Featured__ The Definitive Guide To Which Cycling Studio Is Right For You
You love cycling because it can whip you into shape in 45 minutes a day – less time than it takes to catch up on your favorite TV show. Most people burn about 500-700 calories per class, and the no last minute cancellation policy will keep you motivated and accountable.
But what’s the real reason we’re willing to pay upwards of $40 to exercise for less than an hour? Easy: it’s fun. Like, forget you’re actually working out fun. But you still leave feeling like you got in a great workout, because you did.
There’s no one size fits all for cycling, though. With countless different cycling classes available, you’ve got to find the right one for you. Is it really worth paying double to go to SoulCycle when there are cheaper classes out there? What actually sets these classes apart from one another?
We’ve taken six of the most popular cycling classes and broken them down by price, atmosphere, intensity, music, instructors and special features, so you can decide for yourself.
Almost everybody has heard of SoulCycle by now, the cycling class that claims to change your body and your life--and SoulCycle advocates will vouch for this. SoulCycle not only focuses on whipping you into shape, they emphasize your mental well being as well. SoulCycle’s cult-like followers will tell you that for them, SoulCycle is their workout, therapy, meditation, and a place to socialize with their friends – and that’s what keeps them coming back.
Price: $34 for a 45-minute session
Atmosphere: Candlelit, luxurious and upbeat. SoulCyclers will often compare it to a dance party.
Intensity: Medium. The lighting makes it feel more relaxed, but the workout is intense and challenging.
Music: Upbeat pop, Top 40
Instructors: Extremely inspiring and motivating, your instructor will eventually feel like your best friend. They each offer something a little different. Try taking a couple different classes to find the one that works for you.
Special Features: Hand weights during the ride to give you a full-body workout; free gum and hair ties if you forget yours (score!).
The Monster Cycle
The Monster Cycle is described as an “indoor visual cycling class” that takes place in complete darkness, save for two TV’s at the front of the room. Referred to as the “goth spin-off of SoulCycle”, Monster Cycle prides themselves on their ability to imitate a real ride. According to one Monster Cycler, Soul Cycle is the prim and proper overachiever with exceptional taste, and Monster Cycle is the rebellious younger sibling who will rage all night and still show up the next morning to get their sh*t done.
Price: $33 for a 45-minute session.
Atmosphere: A pitch black “BASS-ment” high-energy multimedia experience.
Intensity: High. Loud music and almost complete darkness.
Music: Each instructor uses different music, but it’s all upbeat and heavy bass with a techno vibe. Music videos play on the TV’s throughout the entire workout, providing the only light in the room.
Instructors: Expert and very engaged, much like a yoga class. Instructors will walk around and adjust you and your bike. Will push you past your limits.
Special Features: Makes you feel like a badass and free hair ties and socks.
Flywheel claims to be “the workout that changes you, the one that lights the fire”, with less dancing and more pure riding. Flywheel is a lot more spacious than most cycling studios, so you won’t feel like a sardine. Shoes and water are free which is a rarity, and there’s a lounge where you can socialize before and after class. Flywheel is great for people driven by real numbers and statistics – there’s a Torqboard where you can see how you rank against other students. They also record your stats and post them on your private profile online, so you can monitor your performance and progress.
Price: $34 for a 45-minute or 60-minute session.
Atmosphere: High-tech, spacious and state of the art.
Intensity: Medium. Your instructor might yell at you for not trying hard enough, but they’ll still hug you when it’s over.
Music: Upbeat pop, not quite as mainstream as SoulCycle.
Instructors: Energetic and very encouraging--will hold you accountable.
Special Features: Torqboard, online profile, unlimited monthly membership offered.
Cyc is an indoor cycling class known for their social aspect. They offer a unique, full-body workout that activates your whole body the whole time. If you were a high school or college athlete, you’ll love Cyc. Their weight routines are inspired by sports like volleyball, boxing and swimming. Cyc is also great for people who are looking to really get to know the people they’re taking classes with. If you consider yourself to be super-charitably, give Cyc a try. For every mile you ride, they donate to the Cyc charity partner of your choice.
Price: $25 for a 45-minute session.
Atmosphere: Nightclub-like atmosphere with lights and lots of energy.
Intensity: High. It feels like you’re at a party.
Music: Loud and rave-like.
Instructors: Entertaining and full of energy, they’ll keep you motivated all class long.
Special Features: Their own social media called Cyc Social, ability to see who else is taking a class and can track your performance in class and online.
Revolve is for the indoor cycler looking for a real, authentic ride. Revolve is a little more old school than the other studios on our list, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a great workout here. Revolvers like to say it’s somewhere between SoulCycle and Flywheel. Revolve offers a few different classes including a real ride to imitate outdoor riding, RIP ride, which is more hardcore, body ride, which is designed to improve strength and flexibility, and brick ride, which is a 45 minute ride followed by a 45 minute run.
Price: $29 for a 45-minute or 60-minute session.
Atmosphere: Intimate and no frills.
Intensity: Medium. High energy and instructors aren’t afraid to call you out.
Music: Diverse and less mainstream than other studios. Think Imagine Dragons, Zedd, Bastille.
Instructors: Persistent and motivating, won’t let you relax until the class is over (that’s the point in working out, right?).
Special Features: Offer multiple different classes and well known instructors like celebrity trainer Ary Nunez.
Torque classes combine strength and cardio to give you the complete experience. Torque offers multiple classes including TORQUE-RX, a HIIT class designed to work your core and keep your body burning calories all day long. Yoga and Pilates lovers will love Torque since the studio offers both in addition to cycling.
Price: $40 for a 45-minute, 60-minute or 75-minute session.
Atmosphere: Intimate small group setting with a Zen feel.
Intensity: Medium. Not as flashy as other studios, but this class will still kick your butt.
Music: Varies greatly by instructor, ranging from rap to jazz to EDM.
Instructors: Very friendly and helpful, will go out of their way to adjust your bike or anything else you might need. You won’t realize they’ve whipped you into shape until it’s already happened.
Special Features: Yoga and Pilates in the same studio, no charge for shoes.