Bowflex C6 Review | From an Owner & a Spinning® Instructor (Includes Data from 165 Owners Survey)

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kathlene pierson spinning instructor and writer

By Katie Pierson

Spinning® Instructor & Owner of C6 Bike

I have owned this bike for just about a year. I get in about four rides per week in addition to the Spinning classes that I teach. So, on a satisfaction scale of 1-10, I would rate my satisfaction with the Bowflex C6 as a 10. This bike has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Editor's Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
Bowflex C6 Bike Bowflex C6 Bike
4.8

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

Is Bowflex C6 Worth It?

The Bowflex C6 is absolutely worth the investment if you are looking for a fantastic bike at an affordable price. 

Note: To validate our own thoughts, we also asked 165 owners of this bike to tell us how satisfied they are with their bike. 89.1% of the participants gave a score of at least 7 out of 10! On average, the satisfaction rate was 8.18 / 10.

More info in the next sections…

Video Review from Girl Bike Love

In the following video, you can see my quick review of the Bowflex C6 bike.

YouTube video

Why Did I Choose Bowflex C6 for my Home Indoor Cycle? 

Throughout my fitness career, I have owned and encountered a variety of indoor spinning bikes. My experience helped me understand what I wanted when I decided to upgrade my bike at home. Initially, I thought that the Peloton was the bike for me as I absolutely loved the live class component, but after quite a bit of research and riding the Peloton, I decided to purchase the Bowflex C6, and I am so happy that I did. 

  • Construction Quality: this bike is sturdy, well-designed, and whisper-quiet
  • Affordability: priced at less than $1,000
  • Versatility in Program Selection: you are not locked into only one program
  • Adjustability: the saddle and handlebars offer 4-way adjustability, crucial for my 5’4″ frame
  • Amount of Resistance Levels: 100 levels of magnetic resistance

C6 Holiday Sale!!!

$200 Off + Mat + Free Shipping!

Bowflex C6 vs. Peloton

Quick Comparison Table

Bowflex C6Peloton
Resistance TypeMagneticMagnetic
Levels of Resistance100100
Drive SystemBeltBelt
Price$999$1,495
Cycling Platform AvailableYes, JRNYYes, Peloton
Platform Membership Required for Full Bike FunctionalityNoYes
Integrates with Multiple Cycling AppsYes No
4-Way Handlebar AdjustabilityYesNo

Where C6 is Better

The Bowflex C6 is priced at $999, making it an affordable indoor cycling option while delivering a bike design and riding experience that you would expect from a more expensive bike. In addition, both the handlebars and saddle offer four-way adjustability, making it easier to find the correct riding position. This feature is especially critical for shorter riders.

The Bowflex C6 doesn’t come with a cycling platform built into the bike, so it allows you to have greater versatility in selecting a riding program of your choice. Many other bikes on the market, including the Peloton, lose some functionality if you decide not to purchase a membership to the riding platform associated with the cycle. The C6 can be used with Peloton®, Zwift, Sufferfest, Rouvy, FulGaz, Tacx, TrainerRoad, MyFitnessPal, and now Bowflex’s JRNY app.

Where Peloton is Better

Let’s be honest, the Peloton has the most incredible live class riding experience on the market, and all of the other companies are playing catch-up. That is not to say that Peloton will remain supreme in this category, but they have a corner on the market regarding the riding experience they offer. Their leaderboard is an exciting component of their riding experience, and it can only be enjoyed on an actual Peloton bike. In addition, how Peloton’s technology is built directly into the bike offers a very unique and fun workout. 

How Is My Experience So Far with C6? 

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

My experience so far with the C6 has been great. I am not going to lie, but I will always favor bikes with friction resistance as they feel a little more natural, but even the magnetic resistance is growing on me with the C6. Most of the time, when I click in for a ride, I am riding to a live or pre-recorded workout on the Peloton® digital app. I love switching between cycling apps, and my bike still performs precisely as it should. The bike is dependable, and I love riding it when my whole house is sleeping, and no one even knows I am working out because this model is so quiet!

Things I Love & Things That Could Be Better

Things I Love

  • Price: This bike is somewhat affordable, coming in at $999, compared to other options with similar features but a much higher price tag. 
  • Adjustability: Since I am only 5’4″, one bike requirement that I refuse to compromise on is that the handlebars can move towards the saddle. This was one of the reasons I chose the Bowflex C6 over the Peloton.
  • Versatility: Whether I feel like taking a Peloton ride on the Peloton app or using another cycling app, I can easily switch without using any functionality. Unfortunately, many other bikes have the platform built into the console, and riders are locked into using only that platform; otherwise have the risk of sacrificing bike functionality.
  • SPD Compatible: I love using my SPD cleats to teach at the cycling studio and ride at home without purchasing additional riding shoes.
  • Tablet Rest: The tablet rest makes it simple to use my phone with my favorite cycling apps, including Peloton digital.

Things that could be Better

  • Weight Placement: I wish the weights were located underneath the saddle instead of under the handlebars. Unfortunately, they fell out while I was riding a standing climb.

Did I have any issues till now? 

Not long after owning my C6, I started having issues with my pedals. It is usual for pedals to be a little tight when you first begin clicking your cleats in and eventually loosen to a certain degree, but the float became too much with my SPD cleats, and I started shredding the screws on the SPD pedals. Customer service was great to work with to rectify the issue, and they sent me new pedals after spending a significant amount of time with me on the phone trying to troubleshoot the problem. Hopefully, these pedals will continue to work better. If not, I can always swap them for SPD pedals, as I have done with most of my previous models.

Would I Recommend the Bowflex C6?

Yes! I recommend the Bowflex C6. It has a great design at a fantastic price. This model keeps getting better now with the offer of the Bowflex JRNY app that is included free for the first year you own your bike.

Mechanics & Detailed Specs

Holiday Deal: $200 Off + Mat
Bowflex C6 Bike Bowflex C6 Bike
4.8

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

Bowflex C6 Bike Specs

  • User height range: 4′ 6″- 6’6″
  • Height: 51.8″
  • Width: 21.2″
  • Length: 48.7″
  • Item weight: 106 pounds
  • User weight maximum: 330 pounds
  • 100 levels magnetic resistance

Construction Quality

Nautilus has created an incredibly sturdy indoor cycle. Outstanding design features include a steel frame, a soft coating for the steel handlebars, a plastic cover for the drive system, and a sweat guard to protect the flywheel from sweat-erosion.  

Resistance & Smoothness of the Ride

This cycle offers 100 levels of magnetic resistance. Magnetic resistance is quieter than friction resistance since nothing comes in contact with the flywheel. Magnets move closer or farther away from the flywheel, adjusting resistance. This type of resistance is not only quieter but also requires less maintenance. The 40-pound flywheel and belt drive create an incredibly smooth ride. Heavier flywheels allow for a more even pedal stroke due to the inertia created and maintained by the weighted flywheel as it spins, which increases the smoothness of the ride.

Console

bowflex c6 monitor
Bowflex C6 Console

The backlit LCD console displays cadence, distance, calories, speed, duration, resistance, and heart rate. A free Bluetooth armband heart rate monitor is included with the purchase of the bike and displays on the console. Instead of cadence being shown as a simple metric, a number line displays the cadence. This metric is a point of contention with some riders as they find it a little hard to read, but it becomes easy to tell your exact cadence number with a little practice.

Pedals

bowflex c6 pedals and flywheel
Bowflex C6 Pedals & Flywheel

Dual pedals come standard with the C6 that includes caged and SPD options. If you do not wish to purchase cycling shoes, the toe cages make using your regular athletic shoes easy. If you do not plan to use the toe cages and only want the SPD option, the toe cages are easy to remove with the right tools. SPD cleats are among the most standard cleats found in fitness facilities and commercial-grade cycling bikes. This means buying a pair of shoes for your bike at home can be easily used at the gym as well.

Seat and Seat Cushion

A race-style saddle is available with this bike. Race-style saddles are slimmer than other models. However, the C6 seat is very comfortable.

Note* If you feel an increase in saddle soreness, do not forget to check your riding position, as slouching can increase soreness. If your form is on point and the seat is still uncomfortable, gel seats and cycling shorts are also available. 

App Connectivity

peloton classes
The Front Screen of the Peloton App

As mentioned earlier, the primary reason for developing the Bowflex C6 was to make it compatible with popular streaming apps such as Peloton App, Zwift, Sufferfest, and many others. The bike delivers and provides the user with several different options, not locking you into one specific App. 

Almost all of these fitness apps will offer a free trial period and can range anywhere from 7 days to 1 month; this makes it an ideal opportunity, especially for newcomers, to get into indoor cycling. 

As with any app, they all offer their pros and cons and can offer vastly different workout experiences from App to App. Zwift offers life-like virtual worlds and courses, making it feel like you are riding outside; the graphics and interface are fantastic and straightforward to use. 

Some of the indoor cycling apps like Zwift allow the user to see their position on a virtual leaderboard, motivating the athlete to want to improve their performance. 

To sum-up:

  • JRNY: The membership is available for only $19.99/month and offers capabilities that are not available with other bikes.  JRNY offers pre-recorded instructor lead content, adaptive workouts, virtual coaching, and scenic rides worldwide. Not all riders enjoy instructor lead workouts, and this bike keeps those riders in mind. This cycle can link to a Smart Trainer and help you reach your goals even while taking a scenic ride. One of the most significant features is that JRNY makes it possible to stream your favorite streaming services directly to the C6 console. Is there a new movie out that you want to watch on Disney+, Netflix, or Hulu? Now you can watch it while getting a great workout instead of just sitting on the couch. A metrics bar remains on the bottom of the screen to keep you on track.  
  • Peloton Integration: Using the Peloton app is very easy with this bike. An icon even exists on the console that says, “Work out with Peloton,” making it easy to find. The console directs you to grab your tablet or phone and sync it with the C6 so that the Peloton app will show your cadence, and the C6 console will display your basic metrics, including resistance and distance. The Peloton audio easily plays through the bike Bluetooth speakers for a better riding experience than your tablet or phone audio.
  • Zwift Integration: Another app that works seamlessly with Bowflex C6. Once your phone or tablet with the Zwift app is linked to your bike and the power output (resistance and cadence) is selected, the power output data will be displayed within Zwift. 

Note: Bowflex C6 is fully supported by Peloton App. The only downside is that you cannot access the virtual leaderboard.

Portability 

bowflex c6 transportation wheels
Bowflex C6 Transportation Wheels

Two wheels are located at the bike‘s front for easy portability within your cycling space. To move this bike, you simply tip the bike towards yourself while holding the handlebars. The bike‘s weight is then placed on the wheels, allowing it to be quickly moved.

Additional Features

There are a couple of other features to note about the C6. First, the handlebars are incredibly comfortable and include not one but two water bottle holders located under the handlebars. This makes it easy to hydrate while keeping the water bottles out of your way while riding. Also found under the handlebars are 3-pound weights included with the purchase of this bike

Adjustability 

The adjustability of the C6 accounts for the extensive height range of 4’6″-6’6″ available. In addition, both the saddle and handlebars include four-way adjustability. Four-way adjustability is when the handlebars or saddle can move up and down and forward and back. For example, taller riders often find it difficult to avoid hitting their knees on the handlebars when riding out of the saddle if the handlebars cannot move farther away from the saddle. In contrast, shorter riders (like me) need to have a shorter distance between the saddle and handlebars to find a suitable position when riding in the saddle.

Assembly

Many other purchasers said that it took approximately an hour to assemble the Bowflex C6 by themselves or with the help of one other person. I decided not to assemble the C6 myself, and I paid a little over $100 for professional assembly. Instead, I coordinated with Bowflex the delivery of my bike and the assembly schedule. The White Glove service was at my house within 24-hours of my bike arriving. The whole process was straightforward, from scheduling to completion. The Assembly Member finished putting my bike together in about 45-minutes.

Peloton to Bowflex C6 Conversion Chart

We said that Bowflex C6 can be an excellent alternative to Peloton and I personally believe that it is the best value for money indoor cycle. So, if you go with the C6 but want to use Peloton App, you can create or buy a Resistance Conversion Chart. You can find such products on Etsy or eBay.

There are many conversion charts in various online forums & sites which you can follow. However, it is important to note that all bikes are calibrated slightly differently. Even two identical C6 bikes might have a slight difficulty with their resistance.

Pro Tip: take all the resistance off after each rode as it seems to help keep the resistance calibrated better for future rides.

Now, if you want to have a starting point, we suggest the following conversion chart that has been endorsed by both Bowflex Official and Reddit Peloton Community.

Peloton to Bowflex C6 Bike Conversion Chart
Peloton to Bowflex Conversion Chart

Where to Buy Bowflex C6 Bike

If you live in the U.S., the best place to purchase the Bowflex C6 is from bowflex.com. Bowflex delivers within the United States but does not deliver to international destinations or U.S. territories. At times, the C6 is available at Best Buy Canada, but only the Schwinn IC4 is currently available, which is extremely similar.

Warranty and Return Policy

Warranty Policy

The Bowflex warranty policy is more extensive than other bikes, including the Peloton. Bowflex’s warranty policy includes:

  • 10-year frame
  • 3-year mechanical and electronics
  • 1-year labor

For an additional $109, Bowflex offers a 5-year protection plan that covers labor and parts.

Return Policy

To return your C6, you must obtain a return merchandise authorization (RMA) number for Bowflex to accept your return. Your bike must also be post-marked within 2-weeks of receiving your RMA. The period that you can return your bike is 6-weeks from the date you receive it.

Bowflex Customer Support

Bowflex Customer Support is excellent. They are available via phone or by chat. Unlike other customer service lines that bounce you from person to person, your Bowflex Customer Support person helps you from start to finish. I found this extremely helpful when I was fighting a pedal issue.

Useful Info from our Survey

In our survey of 165 C6 bike owners, 33 respondents answered our optional question, If you used Bowflex / Schwinn Support for the Issues you had, how do you rate it?”. 24 out of the 33 people (72%) that answered this question rated the support with at least a 3 out of 5.

Customer Support - Schwinn IC4 & Bowflex C6 Survey
The Chart includes only those who had an issue and got in touch with Bowflex or Schwinn Support.

Bowflex C6 Mat Size

A quality mat can provide stability and save you from damages to your carpet or floor. Bowflex recommends a mat of 4’9″ L x 2’11” W (145 L x 89 W cm) size. You can find it here.

Community

So, you bought this versatile bike, but you have questions or want help with your rides!

Worry not!

We suggest the Private Facebook Group “Schwinn IC4 and Bowflex C6 Riders” with a huge number of members: almost 20.000! Besides, you can join Reddit on “Bowflex C6 & IC4 Owners” with more than 2500 members.

Bowflex C6 Alternatives

MYX II Bike

The power of the whole Beachbody experience is now available with the recent introduction of the MYX 2 Bike. Riders can instantly enjoy live and on-demand fitness and cooking classes through two excellent platforms, including BODi (Beachbody On Demand Interactive) and Openfit. These platforms do require memberships. One of the most exciting features of this new bike includes the ability for users to be seen and receive real-time shout-outs and form corrections from instructors using the new BODcast technology. This is all possible due to a built-in camera in the monitor.

Peloton

Peloton Bike Peloton Bike
4.7

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.

An exceptional alternative to the Bowflex C6, the Peloton Bike has a long-lasting, durable frame and includes diverse indoor cycling classes. 

It has all the characteristics you’d anticipate from a bike of this value and status, and the two hand weights positioned just behind the seat are an outstanding addition. 

Nevertheless, the cost is considerably steep at just over $2000, and if you don’t have Look-Delta shoes, you will need to buy some to ensure adaptability. The indoor cycling classes possible are incredible but are a hefty $37 monthly.

Overall the Peloton Bike is an attractive alternative for serious people about cycling and boosts their performance to the next level. 

Schwinn IC4

Holiday Deal: $400 Off
Schwinn IC4 Bike Schwinn IC4 Bike
4.8

Comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to link to several apps such as Peloton® and Zwift®. The Schwinn really does offer excellent quality at a very affordable price.

In many ways, the Schwinn IC4 are almost identical, and if it wasn’t for the decals and stickers, you might not spot the difference. They have several features in common, and the only main difference you need to factor in is the price point. 

The Schwinn IC4 is an excellent exercise bike that offers the rider a smooth and comfortable riding experience without the hefty price tag of the bikes you see in gyms; those bikes can set you back thousands and thousands of dollars. 

The Schwinn IC4 also comes equipped with magnetic resistance and offers the rider 100 different settings allowing you to find the correct form and technique. Another benefit of having 100 settings is that people of any fitness level can enjoy the bike and get a good workout. 

The Schwinn IC4 also comes equipped with a heart rate monitor that fits nicely around your arm and connects seamlessly to Bluetooth. These heart rate monitors are a great way to track your workouts, and over a long period, they provide valuable data points. 

Related:
C6 vs IC4 Detailed Comparison

Bowflex Velocore

Holiday Deal: $400 Off + Mat + Free Shipping
Bowflex VeloCore Bike Bowflex VeloCore Bike
4.8

Provides the rider with an incredibly realistic riding experience, closely simulating riding outside on roads or up and down your favorite mountain climb.

The VeloCore is a little more on the pricey side, but, in my opinion, it still manages to squeeze into the affordable bike category. At just over $1700, it does leave a big hole in your wallet, but the features, design, frame build, and overall feel of the bike definitely make it worth the money. 

As a matter of fact, you can even pay an extra $500 and upgrade to the 22-inch LCD screen. The real stand-out feature is that the VeloCore not only moves forwards and backward but can also move side to side

Related:
Bowflex Velocore In-Depth Review

This provides the rider with an incredibly realistic riding experience, closely simulating riding outside on roads or up and down your favorite mountain climb. 

The VeloCore also allows users to link to their favorite cycling & fitness apps such as Peloton or Zwift. 

Echelon

Echelon EX5-S Echelon EX5-S
4.4

New and improved stabilization handles and seat post adjustments including a competition seat with 6' lever-style adjustment, and a precision resistance motor are just a few of the exciting new features you only get with the EX5-S.

If you’re searching for an excellent option for the Bowflex C6 bike, then the Echelon might just be the bike for you. The brand is well-established and gives very comparable class combinations, and gives both on-demand and live streams, all with high-quality and economical hardware. 

Cost does vary, and the company also offers an excellent package that includes a yearly subscription giving you unlimited access to all classes and other features. 

The bike‘s cost does vary, but in saying that being such a reputable and well-known brand, they offer a year free subscription giving the user access to the bike‘s primary features. 

One big negative is that you are unable to sync with Peloton or ZWift, and at this stage, Echelon only offers the link to their own App. 

Keiser M3i

Holiday Deal: $200.00 Off
Keiser M3i Bike Keiser M3i Bike
5.0

The App takes the cycle to another level, and with compatibility and connectivity, the bike offers all of the latest conveniences the digital age has to offer. 

The Keiser M3i is a great indoor cycling bike that has a heap of high-tech features. The bike is made from durable material, and the build quality is second to none. 

An extremely quietexercise bike and very easy to assemble, the Keiser M3i is fully adjustable with ergonomically designed seats and handlebars that provide an excellent riding experience. 

At just over $2000, the Keiser M3i is quite an expensive bike and is an excellent option for the serious indoor cyclist. The App takes the cycle to another level, and with compatibility and connectivity, the bike offers all of the latest conveniences the digital age has to offer. 

If you have the money for this rather great exercise bike, then I definitely recommend it. With the durable materials and the build quality, this bike should last for many years. 

Life Fitness IC7

This indoor cycling bike, manufactured by Life Fitness, includes an evenly light-weighted rear flywheel and a unique steel frame design to minimize sweat corrosion. Priced at $3,199, this bike is more expensive than many similar magnetic resistance models. However, the robust technology that is included with this model sets this bike apart from rivals. Life Fitness‘s Coach-by-Color technology not only gives an exciting riding experience but provides real-time interactive metrics to keep the workouts interesting and beneficial. In addition, the free ICG app easily connects with the IC7 cycle and helps riders prepare for FTP tests, track and log workout metrics, and provide various workouts to reach customized goals. 

Factors to Take Into Consideration Before Buying an Indoor Cycle

Several factors need to be considered before purchasing an exercise or spin bike; bikes these days are not cheap, and as such, you need to be thorough in your research.

  • Your goals for your fitness levels
  • How much money are you willing to spend
  • Do you have adequate space
  • Is your wifi strong?
  • Do you have fitness apps, or will you have to sign up?
  • Will you be the only one using the bike, or will other family members be using it?

The Bottom Line

Bowflex C6 Detailed Review

The Bowflex C6 is a fantastic option for those who do not want to spend thousands of dollars but still want an incredible riding experience.

Holiday Deal: $200 Off + Mat
Bowflex C6 Bike Bowflex C6 Bike
4.8

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

Bonus Content: GirlBikeLove.com C6 & IC4 Survey

GirlBikeLove.com Blog is always trying to find the most critical and useful information for our users. That’s why, except for our own Bowflex C6 review, we asked 165 C6 & IC4 bike owners to share their feelings on these models.

You can see the whole survey and results here.

In short, we had the following results, based on the answers we got.

How happy are the owners with their bike?

IC4 C6 Survey @2021 2
The rate scale is from 1 to 10. The question was mandatory.

We asked owners to rate their exercise bike satisfaction level on a scale from one to ten. On average, the satisfaction rate of the 165 respondents was 8.18 / 10, which is one of the highest we have seen in the indoor cycling category.

Most Loved Bike Features

Most Loved Features - Schwinn IC4 & Bowflex C6 Survey

It seems that connectivity, construction quality, and smoothness of the ride were the most loved attributes of the IC4 and C6 bikes. Other high-ranking features included the bike’s price point and how quiet the bike is when riding.

Some of our respondents made the following statements regarding connectivity capability: 

  • “I like that the bike is not tied to a specific streaming service…”
  • “It feels really sturdy. You can more or less just jump on and jump off…”
  • “I like the smooth motion of the flywheel when it’s operating smoothly.”

Common Issues

Based on our survey that included 165 owners of either the Bowflex C6 or the Schwinn IC4 models, 70% of them didn’t have any issues with their bike.

For the 30% of people who did find something that bothered them, noise, pedal, and crank arm issues are some of the most common issues.

IC4 C6 Survey @2021

Below is a selection of responses from our participants describing bike issues they encountered:

  • “Clicking noise on the right pedal when pedaling down. It seems to happen when I’m standing, and I’m really putting my weight into it.”
  • “Need to recalibrate as too much tension at bottom end.”
  • “Seat post wobbles and appears to be squeaking.”

Pro Tip: Most of the owners replaced their pedals with quality SPD or flat pedals. With an extra cost of $50-$100, you can get an excellent Shimano or a Venzo set; and yet your IC4 or C6 bike will be again way more affordable than the 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.

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