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Bowflex, once the king of ’90s infomercials featuring swole, glistening models, is still making people flex more than 30 years later. Today, the brand has hopped onto the indoor bike bandwagon to help you get a killer cycling workout without leaving your home.
But when compared with options like Peloton and NordicTrack, what does Bowflex bring to the table? Below, we go into detail about Bowflex’s bike options to help you make the right decision for you. From key features to detailed specs, let’s get you ready to ride.
- The C6 is affordable compared with other brands.
- You can use either bike with third-party apps like Peloton and Zwift (you’ll just need to use your own tablet).
- The VeloCore features a unique (and rad) leaning mode.
- Netflix and
chillingriding is encouraged.
- The bikes are hella quiet.
- You’ll have to pay extra for subscriptions, which can add up if you decide to use multiple services.
- You need a tablet or Chromecast-enabled device to get the most out of the C6.
- Bowflex doesn’t have its own live classes — but it does offer on-demand and virtual scenic rides.
- You’ll encounter some limitations with third-party apps, including a lack of access to Peloton’s leaderboard.
Bowflex’s entry-level bike is much cheaper than those of brands like Peloton and NordicTrack because it doesn’t have a built-in screen. The high tech model with a 22-inch display, on the other hand, is actually pricier than a Peloton.
- $ = under $1,000
- $$ =$1,000–$1,800
- $$$ = over $1,800
- Price: $
- Resistance levels: 100
- Dimensions: 48.7 L x 21.2 W x 51.8 H in.
- Console options: Connects via Bluetooth to a tablet, phone, or TV
- Accessories and extras: 3-lb. dumbbells and a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate armband
The C6 from Bowflex is built like a smart bike but doesn’t have a built-in tablet, which is actually a big part of why it’s so cheap. Instead, you’ll have to hook it up via Bluetooth to your own tablet or TV (or your phone, but that might feel a bit small). That means there’s also no dedicated platform for streaming classes.
This makes the C6 a really good pick if you don’t want to stay glued to one fitness platform. You can try workouts from a bunch of popular apps like Peloton and Zwift (or Bowflex’s JRNY platform).
Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to use those subscriptions — so even if you’re saving $$$ on the bike itself, signing up for a bunch of apps can add up really quickly. We recommend taking advantage of free trials to save a few bucks and find an app that you want to give a go for a while.
Reviewers say the inexpensive bike is a breeze to set up, and some even describe it as better than Peloton. Customers also like that it has wheels that make it easy to roll around. A few people complain about the seat — but it’ll take some time for your butt to get used to any bike’s seat.
- Price: $$–$$$
- Resistance levels: 100
- Dimensions: 59.8 L x 24.1 W x 55.3 H in.
- Console options: 16 in. or 22 in.
- Accessories/extras: 3-lb. dumbbells and a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate armband
The VeloCore is a direct competitor to Peloton and NordicTrack bikes. It comes with either a 16-in. or a 22-in. console (same features, just diff size) that you can use with Bowflex’s JRNY platform, which has on-demand classes, virtual scenic rides, and built-in access to your Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney+ accounts.
It also has an extra holder for your phone or tablet, which is where you can plug into apps like Peloton and Zwift. You can even do both at the same time (cuz we all need to be distracted during exercise sometimes 🤷).
So why buy the VeloCore instead of a Peloton? The main stand-out feature of the bike is its leaning mechanism. It allows you to lean from side to side as you ride through Insta-worthy scenery using the Explore the World app. If you’re sticking to studio workouts, though, you might not get much out of the feature.
Reviewers say the bike is sturdy and well built. They also like the lean feature and add that it provides a great core workout. Some customers note that it’s a bit tricky to get used to the JRNY app. A few also experienced some connection issues, but it may be a WiFi problem, because these comments are few and far between.
Here’s a brief overview of some need-to-know Bowflex policies:
- free shipping unless you live in Alaska or Hawaii, where you’ll need to pay $199
- in-home assembly for an extra fee
- financing available
- 2-year parts, 1-year labor warranty for the VeloCore
- 3-year parts, 1-year labor warranty for the C6
- 6 weeks to try the bike and contact customer service for a return
Some customers note that Bowflex’s customer service is less than stellar. They also say they had issues when their fitness equipment (though not necessarily a bike) started to malfunction. According to some reviewers, replacement parts take a while to ship, and it can be tough to get problems solved.
Still not sure if a Bowflex bike should be your new workout buddy? Here’s what to consider.
Console or no console?
If you don’t mind using your tablet or TV to stream workouts, the C6 is an affordable bike with a sturdy build. If your heart’s set on a Bowflex but you also want a built-in display, the company has you covered with the VeloCore.
Note that the bigger the console, the higher the price tag. And if you def want to use a third-party app like Peloton, you’ll still need to use your tablet to do so on the VeloCore.
Reviewers say the bike feels built to last. But its construction isn’t the only thing that should stand the test of time. Because you can use the bike with multiple third-party apps, you’ll be able to use it even if the company goes belly-up.
With the C6, you can upgrade your tablet at any time without having to buy a brand-spanking-new bike. The C6 also doesn’t require a subscription to work, but you’ll need to subscribe to the JRNY platform to use the VeloCore bike’s console for any streaming.
With 100 resistance levels, both Bowflex bikes allow for a highly customized ride. You’ll also have plenty of notches to kick up as you get stronger and faster.
One of the biggest differences between the two Bowflex bikes is the VeloCore’s leaning feature. Hardcore riders might opt for the pricier bike because it better mimics IRL riding. But since that feature is unique to Bowflex, you won’t use it much if you end up taking a lot of third-party cycling classes.
|VeloCore||C6||Peloton Bike||NordicTrack S22i|
|Dimensions||59.8 L x 24.1 W x 55.3 H in.||48.7 L x 21.2 W x 51.8 H in.||59 L x 23 W x 53 H in.||55 L x 22 W x 57 H in.|
|Weight limit||325 lbs.||330 lbs.||297 lbs.||350 lbs.|
|Water bottle holder||dual holders||dual holders||dual holders||dual holders|
|Screen size||16 or 22 in.||N/A||22 in.||22 in.|
|Screen type||HD touch screen||N/A||HD touch screen||360° rotating HD touch screen|
|Flywheel type||33-lb. flywheel||40-lb. flywheel||inertia-enhanced flywheel||inertia-enhanced flywheel|
|Resistance type||magnetic resistance with separate leaning mode||electromagnetic resistance||magnetic resistance with mechanical adjustment||silent magnetic resistance with separate incline function|
|Speakers||2 Bluetooth speakers||N/A||2 rear-facing speakers||2 digitally amplified speakers|
|Other equipment||two 3-lb. weights and a HR armband||two 3-lb. weights and a HR armband||other equipment available for additional costs||two 3-lb. weights|
|Membership||monthly JRNY subscription (2-month free trial with purchase)||not required||monthly subscription to Peloton All-Access required (fees vary)||first year of iFit membership free with purchase (must purchase after)|
Since the start of the pandemic, indoor bikes have exploded in popularity. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, adding a bike to your workout rotation can help you meet and blast through your fitness goals.
But with so many options available, it can be tough to figure out which bike is right for you. If you thrive on having a ton of choices at your fingertips, both the C6 and the VeloCore are excellent indoor bike options from a wheelie well-known and respected company.