In this Bowflex VeloCore Bike review, we’ll go in-depth on all the reasons why the VeloCore is one of the best Peloton alternatives on the market—including everything you need to know about functionality, features, and benefits.
Bowflex offers a full range of at-home fitness equipment, including home gyms, treadmills and adjustable weights. The brand entered the at-home cycling market in 2019 with the release of the Bowflex C6—then followed with the Bowflex VeloCore Bike in 2020, the first indoor exercise bike with leaning functionality, allowing riders to not only ride in a stationary position (sitting or standing straight) but to also lean from side-to-side, adding an entirely new element to their cycling workouts.
In addition to leaning mode, the Bowflex VeloCore Bike comes equipped with a host of features that make for a superior cycling experience, including a 16" or 22” inch touchscreen console; compatibility with a variety of streaming apps (including Netflix, Hulu, and HBOMax), giving users the option to catch up on their favorite shows while they ride; and a one-year membership to JRNY, an adaptive fitness platform that offers a variety of workout options (including on-demand classes) as well as customized recommendations based on your progress and fitness goals.
Please note: we used and therefore will reference the Bowflex VeloCore 22" Bike in this review.
Bowflex VeloCore Bike review: Price and availability
The MSRP for the Bowflex VeloCore Bike 22” is $2,199 USD with a $99 USD shipping fee.
The MSRP for the Bowflex VeloCore Bike 16" is $1,699 USD with a $99 USD shipping fee.
The Bowflex VeloCore Bike also comes with a one-year subscription to JRNY, an adaptive fitness platform that’s built into the bike’s technology, which retails for $149 USD.
At the time of writing, the Bowflex VeloCore Bike is not available in the UK or Australia.
For more information, please visit Bowflex today.
Bowflex VeloCore Bike review: Setup and fit
I personally didn’t assemble the Bowflex VeloCore Bike 22”; the bike was shipped to my home—and a few days later, a technician came by to assemble the VeloCore. (In-home assembly will run you $199 USD.) The assembly process seemed straightforward enough; after unpacking all the parts and equipment, it took about an hour to get the bike up and running (or, I guess you’d say up and cycling?).
Once the bike was assembled, I realized that it was going to occupy a bit more space in my bedroom than my Peloton Bike+. The Bowflex VeloCore Bike 22” is 55.8 inches long, 55.3 inches tall, and 24.1 inches wide—but because of the bike’s leaning technology (more on that in a moment), you’ll need a space at least 48.4 inches wide in order to use all the bike’s features.
Bowflex VeloCore Bike review: Use and the cycling experience
After quickly adjusting the seat and handlebars to suit my height, I started pedaling to get a feel for the bike’s mechanics—and I was immediately impressed. The riding mechanics of the Bowflex VeloCore are extremely high-quality; the bike felt stable, the pedaling was smooth, and the bike had the feel of a high-end cycling bike.
The pedals also offer dual-functionality. On one side, you’ll find SDP clips for cycling shoes—but if you don’t have the right footwear, not a problem; just throw on your sneakers, flip over the pedals, and push your feet into the attached toe baskets.
As mentioned at the beginning, I used the Bowflex VeloCore 22” for this review and this model features a 22” high-definition touchscreen, complete with built-in bluetooth speakers and a media rack for your phone or tablet. The Bowflex VeloCore 22” also comes with a pair of 3-lb dumbbells—which conveniently fit into an attachment right underneath the touchscreen console.
The bike offers 100 resistance levels, which you can change at any point in your workout by turning a large red knob in between the bike seat and handlebars. And in addition to changing your resistance, you can also change riding modes, from stationary mode (which is similar to every other indoor cycling bike on the market) to leaning mode, which allows you to lean from side to side during your ride, mimicking a real-life bike ride.
Moving between the two modes is also super easy; to go into lean mode, you just push down on a button between the resistance knob and handle bars—and to get back into stationary mode, you just pull up on the button and lock the bike back into place.
The leaning functionality is, hands down, one of my favorite things about riding the Bowflex VeloCore Bike. Not only is it unlike any other indoor cycling bike I’ve tried, but it also delivers a killer ab workout. (I do a fair amount of core work, but my obliques were wrecked after my first lean ride.)
Bowflex VeloCore Bike review: The JRNY App
The Bowflex Velocore Bike comes with a free one-year subscription to the adaptive fitness platform JRNY, and when I hopped onto the bike and hit the tapped the touchscreen to start my workout, it immediately asked for my log-in information—and, from there, walked me through the bike, how it works, and how to access the different features and workout options.
One of the things I loved about JRNY is the variety of options it delivered for my workout. JRNY has their own cycling classes as well as full body classes, which are workouts you do off the bike (like stretching, yoga, and strength training classes).
But I’m not always in the mood for a structured class—which is why I was super excited to discover that JRNY allows you to stream from a variety of entertainment apps (including Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+) during workouts. Any piece of exercise equipment that allows me to work up a solid sweat and catch on my Netflix queue is an A+ in my book.
That being said, the JRNY classes themselves have some room for improvement. There is a decent variety of classes, and some of the functionality is cool (like the ability to choose which genre of music you want for each class, whether that’s 80s hits or country), but the teachers and class styles just aren’t as engaging as some of the other fitness apps—particularly Peloton, who have, in my opinion, the best class and teacher selection on the market. (If you were to tell me that there’s a better spin teacher on this planet than Peloton’s Cody Rigsby, I simply wouldn’t believe you.)
That being said, the Bowflex VeloCore Bike does allow you to access your Peloton account—you’ll just have to watch the class on your phone or tablet.
Bowflex VeloCore Bike review: Verdict
The Bowflex VeloCore Bike is one of the best pieces of fitness equipment I’ve ever used.
The riding experience is unparalleled, the lean technology is unlike anything else on the market, and, while the classes aren’t necessarily as engaging or challenging as classes you’d find on the Peloton app, the JRNY fitness platform offers a solid variety of workouts and the ability to stream my favorite shows and movies while I workout. (Plus, if I’m jonesing for a Peloton workout, all I need to access the workout on the Bowflex VeloCore Bike is a phone or tablet.)
The Bowflex VeloCore Bike is a must-try for any at-home cycling enthusiast—and, in my eyes, the high-quality design and various bells and whistles more than justify its price tag.
Bowflex VeloCore Bike review: Also consider
The Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX-5S comes with a huge 21.5” HD touch screen which is slightly under the size of the larger VeloCore bike. The EX-5s is ideal for riders who are in the market for an immersive and challenging workout. The 32 levels of magnetic resistance are precise and quiet allowing users to get the most out of a live or on-demand class with a trainer.
Or, if the VeloCore’s price tag is giving you a bit of sticker shock, try the Schwinn IC8, which delivers a solid at-home cycling experience, just with fewer bells and whistles—and at a more reasonable price point.