Exercise bike vs. treadmill comparison

Exercise bike vs. treadmill: Which is better for home gym?

Comparing exercise bikes and treadmills based on their joint impact, space requirements, assembly process, and more.

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Key Facts

  • An exercise bike is a stationary bicycle with a saddle, pedals, and handlebars. It’s ideal for training or fitness because you can adjust the pedal difficulty to simulate real cycling experiences. 
  • A treadmill is an exercise cardio equipment that enables you to walk, jog, or run in place via a motorized conveyor belt. It’s often used for performance training and to simulate race conditions.

If you want to start working out but feel self-conscious about going to a public gym, consider setting up a mini gym at home. This way, you can exercise more comfortably at any time of the day. 

However, building a home gym isn’t easy, as choosing among the many types of fitness equipment can be daunting. To make it easier, try narrowing your options to home gym staples, such as exercise bikes vs. treadmills.

What is an exercise bike?

Exercise bike vs treadmill - What is an exercise bike

An exercise bike is like an actual bike with a saddle, pedals, and handlebars, except it doesn’t move forward. It stays only in one place, that is why it’s also called a stationary bike. 

One of the benefits of using a stationary bike is that it simulates flat ground cycling and uphill riding by adjusting its pedaling difficulty. So, you’ll feel like cycling on a smooth paved road or tackling a steep mountain, even if you’re only at home. 

Although this exercise equipment is mainly for cyclists wanting to do some training and warm-ups at home, it can also be great for anyone to lose weight and improve their overall fitness. Studies even show that working out using exercise bikes can help burn 600 calories an hour. Not only will it help you lose body fat, but it’ll also strengthen the muscles in your lower body. 

What is a treadmill?

Exercise bike vs treadmill - What is a treadmill

A treadmill is an exercise equipment with a moving platform driven by a conveyor belt and an electric motor wheel, allowing you to walk, jog, and run in place. It can replicate race conditions or specific training regimens, so athletes use them for performance training. 

It works similarly to an elliptical machine, but between an elliptical vs. treadmill, the former provides a more low-impact exercise because instead of running or walking on a moving flat platform, you’re moving your feet in an elliptical motion, much like climbing the stairs. 

You might have also heard about a treadmill bike. From the name itself, It is a bike that is a treadmill, which allows the user to walk or run on a moving platform while going forward like a bike. 

Treadmill or exercise bike: Which is the ideal choice for a home gym setup?

They say exercising helps improve mental health, which is why many people invest in home fitness equipment such as a treadmill and stationary bike. Although they provide a good cardio workout, having both fitness equipment at home can be problematic, especially if you lack space. 

Check out this detailed comparison guide of stationary bikes vs. treadmills to help you choose the right type of fitness equipment for your home gym. 

In terms of cardiovascular workout

Is a stationary bike good cardio? Yes, it’s actually a low-impact exercise that helps condition the muscles in your lower body by continuously pedaling. 

But, if you want to make your cardio more challenging, an exercise bike is suitable for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). For your cardiovascular workout, you can do a short burst of exercise for 30 seconds followed quickly by a lighter exercise such as walking or cycling. 

Meanwhile, a treadmill offers a high-impact cardiovascular workout. But, unlike an exercise bike, which only conditions the muscles in your legs, hamstrings and calves, a treadmill workout gives a full body exercise by engaging different muscle groups, including the upper body, arm, and abdominal muscles. 

Recommendation: Both provide an excellent cardiovascular workout. Exercise bikes can be used for both low-impact and high-impact exercises, while treadmills are perfect for high-impact workouts.

In terms of joint impact

Exercise bike vs treadmill - comparing them in terms of joint impact

Since exercise bikes offer low-impact exercise, it doesn’t stress the joints much. It’s great for people experiencing frequent knee pain or joint issues and patients still recovering from injuries, requiring exercise to regain muscle strength.

On the contrary, treadmills can strain your joints because it offers weight-bearing exercise. It means you’ll have to support your body weight while walking and running on the moving platform, putting more stress on the joints.

Recommendation: Exercise bikes are much better at reducing joint strain. 

In terms of space requirements

Between a treadmill vs. a stationary gym bike, the latter is a better choice if you only have limited space at home. It has a compact, space-saving design that can fit in tight spaces. Some models come with wheels and a foldable design, so you can store them away quickly when not in use. 

Plus, it’s easier to integrate physical activity into your daily routine with an exercise bike due to its compact design. You can place it with your other furniture in your living room, bedroom or home office space so you can exercise any time of the day. 

Conversely, a treadmill isn’t ideal for space-constrained homes because of its bulky frame.  So, before you start assembling your home gym, assess carefully if you still have extra space to add a treadmill. Remember that although some indoor treadmills are foldable, they can still take up much space to operate.

Moving heavy gym equipment like treadmills can also be difficult. It’s best to seek professional help when moving the treadmill to prevent accidents and injuries while setting up your home gym. 

Recommendation: An exercise bike is a better choice for homeowners with limited space.  But if space is not a problem, then choosing a treadmill is okay. 

In terms of maintenance

Exercise bike vs treadmill - comparing them in terms of maintenance

Exercise bikes have a more straightforward design with a stationary bike frame, pedals, and a resistance mechanism. They only have fewer moving parts and less complex electronic components than treadmills, making them easier to maintain. 

Meanwhile, treadmills are typically high maintenance, requiring regular upkeep. You must ensure the belt is properly lubricated and aligned to prevent the belt from drifting or slipping through one side when using the treadmill. 

Additionally, you must maintain the motor correctly to avoid overheating and mechanical failures. This might seem troublesome, but regularly doing these maintenance checks ensures your safety. 

Recommendation: Exercise bikes are easier to maintain due to having fewer moving parts. 

In terms of cost

One of the benefits of stationary bikes is that they’re generally more cost-effective than a treadmill due to having fewer mechanical parts, so they don’t quickly wear out or break down. Even high-end models with connectivity and fitness apps are more affordable, so they’re a good choice for homeowners who don’t want to invest heavily in fitness equipment. 

Conversely, treadmills are more expensive, especially high-end models with larger motors, steeper inclines, and more extensive workout programming options. Also, you’ll need regular treadmill maintenance, including belt lubrication and motor care, which is more costly. 

Recommendation: Exercise bikes are a great choice for homeowners looking for affordable fitness equipment.

In terms of the assembly process

Exercise bike vs treadmill - comparing them in terms of assembly process

Since exercise bikes have a more straightforward design, they’re easier to assemble than treadmills. Although they have fewer electrical connections and mechanical parts to worry about during assembly, it’s still best to seek help from experts when assembling your stationary exercise bike. This is to ensure that it's secured and stable after assembly.

Meanwhile, treadmills have a more complex assembly process due to having more electronic components and moving parts. With this, professional help is necessary for assembling treadmills because you need to connect various cables and ensure the belt is properly aligned and tensioned to avoid issues during use. 

Recommendation: For easier assembly, choose exercise bikes.

Simplify your exercise bike or treadmill assembly with Airtasker

Assembling your treadmill or exercise bike may take much time and effort, especially if it’s your first time setting up fitness equipment. Why not let some experts do this tedious task for you? At Airtasker, many assembly experts can help you properly set up your home gym. They can ensure your gym equipment is correctly fitted to help you achieve better workout results.

Exercise Bike vs. Treadmill

Exercise Bike 
Cardiovascular Workout
Low-impact; good for the lower body
High-impact; engages the whole body
Joint Impact
Low joint impact; suitable for people with knee/joint issues
High joint impact; more stress on joints
Space Requirements
Compact, some are foldable
Bulky, requires more space
Easier maintenance because of fewer moving parts
Higher maintenance needed
Assembly Process
Easier to assemble with a simpler design and fewer moving parts
More difficult to assemble due to its complex design and having more components 
More cost-effective, lower upkeep
More expensive, higher upkeep costs

FAQs on exercise bike and treadmill

When it comes to building strength and burning calories, cycling is much better than walking. With cycling, you can increase the intensity of your workout to help increase your stamina and endurance.

For beginners, start with a quick 10 to 15-minute workout daily, and gradually increase your workout intensity time as the weeks go by. Meanwhile, an hour of riding on the stationary bike is enough for seasoned riders and athletes to improve muscle strength and increase calorie burn. However, remember that the time and duration you should exercise on a stationary bike still depends on your fitness goals.

Yes, because both provide a low-impact exercise that can help improve your health. However, each has its own advantages. Bicycles can strengthen the muscles in your lower body, while walking provides a full-body workout, helping increase the calories burned.

Yes, it’s okay and can even help you get more motivated to exercise. However, a treadmill can be noisy, so you have to invest in soundproof mats to help reduce the noise and protect your floors.

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