As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, and gyms across the country remain open on a limited basis or closed altogether, home workouts have become the norm. But doing squats and sit-ups in your living room can only cut it for so long before you miss out on what you once had—a place where you can escape to work out and a community to share that with. That’s where the SoulCycle at-home bike comes in.
This indoor cycling bike lets you experience workouts led by your favorite instructors—whether they’re encouraging you to climb in real-time alongside other virtual riders or guiding you through an on-demand workout powered by tap-back-inducing beats. Whatever you choose, it’s all right in front of you on the bike’s 21.5-inch touchscreen.
The SoulCycle Experience
If you’ve been to a SoulCycle, you know what it’s like: After a competitive sign-up process (classes led by celeb-status instructors have a tendency to fill up as quickly as spots open), you walk into a dark studio lit by grapefruit-scented candles and are greeted by an inspirational instructor in a room full of motivated people like yourself.
With the SoulCycle At-Home Bike you may have to sacrifice some of that ambiance (though with the help of a Jonathan Adler candle and a dark space, you can get pretty close) and IRL camaraderie, but at least you’re guaranteed a bike. And if you’re like me, who felt a little intimidated the first time I took a class and who lives nowhere near a SoulCycle studio, the home setup may sound even more appealing.
Either way, the SoulCycle experience will get you moving: The on-demand rides give off club vibes with the instructor often hopping off the bike to dance to the beat while still promoting inspirational mantras. The live classes are filmed in a New York studio, with a grungy-yet-meditative feel that really taps into the spirit of Soul.
In the market for a stationary bike? Here’s everything you need to know about the SoulCycle at-home bike to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Why should you trust this review? I spent three months testing the SoulCycle At-Home Bike as a major part of my workout routine. I have more than three years of experience covering health and fitness trends, including testing gear and apps such as Variis, NeoU, and Apple Fitness+. Before the pandemic, I was a loyal ClassPass user, primarily using the app to attend boutique fitness studios in both New York City and Southern California.
The Takeaway: Live classes and on-demand workouts bring the energetic, choreographed routines and inspirational instructors that define SoulCycle into the comfort of your own home.
- Who Should Buy This: SoulCycle fans who are familiar with its unique approach to indoor cycling and want to experience it at home; anyone looking for a beat-based, motivational, group-fitness atmosphere.
- What We Love: Each on-demand class comes with a detailed preview of what to expect—from the playlist to the weights, choreography, climbs, and sprints sections. Plus, you can choose a Free Ride or watch Netflix or Disney+ (memberships required) while you ride.
- What We Don’t Love: Resistance isn’t an on-screen metric, which may be a dealbreaker for some. Accessories, such as shoes, weights, bike mat, and candles, are sold separately.
- Price: $2,500 + $40/month for an Equinox+ membership (waived if you have an active Equinox membership). Add-on packages that include a mat, hand weights, a candle, shoes, socks, and Jaybird earbuds range from $135 to $225. Financing options are available if approved.
The bike is sleek and sturdy, however, at roughly five-feet long and two-feet wide (to give you plenty of room for on-bike choreography), it does take up real estate. If you want the room to tap back, move side-to-side during choreo moments, and rock out the arms portion of the ride, make sure your home space can accommodate it.
Setup is pretty intuitive, but if you are new to indoor cycling and not sure how the bike should fit or you typically rely on in-studio help to adjust the bike, SoulCycle offers a library of video tutorials to help get you started. You’ll find information such as how to properly install the cleats on your shoes and how to clip in and out of the pedals. The basic fit settings—seat and handlebar height, and seat fore and aft—can be adjusted with the twist of a few knobs.
Two water bottle holders at the front of the bike keep plenty of hydration within reach (trust me, you’ll need it); the handlebar is large enough to hold a sweat towel; and like most indoor cycling bikes, the hand weights tuck away in a secure, easily-accessible spot under the saddle.
A 21.5-inch touchscreen creates an immersive experience, but know that this isn’t like an outdoor ride or even a Zwift session. Your metrics—cadence (rpm), power (watts), and distance (miles)—are provided at the top of the screen, but no resistance. You can call up a picture-in-picture view of a “form rider,” who will demo proper form and who you can follow along with throughout the ride as the camera pans from the participant to the instructor, who sometimes hops off the bike. And if you don’t want to see anything during your workout—like how much time is left, how far you’ve pedaled, or how hard you’re working—one swipe of your finger hides it all.
5 Indoor Cycling Workout Essentials
Connectivity and Streaming
Like the platforms on most indoor cycling bikes, SoulCycle’s lets you choose from both on-demand and real-time rides, which typically range from 20 to 90 minutes, with shorter 5- and 10-minute upper body-only classes also available.
On-demand rides let you filter by class length and music genre. The most recent software update allows you to preview exactly what you’re getting into with each class, including the amount of choreography, fast paces, climbs, and weights. If you’re like me and prefer to go into every workout with a clear plan—whether I’m running hills, doing a tempo, or crushing climbs in an indoor cycling class—you’ll appreciate this update. Because the workouts are largely music-focused, it’s nice to be able to preview the playlists. And after your ride, you’ll get a summary of your stats including a beat-match score as well. (My best was a 91-percent beat match—it can be tricky.)
If live rides fit into your schedule, you can follow along as the instructor streams from a studio in real-time. While the classes are high-energy, they also have a calming effect. They look much less produced than the on-demand rides, instructors are often in a dim studio surrounded by candles, which really makes you feel as close to the studio experience as you can get. (One thing to note: Live rides aren’t saved in the workout library, so the on-demand catalog is a totally different set of rides than you get if you opt to ride live.) Live rides feature a list of other riders in class and their locations (if enabled). However, as SoulCycle classes are more about each person’s individual experience, there is no leaderboard or competition.
Eventually, though, Equinox+ members can expect to see features that will allow members, riders, and instructors to engage with each other, form their own teams, and compete in custom challenges, though there is no official release date for that yet, according to an Equinox media representative.
Other Features You’ll Love
If you’re not in the mood to work out in a class setting, you can opt for a Free Ride, which simply shows metrics on the screen and is great for warmups, cooldowns, or times you want to just pedal. This can be a great way to give yourself a mental break and just ride.
Another major bonus of the SoulCycle at-home bike is that it lets you stream Netflix and Disney+ (with your own membership). So if you find yourself binge-watching a show from the comfort of your couch, it’s nice to know you can move to the bike for a change of scenery—and get a low-impact workout, to boot.
How Much Is the SoulCycle At-Home Bike?
The cost of the bike is $2,500. Financing options are available for as low as $64.10 a month for 39 months, plus $40 for the Equinox+ membership. Remember, accessories including shoes and the bike mat are sold separately and can run from $135 for the bike mat, candle (to recreate the studio atmosphere), and hand weights to $375 for Soul’s Legend 2.0 cycling shoes, socks, a bike mat, Jaybird headphones, and bike hand weights. (You could opt to buy any compatible indoor cycling shoe or hand weights on your own, which could save on cost.)
And, you have to factor in the $40/month cost to the Equinox+ app, which gets you access to Soul classes, plus other Equinox offerings (such as Rumble Boxing.)
For comparison, a single in-studio SoulCycle class is $36 and class packages ranging from $105 for three classes to 50 classes for $3,500 are available.
When considering the purchase, you should think about two key questions:
Does It Fit With My Current Routine?
Think about the types of workouts you are doing right now, and what you feel you’re missing out on. If you’re looking for low-impact cross-training that’s less metrics-focused and more about making you feel good, this bike is a great choice. The workouts are motivating, but you also have to be interested in on-bike choreography and music-based fitness to truly enjoy the classes. If you want to dive into data and better mimic the outdoor riding experience, there are other stationary bikes that will better suit your preference.
Do I Want It ASAP?
On February 9, SoulCycle announced that it guarantees delivery of the At-Home Bike in one to three weeks, which is a big advantage for people who want to get started with an indoor cycling routine and skip a long wait time. You can see all the information here. That window gets your bike to you much sooner than the competing Peloton delivery time, which is eight to 10 weeks.
What makes SoulCycle stand out, aside from the dark studios and cult-like attraction to the classes, is the choreography—which can be hard. From the jump, you follow the instructor’s fast pedaling, and the intensity only increases as the beat drops. Combining this with out-of-the-saddle climbs, jumps, and beat-based choreo can be a lot to handle. Picking up on the unique moves is no easy feat while continuing to match the beat, especially if you’re adding it to your running routine, a workout that requires little coordination.
Indoor cycling classes were a regular part of my cross-training before the pandemic and I’ve taken SoulCycle classes, but I still struggled to keep up during my first ride. If you’re not familiar, the SoulFam basically has its own language: tap backs, push-ups, jumps, and crunches—all performed on the bike. Thanks to the instructor and the form model, I could kind of follow along (SoulCycle provides a library of instructional videos for how to do each move should you need guidance). Eventually, I picked it up, but those first few rides were demanding.
There are workouts designed for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders, so no matter your experience level, you can find a workout that is the right amount of challenging for you. You can use filters when searching for classes to sort by the instructor, class length, difficulty, and music preference—or a combination.
The classes highlight people of all abilities and body types, which is great because sometimes trying to keep up with the instructor can be intimidating. While there are a wide variety of classes to choose from, nearly all include some intervals, choreography, and a weight section, and all come with soul-driven inspirational speeches from the instructor.
A few drawbacks for me were that the bike doesn’t provide a resistance metric. Instead, instructors tell you to add on resistance by feel, which makes it easy to cheat yourself from your best workout if you’re feeling lazy. Also, some classes ended quite abruptly, with no cooldown sequence or separate cooldown rides. However, to remedy this, I utilized the Free Ride option to get in a full cooldown.
Early on, there were complaints that the classes didn’t contain the best music, but in late January, Equinox signed a deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) that allows Equinox and Variis (the app with SoulCycle and other Equinox classes including Precision Run) to access the UMGs vast catalog, so you can assume that more music is coming soon. (UMG artists include Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kanye West, and Beyoncé.)
As music is an integral aspect of the SoulCycle at-home bike experience, Equinox+ will continue to expand its music library and add more themed rides with heart-pounding playlists, according to an Equinox spokesperson.
This bike is definitely made for someone who wants the SoulCycle-specific experience—which is much different than what you get in any other indoor cycling class and outdoor riding. The latest software upgrades with class previews are one of the bike’s standout features, and while there have been complaints about the music catalog, I found the playlists to be enjoyable.
If you want your workouts to be a mix of hard work and soulful inspiration, and live to sweat with choreography-filled rides, the SoulCycle at-home bike is for you. If not, you might consider some alternatives like the Peloton or another stationary bike that offers more metrics or better mimics the outdoor riding experience.