Have you ever wondered what the difference between major spin franchises like Cyclebar, Flywheel and Soul Cycle are? I was curious so I went and tried a class at all three. Here is what I learned:

All are centered around spinning with energetic music that encourages you to ride to the beat. Each one provides an incredible cardio workout. All the classes are broken down into timed intervals where you are switching up the resistance, changing the cadence or moving from first, second or third position on your bike. All three integrate a weighted arm series. During the arm series, you sit upright, keeping your legs moving and perform a routine of arm exercises designed to work your upper body with either your choice of hand weights in Soul Cycle or a weighted bar in Cyclebar and Flywheel. 

The most apparent differences between the three classes were bikes, metrics, and instructors. Both Cyclebar and Flywheel’s bikes offer a computer that shows how fast you are spinning, how much resistance you have on your bike and how much power you are generating in a certain period of time. You can choose to have your name displayed on a monitor at the front of the room to race against other classmates. This provides a level of challenge and friendly competition if you are up for it. Some people prefer spin classes similar to Soul Cycle where you do not have the capability to watch time elapse. 

The handful of times I have been to Soul Cycle, I have had the opportunity to try out many different instructors and all of them have kept me engaged in the class and have provided music that was motivating and made me want to move. I had a similar experience at Flywheel taking Kat’s class for the first time. Anyone that plays a series of 90’s hip hop is a fan of mine. And her style was motivating.  Unfortunately, I did not have that experience with Cyclebar. For some reason, the level of engagement was not there. I felt bored through most of the class. I never did find out if the music was a theme. However the instructor only played Beyonce, which I enjoy, but maybe it wasn’t enough of a variance? Also, the instructor did not engage with us often and I felt lost most of the time. I believe the level of energy an instructor brings to a spin class can make or break the class. If the instructor’s into it, chances are the class will be too. 

To be fair, since I’ve only tried CycleBar twice, it could have been an off day for the instructor, or maybe spinning to Beyonce is not my thing. I also enjoyed my very first class at Cyclebar. If you enjoy spinning and you have a franchise that is convenient, I encourage you to try one of these studios and go at different times with different instructors. Find an instructor that resonates with you! Connecting to the instructor I believe is the biggest component of enjoying a spin class.