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By Katie Pierson, Certified Spinning® Instructor & Personal Trainer.
Are you looking for the ultimate in-home riding experience? If your answer is yes, then the Bowflex VeloCore might be the bike for you. Read on to see why the unique Lean Mode, only available with this model, earned a Men’s Health 2021 Fitness Award and is a CES 2021 Innovation Award honoree.
Velocore Pros and Cons
Does the Bowflex VeloCore require a subscription?
No, but the monitor will only show basic metrics. Bowflex’s JRNY membership costs $19.99/month. A 6-month free trial is included with the bike’s purchase. The JRNY membership provides access to interactive workouts, advanced metrics, and the ability to stream your favorite shows.
Can you use the Peloton App on Bowflex?
Yes! The Peloton App can integrate with the VeloCore. Unfortunately, the Peloton leaderboard is still only available for those that own a Peloton bike and membership. A tablet or phone is needed to link the VeloCore console with Peloton’s Digital app. Cadence is displayed within the Peloton app, and the class will play through VeleCore’s Bluetooth speakers giving a superior listening experience. It is important to remember that the resistance levels being called out are for the Peloton and not the Bowflex. Take a glance below for the resistance conversion between Peloton and Bowflex.
Mechanics & Detailed Specs
Leaning and Stationary Mode
Two riding modes are available, including leaning and stationary. Bowflex’s Lean Mode has been recognized for its brilliance in its design and engineering. This mode is undeniably one of the most significant selling points for the VeloCore. With a quick press down on a red button above the resistance knob on the crossbar, the bike effortlessly changes from stationary to Lean Mode. The frame releases and begins to sway. This allows riders to engage their core and upper body as the bike sways side to side, which requires an increase in balance and athleticism.
The bike effortlessly clicks back into a static mode when the bike frame aligns with the crossbar and the red button is pulled up. A rider can switch between these two modes without ever stopping their pedals, which adds a new element to the workout. The stationary mode allows the rider to remain upright, similar to other indoor cycles on the market.
Nautilus, the parent company of Bowflex, is known for its superior construction and attention to detail for its products. The VeloCore was recognized as a CES 2021 Honoree due to its outstanding engineering and construction.
One of the most critical components of this bike outside the Lean Mode is the connectivity that this bike offers. Many bikes connect to Bluetooth heart rate monitors and headphones, but the VeloCore really stands alone with the versatility of apps and features available. Before we break down how you can easily use Peloton or Zwift with your VeloCore, let’s first dive into the JRNY experience that Bowflex offers.
Related: Best Indoor Cycling Apps
One hundred levels of magnetic resistance are available with this model.
A 22-inch or 16-inch touchscreen option is available. The metrics located below are available with both screen sizes. However, to unlock the LEAN and interval metrics, a JRNY membership must be purchased.
- Distance (km or miles)
- Calories Per Minute
- Total Calories
- Heart Rate
- Lean & Intervals (metrics available for JRNY members only)
- Watts (coming soon)
This bike’s dual-sided pedals offer riders the versatility of using either an SPD cleat or toe cages compatible with street shoes.
Seat and Seat Cushion
A competition-style seat is available on this cycle, therefore a narrower seat, an industry standard. However, some riders find this to be uncomfortable. Bowflex offers other seat options for purchase, and also padded riding shorts are available from multiple retailers.
Pro Tip: Saddle soreness is often not due to the seat but to riding position and bike set-up.
This cycle is easy to move within any space due to the convenient wheels located at the bike’s front and the easy-to-grab handle behind the rear wheel. Most indoor cycling bikes require holding onto the handlebars as you move. This model makes moving the cycle much simpler and vital since it weighs 158.3 pounds. The stationary dimensions of this bike include 59.8” L X 24.1” W X 55.3” H.
The handles and seat are both adjustable. However, there are limitations. This bike claims to fit riders between 5’1” and 6’5”. The saddle can be raised or lowered and moves backward from the seat post, but unfortunately, it does not move closer to the handlebars to better accommodated shorter riders.
Due to the placement of the monitor, the handlebars can move up or down, but not front or back. Without this adjustment, it is more difficult for riders closer to 5’1” to find a proper riding position.
Assembly and Set-up
Assembly for this model can quickly be done at home by one or two people, depending on how strong they are since some bike components are pretty heavy. However, if you are not interested in assembling this bike yourself, Bowflex does offer an in-home assembly service for $199. I did this when I purchased my Bowflex C6, and it was worth the cost as the technician was quick and knew exactly how it was supposed to be assembled.
Since this bike offers Lean Mode, it is essential to find a suitable space to accommodate your bike. As stated previously, the bike dimensions include 59.8 L X 24.1 W X 55.3 H, but you will also need to allow for at least a space of 48.4” wide to use Lean Mode.
After the bike has been assembled, the set-up of the console is relatively simple. After a Wi-Fi connection has been established, the console will prompt a JRNY profile to be created. After the profile has been completed, it is time to ride!
Competitor Detailed Comparison
Below, we will examine different models, including the IC7, Peloton, Schwinn IC4, and the Bowflex C6. Although these models have many similarities, they have significant differences that will impact purchasing decisions.
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 competitors. Life Fitness’s Coach-by-Color technology not only provides an exciting riding experience but provides real-time interactive metrics to keep the workouts exciting 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.
IC7 Bike Specifications
- Flywheel weight: Evenly weighted (estimated at between 8-15 pounds)
- User height range: 25″-38.5″ inseam
- User weight: 330 pounds
- Resistance system: magnetic
- L x W x H: 52 x 20.5 x 40.2 inches
- Item weight: 119 pounds
- Drive system: 2-Stage Hybrid Poly-V & Tooth Belt
Schwinn IC4 and Bowflex C6
The Nautilus models, C6 & IC4, offer a great product at an affordable price. Priced at less than $1,000, riders can enjoy 100 levels of magnetic resistance and a quiet and comfortable ride. Unfortunately, live classes are not available with these models, and nor is a touch screen. Instead, the console integrates with various riding applications such as Peloton and Zwift via your tablet or phone.
Related: Bowflex C6 vs Schwinn IC4 Comparison
Schwinn IC4 and Bowflex C6 Bike Specifications
- Flywheel weight: 40 pounds
- User height range: 4′ 6″- 6’6″
- User weight maximum: 330 pounds
- Resistance system: Magnetic
- L x W x H: 51.8 x 21.2 x 48.7 inches
- Item weight: 106 pounds
- Drive system: Belt
MYX II / MYX II Plus
For between $1,400-$1,600, customers can enjoy the MYX II or MYX II Plus bike from MYXfitness. These bikes include a tablet for viewing thousands of instructor lead workouts with the purchase of a $29 monthly membership. Those buyers who purchase the PLUS bike receive a six-piece Kettlebell weight set, an exercise mat, stabilizing mat, EVA foam roller, and a resistance band. Both of these models pair with the Apple Watch.
Echelon EX-5S users can select from live classes or the class library to stay motivated during every ride. This connect bike costs $1,599 for a model that includes a 22” touchscreen or $1,199 for a 10” touchscreen. Overall, to enjoy the various classes and formats that Echelon offers, riders will need to purchase a membership for $39.99 per month.
The Peloton experience of their platform is what makes this bike so enticing to customers. The most affordable Peloton model is $1,895 and requires a $39/month membership fee. Peloton bikes include a touchscreen and provide 100 levels of magnetic resistance. In addition, the inspiring instructors, cycling experience, and plethora of different class formats offered are what make this bike unique.
Peloton Bike Specifications
- Flywheel weight: 30 Pounds
- User maximum height: 6’5″
- User maximum weight: 297 pounds
- Resistance system: magnetic
- L x W x H: 53 x 23 x 59 inches
- Item weight: 135 pounds
- Drive system: Belt
What do customer reviews say?
Overall, customers love the VeloCore indoor cycle and rated it a 4.6 out of 5. Users touted how much they loved the Lean Mode and how this bike mimicked riding outside. A few comments included, “I always use Lean Mode since it feels so natural” and “the leaning capability is a must-have.” However, what we noticed were the most significant complaints were technological issues, including difficulty with the speakers and that riders can hear the background music of teacher-led classes, but the instructors are difficult to hear.
Where to Buy a Bowflex VeloCore Bike
If you do not want to purchase directly from Bowflex.com, this bike is available for purchase in the US by many retailers. Free shipping is offered for customers that live in the continental US, $199 shipping fee for customers in Hawaii and Alaska. Unfortunately, Bowflex does not directly ship to international destinations such as Canada or the UK. However, Canadian consumers can purchase from Best Buy for a higher price.
Customer Service, Warranty, and Return Policy
Bowflex’s customer service is top-notch. They are there to walk you through any issue you are having and are willing to go the extra mile to make things right. From personal experience, Bowflex is straightforward to work with and quickly sends replacement parts under warranty to rectify any problem with their equipment. I was amazed that I only talked to one person when I called customer service regarding my C6 rather than bouncing me around to multiple people. That representative worked with me until my issue was resolved.
- 2-years frame and parts
- 1-year electronics
- 1-year labor
- Try the bike risk-free for 6-weeks
Customers may return their merchandise within 6-weeks of receiving it if they are not 100% satisfied with their purchase. However, it is important to note that an RMA number is required for a return, and the product must be postmarked no later than two weeks after the RMA number is issued. For more information, view their complete return policy.
Can you watch Netflix on Bowflex?
Yes, you can watch Netflix if you have a monthly JRNY membership and Netflix subscription.
Does Bowflex VeloCore have live classes?
No, the VeloCore does not currently offer live classes, but it does integrate with other platforms that do.
Does VeloCore change resistance automatically?
No, there are 100 levels of magnetic resistance that need to be changed manually.
How do you clean a Bowflex VeloCore?
Cleaning the Bowflex VeloCore is easy with a non-abrasive cleaner. Spraying the cleaner on a rag instead of directly on the bike is recommended.
There is a reason why the Bowflex VeloCore has won so many awards. It offers impressive features that are not currently on the market. So, if you are serious about committing to riding at home and your budget will allow it, this is a great option.