Bikes Vs Rowing Machines: How to choose

Both indoor bikes and rowers are cardio machines but that’s where a lot the similarity ends. Spin bikes have been part and parcel of both commercial and home gyms but in the recent years, rowing machines have become extremely popular. Wondering why? Here are a few differences between them.

In this article, we’ll cover major factors like quality of the workout, price, storage etc.

Workout quality

While both machines claim to provide a full body workout we have to give the rower the edge here. Spin bike focuses mostly on the lower body muscles like your glutes, hips etc. while most of your upper body muscles remain static.

In a rower, each stroke requires the movement of both your upper body muscles like your shoulders, arms and even your core along with the hips, glutes, thighs etc. thus engaging more upper body muscles than a spin bike.

This also makes rower the perfect equipment for those recovering from injuries or for people with joint or spine related issues.


Both the machines come in a wide range of prices and thus it’s safe to say there’s one for everyone but if you’re looking for a high-end model with top-notch features than a rowing machine like the Concept2 Model will cost you around $1000 whereas one of the best spin bikes like the Keiser will cost around $1500.

Cheaper rowers come without important features like a good display screen or adjustable saddle etc. Also, the frame is usually made of low quality steel. For the budget buyers, the spin bike is the ideal alternative and will last you longer.

Storage and space

When is use the rower by far requires a large amount of space as compared to a spin bike. With a rower, you’ll need about 9ft of area whereas a spin bike will require 5-6 ft. but when it comes to storage, rowers take the lead.

Rowing machines have lesser height and thus can fit under your bed when not in use. Also, most rowers can be folded into an upright position too and with the Concept2 even the railing detaches. On the other hand, spin bikes cannot be folded and will have to be unassembled.

Other features

High-end models of both rowers and spin bikes come with all the required features like an LCD monitor. The monitor should be big and clear enough to be viewed from a comfortable seated position.

Also, monitors should provide important workout related information like the calories burned, distance covered, time and most importantly heart rate, a feature the cheaper models often lack.

The saddle and in case of the spin bike even the handlebars should be adjustable for the perfect positioning. The pedal or the foot plate should come with straps for added safety. A spin bike should also come with an emergency stop button that’s not too far away.