Bowflex has always taken fitness in new directions from the original Power Rod® Technology to its newest innovation – the first spin bike that leans.
It’s a risky move. As happened with the Power Rods, critics are still apt to pronounce the Bowflex VeloCore Spin Bike – available with 16” or 22” touchscreen monitors – a gimmick. But the leaning bike offers a lot more than topical eccentricity. Cycling reviewers and other enthusiasts are excited about it for several good reasons.
This is the feature that sets the VeloCore apart. Reach ahead from the seat, past the knob that controls 100 levels of resistance. You’ll find a smaller knob. Push it down or even give it a smack (it can take it). The solid stationary bike you were just recently sitting on now unstationary – wobbling, asking you to do more than just sit on it and pedal. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find your experience is a lot like riding a real bike – perhaps on some exotic bike trail halfway around the world.
As you approach a virtual curve, you tilt into it and hold that position. A virtual trainer urges you to keep up your cadence (revolutions per minute) as you power through it. You start to feel the burn work its way through your core, arms and your upper body. You’re now instructed to bring your VeloCore up to centre, hold that position, and keep pedaling hard. There are no excuses for poor posture now. This is serious strength-building, calorie-burning, cardio-stoking work – the kind you usually have to go outside to get.
All of the above – the burn, the trainer-led class experience, and the alluring virtual cycling escapes – are part of the total VeloCore experience. Throw in premium entertainment value and intuitive, comprehensive, user-friendly progress monitoring, and there is no room to doubt this is so much more than a gimmicky bike.
JRNY App and User Interface
There’s a lot to admire here. The JRNY™ app uses Bluetooth® technology and the bike’s built-in Wi-Fi capability to assess your fitness level. Then it creates and updates your optimum personalized exercise regimen, informed by scrupulous tracking of your progress.
The easy-to-read High-definition display monitor gets you started with a straightforward, compartmentalized menu. You’ll find the touchscreen remarkably responsive as your guided through the profile setup process. JRNY will ask to do a 14-minute fitness assessment. It consists of four guided intervals in which you’re asked to maintain a prescribed pace for as long as possible. The app then uses this information to create personalized Adaptive Workouts that will help you make the best progress possible. As you work through your 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49 and 50-60 minute options, JRNY measures your progress and continually edits your regimen to get you to your next milestone.
To learn more about the customized workouts and training options available through the JRNY app, check out our blog post.
Content that Keeps You Inspired
Motivation goes hand-in-hand with intuitive tracking and ready information. So Bowflex has hired some amazing trainers to re-create the spin class environment and enthusiasm for those training at home. You start out by selecting your favourite from a list of available songs for your workout. Then your instructor will put you through your paces – warming you up, telling you when to unlock your Leaning Mode, when and which way to lean, when to hold yourself steady at centre, and when to lock your bike back into stationary mode by pressing the top of your Leaning Mode knob and pulling it up. Like every good spin class, your video ends with a stretching session. But that’s not all the content designed to keep you energized.
- Bowflex Radio: Lighten your mood and workout load with your favourite pop, rock/alternative, top 40, hip hop/rap, EDM/dance, country, 90s, 80s, international pop, or international EDM. You’ll hear the original recordings - not generic covers. Don’t forget to shut it off at the end of your workout.
- Explore the World™ App: Like to take your workout show on the road? The Explore the World’s virtual reality technology will transport you, your pedaling and leaning to exotic global locations like the French Riviera, Zion National Park, and Shangri-La.
- Access to Popular Fitness Apps:Bluetooth® connectivity allows you to sync your workouts with fitness favourites via the VeloCore’s touchscreen or your smart device. Currently, you can share your RPM details with the Peloton® app (iOS only) and share power, RPM, and heart rate with the Zwift® app (iOS and Android) – with updates to metric integration and other features in the works.
- Access to Streaming Services: Have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and/or Disney+ subscriptions? Why not keep up with your favourite movies and series while you exercise?They’re a great change-up if you’ve been training hard for a few days. Just make sure you have them properly synched to your bike before you start your ride.
Virtual coaching makes sure your body still stays active while your mind escapes. It’s unobtrusive but informative. Onscreen graphics show you where you are within your range of required effort, while bells and verbal prompts remind you when to kick it up, when to slow it down, and when you’re doing great. Audio settings are another amazing feature of the VeloCore. You can adjust individual tracks (music, voice, etc.) to create the mix that works best for you.
The VeloCore Bike Itself
The Leaning Mode and all the immersive, intuitive interaction might overshadow how well this bike is designed and constructed.It features ergonomic design, dual-sided pedals (so you can pedal in either cycling shoes or sneakers), and adjustable handlebars (up and down) and seat (up, down, fore and aft) to accommodate riders between 5’1” and 6’5” and weighing up to 325 lbs. It gets that strength from its heavy-duty steel construction and the fact that Bowflex and parent company Nautilus put their products through rigorous testing before they go out on the market. Of course, a bike that encourages riders to hang their weight off to one side is no exception. Fitrated said the VeloCore is “built like a tank due to the added parts needed for its leaning capability.”
When finding a spot for your VeloCore bike, allow extra space in consideration of Leaning Mode. You’ll need either an area that’s over 48 inches wide or a helmet and dry-walling skills. Other considerations include access to a power outlet and your flooring. Bowflex recommends a hard surface, although some reviewers have reported minimal wobble on carpet. A rubber mat can protect both your bike and your floor. It can also reduce noise, which isnt’ actually an issue with the VeloCore. It’s drive train and 33 lb flywheel run astonishingly quiet – even at the highest resistance levels. Speaking of, those levels are easy to dial up or down and the increments are slight enough to make transitions very smooth – just like you’d experience pedaling your outdoor bike from the flats to the hills. That’s the experience Bowflex has been shooting for. Now you can add the ability to lean into those curves.