Last spring, when most gyms and boutique fitness studios closed their doors, SoulCycle was quietly getting ready to launch their own at-home bike in conjunction with Variis, the on-demand fitness app from Equinox. When the bike launched in March 2020, devoted followers did their best to snag one. Some pulled it off, but others found it akin to booking a last-minute 6 p.m. SoulCycle class pre-pandemic (everyone's waiting for a bike!). Now that the hysteria has died down, getting your feet clipped into one of these bikes might be a great way to kick off your health goals for the new year.
If you've hopped on a bike at one of SoulCycle's 99 studios nationwide, you’re familiar with the brand's ethos: an "inspirational, meditative fitness experience that's designed to benefit the mind, body, and soul." Co-founded by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice back in 2006 (the company was later acquired by Equinox Group), each class encourages cyclists to ride to the beat of a curated, mood-boosting playlist. With the intention of "connecting people to their true, best selves with each pedal stroke," the duo's vision—even 15 years later— transports riders to a place that feels less like a sweaty workout and more like a meditation sesh.
SoulCycle's holistic experience relies heavily on their environment—they even have their own signature candle scent—but even so, the at-home bike manages to capture that je ne sais quoi.
First, let's talk about the screen. The 21.5 inch HD touch screen is large enough to feel fully immersed in the ride, and the booming surround sound helps capture the in-studio experience. For even more drama, I like to turn off the lights and pair the audio with my Bluetooth headphones. The production quality is great, with multiple camera angles and mood lighting that steadily changes to simulate a real studio ride. If you need a lesson or a form refresh, you can watch someone ride the form bike on a pop-out box along the screen's bottom lefthand corner. The bike itself is sturdy at 142 pounds, so you'll feel secure on a ride super-charged with sprints, sticky climbs, and double tap-backs.
Then there are the classes. On-demand classes offer 20 to 90 minute rides and standalone arm workouts. You get a little pat on the back when you take a back-to-back class, known in the Soul community as a "double." You also have the option to livestream classes from SoulCycle's in-person studios. If you just want to free ride, you can opt out of a class altogether and spin whilst streaming The Crown on Netflix or Hamilton on Disney +. The bike will track all of your workouts, whether or not you choose to join a class, but will also keep score of your "Beat Match" when you do.
With its $2,500 price tag, investing in an at-home bike is not an off-the-cuff purchase—but for avid SoulCyclers who've often paid $36 for in-person classes, the bike will pay itself off in less than 100 rides. You'll also need to factor in the $40 per month Variis subscription that's required to stream classes, but will give you access to loads of other workout brands including Rumble boxing, Pure Yoga, and Headstrong.
The takeaway: SoulCycling at-home is about as close as you can get to taking the class in the flesh until... who knows when. If cycling is your cardio of choice and you're a fan of the dance party like workout, the bike is an investment that's worth splurging on.