Stories from Spinning Workouts

I Never Thought I’d Be a Fan of at-Home Spin, but the Stryde Bike Changed My Mind

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Nora GrenfellJune 12, 2020

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Photo: Stryde

I was closing on my 300th ride at a certain grapefruit-scented spinning studio when New York City issued a stay-at-home order. Working at a wellness company, I’m well aware that online fitness has never been more popular (especially when it comes to stationary bikes), but prior to COVID-19, I’d been a skeptic of the at-home bike experience. I didn’t doubt the efficacy of the workout, but for me, half the fun of spinning was going with my friends, getting high-fives from the instructor, and being encouraged by the energy of other riders.

But we’re living in a different world, one that no doubt will continue to reverberate with the effects of this pandemic once the immediate danger has passed. And so, looking towards the future of my fitness routine, I was eager to try the at-home Stryde bike. If you haven’t yet heard about it, you’re about to. This new entrant into the at-home spinning scene is competitive with the heaviest hitters in pricing and product.

In Stryde, you’ll recognize elements from other popular at-home bike options, including a tablet to watch classes on and a real-time display of your output. “Stryde’s key difference is content,” says founder Pasha Chikosh. “We partnered with the best independent boutique studios from around the country. These studios have incredible instructors and also a wider range of class styles than what’s available on other at home cycling options, from pure performance rides to beat-based choreography.”

In addition to offering classes on the Stryde app, you can use the tablet to access the internet, Netflix, and even other fitness classes. “We give consumers greater choice in how they want to engage with our bike and content,” Chikosh says. “Our bike and app work best together, but also work independently of each other.”

How much does the Stryde bike cost?

Stryde’s bike is priced at $1,750, currently discounted to $1,550. You can access classes via an app for an additional $29.99 per month.

In the pantheon of at-home stationary bikes, this price puts it in the middle of the pack: You can get an effective at-home workout for as low as $300 with some low-fi bikes, whereas Peloton and Soulcycle’s home offerings will run you $2,245 and $2,500, respectively.

I had to swap out the cleats on my spin shoes to match the SPD clip-ins on the bike (which ran me about $15). The first few times I rode, I used the sneaker cages on the bike, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for anyone not trying to have an America’s Funniest Home Videos fail while riding out of the saddle, it did mean that my husband could use the bike even though he didn’t have his own spin shoes.

What is the set up like?

I chose to have the bike delivered unassembled as the elevator in my uniquely old New York building wouldn’t allow space for an assembled bike.

Setting up the bike was very simple, and I am not being hyperbolic when I say it was love at first sight. That’s both a reflection of the bike’s elegant design and representation of how deeply I love spinning. It’s black, sleek—and, perhaps best of all for those with NYC Zipcodes—smaller than I was anticipating. Because of this fun fact, it really didn’t overpower the entire space like I was expecting. Score one for at-home fitness already.

The bike is four feet long by two feet wide. The frame weighs 125 pounds, and the 21.5-inch tablet adds another 10 pounds to the setup. There are also rests for dumbbells underneath the seat, so you can do your best Jane Fonda while spinning, although dumbbells do not come with the bike.

The frame plugs into an outlet, which powers the touchscreen, and two cables also connect the bike to the monitor so that you can view your stats—cadence, resistance and output—during class. I’m not especially driven by numbers when working out, but I did like to be able to measure my resistance (which you can’t do in many studio spin classes). That’s another gold star from me.

What are Stryde workouts like?

Stryde offers classes taught by instructors from studios around the U.S. You can also access the internet browser on the tablet to watch Netflix, YouTube, or even other cycling workouts if you so choose.

For my first class, I took a class with High Ryde Cycle’s Allissa Benson. Two months of quarantine fitness notwithstanding, it was a truly challenging class, even by my frequent spinning standards. During each class, you can see where your total effort ranks relative to those who have taken the class before you. But if that’s a little too competitive for your liking, you can hide these stats and just lean into the beat and how the workout makes you feel.

Living in a very dense part of New York City has made going outside sometimes seem too stressful to be worth it during the COVID-19 outbreak, so it’s been tough to get cardio in during quarantine. Strength training has helped me feel like my body isn’t atrophying, and yoga has been great for my mental health, but nothing releases endorphins for me like good old fashioned cardio—especially on a bike. I felt euphoric after my first Stryde class.

I liked the energy of the instructor I’d chosen, and while I was slightly discomfited by the newness of the experience, I found myself looking forward to round two, and I was pleasantly surprised when I hopped on the bike for the second time. I set up the bike to better fit my measurements and I wasn’t as startled by aspects that had given me pause during round one, like having my face so close to the screen and having my feet in the cages.

The most challenging aspect of the bike for me is its weight and stability. Some moves, like tap-backs and arm choreography, feel less stable on the Stryde bike. However, based on my research on at-home competitors, such as Peloton on subreddits, this is pretty standard for non-studio bikes.

Is the Stryde bike worth it?

Just like any workout, there will be some instructors you like and some you don’t, and ultimately it’s up to you how challenging you make the workout. The classes I took through Stryde’s app definitely pushed my limits. I also enjoyed being able to try classes from instructors outside the app and being able to watch YouTube videos and rock out on my own. My dream of taking a spin class set entirely to music from The O.C. has finally been fulfilled!

The price of the bike is equivalent to about 50 studio classes, which I would probably burn through in four or five months, so while the cost is significant, the bike would “pay for itself” in less than a year.

Could I see myself continuing with this even once studios reopen? Absolutely. The convenience can’t be overstated, and it’s an incredibly effective and fun workout. I don’t think it will permanently replace studio classes for me when they do come back, but I can see myself doing both regularly if and when it feels safe to return to studio classes in New York. I would recommend the Stryde bike to anyone who’s missing spinning in quarantine or is looking for a different modality of workout at home.

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