Indoor cycling outdoor cycling

Indoor Cycling Vs Outdoor Cycling– Which is better?

In the last 5 years indoor cycling has blown up all over the world. Which begs the questions what is better, indoors cycling or outdoor cycling?

Calories Burning

It is widely accepted that cycling in general is not only fantastic for improving cardiovascular wellbeing. It is also an incredible weight loss method. However, is there a major difference between cycling indoors compares to outdoors, in terms of calories burned?

According to an indoor cycling class can burn between 400 and 600 calories per 45 minute session. The same applies to using an indoor cycling bike at home. That is, if you can maintain consistent workout intensity over 70% of your maximum heart rate.

Similarly, maintaining intensity over 70% while cycling outdoors, yield similar results. In fact cycling outdoors at a quick speed for 45-50 minutes can burn up to 500 calories.

Ultimately, there is very little to separate indoor and outdoor cycling when it comes to calories burned.

That is if the rider can maintain their workout intensity, which brings me onto my next point of discussion… “Workout Intensity”.

Workout Intensity

Very little may separate the two forms of cycling in terms of calories burned. However, research into this aspect of indoor cycling vs outdoor cycling naively assumes that both riders are working the same. Which is not always the case.

Equal work must be done for equal results. Therefore, it is only fair to compare both indoor cycling and outdoor cycling in terms of how easy it is to maintain workout intensity.

In this respect indoor cycling is the clear winner as it allows the rider to be much more targeted in maintaining workout intensity. For example, when riding an indoor bike there are no cars, pedestrians, hills, turns or slopes, that may cause the bike have to slow down, stop or even coast.

What is coasting? Coasting is when you're riding along on your bicycle, pedalling away, and you come to the top of a little hill and start to roll down it. You stop pedalling but you still keep moving. Ultimately, varying the workout intensity throughout the ride.

Not to mention outdoor cycling intensity is inherently difficult to measure due to feature restrictions. Unlike, indoor cycling bikes which often incorporate odometers and pulse sensors. Which ensure the rider is aware of whether they are working at the right intensity or if they need to pick up the pace.

Ultimately, indoor cycling provides much more reliability and accountability when it comes to measuring and maintaining an appropriate workout intensity.


The best workout is the workout you can get done. Therefore, a comparison must be drawn between which form of cycling is the rider more likely to do?

And let’s be honest, outdoor cycling can be a logistical nightmare when you factor in traffic, roadworks and navigation of roads in general. Especially if you’re in a hurry and just want to get a quick workout done. Not to mention UK weather isn’t exactly the most forgiving for outdoor cycling, especially during the winter months.

Therefore, in this respect an indoor cycling bike is much more convenient. As it is much easier to hop on an indoor exercise bike in the comfort of your own home at any time of the day. When compared to organising an outdoor cycling route around work, traffic and the general mayhem that is life.


The “Difficulty” of the workout experience when comparing indoor cycling and outdoor cycling is largely subjective. Therefore, it will come down to you, the rider’s individual preferences.

Firstly, many outdoor cyclists love the dynamic nature of outdoor cycling and being able to see the world around them as they cycle. Ultimately, making their workout experience much less monotonous and therefore, easier.

Conversely, many indoor cycling fanatics believe the opposite is true and hate braving the harsh outdoor elements. Instead they would much rather workout in the privacy of their own home on an indoor exercise bike.

Additionally, many of the best modern exercise bikes are packed full of rich media features. For example, iPad holders and builder in audio speakers that connects to the user’s phone. Which can be used to make cycling much easier and more enjoyable.


Ultimately, we can conclude that in terms of convenience, workout quality and accountability, indoor cycling is superior to that of outdoor cycling. However, that isn’t to say if you are someone who loves outdoor cycling you should stop. Rather, incorporate both indoor cycling and outdoor cycling into your workout plan. Or simply opt to use an indoor cycling bike when the weather is bad or you haven’t got much time.

If you’re wondering what indoor exercise bikes best resemble the feeling and functionality of a traditional outdoor bike then you’re looking for and Indoor Cycling Bike.

To check out the best indoor cycling bikes in the UK.

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