Peloton Vs. SoulCycle At-Home: Which is Better?
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Working out at home is one of the big lifestyle shifts brought forth from the pandemic. While gyms and workout studios have their benefits – think in-person coaching and access to large exercise equipment, the convenience of being able to squeeze in a quick sweat sesh whenever you have some downtime at home can’t be beaten. Perhaps that’s why stationary exercise bike sales – looking at you Peloton and SoulCycle – continue to climb.
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The tried and true stationary bike was a very traditional piece of equipment before Peloton entered the market in 2012. A sparse number of spin studios existed before that, but the community as a whole was supercharged with companies like SoulCycle taking off and expanding studio class offerings across North America and the U.K. as well. Although Peloton is seen as the category leader in at-home equipment offerings, with its two bike models, SoulCycle got into the at-home fitness game recently, too, with the launch of a similar indoor spin bike (in tandem with its Equinox+ platform) that offers classes from several Equinox-owned brands (of which SoulCycle is one).
If there were any fitness brand that could be considered a viable Peloton competitor, it’s Equinox+. The premium gym group has an estimated 350,000 members between its brands and it tends to be highly dedicated to overall health and wellness.
Naturally, we were curious to find out how Peloton’s original Peloton Bike and Equinox+ SoulCycle At-Home Bike stack up against one another. We put each to the test, comparing the specs and features of both platforms in four areas to help you decide which way to go in one of the hottest categories in at-home fitness.
1. Stationary Bike Specs and Quality
At a macro level, the stationary bikes are relatively the same. Both are built to last and provide a similar experience to what you’d find in any cycling studio worth its salt. Both require an at-home setup appointment using either internal shipping teams or third-party companies – shipping and assembly are already part of the final price for both as well. Of note, Peloton’s bike runs on a magnetic resistance system with mechanical adjustment (its Peloton + can be adjusted digitally), while SoulCycle’s runs on a carbon-fiber belt.
- Peloton’s bike has a fairly traditional handlebar setup meant for rides both in and out of the saddle.
- A 4’ x 2’ footprint means the bike will fit in a variety of cramped spaces. An 8′ ceiling height is required to allow for head room while cycling.
- Unlike SoulCycle, it has a headphone jack for those who prefer a wired headphone.
- Warranty: touchscreen 12 months, most original components 12 months, screen 5 years.
- Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
- The user requirements ( 297 lbs maximum, 4’11” – 6’4″ height) are a smaller range than SoulCycle.
Equinox + SoulCycle at-Home Bike
- The bike’s handlebars are angled sharper to support more standing riding, which is the heart of SoulCycle’s programming. It also offers a better range of reach for those with shorter arms.
- There are few external wires, which provides a somewhat sleeker look compared to Peloton.
- SoulCycle has integrated a surround sound speaker system to emulate the full sensory experience of its studio at home. It is an audibly better sound system.
- Warranty: touchscreen: 1 year, bike hardware parts: 1 year, bike frame: 5 years.
- Takes up a small amount of space as the Peloton does, 5′ by 1.5′.
- Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.
- User requirements (350 lbs maximum, 4’10” to 6’10” height) is a larger range than Peloton.
When it comes down to it, both bikes are incredibly high quality and the final choice really comes down to which style of spinning you like more. However, given that the SoulCycle bike is suitable for a wider range of body sizes, offers a higher quality sound, and has a higher Bluetooth connectivity rating the physical bike itself comes out on top in this category.
Note: If we were to compare the SoulCycle at-home bike with Peloton + model, the competition would be tighter. The Peloton + has a more advanced sound system than its predecessor, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and it features a larger touchscreen than these two models that can do a 360° rotation.
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2. Programs and Classes
At a high level, both platforms offer a mix of workouts well beyond cycling. Each has yoga, cardio, strength training, running audio, and meditation. However, the programming is executed in different ways. All of Peloton’s programming is under one name, meanwhile, SoulCycle classes are part of the Equinox+ platform which uses eight different brand names. For the purpose of this review, we are going to focus on the cycling/spinning class components.
- A robust variety of programming with classes ranging from 5 to 90 minutes.
- This workout content is supported by substantial diversity and continuity with instructors. Several instructors teach across multiple categories, which means you can follow a favorite instructor and build a routine from there.
- The cycling content is well-executed with something for every interest at every ability level.
- Peloton has up to 14 live classes available each day. However, it doesn’t have much live programming that syncs with West Coast schedules. There are few classes beyond 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
- New scenic classes allow you to feel like you’re riding in beautiful destinations including Hawaii, Big Sur, and the Wetlands of Georgia. These classes can be done with trainer guidance or without.
- SoulCycle’s content is really well-produced and most classes feel like you’ve been placed right into the heart of a studio. Classes are filmed by an Emmy Award-winning production team to create a cinematic experience.
- Each workout does a good job explaining and announcing reminders to maintain proper form.
- Classes range from 5 minutes (Soul Arms) all the way up to 90 minutes (SoulCycle classes).
- Thousands of classes available in the library.
- SoulCycle has up to eight live classes per day.
This, too, does come down to personal preference more than anything. Equinox+ /SoulCycle has really taken its at-home cycling workout offerings up a notch, but given that it is newer to the at-home bike game, it doesn’t quite match Peloton’s options in this category yet. Peloton has more cycling class categories to choose from, 10 to be exact, while SoulCycle has three. With Peloton’s extensive class offerings, you can find classes that feel totally different from one another, whereas within SoulCycle’s smaller library you will find less variety. As noted, Peloton’s instructors do teach a variety of classes, so many users find they can stick to one instructor for all their rides. Lastly, the new scenic rides feature, brings a fresh touch to the at-home cycling world, allowing you to get out of a studio setting and onto the road (digitally, at least).
3. User Experience and Interface
The program and class layout play a significant role in the overall in-app experience. As you might expect, Peloton uses the same language, style, and training vibe across all of its workout options, making things predictable and straightforward. Equinox+ uses each of its varied brands to provide a different experience based on where you end up within the app (the bike interface only provides SoulCycle workouts while everything else has to be accessed on the mobile app). Both can be tracked through general statistics on a user profile page, although Peloton has additional integration to support an ongoing user leaderboard, while Soulcycle’s leaderboard is only offered during live classes.
- Intuitive interface is easy to use and get started with quickly.
- There’s already a committed and active user network across North America and parts of Europe that adds an important community feel to the platform.
- Ongoing leaderboard can be motivating for those who enjoy competition.
- Social media integration is simple and offers additional continuity, especially considering the large social media presence of its instructors.
- Video camera allows you to video chat with friends or family while cycling.
- Equinox+ “scheduling” feature is unique in that you can plan an entire week’s worth of workouts right in the app.
- You can watch Disney+ or Netflix on the screen and do a free ride (no instruction).
- If you’re already an Equinox member, the platform is going to feel familiar and you’ll likely get more out of the total experience as a result.
- Community features let you: filter and see names, locations, and any milestones for fellow riders, and send Hypemojis to fellow riders.
Both platforms offer users the ability to connect with others while cycling. Their interfaces are intuitive and easy to use after a few sessions. A perk for some is that Peloton offers the ability to connect via video with friends or family during workouts. However, a perk for others would be that the SoulCycle bike allows you to access streaming services (Disney + and Netflix) for instruction-free rides.
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4. Price and Value
Both of these bikes are investment purchases, but they do have financing options for those who aren’t ready to drop all that cash on a stationary bike in one go. Peloton is available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and Germany. The Equinox+ SoulCycle bike can be shipped to the lower 48 states and Washington, DC.
Your first value experience with the bike will be with delivery and each platform takes a different approach. Peloton has integrated most of its delivery and repair service internally, which means you’re likely going to get a qualified technician setting up the bike to make sure it’s running properly. SoulCycle uses a third-party courier service to deliver the bikes and in our case, the bike was not set up properly during delivery. It required an additional service visit by a technician to fix a belt tension and noise issue. (SoulCycle has assured us that this is not a typical experience, but our situation was worth noting.)
- Price: $1,895 (for the bike) with various accessory packages available at an additional cost. (As mentioned, Peloton also has a newer model the Bike+, which we have not tested.)
- App: “All-Access Membership” for $49/month that enables access to all content across all devices – multiple users (no limit) can be on one account. This is required with the bike purchase. Note: If you were to only use the Peloton app as a digital member without a bike purchase the cost would be $12.99 per month after a 30-day free trial.
$1,895 at Peloton.com
- Price: $2,500 for the bike.
- App: The Equinox+ app is free for physical Equinox members and $40/month for those who purchase the bike and are not existing members. Note: Like Peloton, those who aren’t using a SoulCycle bike can still access cycling workouts within the app, this will still cost $40/month.
$2,500 at SoulCycle.com
The Peloton bike is considerably cheaper than the SoulCycle at-home bike. Peloton’s monthly membership is a bit more expensive than Equinox+ but its digital-only option for those without a bike is a lot more affordable than Equinox+ (which costs the same for bike use as it does for strictly digital access).
The newer Peloton+ is only $5 less than the SoulCycle model, so if you are trying to decide between those two options the price competition will be tighter.
Winner Overall: Peloton
As you can see from the categories above, this is a tight race. While Peloton did win overall when adding up the wins per category, both are formidable options.
The Peloton platform has a more extensive library of workout classes supplemented with a cohesive instructor pool and a welcome accessibility that isn’t found with all fitness brands. However, SoulCycle comes out on top when looking at the physical bike alone. Whether it’s live or pre-recorded, the cycling workouts are not the same between the two. Peloton workouts tend to incorporate more metrics, whereas a SoulCycle class tends to go more in a flow. A SoulCycle ride also involves a lot of standing riding, which some users will enjoy more than others.
The Peloton bike is definitely easier on the wallet than the SoulCycle bike, but if you are already an Equinox+ member the membership element won’t be something new to your budget.
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