Well, it looks like Bowflex has done it again. And by “it” I mean come out with another innovative home fitness machine unlike anything else on the market.
With their VeloCore Bike, Bowflex has taken the traditional spin cycle we all know and love, and added the ability to lean from side to side as you ride.
And we’re talking about the frame here people- the frame itself has the ability to move laterally, mimicking the feel of leaning into a curve as you would on a real road bike.
This added feature may or may not be enough reason to invest in this exercise bike, but the VeloCore has a lot more going for it than just fancy theatrics.
Their newest spin cycle also comes with an HD touchscreen display, 100 levels of micro-adjustable resistance, and a fully adjustable seat.
So, if you’re looking an exciting new spin bike, Bowflex’s VeloCore might just be what the doctor ordered.
But before you start swiping credit cards, make sure you read this comprehensive review in full.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the Velocore in order for you to decide whether or not it’s the right bike for your home gym.
The Bowflex VeloCore Bike
Bowflex is easily one of the most recognizable brands in home fitness. They’re right up there with NordicTrack and Total Gym– you know, names everyone is familiar with.
Even though it all started with their home gyms that used their patented Bowflex power rods, I feel like it’s their other equipment that gets all the attention these days.
They’ve got quite the extensive lineup to choose from and personally, I think their cardio equipment is some of the best around.
If you look at the quality to price ratio, Bowflex is one of the top names in the game (right up there with Sole, who I also love).
But unlike Sole, Bowflex seems to take it upon themselves to come up with new and interesting ways for us to exercise at home. It seems like they’re always innovating and coming up with exciting new machines.
Case in point: their new VeloCore Bike.
Just like the TreadClimbers and SelectTech dumbbells that came before it, the VeloCore is changing the way we think of home exercise bikes.
For this model, Bowflex took a nice spin bike and added the ability to move the frame from side to side during your workout- the idea being that you can engage your core more, as well as spice up an ordinary workout routine.
- Leaning frame
- 100 levels of micro-adjustable, magnetic resistance
- Fully-adjustable seat
- Multi-grip handlebars
- Option to lock frame for stationary mode
- 325 lb weight capacity
- Dual link pedals
- Choice of monitor size (16″ or 22″)
- HD, touchscreen display
- Access to JRNY streaming app
- Access to entertainment apps
- 3 lb dumbbells included
- Bluetooth armband heart rate monitor included
- Bluetooth speaker
- Short warranty
Even though the VeloCore is different than any other spin bike I’ve come across, I’m still going to start this review by looking at the flywheel.
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page here- the flywheel is the disc that spins as you pedal the bike, which, in this case, is located in the rear of the frame.
Flywheel weight is a pretty hot topic in spin bikes (but also important to consider in any other exercise bike or elliptical), because it plays an important role in the feel of the bike and in the resistance the bike can provide.
There are 2 schools of thought- that heavier flywheels are better and that lighter flywheels are better.
Most brands go the way of using heavier flywheels because the added weight builds more momentum as it spins, which gives a smoother feel throughout your pedal stroke.
Brands that use lighter flywheels argue you don’t need a heavy flywheel if you increase how fast that lighter flywheel is spinning (which also results in added momentum, or inertia).
There’s no doubt light flywheel spin bikes can be awesome (Keiser’s M3i is a prime example), but since most spin bikes use heavy flywheels to achieve the wanted result, we’ll go with that theory in a little more detail.
Generally speaking, in order to take advantage of the “heavier is better” mindset, a spin bike’s flywheel needs to be at least 20 lb. Anything higher than this, and there’s a good chance the bike is going to provide a great feel.
Bowflex doesn’t provide any info regarding the flywheel weight for this bike, so it’s hard to compare it to other bikes in this price range.
We know that the Bowflex C6 uses a 40 lb flywheel, and based on the images, we can see that the front mounted flywheel on the C6 is much larger than the smaller, rear mounted flywheel on the VeloCore.
If I had to guess (and I have to since I can’t seem to find any definitive info on the flywheel), I would say that Bowflex used a lighter flywheel on this bike to make it easier to move during the leaning mode.
But honestly, I don’t think flywheel weight is as big an issue on this bike as it might be on a more traditional spin bike because let’s be real- anybody that purchase this bike isn’t doing so for the flywheel- they’re doing so for the moving frame.
What we do know, is that the VeloCore comes with a 100 level, micro-adjustable magnetic resistance system.
This type of resistance system is great, because it gives you 100 levels to work with. This allows you to make very small, incremental increases/decreases in your resistant throughout your workouts.
And if you are looking for a bike for streaming workouts, this will come in handy (this is the same type of resistance system Peloton and their fitness app uses), because it makes it easy to match what the instructors are saying.
Overall, it’s a mystery what the actual flywheel weight on the VeloCore is, but we do know that it comes with 100 levels of magnetic resistance to work with.
The seat used on the VeloCore is a standard road bike seat, which means you can easily swap it out for an upgraded seat if you so prefer.
The most important thing to notice regarding the seat, is that it’s full adjustable, meaning you can adjust both the height of it and the horizontal position (fore/aft position).
Having the ability to adjust the fore/aft position is great because it gives you more room to fine tune the seat position and find the most comfortable riding position for all users in your home.
All bikes in this price range should come with a fully adjustable seat, but it shouldn’t be assumed.
The handlebars on this bike aren’t fully adjustable. You can adjust the height of them, but you can’t adjust the fore/aft position.
It would be nice if you could adjust the horizontal position of the handlebars, but honestly, I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal.
Most people can find a comfortable position by adjusting the seat alone (plus you can change the height of the handlebars).
The handlebars are padded and multi-grip, allowing for a comfortable grip regardless of your preferred position.
A quality spin cycle should offer at least 3 grips- narrow, standard, and wide. These positions are traditionally used for different portions of your workouts (flats, climbing, hills, etc).
Overall, the VeloCore has a nice set of handlebars that should be comfortable to use whether you’re standing or seated.
Ah, the frame, This is the part that really sets the VeloCore apart from every other spin bike I’ve ever reviewed before. Usually in this section, I talk about how robust the bike’s frame is and what its weight capacity is.
Let’s go ahead and get that info out of the way real quick so we can get to the interesting stuff- the VeloCore has a very heavy-duty frame that can hold folks weighing up to 325 lb (which is impressive).
Ok, so, in terms of frame integrity, this bike scores highly.
Now, the real show stopper for this model is the fact that this bike can lean from side to side during your workouts.
Have you ever played those motorcycle games at the arcade where you lean from side to side to control your guy on the screen? Well, this bike reminds me of that.
This feature is designed to work your core more during your workouts. And it makes sense that it would do that- when you start leaning while you pedal, your obliques and quadratus lumborum are gonna have to turn on to stabilize your core.
This bike even has a feature that tracks your lean metrics, but I think you have to sign up for the JRNY membership to unlock it.
The leaning feature is very unique and should definitely add a level of intensity to your workouts that is different from other spin bikes, but it’s not going to be for everyone.
And this is why I think it was really smart of Bowflex to make the leaning feature optional.
You can switch between leaning and stationary modes easily by pushing the lever in the middle of the frame. That way, you can use the leaning mode when you want and stay stationary the rest of the time.
Overall, I think the VeloCore scores highly with the leaning frame idea. I think a lot of people are going to enjoy the added level of intensity and variety it added to their workouts (and it’s great you can turn it off any time you want).
The VeloCore comes with dual link pedals that allow you to use any type of shoe you like. On one side, you have a toe cage that you can wear sneakers, Crocks, or really any other shoe you want to ride in.
On the other side, you have SPD compatible pedals, so you can clip in with your cleats if you have some.
Giving people the option to use cleats or sneakers is a nice touch.
P.S., if you’ve never used cleats to spin with, you should try it. Once you do, you’ll never go back.
Bowflex gave their VeloCore bike an impressive monitor. Well, technically, you get to choose between 2 sizes, but both are HD touchscreen displays.
You get to choose between a 16″ and a 22″ display, depending on your preferences and budget.
Regardless of which size you choose, you still get the same features, which include:
- Adjustable console: you can change the tilt position to your preference, making it comfortable to see the screen during workouts
- JRNY app: you get access to the JRNY app, which is Bowflex’s fitness app that comes with instructor-led workouts, customized workouts, virtual coaching, fitness assessments, and all that jazz (monthly subscription required).
- Entertainment apps: you can watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney + from your console (I think you have to have a JRNY membership to access these apps)
- Metric tracking: you can track all the usual fitness metrics easily from either of the large HD screens
- Heart rate monitoring: both consoles are bluetooth compatible for heart rate monitoring and Bowflex includes a bluetooth armband monitor with purchase
- Bluetooth speakers: there’s a large, bluetooth speaker build-into the console, allowing you to wirelessly listen to your favorite workout tunes
The Bowflex VeloCore Bike comes with the following warranty:
- 2 year frame
- 2 year electronics/parts
- 1 year labor
I think this warranty is too short for the price Bowflex is asking for this bike. Maybe they’re being conservative because the product is new, but 2 years on the frame is pretty weak.
For the sake of comparison, Peloton offers 5 years on their frame (and I think that is too short too).
Two years on the parts is actually pretty par for the course, as is a year on labor.
Overall, the warranty department is one of this bikes biggest downsides- it could be a lot better.
Overall, I think Bowflex has a cool product here. I’m usually a fan of their innovative products because they offer new, less boring ways for us to exercise.
And Bowflex has a great reputation for providing stellar equipment.
The VeloCore is built rock-solid, which is evident from its 175 lb fully assembled weight. I love that it comes with 100 levels of magnetic resistance and that the seat is fully adjustable.
The console (either one) is very sophisticated and gives you access to a lot of workout/entertainment options if you’re willing to pay the monthly fee for JRNY.
And honestly, I kinda like the idea of being able to lean during spin workouts. I can see how it could really spice up your workouts, not to mention significantly increase core activation.
My only real complaint is regarding the warranty- it’s too short.
All in all, if you’re looking for a new way to spin, Bowflex’s VeloCore is an exciting option. And don’t worry, even if you get tired of leaning, you can always lock the frame in stationary mode. Recommended.