Spinning vs Indoor Cycling- What is the Difference?

Spinning vs Indoor Cycling

Most people are surprised to hear that there is actually difference between Spinning® and Indoor Cycling. It’s pretty common to use the term Spinning® in a generic way to describe any studio cycling class.

To most, it’s not a big deal to use the two words interchangeably. Same difference, right?

There are some subtle differences between the two, and whether you use the the word Spinning® or indoor cycling comes down to the type of bike, the training format and the instructor.


  • Spinning® is trademarked brand owned by Mad Dogg athletics.
  • Mad Dogg Athletics manufacture Spinning® bikes and offer a training programme for instructors.
  • Spinning® is a specific format of indoor cycling developed in the early 1990s by Johnny “Johnny G” Goldberg.
  • Only licensed studios with Mad Dogg certified instructors and official Spinner® bikes, have permission to refer to it’s classes as Spinning®.
  • A traditional Spinning® class will focus on simulating road riding with hill climbing, intervals and race days. There are no upper body exercises, handweights or dance moves in a Spinning class.
  • Mad Dogg Athletics are keen to protect their brand and are pretty vigilant on the misuse of their trademarked terms. They regularly request studios and gyms to cease using Spinning® in relation to their indoor cycling programmes.

Pedal Studio in the only official Spin® facility that I’m aware of in the London area.

Indoor Cycling

The new generation of indoor cycling studios are different in that they are free to develop their own programme and class format.

Many studios use handweights or upper body movements on the bike, such as Soul Cycle or Psycle. Some classes combine cycling with off-the-bike bootcamp exercises such as Edge Cycle, or even use choreographed dance movements a la Groove Cycle.

You may have heard of RPM- a Les Mills group fitness class in which you ride to the beat of the music and the workout is choreographed. The soundtrack and choreography changes every 3 months with new releases- but the overall format remains the same.

Other indoor cycling studios like Cycle Beat focus on data and monitoring performance via technology. Some even use real road bikes such as Athlete Lab.

Die-hard Spinning® fans would argue that these classes dilute the Spin® brand, and cause confusion between the two fitness concepts. Others would argue that Spinning® is now a dated format, not moving with the evolution of group fitness.

Spinning® and group cycling cannot coexist within a facility/gym as Mad Dogg Athletics do not permit another cycling programme to run alongside their classes.

At Cycle Rhythm, we offer a programme developed by Keiser, who are also the manufacturer of our M3i bikes. Our classes stay fairly true to the idea of road cycling, without the use of handweights or movements such as jumps, hovers and press-ups on the handlebars. Our classes are all about empowering the rider with the ability to accurately track and measure their cadence, power output, distance and heart rate. Music is key to the Cycle Rhythm experience with our classes set to an inspiring soundtrack, and monthly live DJ rides. Our instructors come from various backgrounds within the fitness industry, but we have standardised the way they teach at Cycle Rhythm by offering an in-house training course.

Spinning vs Indoor Cycling

Have you tried both Spinning® and indoor cycling? Did you know there was a difference?

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