Spin scene shake-up? Revolve enters the SoulCycle-Flywheel landscape

Revolve, a brand-new boutique spin brand, opens its first New York studio in Union Square this fall, with more to follow. Will it upset the studio turf wars?
Revolve's DC location

Until now, the war for spin domination has been waged between two big-name NYC-based brands, SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports, each of which has amassed toned armies of loyal followers. And the two have engaged in a fitness arms race to open the most locations in New York City and beyond.

But Revolve, a brand-new boutique spin company, which opened a D.C.-area studio in December 2011, seeks to jump into this embattled terrain with a Union Square location slated for New York this fall—and more studios to follow. The company is betting on the fact that New Yorkers are bored with the lack of variety at SoulCycle and Flywheel—and that the boutique spin explosion has only just begun.

“In two or three years, we’d like to have four locations both in New York and in D.C., and we’ll use that as a launch pad to hopefully start going to other major cities,” says Revolve president Sylvan Garfunkel, a 31-year-old corporate lawyer turned entrepreneur.

The company is funded by deep-pocketed New York real-estate mogul Morris Moinian, who owns hotels throughout New York (and resides in a $42.5-million mansion on Fifth Avenue). He launched the project with his college-age sons, Jonathan and Nicholas, and Garfunkel.

revolve fitness
A rendering of the studio's Union Square location, slated to open this fall.


Garfunkel says Revolve’s main point of difference is a variety of spin-class offerings. Revolve currently has three: Real Ride (targeting serious cyclists), Complete Body Ride (spinning and free weights), and Barre Ride (spin and off-the-bike barre moves).

At Revolve’s first New York City studio (at 52 E. 13th Street, between Broadway and University), spinners will be able to book Real Ride and Complete Body Ride. But in place of Barre Ride, Garfunkel says to expect a square-foot-friendly spin boot camp-style class instead.

Similar to SoulCycle’s nearby location, Revolve will fit a 50-bike studio, check-in, and retail into a 2,000-square-foot ground floor space, and locker rooms will be in the basement below. Spinners can expect Schwinn A.C. Sport bikes and a choice of two-, three-, or five-pound free weights during class.

As for the cost of a spin session, Revolve is “aiming to price classes more reasonably than what’s out there,” says Garfunkel, though the rates will likely be in the ballpark of its competitors.

But will all of this be enough to woo the cadres of New York women roaming New York in SoulCycle apparel, who consider instructors their life coaches and eagerly pay more to get early booking? Garfunkel’s confident there’s still plenty of room for more players, and that Revolve’s product and modern marketing will set it up for success.

“Despite the fact that SoulCycle and Flywheel have such a strong presence, we’re still early on in the development of specialized studios for spinning and other group fitness,” says Garfunkel. “I think that there’s a lot of opportunity for growth here.” —Lisa Elaine Held

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