As a long-time Flywheel devotee, it’s easy to share a litany of reasons why the indoor cycling studio is in my regular workout rotation in New York City. I love the motivation I get from seeing how my effort compares to other riders on the Torq board, and I’m inspired by the instructors and the killer playlists. But Flywheel—like other wellness brands that are investing in digital fitness—sees a big opportunity to reach thousands of would-be riders they can’t reach every day in their dozens of brick and mortar destinations, from Dallas to Dubai.
Following in the footsteps of Peloton, which launched its at-home bike in 2013 and is currently valued at a cool $1.25 billion, today Flywheel officially expands beyond the confines of studio walls with the launch of Fly Anywhere. Spoiler alert: Their first foray into at-home indoor cycling is pretty awesome. (And I frankly didn’t know what I could dare expect.)
“By offering rides anywhere, anytime, we’re helping more athletes crush their fitness goals.”
When asked why creating Fly Anywhere was so important, the company’s recently instilled CEO, Sarah Robb O’Hagan (who’s best known in the fitness industry for making Equinox, well, Equinox), explained: “We wanted to open our community of athletes to anyone, anywhere, who wants to sweat with the best,” she says, fairly confidently, given the competition. “By offering rides anywhere, anytime, we’re helping more athletes crush their fitness goals.”
I’ve been a Fly girl for the better part of the seven years Flywheel has been in existence, and got to test out the at-home ride. I am shocked to report that found it just as good as a real in-studio class ride. Here’s what you need to know…
Scroll down for 5 things you need to know about Fly Anywhere, Flywheel’s new at-home Spin bike.
1. There are two versions of the Flywheel’s at-home bike (at different price points)
Although they both have the same tech and physical specs (including ergonomic seating and dual water bottle holders), you can opt for a bike with a built-in tablet or one that syncs with your iPhone or iPad. (Only Apple devices are compatible as of right now, but Android, Chromecast and Roku can be synced starting in 2018.)
Prices for the “DIY” bike start at $1,699, along with a monthly class subscription fee of $39, while the one with a built-in screen costs $2,099 plus the same monthly expense—and both can be purchased at several studios across the country or on flywheelsports.com. While you’re on the site, you might want to pick up a pair of their new spinning shoes ($128) if you don’t already own indoor cycling shoes of your own—just like in the studio, the at-home bike’s pedals are clip-ins. Bikes are delivered via white-glove service á la Peloton, assembled, and configured to your personal ergonomic settings.
2. Riders receive the same exact info they would in studio, including total exertion, average speed, and average power—oh, and killer playlists
In case you haven’t visited one of the amphitheater-esque studios IRL, there’s a major motivational component provided by the TorqBoard, a screen that displays your bike number along with real time data on your energy expenditure and pace. In each ride, participants get a total power score, which is measured from average speed and strength output (AKA “Torq”). You can compare your effort to fellow riders or simply race against your own personal best.
In the case of Fly Anywhere, you see all of that data on your screen. (Either way, you can always opt out if you prefer to not know or share your stats.) But if you’re competitive like me, it’s fun and motivating to keep yourself up on that TorqBoard—whether in class or at home riding solo—so you can check out the in-class race countdowns, plus see how you stack up against the rest of the pack. Oh, and enjoy the same DJ-curated playlists you’d hear in studio.
3. There are three different types and lengths of rides that are available both on demand or live
Like studio classes, Fly Anywhere currently offers three types of indoor cycling classes. “Method” is the traditional HIIT ride, mixing sprints and climbs with recovery periods. “Power” is a more intense version of Method—but with longer sprints, steeper hill climbs, and shorter recovery times. And “Beats” is a rhythm-based ride incorporating choreography. (Flywheel hints that a fourth class will debut in 2018.) Plus, there are a variety of class durations, including 20-, 30-, 45- and 60-minute rides, so you can get in a quick sweat session or go full-on weekend warrior—your call.
There’s an archive of (non-live) classes to pick from along with the option to catch a live ride and get in on the action—quite literally—on the TorqBoard in the new New York City Fly Studio where Fly Anywhere classes are filmed.
4. The Flywheel Fly Anywhere bike has some seriously smart bells and whistles
Every bike comes tricked out with the The Fly Intelligence Engine, which tracks performance data to provide preferences and make class suggestion’s based on the rider’s unique needs and past experiences. So if you’ve ridden with two instructors and taken a few Method classes, maybe it’ll encourage you to try the more aggressive Power ride with a new instructor.
What’s more, the bike’s software begins customizing your experience from the get-go. For example, when you hop on for your first ride, you’ll be nudged to answer a series of questions—based on your baseline data, you’ll get some ride suggestions. From there, you can bookmark options, schedule yourself into upcoming classes, and check out profiles of fellow riders (if they opt in to sharing their personal info).
As mentioned, it’s also got those dual water bottle holders that a super-sweater like me seriously needs. And also thanks to a high-tech belt, gives a nearly silent ride (great for people with roommates, or neighbors in an apartment downstairs), has a re-chargeable USB device tray, and a flexible frame that provides “give” to reduce pressure on joints.
5. Fly Anywhere lets you follow along with Flywheel’s other killer workouts, too
In addition to rides, Fly Anywhere gets you access to Precision classes, which means off-the-bike workouts offered in 10-, 20-, or 30-minute lengths. These currently include FlyBarre, a total-body barre-inspired sculpting class, as well as Strength: Upper Body, Strength: Lower Body, Core, plus Stretch + Recover. (They’ll be debuting even more modalities in 2018.) Each of these cross-training options are designed to complement the body benefits of riding to create a balanced fitness program.
Bottom line? Fly Anywhere takes Flywheel’s workouts and makes them accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. And while I haven’t had the opportunity to check out the new Fly Studio where NYC peeps are part of a filmed ride, I’m planning on doing so ASAP. (And if you’re coming to NYC for a vacation anytime soon, you too can book yourself a bike, too.) Then when you stream your Fly Anywhere classes, keep your eyes out for an oversized blonde topknot because that’ll be me. See you on the bike, I hope?