How do you say “tap-back” in Chinese? If you’re heading abroad this summer, you might want to brush up on spin-speak in the local language—because the music-blasting, quad-challenging classes we have in the United States are popping up way beyond our borders.
But while the US has megabrands like SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports, a lot of the world is playing catch-up on its indoor cycling game. “Australia is about five years behind the US,” says Karen Newham, the owner of Sydney spin studio Pelotone, who is making up for lost time by stocking her studio with the latest amenities (think: infused waters, Suunto heart rate monitors, and Stages SC3 power bikes, just to name a few).
Admittedly, Australia is extremely fitness-friendly (this is the country that gave us Kayla Itsines and sporty supermodel Elle Macpherson, after all), so it’s not too surprising that they’ve jumped on the cycling bandwagon. But what about the the land of cigarettes and Brie? Yes, even Paris has a thriving indoor cycling scene.
Same goes for China. Geoff Sutton, a partner in Shanghai’s Spinback Fitness, says the country’s growing middle class is creating new indoor cycling customers every day. (The pollution and traffic in Shanghai make outdoor workouts practically hazardous.)
On the leading edge of things globally is London, which is packed with wellness hotspots. Getting a lot of attention lately is 1Rebel (called “the gym for people who hate gyms” by GQ), which is taking the nightclub-meets-gym concept a step further than everyone else by actually getting a liquor license.
So, what are the best spots around the world to do some serious cycling—and serious sweating? These five studios are on our radar.
1. 1Rebel UK
Who it’s for: Hard core fitness fanatics who like to get loud
This luxe spin center with super-cool design has DJs that play energetic playlists, of course—but it also brings in real musicians to play live music on the reg at its two locations in the city. And after your 30- or 45-minute ride, you can sip on cold-pressed juices from Roots & Bulbs, or walk your wobbly legs to the bar for a (harder) drink or a post-workout meetup—and then enjoy the changing room’s fancy amenities (think lavender-infused chilled towels to cool off after class).
63 St. Mary Axe, EC3A8LE Broadgate Circle, London, England EC2M2QS, 1rebel.co.uk; 20 GBP per class.
Who it’s for: Lululemon-clad fashion editors and French A-listers like Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos
Dynamo is similar to SoulCycle in its look and vibe (Monday sign-ups, yellow bikes, candlelight, and an efficient staff to help you get set up)—but it’s a bit less intense. It offers a modern, light-filled facility in which to torch those croissants in style. Its second studio, opening soon at 79 rue de la Boétie in the 8th arrondissement, proves that the brand is catching on in France (since opening in March 2015, the studio has hosted more than 40,000 riders for its rhythm-based classes).
14 Rue Saint Augustin, Paris, France 75002, www.dynamo-cycling.com; 20-30 euros per class.
3. XYZ Spin Studio
Location: Hong Kong
Who it’s for: Overscheduled finance whizzes
The sexy, dimly-lit, subterranean space in New World Tower is a full service, state-of-the-art spin studio (with a sound system that rivals the hottest dance clubs) that has served 14,000 riders. And now, three years after opening Hong Kong’s premier spin studio, we hear that XYZ founder Belinda Koo has her sights set on a second location.
2/f New World Tower II, 18 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong, www.youarexyz.com; 350 HKD per class.
Who it’s for: Lycra-clad competitive spirits who like their workouts hot and sweaty
Pelotone offers a lot of amenities beyond its sleek digs and accomplished instructors (an impressive roster of Olympians, Ironmen, Ironwomen, and triathletes). Think: The brand new Stages SC3 (the studio was the first fitness establishment in Australia to offer the bikes, which retail for $2,500 each), Shimano cycle shoes (available free of charge), and a Burn Board (performance reports after each class, a la Flywheel).
Norwest Business Park, 205/14 Lexington Drive Bella Vista NSW, Sydney, Australia 2153, www.pelotone.com.au; 22 AUD per class.
5. Spinback Fitness
Who it’s for: Young professionals who want to bond—and get sweaty—after work
Spinback was the first independent indoor cycling space to open in mainland China. The studio, which has 2,000 members, features a variety of bikes (Schwinn AC Performance Plus, Schwinn AC Sport, and Wattbike Pro) with multi-screen displays that track your class metrics—and their sound and light system is super tech. That includes LED strobe lights that “dance” when the tunes kick in (so yes, the music is pretty integral here).
98 Jiashan lu 4th Floor Room B416, Shanghai, China, spinbackfitness.com; 120 Chinese RMB per class.