It’s been a while since I’ve done a good old-fashioned comparison-style review, and this is one of the most hotly requested matchups in the home spin world. It’s obvious that Peloton is the standard point of comparison that all of us gravitate towards when considering a home spin bike, so when we’re talking about a bike like the Bowflex C6 that is specifically designed to integrate with the Peloton App, it’s important to dissect it and see if the experience is truly the same.
The point of this review is to break down both bikes separately and then line them up and compare them on some key criteria that will be critical in your decision-making process. Let’s dig in!
FHM’s Rating of both Exercise Bikes
Overall Rating: 9.3/10
A compact, sleek design bike that allows you to integrate multiple workout apps. Crazy bang for your buck.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
Hard to beat the Peloton brand, their community and programming. But, it's a steep price point.
Comparing One Exercise Bike to Another: Peloton vs Bowflex C6
Use the comparison table below, between these two exercise bikes, to see which one is better based on what you're looking for. Everyone's choice will be different, but the main thing is to match up your budget, performance, and something you'll use to help you reach your fitness goals.
100 levels magnetic
100 levels magnetic
Delta (must purchase compatible cycling footwear)
Dual-sided (clips and toe cages)
22” HD touchscreen
No screen included
Peloton app $39/month
Choose any app or subscription you want (plus you can get peloton digital for $29/month)
No (need to buy additional dumbbells for some workouts)
Yes, 2 3 lbs dumbbells and easy-reach cradles
HR monitor included?
Yes, Bluetooth enabled monitor included
Website + Best price link
Peloton Bike Quick Hits
The Peloton almost needs no introduction as it is easily the top exercise bike on the market right now, and has been for a while. There’s plenty of evidence to support Peloton’s dominance, including the high-quality nature of the bike, the interactive app with hundreds of live and on-demand workouts, and a killer community to lean on for support. The only downside of the Peloton Bike is the fact that it carries a high price tag and it cannot be used with other streaming apps. In fact, users must maintain the $39 per month Peloton subscription in order to use the screen and full bike functionality.
Peloton’s Standout Features
- Peloton App integrated into the bike
- 22” HD touchscreen
- 30-pound flywheel
- 100 levels of quiet magnetic resistance
- Clip-in cycling shoes required
- Quiet ride
- Compact size
- 4-way seat adjustability
- 2-way handlebar adjustability
- App provides access to full cross-training workouts
- Expert trainers
- Live leaderboards
- Unparalleled community
There’s no question that the Peloton studio bike brings some of the top premium features to the table, ticking off nearly every box on riders' wish list. However, Peloton does fall short in a couple of areas, like the fact that there are several additional cost considerations on top of the already high price and the inability to use non-native apps (other apps) on the platform.
For those who are on the fence about purchasing a Peloton, their biggest concern is first the cost and deciding if it’s worth it and then the fact that they’ll be locked into the digital subscription without the option to use other apps, including entertainment apps.
Pros and Cons of Buying the Peloton
- Amazing community
- Live classes and leaderboards for an interactive experience
- Instructors act as your personal trainer with their ability to connect to each rider
- Cycling studio feel with enchanting instructors
- Strength training and other cross-training workouts available, too
- Quiet, magnetic resistance
- Stats tracking
- Years of market proof and reviews to back up their claims
- High barrier to entry - not one of the more affordable options for spin bikes
- The monthly subscription is $39 per month
- Cannot use non-native apps (locked screen)
- No rotating screen unless you upgrade to the Bike+ (also doesn’t tilt forward)
- Must purchase separate Delta cycling shoes ($100+)
Bowflex C6 Quick Hits
Bowflex can be considered one of the OG fitness brands, hitting the scene way back in 1986, however, the brand and its product offerings have evolved over the last 30+ years. Today, they offer competitive fitness equipment that’s geared towards consumer trends and maintaining their share of the market.
Of their current product lineup, one of their most popular products is the Bowflex C6 home spin bike, an affordable alternative to Peloton. Recently, I tabbed it as one of the best spin bikes to use with the Pelotons app.
By eliminating the attached screen but keeping other important, upscale features, the C6 is a very worthy competitor for those looking for a quality home spin experience without the additional cost. Bowflex also offers the Velocore indoor cycling bike, a more upscale exercise bike option that’s engineered to one-up Peloton. You can learn more about that matchup in my Bowflex Velocore vs Peloton detailed comparison.
Bowflex C6 Standout Features
- Premium quality bike built by a longstanding brand in the industry
- 100 levels of magnetic resistance
- Quiet operation
- Small, compact footprint
- Backlit LCD metric console
- Water bottle holders
- Dual-sided pedals (SPD and conventional toe cages)
- Media device holder (smartphone or tablet)
- 3 lb dumbbells and a Bluetooth heart rate monitor included
- 6-month free trial to Bowflex’s JRNY app
- Ability to stream any content you want (workout programs or entertainment like Netflix)
When looking at these two bikes, Bowflex C6 vs Peloton, it’s easy to see how they are very comparable indoor bikes. While they are clearly not the same bike, there are so many similarities between these two exercise bikes. The C6 is a sturdy bike that’s well-made and full of upscale features. Keeping up with its competition, Bowflex included 100 levels of magnetic resistance, which is the same as Peloton resistance. Plus, Bowflex has its own app, JRNY, that features a competitive workout experience.
The biggest sticking point for those considering the Bowflex is the fact that this indoor bike lacks a mounted screen. Personally, I don’t think this is a big issue for someone who has never ridden on a bike that has an attached screen. If you’re used to using your smartphone or tablet to stream fitness apps, then you’ll feel right at home. However, I will admit that the experience of having the interactive touchscreen is a luxury that truly amplifies your workout.
See other, related Bowflex C6 comparisons: Bowflex C6 vs NordicTrack S22i vs MYX
Pros and Cons of Buying the Bowflex C6
- Low price (less than $1000!)
- Free 6 months of JRNY app with tons of on-demand workouts
- Not locked into a specific app - tons of training options thanks to multiple apps access
- Stream Netflix or other entertainment apps if you wish
- Smooth, comfortable ride
- Resistance numbers that range from 0-100 (just like the Peloton Bike)
- Dual-sided pedals with an option for SPD clips or toe cage use
- Get access to the Peloton app for just $12.99/month
- Two water bottle holders (one makes for a great sweat towel holder!)
- No screen, you’ll need to bring your own
- JRNY app isn't the most comprehensive of cycling apps
- The resistance level does not identically correspond to Peloton’s
- Some complain that the handlebars are not as comfortable
In-Depth Analysis Comparing the Peloton and Bowflex C6
Now that we have a solid understanding of what each of these bikes (Peloton Bike and Bowflex C6) have to offer, let’s compare them in a few key categories so that you can make sure you’re making the right decision for you.
Both Peloton and the Bowflex C6 offer 100 resistance levels, however, it’s important to note that the levels are not identical, so you might run into some issues if you’re streaming the Peloton membership on your C6 and you’re following the instructor’s level call outs. So keep that in mind! If you want a bike that has identical resistance levels to Peloton, the Stryde Bike is where you’ll find that. You can check out my full review of the Stryde bike and learn why I chose it as the best Peloton alternative.
Comparing the Bowflex C6 vs Pelton’s flywheel, it’s noteworthy that Peloton’s flywheel is 30 lbs and the C6’s is 40 lbs. It’s generally considered to be advantageous to have a heavier flywheel as it often equates to a smoother ride.
This is an easy to overlook component of indoor cycles, but it plays a vital role in the comfort of your ride. The handlebars on the C6 are adjustable 4 ways, which gives riders the most customized experience possible, accommodating a wider demographic of riders.
Peloton arguably has the best streaming cycling workouts, especially when you consider that the HD touchscreen brings them to life right before your eyes. However, the beauty of choosing the C6 is that you then have access to far more variety in your workouts. For example, you could use the on-demand classes within the JRNY app, subscribe to Peloton digital, Zwift, or even ride without a subscription and save money - you’re not locked into anything with the Bowflex C6!
I’ve yet to use special cycling footwear on any spin bikes. To be honest, the thought of clipping into a machine makes me feel a little claustrophobic (dramatic, I know), so I really enjoy it when a bike offers an option like the Bowflex C6. If you choose the Peloton, you’ll either need to upgrade to their Essentials Package which includes the special shoes, or purchase an approved pair yourself.
By far, the biggest consideration for most people that I talk to about purchasing a piece of fitness equipment is the price. Some folks are looking for a lower price that best suits their budget while others are willing to pay more for additional equipment, extended warranties, and a better bike setup. The Bowflex C6 is definitely the more affordable option, costing nearly $1,000 less than the Peloton Bike, leaving one to question if the quality of the Bowflex C6 is far less superior than the Peloton. When you buy a Peloton, you’re buying the experience. You want an exercise machine that’s connected, interactive, and full of all the best features and streaming services. But all of that comes at a pretty hefty price. The Bowflex C6 is structurally very similar, but since it lacks the attached screen and the big-time name, you can get this exercise bike at a much lower cost.
C6 by Bowflex
A much lower price point.
The price "is what it is, but it's Peloton!"
Real Talk: Can You Really Replicate the Peloton Experience By Streaming the Peloton App?
What I’m about to say is going to be very controversial, so brace yourself. No, you cannot duplicate the exact Peloton experience on a bike that isn’t the Peloton Bike. I know that plenty of people who own other exercise bikes (Echelon Bike, Joroto Bike, Etc.) and stream the Peloton digital app will vehemently argue otherwise, but if they’ve used a Peloton Bike before, then they know they’re fooling themselves.
But, you can absolutely have an experience that is incredibly close by opting to go for a bike like the Bowflex C6 and use Peloton’s programming with it. Will it be identical? No, you don’t get all the same features and benefits when using the digital app, which is perfectly fine - you still get the workouts, the community, the tracking, and access to the famed instructors! Plus, you get to experience all of that at a fraction of the cost, which, for many, is the most important consideration.
If you really want to get the closest experience to Peloton without actually buying the Peloton bike, check out the Stryde bike as it’s the closest you’re going to get to the real deal.
Final Thoughts: Which Bike Makes the Most Sense for Your Home Gym?
Decision time: Bowflex C6 vs Peloton: which indoor spin bike is it going to be? Here are a couple of parting thoughts that I’ll leave you with that will hopefully allow you to arrive at your decision so that you can click order and get pedaling!
Buy the Peloton if you want the real Peloton experience that everyone loves. If what you want is the full experience and budget concerns aren't playing a major role, then go big and get yourself a Peloton! You won’t regret it.
Buy the Bowflex C6 if you want a budget-friendly spin bike that offers the same high-end features and reliability but without the constraints of being locked into a single membership. Because the C6 is so similar to Peloton, it’s one of the best alternatives out there, especially for those who want to enjoy a very similar ride and feel but without the high long-term cost.
The last thing I want to mention is that I like to ask people how they think they’ll want to use their bike in the future. A few years down the road, will you still be into doing the same workouts? Or will you perhaps want to have a bit more variety and flexibility? Sometimes, it’s nice to just load up Netflix and peddle away, which is an option with the C6.