SoulCycle is all about following the beat to disconnect, and smartphones are a no-no in this candlelit, meditative class. But the other indoor cycling brands pedaling alongside it are increasingly focusing on how to bring technology into the spin class experience.
Studios are adding features to bike technology that allow riders to track stats in new ways, more companies are creating systems for at-home live-stream classes, and gyms are even adding gaming tech to classes, turning sweat sessions into virtual reality rides through space.
Here’s what you need to know about the (hilly) landscape and how it may affect your next workout—and all of the others after that.
Next-Gen Spin Bikes
It makes sense that the bikes themselves are the first place technology is having a major impact. Peloton has always been a leader here, with its smooth, silent belt and touchscreen console. Now, popular-chain Flywheel has just announced a new bike it says will offer “new levels of precision and performance,” alongside lots of new online features and a refreshed app that will track performance using bike stats, offer class recommendations, and more. Swerve, another popular New York City-based studio with three locations, also recently debuted a new, self-powered bike. It boasts upgraded power sensors to measure output and a sleek, simplified console to display stats.
That’s not to say you’ll have to visit a studio to go for a tech-savvy ride. As leader Peloton continues to sell its bikes and live-streaming platform like it’s hit a serious sprint, Flywheel is entering the at-home spinning space, too. Its new bike will soon be available for purchase along with a streaming content platform, so you can tune into classes with your favorite instructors from your living room (without battling traffic!). Meanwhile, online streaming platform Forte will soon let riders take streaming classes at home on their own stationary bikes, via a partnership with JoyRide.
Riding Beyond Reality
And if spinning bores you? Tech is here to turn your workout into a wild ride. Les Mills’ The Trip is offered at gyms around the world and involves riding in front of a massive screen, where graphics make you feel like you’re riding in a video game, on pathways through space, for instance, or back on earth, on a winding road. The visuals are so immersive you may find yourself leaning to the right around a turn, and playlists match the speed as you move through the course. Equinox also offers The Pursuit, where technology on each bike is linked to computer graphics on a screen. Instead of riding on a course, digital games are displayed, where you can see your metrics racing against others in the room.
Finally, VirZoom is using virtual reality technology on an at-home spin bike to let exercisers ride horses and drive race cars while sweating (although the bike itself is decidedly low-tech, and the whole system is built for exercise newbies).
Whether virtual reality catches on or not, using virtual, digital, and physical tech to upgrade spinning seems like it’s likely to be the new reality, overall.
Have you tried any tech-upgraded spin bikes or classes? What did you think? Share your experiences in the comments, below!