Bowflex C6 vs. Peloton Bike: A Comparison from a C6 Owner & SPIN Instructor

By Katie Pierson, Certified Spinning® Instructor & Personal Trainer

The new technology that is being created today for indoor cycling bikes is incredible. The industry is revamping the rider experience making it more fascinating and interactive with added bike features and capabilities. The Bowflex C6 and Peloton models are incredibly similar with their sleek design, belt-driven flywheels, magnetic resistance systems, and red and black color scheme. While these two bikes include many similarities, they also have significant differences

bowflex c6 vs peloton

When I recently decided to purchase a new indoor cycling bike, I thoroughly vetted each option to find which one was right for me. Although, in the end, I bought the Bowflex C6, we will examine what makes both of these cycles exceptional to help identify which model is suitable for you.

1.Peloton

Peloton Bike Peloton Bike

Maybe the most popular indoor cycle, and for a good reason. Excellent quality with an excellent app for beginners and experts. The only downside it that users cannot change resistance when using apps like Zwift etc.

Peloton Main Features

  • Integrated app into the bike
  • Flywheel weight: 30 pounds
  • HD Touchscreen
  • Peloton application
  • Magnetic resistance with 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels
  • 3-pound hand-weights included
  • Dual water bottle holder
  • 4-way seat adjustability
  • 2-way handlebar adjustability

The original Peloton Bike offers a whisper-quiet ride originating from its 30-pound flywheel that is belt-driven. This bike is fully integrated with the Peloton membership. It also provides 100 levels of magnetic resistance.

The original Peloton bike has reduced in price to $1,895 after the recent introduction of Peloton’s newest version, the Bike+. Its sleek design makes this bike ideal for smaller fitness spaces. It includes 3-pound weights and a 22” HD Touchscreen. This bike requires a Delta clip cycling shoe that can be purchased through Peloton.

This bike’s captivating component is the Peloton membership fully incorporated into the bike’s design and technology. The community created through this membership has an almost cult-like following due to the inspiring instructors and collection of class formats. Users describe the community with words such as fun, encouraging, and fabulous. One participant exclaimed, “I’m addicted!” I can relate to those that enjoy the Peloton instructors as I love classes from Kendall Toole and Olivia Amato

Peloton Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 22” HD Touchscreen included.
  • Fully integrated membership with the bike.
  • Constructed with commercial-grade materials.
  • 5-year warranty.
  • Become part of the Peloton community.

Cons

  • 2-way handlebar adjustability.
  • Subscription $39/month.
  • Requires specific Delta clips instead of standard SPD.
  • Expensive.
  • Requires electricity.
  • Requires Wi-Fi.

2.Bowflex C6 

Bowflex C6 Bike Bowflex C6 Bike

An excellent alternative option to Peloton or other streaming bikes. A super quiet magnetic resistance bike, proficient enough to link with the many available streaming devices such as Peloton® and Zwift®.

Bowflex C6 Main Features

  • Flywheel weight: 40 pounds
  • Backlit LCD metric console
  • Magnetic resistance with 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels
  • 3lb hand-weights included
  • 4-way seat and handlebar adjustability
  • Dual water bottle holder
  • Tablet rest
  • Dual-sided pedals including standard SPD clips and toe cages
  • Bluetooth connectivity

The Bowflex C6 is a belt-driven cycle that includes a 40-pound flywheel. This cycle, created by Nautilus, offers 100 magnetic resistance levels and includes a backlit LCD metric console. This bike is designed with commercial-grade materials and is available at an affordable price. One purchaser commented, “Great, just like Peloton but 1/3 the cost and no extra $40 a month membership.” The 40-pound flywheel offers an exceptionally smooth ride that is practically silent due to the belt system. 

Related
Bowflex C6 Bike Detailed Review

I can easily ride this bike when my house is sleeping, and nobody knows I am working out. This purchase includes 3-pound weights and a Bluetooth heart rate monitor that connects to the LCD monitor. The LCD monitor displays metrics such as cadence, distance, MPH, calories, and heart rate. The C6 also works seamlessly with streaming services such as Peloton, Zwift, FulGaz, and Sufferfest.

The handlebars offer four-way adjustability, therefore accommodating a more comprehensive range of participants. As a 5’4” rider, four-way adjustability for handlebars is an absolute must in any bike purchase that I make. I have been highly impressed with the customer service. I currently have an issue with my pedals not holding my SPD clips tight enough. The customer service agent not only spent time with me while they walked me through tightening bolts to troubleshoot what I was experiencing but quickly ordered new pedals to be delivered to rectify the issue after the troubleshooting was unsuccessful.

Bowflex C6 Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable at only $999.
  • Compatible with multiple streaming services.
  • Great customer service.
  • Constructed with commercial-grade materials.
  • SPD clips.
  • Comfortable saddle.
  • 10-year warranty.

Cons

  • Digital subscription not included.
  • Mat for under bike not included.
  • Screen not included.
  • Weights located at the front of the bike and tend to fall out during a ride.
  • Requires electricity.

Detailed Comparison of Peloton & Bowflex C6 

Below we will examine the differences and similarities for the Peloton and Bowflex C6 bikes.

Drive System

Both cycles offer a belt drive system. This system allows for an extremely quiet riding experience. This type of driven system also requires less maintenance. 

Flywheel

Each bike option includes a weighted flywheel that is located in the front of the cycle. The Bowflex C6 offers a forty-pound flywheel, while the Peloton only uses a thirty-pound flywheel. Flywheels with a higher weight are often associated with a smoother ride.

Magnetic Resistance

Each cycle option includes 100 levels of resistance. However, it is essential to note that the resistance levels do vary. Please refer to the conversion chart at the end of this article.

Handlebar and Seat Adjustability

C6 offers greater riding position customization than that of the Peloton. The C6 provides four-way adjustability for the seat and the handlebars. This means that the seat and handlebars can move up/down and front/back. Adjusting the handlebars in multiple directions is crucial for shorter riders as the handlebars’ ability to move closer to the bike center is essential. 

The limitation of adjusting the Peloton’s handlebars was one of the most important differences that I found between the two cycles. As a rider that is only 5’4”, the Bowflex C6 provided a much more comfortable ride than the Peloton.

Katie Pierson, Certified Spinning® Instructor

The Peloton handlebars only can move up and down due to the static positioning of the touchscreen. The saddle does have the capability of four-way adjustability.

Adjustable Levelers

Both bikes include adjustable levelers to decrease potential side-to-side rocking during a workout.

Pedals

The Bowflex C6 offers dual pedals that include SPD clips and toe cages. SPD clips are often used within indoor cycling classes, so other shoes are not required. The Peloton bike only uses specific Delta pedals, and therefore specific shoes are required from Peloton. 

Apps

While the Bowflex connects to various cycling applications, including the Peloton digital app, the Peloton is unmatched with its integration of the bike technology with the Peloton membership. 

Budget

The Bowflex C6 is currently priced at $999, while the Peloton was recently reduced to $1,895. 

Overall Performance

The Peloton and Bowflex C6 offer a remarkably similar ride due to the weighted flywheel placement, magnetic resistance, and belt drive system. 

What Type of Rider is Best for Each Bike

  • The Bowflex C6 is ideal for those riders who like the potential of using an app for a guided class but do not need to rely on it solely.
  • The Peloton is a great option for those riders that desire to be part of a community and embrace the Peloton culture. Those riders that prefer guided workouts compared to riding on their own might select the Peloton over the Bowflex C6.

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1. Bowflex C6 vs Schwinn IC4
2. Schwinn IC4 vs Peloton

Using the Peloton App with the Bowflex C6

how to adjust spin bike - distance between the saddle and handlebars 2

The ability to use the Peloton digital application with the Bowflex C6 is effortless and affordable. I currently use the digital app with my C6. Below we will examine the app’s characteristics, how to link it to your C6, limitations to the digital application, and resistance conversion.

What is the Digital Peloton App?

The Peloton digital application costs $12.95 per month. This app is compliant with Apple devices and Android devices using a 6.0 or higher operating system. 

The application not only allows customization of selecting rides based on music, class format, workout length, and instructor preference, but the app also provides a plethora of different class types that include more than just cycling. 

Why Should You Pair the Device with the C6?

If you do not have a bike that pairs with the Peloton application, it is still possible to use the digital application. Before I purchased the Bowflex C6, my past indoor cycling bike was older and did not have this capability. The features that I now have access to that I didn’t before are live tracking of my cadence and heart rate on the actual application. It is also fun to be able to see other riders in the class and high-five them.  

Connect Your C6 with the Peloton in 8 Easy Steps 

There are only eight steps required for a successful connection between your C6 and your device. 

  • Step 1: Activate the Bluetooth capability on your device. 
  • Step 2: Press and hold the Bluetooth icon on the bottom of your LCD monitor until it indicates that it is connected.
  • Step 3: Turn on your Bluetooth arm heart rate monitor.
  • Step 4: Open the Peloton application and select the desired cycling class.
  • Step 5: Tap the right side of your screen, so it displays a heart rate symbol. 
  • Step 6: Tap the cadence and heart rate icons to initiate connection.
  • Step 7: Select your bike model.
  • Step 8: Tap outside of the pop-up box displayed on the screen to return to the class.

Digital Application Limitations

One of the most outstanding features of the Peloton application is the virtual Leaderboard. The Leaderboard features all of the riders actively taking the class and ranks them based on their output. Output is calculated by taking the average output, multiplying that number by the total number of seconds in the class, and dividing it by 1,000.

Unfortunately, although a C6 owner can see their cadence and heart rate displayed, the Leaderboard is not a feature they have access to using. If you do not have a currently included device in their operating system requirements, showing cadence and heart rate in the app is also not available. Unfortunately for me, my current phone doesn’t fit the operating system requirements, so I must use a different device to enjoy the maximum number of features. 

Bowflex C6 vs. Peloton Resistance Conversion

When I first purchased the bike, it did not even cross my mind that the resistance numbers would vary so vastly between the Bowflex C6 and Peloton since both bikes include 100 levels of resistance. When I tried to complete my first digital Peloton workout on my C6, cranking my resistance to whatever the instructor told me, I barely made it through my 45-minute workout. I did not know at the time that a level 5 on a C6 was a level 25 on a Peloton. Below you will find a conversion chart not to make the same mistake I did when riding the C6.

PelotonBowflex C6
255
309
3517
4025
4533
5049
Peloton to C6 Resistance Conversion Chart

Bottomline

If you are not interested in spending $2,500 in addition to a $39 monthly subscription, the Bowflex C6 is a fantastic choice. The C6 offers a quality ride for a fraction of the price of a Peloton.

Katie Pierson

Katie is the creator of MT Girl Fitness and has been a certified fitness professional for almost twenty years. She currently holds ten different fitness certifications, including Group Fitness, Spinning Elite, Rockstar Spinning, and Personal Training. Fitness is her passion, and she loves seeing her clients reach goals they never imagined.