadmills are effective for calorie burning. However, which one is better? The answer varies based on several factors, including body weight, workout intensity, duration, and resistance level.

Research suggests that a 150-pound individual can expend approximately 260-315 calories during a 30-minute exercise bike session and about 270-400 calories during a similar duration on a treadmill. By intensifying your workout, either through running on the treadmill or increasing resistance on the stationary bike, you can elevate your calorie burn rate per minute.

Exercise Bike vs Treadmill: Which is Better for Your Joints?

Another factor to consider while choosing between an exercise bike and a treadmill is the impact on your joints. The knees are among the most stressed joints when it comes to working out. It is important to consider the effect of exercise bikes and treadmills on the knees.

According to studies, running on a treadmill can cause more impact on the knees than cycling on an exercise bike. Running on a treadmill produces a shock that can be harmful to the knees, especially for people who have a history of knee injuries or arthritis. On the other hand, exercise bikes have a low-impact design that reduces stress on your joints, making them suitable for people with back, knee, or ankle issues.

When deciding between an exercise bike and a treadmill, consider their effects on your joints. The knees are notably vulnerable during workouts. It's crucial to assess the impact of both machines on the knees.

Studies indicate that running on the treadmill can exert more stress on the knees compared to cycling on an exercise bike. The shock produced while running can be detrimental, especially for those with knee injury histories or arthritis. Conversely, exercise bikes, with their low-impact design, minimize joint stress, making them ideal for those with back, knee, or ankle concerns.

Exercise Bike vs Treadmill: Which One Builds More Muscles?

Muscles Involved in an Exercise Bike Workout: Exercise bikes have long been known for their ability to work out the glutes, quads, and calves. When cycling, the repetitive motion of pushing down on the pedals works the quads and calf muscles and squeezes the glutes. With regular use, the exercise bike will help to build and tone these areas, resulting in a stronger, tighter lower body.

Muscles Involved in a Treadmill Workout: Treadmill is an excellent cardio workout that will challenge your overall fitness levels. While running on a treadmill, you are working your quads and hamstrings thoroughly. The constant impact of your feet hitting the treadmill also works the lower leg muscles, including calves, shins, and ankles, as well as the muscles in your arms and shoulders.

Both exercise bikes and treadmills work to strengthen the muscles in the legs, hips, and buttocks, but they focus on different muscle groups. One major benefit of the exercise bike is that it gives a full lower-body workout, which is good for people who want to build leg and hip strength while avoiding pressure on the joints.

Exercise Bike vs Treadmill: Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular exercise is crucial for improving heart health and circulation. Both exercise bikes and treadmills offer cardiovascular benefits but in slightly different ways.

Cardiovascular Benefits of exercise bikes: Exercise bikes are great for people who need to improve their cardiovascular fitness but don’t want the impact of jogging on a treadmill. Cycling provides an excellent cardio workout, lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Additionally, cycling can burn a considerable number of calories, making it a good option for weight loss.

Cardiovascular Benefits of treadmills: Treadmills provide an excellent cardiovascular workout with an added weight-bearing element. Running or walking on a treadmill can help improve bone density, which is essential for people at risk of osteoporosis.

When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, both machines help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke while improving weight management. Still, it ultimately comes down to personal preferences, which may vary based on fitness goals, space availability, and lifestyle choices.

Exercise Bike vs Treadmill: Versatility and Convenience

When it comes to versatility and convenience, exercise bikes have an edge over treadmills. The exercise bike is a stationary piece of equipment that mimics cycling. What makes the exercise bike versatile is that it allows you to pedal in a reclined position or in an upright position. The versatility of an exercise bike also comes with different resistance levels and various workout programs, allowing you to customize your routine and target specific muscles. Moreover, exercise bikes are compact and portable, making them ideal for home use or apartment living.

Treadmills, however, require more space and may not be suitable for small homes or apartments. They also have limited incline levels, and running on a treadmill can get repetitive after a while.

The convenience of an exercise bike and a treadmill comes from the fact that they are both indoor machines that allow you to work out regardless of the weather. You don’t have to worry about heavy rain or snow that may prevent you from going outside to run or cycle. Also, you can work out in the comfort of your own home while still being able to watch your favorite TV show or listen to music.

Exercise Bike vs Treadmill: Which Is Worth the Investment?

When it comes to pricing, exercise bikes are generally more affordable than treadmills. You can find an adequate stationary bike that will cost you between $100-$1,000. Home exercise bikes are known for being compact, so they take up less space and are always budget-friendly. If you have a small apartment or prefer to have a modest at-home gym setup, freebeat exercise bike is a great option.

Boom Bike($699):

  • Auto Resistance System: Industry-leading electromagnetic technology automatically adjusts the resistance based on the instructor's cue and sets the perfect intensity for each rider's performance level.
  • Smart Saddle Detection+: Dynamic seat sensors detect movement in and out of the saddle, closing the gap between effort exerted and recognition received.
  • Rotatable 15.6" HD Touchscreen: Rotate the anti-glare touchscreen display in any direction for cycling, cardio, strength training, and stretching workouts on and off the bike.
  • Rockstar Instructors: Our growing number of rockstar instructors come from the world's top cycling studios such as Soulcycle, Flywheel, and Equinox.
  • High Stability Frame Design: A team of professionals incorporated ergonomics and biomechanics into each weld and curve.
  • Performance Tracking: Our sensors don't miss a single beat. Receive instant performance tracking metrics as you ride. Our software recommends appropriate training programs according to each rider's riding data.
  • Gamifified Workouts: Classes revolve around music. The gamified system ranks players based on how well they stay on beat with the tempo of the music. Countless music genres such as top hits, EDM, rock, pop, and more - a playlist for everyone.
  • On-Demand Classes: Indoor cycling, cardio, HIIT, and strength training - all under one membership. Our class library is updated all the time with new classes, games, challenges, and more.
Treadmills, on the other hand, range from $500-$3,000, making it a more significant investment. If you have some extra space and a higher budget, then a treadmill is your best bet. Both of these options provide exceptional home workout experiences, making them great investments.


Ultimately, both exercise bikes and treadmills offer good calorie-burning workouts and cardiovascular benefits. When it comes to choosing between the two, it ultimately boils down to your preferences, fitness goals, and physical limitations.

If you're looking for a low-impact workout that's easy on your joints, an exercise bike might be a good choice for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy running and want to work on your endurance while targeting your lower body muscles, then a treadmill is a better option.

Additionally, if you're limited on space, an exercise bike might be a better option since it's smaller and easier to store. Treadmills are larger and take up more space, making them ideal for people with a dedicated home gym or larger living space.