Elliptical or Exercise Bike: Which One is Best?

When I was looking to buy some cardio equipment I was debating too. Elliptical or exercise bike: which one is best?

Everyone is different, so I can't really tell you what the right answer is. But I can give you some advice that might help you to do the right choice if you're looking to buy one of these machines to exercise at home and push your heart rate up on those boring winter evenings.

Well, actually it's not a good idea to do cardio in the evenings, it might be difficult to fall asleep because you're all pumped up. Also, when you do cardio you have to drink a lot, and if you do it before bed...


...I would guess that you will wake up at night to use the bathroom, and lucky you if you can fall asleep again quickly. Unfortunately it's not my case, so I don't do cardio in the evenings.

Whether you choose elliptical or exercise bike really depends on your preference, on your goal, on how much time you are willing to dedicated etc.


Elliptical have become very popular at the gyms lately. If you look at your legs workout, elliptical or exercise bike are basically both great, but the elliptical requires you to use your upper body too.

Let's say it's a more complete exercise machine, but it's also harder. A good aspect is that

Ellipticals burn more calories than exercise bikes

The average is between 400 and 500 calories per hour.

exercise bikesPersonally, I don't like ellipticals so much, I get bored very easily and the movement feels a little bit unnatural. If you want to buy an elliptical or exercise bike you should consider how much time you want to dedicate to it and what type of movement you prefer.

It's so easy to get bored and give up when you do cardio.

One mistake that many do and you should avoid: ellipticals don't replace weight lifting

I know, you feel your legs burning, your upper body muscles hurt after 30 minutes and you may think Oh, this is a great workout, just because you feel your muscles sore.

But don't be fooled, if you want to build, or preserve your muscle you still have to lift weights.

Some people like a full body exercise, but that doesn't allow you to entertain your brain during workout. Before you choose an elliptical or exercise bike, consider what you want to do during workout.

An elliptical doesn't allow you to read a book/magazine, play with your iPad or smartphone because your hands are busy and your mind must keep focus on the correct posture and movements.

Are you ready for that? Can you find the motivation to use it? These are some factors that can help you chose an elliptical or exercise bike.

Exercise Bike

The exercise bike is probably an easier solution that gives you some freedom to watch tv, read a book, play with your phone etc.


Exercise BikeIt's more quiet too, so if you just put your kids in bed you can exercise without worrying to wake up everybody.

The cons is that it's not as complete as the elliptical. The exercise bike works only your legs and burns less calories.

Riding an exercise bike will make you burn around 300 calories per hour. Quite less than an elliptical.

If your goal is to burn fat you have to ride the exercise bike longer

But at least it's usually safe for your knees and joints.

Conclusion: Elliptical or Exercise Bike?

I would suggest to try them out at the gym (some gyms give you some free passes to try them out) and then decide before you make a purchase.

So, before you buy elliptical or exercise bike consider the following:

  • Do you have any knee/hips problems?
  • Are you ready for a full intense body workout?
  • Can you find the motivation to use an elliptical regularly, not being "scared" of how hard it is?
  • Do you need a quiet machine or it doesn't matter?
  • Do you want the freedom to entertain yourself during workout?
  • How much are you willing to pay?
  • How much time are you willing to spend on these machines?

Time is important because if you want the same results...

1 hour of elliptical equals 1.5 hours of exercise bike

1 Response

  1. David Miller
    Great information! Your blog is the first one I look for in my inbox everyday. Love this new series.