If you’re into cycling, then you may have heard of the company SoulCycle and its cult-like following. Maybe you’ve even taken a class or two in one of their studios!
At the beginning of the year, SoulCycle already had plans of releasing their brand new at-home bike in partnership with Variis. Little did they know that COVID-19 would happen and the release of their at-home bike would be even more crucial.
In this article, I’m reviewing the SoulCycle At-Home Bike, a brand new smart fitness bike that’s taking a direct aim at Peloton, which has dominated the at-home market for years.GQ recently names this bike in its best fitness equipment 2020 list, but can this bike really compete? Is it worth the investment? Let’s explore.
What is SoulCycle: A Look Behind the Brand and Its Success
If you’ve never set foot in SoulCycle studio, you may be wondering what the heck all the fuss is about. How have they successfully developed such a large tribe of loyal followers?
Because SoulCycle is more than just a spin class, It’s a sanctuary. The premise of their in-person classes is one-of-a-kind. Inside, you’ll find a candlelit studio, legendary coaches, and dozens of community members riding together as a pack to the beat of high-energy playlists.
Their goal is to have their riders accomplish so much more than just a workout. They want to foster breakthroughs that allow them to unlock their fullest potential, both on and off the bike.
It’s so much more than just a spin class, it’s a way of life and one that promotes the kind of positivity and enthusiasm that we need, especially during these times.
Earlier this year, the brand partnered with Variis to release their brand new at-home cycle that’s empowering folks to recreate that high-energy experience of class right in their own homes.
About The SoulCycle At-Home Bike
The At-Home bike is their first-ever bike for purchase and it’s designed to bring the SoulCycle experience right to your living room. It’s a connected bike that’s designed for interactive training, featuring both live and on-demand classes taught by the instructors that you know and love.
The bike comes with all the bells and whistles that you would expect from a high-end bike, plus premium programming and access to their famed instructors. It features a weighted flywheel, smooth belt operation, and various resistance levels to deliver superior performance that’s meant to satisfy the needs of both beginners and experienced spinners alike.
The system comes complete with a 21.5” HD touchscreen and a dedicated app to stream live and on-demand SoulCycle workouts, just like the ones you experience in the studio. Even better, the Variis app lets you stream workouts from Equinox, PURE Yoga, and more - you’ll never be bored!
It’s a machine that’s built to last, designed with the best of the best hardware and craftsmanship. The quality of the design and access to one-of-a-kind programming does come at a cost, though. The SoulCycle At-Home bike retails for $2500 plus tax and the monthly app cost which is $40, but you must pay for a full year upfront. With a price tag that high, this highly-specific bike will most likely appeal to advanced cyclists and die-hard SoulCycle fans.
142 lbs with screen
Rider height / weight limits:
4’10” - 6’10”, 350 lbs.
2X8W with 15W woofer
1-year screen, 1-year hardware parts (excluding frame), 5-years frame
Features and Benefits of This Smart Exercise Bike
One look at this bike and you’re going to recognize the quality and attention to detail that was used when creating and designing this cycle. It’s all-black, sleek, modern design looks attractive in any room in your home, making it acceptable to keep out in the open.
It’s a bit longer than some of its competitors, but that’s partly because it features a ton of adjustability in the frame. The seat and handlebars are both adjustable so that users of all sizes and shapes can comfortably ride. With some trial and error and a few adjustments, you can easily find the perfect setup for your rides, a benefit that you don’t find on a lot of budget bikes.
Another justification for the higher price tag on this machine is the whisper-quiet ride. There’s a carbon fiber belt that creates a smooth, virtually silent ride which comes in handy when you don’t want to wake up or disturb the whole house with a clunky machine.
While I couldn’t find any information regarding the resistance levels offered by SoulCycle on this bike, I do know that adjusting the resistance is easy thanks to the knob located underneath the handlebars, just like the bikes in the studio.
The machine weighs in at 142 lbs with the touchscreen, which is pretty standard, especially for a bike that’s crafted from high-quality, durable materials. There are adjustable feet on the bottom that allow you to level and stabilize the bike in any room, and there are wheels located on the front that allow you to move it around should you need to.
Lastly, the At-Home bike features dual-sided pedals, allowing you to choose between LOOK Delta or SPD-style cycling shoes. This allows you to choose the way in which you clip in, but it also means that you must have a designated pair of cycling shoes to use the machine.
Just like Peloton’s Bike, the biggest selling point is hands-down the programming. While the bike itself has all the features and durability you would expect, it’s the programming and workouts that make it more of an experience than a piece of fitness equipment.
One of the best parts about the programming that you’ll get access to with this bike is that you aren’t limited to just one platform. Your Variis membership allows you to access other applications like PURE Yoga, Precision Run, Equinox, and more.
This allows SoulCycle to give their customers a diverse workout experience that includes routines and classes from all modalities to give a well-rounded approach to fitness.
Live And On-Demand Classes
Similar to competitors, you’ll get access to both live-streamed classes and on-demand, or pre-recorded options, which means that you can workout on your own schedule and choose whether or not you want to participate in live-action.
When you take a SoulCycle class, you can expect the same world-class instructors that you’ve come to know and love in the studio along with the heart pumping music that keeps you motivated to push through til the end. They really aimed to recreate the in-studio classes and allow users to feel the totally immersive feeling that their classes create, but without needing to leave their living room.
Want to mix up your routine? You can! Choose from the hundreds of different classes available with your Variis membership which include strength training classes, yoga, HIIT, cardio, and more. You can filter your search by time, instructor, difficulty level, class type, etc. One thing is for certain - you will never feel bored using this app! And, you can access the app on your mobile device, too, so you can take your workouts on the go.
Pros and Cons
As with any piece of home fitness equipment, there are pros and cons to the SoulCycle At-Home bike, and considering it’s so new, there’s bound to be more information and feedback released once they’re in more homes.
- Dynamic, interactive training - get the full SoulCycle experience from home!
- Integration with other apps for cross-training
- A commercial-grade bike that’s designed to last
- It’s sleek and beautiful in design
- Built-in touchscreen for an immersive experience
- Whisper-quiet operation thanks to the magnetic resistance and belt
- Can be adjusted to suit riders of all sizes and preferences - allowing for the perfect fit
- Two different clip-in pedal options
- Real-time stat tracking
- Access to live classes plus a full library of on-demand classes
- Bluetooth compatible for connecting your headphones and/or heart rate monitor
- Bike purchase comes with 5 free SoulCycle classes to try out
- There are wheels on the front that allow for easy maneuvering
- You’ll get to experience classes led by world-class instructors who will push you like no other
- Price - at $2500 +, it’s pricer than the Peloton and most of its competitors
- You have to commit to 12 months of the Variis subscription when you purchase the bike ($40 per month)
- There’s no option for regular shoes, you must purchase a pair of cycling shoes
Who is This Bike For?
There are so many benefits of indoor cycling, so if you’re thinking of adding one to your home gym, you’re certainly not alone. That said, not every bike is a great choice for every person. It’s always important to take into consideration things like your budget, experience level, how often you plan to use it, size restrictions, and more before you commit to purchasing a home fitness bike.
When it comes to the SoulCycle At-Home, I personally feel that this bike is best suited for serious cyclists and/or for those who are die-hard SoulCycle fans. This pandemic has derailed our lives in so many ways, and one of them has been our fitness. So for those who previously spent their Saturday mornings spinning their hearts out in the studio, they were left feeling bereft of that joy when the shutdowns happened.
With brands like SoulCycle, Peloton, and MYX Fitness releasing innovative connected home bikes, we’re able to successfully recreate that experience right from home. Sure, you won’t physically have a sweaty comrade next to you while you race through class, but you’ll get the same feeling from the combination of the screen, programming, and instructors.
If you’re not a super serious cyclist or you only plan on incorporating rides a few times per week, you might consider a more affordable bike like the MYX Fitness bike, which has everything you need at a fraction of the cost.
Overall, this is a phenomenal bike that’s sure to make a giant dent in the industry, diverting many from Peloton and giving them a run for their money.
Conclusion: Should you try this new bike or save your money?
I highly recommend that you take a close look at all that this bike has to offer, including its ability to accommodate riders of all sizes, and decide if the features and benefits are worth the slightly elevated investment. It bears repeating that those who are familiar with and love the SoulCycle brand are going to be blown away by this bike and giddy to be able to have the experience in their living room.
Heck, even if you aren’t already familiar with the brand you’re going to be thrilled with the quality of this machine and the immersive programming.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that fitness should be FUN! So find what works for you, your lifestyle, your goals, and your motivation style, and go all in!