Katie has been a certified fitness professional for twenty years and holds ten fitness certifications, including Spinning Elite and Personal Training. She has shared her expert knowledge in many fitness outlets like Bicycling & Verywellfit.
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.
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.
Magnetic resistance with 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels
3lb hand-weights included
4-way seat and handlebar adjustability
Dual water bottle holder
Dual-sided pedals including standard SPD clips and toe cages
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.
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.
In the following video, you can see a quick review of the Bowflex C6 bike from our expert and group fitness instructor Katie Pierson.
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
Affordable at only $999.
Compatible with multiple streaming services.
Great customer service.
Constructed with commercial-grade materials.
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.
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.
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
22” HD Touchscreen included.
Fully integrated membership with the bike.
Constructed with commercial-grade materials.
Become part of the Peloton community.
2-way handlebar adjustability.
Requires specific Delta clips instead of standard SPD.
Detailed Comparison of Peloton & Bowflex C6
Below we will examine the differences and similarities for the Peloton and Bowflex C6 bikes.
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.
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.
Both bikes include adjustable levelers to decrease potential side-to-side rocking during a workout.
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.
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.
The Bowflex C6 is currently priced at $999, while the Peloton was recently reduced to $1,895.
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.
The ability to use the Peloton digital application with a non-peloton bike like 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 use. 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.
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 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.
19 thoughts on “Bowflex C6 vs. Peloton Bike: Why I Bought the C6!”
I was pretty appalled to find out that Android devices can’t connect to the Bowflex C6. Do you know why that it? It seems like in this day and age, all operating systems should connect seamlessly.
Thanks so much for this – especially the resistance conversion! Anyone having trouble with stats being displayed during live classes? It says my bike and hr monitor are connected, but then the stats don’t show up. Even if I disconnect, reconnect, and ensure they are selected!
Thank you for your comment. What type of device are you trying to connect with the C6?
Great article. I have a C6 and use the peloton app. I thought I was not able to keep up with them due to their 40 was way different then the C6 40. Better late then never with learning about the difference. Thanks. I love my C6 and I’m glad I bought it.
Thank you, Roberta!
Indeed, it’s one of our favorite bikes!
I just purchased a Bowflex C7, I am not sure if you have had this question yet or not, but do you know if the resistance conversion is the same for the C7 as it is for the C6?
First of all, it is essential to note that the resistance levels vary per bike, so you have to test it yourself to fine-tune it.
Although we have tested (hands-on) the C6, we have never really tried the Bowflex C7 ourselves. Based on various community members, we found an alternative conversion chart that you could try instead of the one we have in the article.
Peloton to Bowflex C7
30 – 18
35 – 22
40 – 26
45 – 31
50 – 35
We have also asked the official Bowflex Team, and we’ll get back to you if we have any news.
I have a few thoughts:
first, I think this post is pretty much spot on. I have both c6 and peloton and agree with almost all of this!
second – I’m 6’4 and had to get the peloton after getting the c6 because the c6 isn’t tall enough for me. but if you’re a normal sized human, the c6 is great and compares very nicely to the peloton for way way way less $.
third, this conversion chart is totally right. I can’t tell you how damn hard those peloton classes are until you realize that their “40” is way way easier than the c6 40 🙂
Thank you for your insightful and useful comment!
Hey! I know the c6 “level” is the peloton resistance. What about the other terms peloton instructors use-how is rpm translated with c6’s speed?
Not exactly. The RPM is known as the Cadence. Cadence in cycling is defined as the number of revolutions per minute (RPM) you complete at a given speed. You can find your RPM as a bar at the top of your Bowflex Screen. You can check our video review where Katie explains the specs of the monitor.
Hi, do you have the conversion for 50+
Unfortunately, we don’t have the conversion for 50+.
How can I find out if my device meets the OS requirements?
We guess that you are asking for Bowflex C6; in this page you can find a detailed table from Bowflex with all the Apps and the Operating Systems that meet the requirements. You can also request some info from the manufacturer if you want to ask for more details.
Great article and made my decision easier. Thank you.
Thank you Tony,
We really appreciate your feedback and we hope that you will be happy with your decision.
OMG thank you for this! I have been spinning for decades. I just got my C6 which so far I love. Don’t go to gym anymore for a lot of reasons. I was doing peloton classes and trying to match. Wow oh wow! Thank you again!!!!
Thank you, Nia!
Enjoy your rides!
P.S. There are many great fan groups of Bowflex C6 on many Social Platforms (Reddit, Facebook) where they share great ideas and tips if you want to learn more things and improve 🙂