The indoor cycling industry has evolved so much over the past thirty years since the first ever indoor bike was created by Competitive cyclist Johnny Goldberg who wanted to find a way to bike no matter where he was or what the weather.
Fast forward to 2014 and the name Pelton debuted and began to take over the at-home cycling industry. They were the first company of the kind to create more than just a stationary bike to be pedaled inside your home, but one that brings an entire experience to life for you - an experience that allows you to connect with others, sweat, and work on your health from the comfort of your own home.
Of course, anytime one company comes out with a product that garners such massive attention and success, you know that there will soon be competitors to follow. That’s certainly the case in the indoor cycling world. Those looking for connected bikes for home now have a complete array of choices, each one trying to dethrone the all-mighty Peloton.
For example, MYX Fitness released a bike that one-upped Peloton by making their screen moveable, an innovative feature that adds a ton of value to the experience. In response, Peloton just released their Bike+ which includes a moveable screen.
Bowflex, another well-known name in the fitness industry just released their Velocore Bike, a bike that moves, or leans, with you as you ride. They’re calling this the (un) stationary bike, and I was nothing short of excited to dig in and check this out.
For now, this advancement is one that Peloton does not have, but is it enough to make you choose the Velocore over the Peloton? Let’s take a look at the Velocore to find out.
What is the Bowflex Velocore Bike?
According to bowflex.com, “VeloCore is the stationary bike that's anything but stationary.”
VeloCore represents a completely new way to cycle at home by offering the user a fully customizable experience. The bike not only comes with the option to move with you or remain stationary, but it’s fully loaded with all the advanced technology and digital options to keep you engaged, motivated, and entertained. COuple that with their “lean technology” and you get an experience, and workout, unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced.
The leaning mode is quite possibly the most exciting part of this part, mainly because it’s the first and only bike currently available to offer such a feature. The leaning mode allows for a wildly immersive riding experience - it feels way more like you’re actually out on the road or trail than any other indoor bike. When lean mode is engaged, you’ll rock, sway, tilt, and bend as you sprint towards the finish line. This highly engaging, high-intensity style allows you to engage not just your legs, but your arms, core, and total body. Basically, you get the thrill of an epic outdoor biking adventure right from your living room.
Features and Benefits
- Leaning Mode or Stationary Mode
- Built-in JRNY™ experience (Membership required)
- Console options: 16" or 22"
- Adjustable HD touchscreen (Wi-Fi connection required)
- 100 resistance levels
- Bluetooth® heart rate armband included
- 3 lb. dumbbells included
- Multiple riding style
- Adjustable seat
- Bluetooth speakers
- Dual Link pedals
- Adjustable handlebars
- Bluetooth HR armband
- 100 resistance levels (magnetic resistance)
- Media rack
- 2 year warranty
Bowflex Velocore Bike
Average customer rating
Padded Road Bike Style, Adjustable
Dual-sided - SPD Clips and Toe Cages
Multiple streaming options
Bluetooth Armband Sensor
16" or 22" HD touchscreen
Electronics & parts: 2 years. Labor: 1 year
Where to buy
What’s the Experience Like?
Making a decision about which indoor bike to purchase is a big one, and one that should not be taken lightly. It’s important that you understand all of the features, mechanics, and tech about the bike before you take the leap.
As for mechanics of the VeloCore, it pretty much covers all the bases that you would want it to. It features magnetic resistance, which produces the smoothest ride, and has 1-100 control, which is aligned with the industry-standard for indoor spin bikes.
The bike itself is very heavy-duty, weighing in at 175 pounds when it’s all set up. But with the added rigidity comes a higher weight tolerance, it’s capable of handling a rider of up to 325 pounds. For comparison, Peloton is only rated for riders up to 297. It also accommodates riders of different sizes by allowing for adjustability with the seat height and handlebar height. Also, the screen can be tilted forward or back to allow for optimal viewing and comfort based on your unique needs.
Speaking of screens, the VeloCore has two different screen size packages; 16” console or 22” console. The current industry standard for connected home spin bikes is a 22” HD screen, but some argue that the rider’s close proximity to the screen can be a bit overwhelming with that size. So it’s nice that customers have the option to choose a smaller screen if they want. Of course, the smaller screen will also save you some money, $500 to be exact.
Another great feature is that the pedals are fitted with toe cages on one side and clips on the other side so that you can choose between cycling shoes and your regular shoes, a feature that costs extra for Peloton users. Bowflex also includes a pair of 3 lb. dumbbells with their bike, which is nice as most brands only offer the dumbbell holder and require you to purchase the dumbbells separately. Also included with the VeloCore is their wireless armband heart rate monitor, which allows you to track your heart rate and conditioning throughout your whole workout. The only other bike that offers something similar is the MYX bike.The last distinguishing feature of this bike that I’ve only seen so far on the Styde bike, another new D2C fitness brand, is the fact that you can access other apps from the screen. For example, you can access Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and even other fitness apps like Peloton and Zwift. So if you love Peloton’s programming and instructors (I do!), you can take your workouts to the next level by adding in the lean mode of the VeloCore - It’s the best of both worlds! That said, BowFlex does offer an impressive subscription of their own, JRNY, which I’ll discuss next.
Now onto the programming side of things, because let’s face it, that’s just as important as the bike itself. Bowflex has their own equivalent to the Peloton app and it’s called JRNY. This app is built right into the bike’s hardware, but you do need to subscribe to a membership in order to access all the content.
This software allows you to follow along with streaming training sessions, led by their expert trainers. It also keeps track of your performance metrics, delivers personalized direction to your workout, and registers your progress. For example, as you start crushing the less intense rides, more intense workouts will be presented for you so that you can hit your next goal or target.
It captures so many data points that can be super helpful while training. It registers your cadence, resistance level, heart rate, calorie burn, and total calories burned per workout. Instead of using a live leaderboard for motivation like Peloton does, Bowflex encourages you to compete with yourself by awarding you trophies and badges that encourage you and keep you motivated. Some people like to compete with other riders and others find it to be too much pressure. You’ll have to decide what’s more motivating to you.
Lastly, one of the best perks is their “Explore the World” training sessions (you may have seen these in their ads). These rides allow you to feel as though you’re cruising along a scenic destination around the world - it’s an amazing experience!
Here are some of the JRNY highlights:
The better you get, the tougher the workouts.
Explore the World
Just because you can’t actually travel right now doesn’t mean you can’t see the world. There are 40+ incredible destinations to explore.
Friendly Virtual Coaching
Motivating you to push yourself to your limits and finish your ride strong.
Expert trainers who know how to breath new life into your workout, not yell into your ears. There are 75+ videos to choose from and counting.
Who’s This Bike For?
I’d be lying if I said that this connected home bike is for everyone, because I really don’t think it is. This bike with its advanced features and lean mode is designed for an experienced rider who wants to take their intense outdoor rides indoors. The VeloCore is designed for those who wish to push themselves harder than they can using a traditional stationary bike. When in lean mode, it’s a high-intensity, whole body experience that will produce a seriously thrilling (and exhausting!) workout.That said, you could always choose to keep the bike in stationary mode and ride it in the traditional way. You could even start there and then work your way up to the intense workouts that include leaning, twisting, and shifting your body. But if you’re looking for a traditional bike that’s great for everyone from beginners to advanced riders that functions in the traditional indoor cycling mode, then I highly recommend choosing from one of the following options highlighted in this head-to-head review.
Pros and Cons
- The ability to switch into lean mode for a realistic ride and whole-body workout
- There are two different HD touchscreen options to choose from
- Ultra-quiet magnetic flywheel system for a smooth ride
- Bluetooth armband heart rate monitor is included
- Pedals are compatible with both regular shoes and cycling shoes
- 3 pound dumbbells are included for upper body exercises
- Access to other streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Peloton, and more
- Ability to go on Explore the World Rides
- Adjustable padded saddle
- Adjustable handlebars with multigrip
- Wheels for easy transport and movement
- Access to hundreds of workouts with their JRNY app
- Great warranty: 2 years for the frame, parts and electronics, and 1 year warranty for labor
- The app costs extra ($19 per month)
- The bike is fairly heavy
- Some people find the lean mode to be too aggressive of a workout
Conclusion: Is this indoor bike right for you?
Here’s the deal, you’re either going to be incredibly excited about the lean feature, or you could care less. The VeloCore is easily the most technologically advanced, boundary-pushing bike on the market right now (don’t worry, I’m sure there’s a Peloton++ in the future that will reveal similar technology). But the truth is, you may not want or need the extra features.
If you’re a cycling enthusiast who wants to take their typical high-octane road action indoors, then this bike is hands-down the best. You get a more realistic, thrilling experience than the one you’ll get with VeloCore. That said, if you’re simply looking for a way to pedal your way to better health and have some fun doing it, you may not need this bike. Again, I can’t say enough good things about MYX Fitness and their complete home gym system, it’s absolutely stellar for the price tag.
Overall, this is an amazing addition to the connected home cycle world. I absolutely love that it allows you to stream other apps besides their own. Who doesn’t love to just chill out and watch Netflix while they do cardio sometimes? The price is pretty industry-standard, especially now that Peloton lowered the price of their regular bike. But you’re still getting more from Bowflex, in my opinion, and you can always subscribe to Peloton’s app and enjoy their programming.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck and allow for the most growth and expansion of your cycling career, the VeloCore will not disappoint.