Peloton vs Soulcycle

Peloton vs Soulcycle: Which is Better in 2021?

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SoulCycle, one of Peloton’s main competitors, hasn’t just been offering workouts at home, though. In Palm Beach, SoulCycle was approved for an outdoor studio at Royal Poinciana Plaza, in December 2020. The sessions were a way to give people a sense of community at a time of many gym closures.

Riders geared up with their own headsets for 45-minute sessions–sharing community at a distance.

While it’s clear that both Peloton and SoulCycle are popular ways to get workouts with motivation, I wanted to see, compared, which, Peloton vs SoulCycle, is the better pick heading into 2021.

In this review, I’ll tell you everything you need to know before signing up for Peloton or SoulCycle, and which gives you more bang for your buck.

But, before we go on, let’s look at some of their main differences.

Main Differences Between Peloton vs SoulCycle

The Main Differences Between Peloton vs SoulCycle are:

  • Peloton offers monthly memberships, whereas you pay per class with SoulCycle
  • Peloton offers a variety of workout types, whereas SoulCycle focuses on cycling
  • Peloton streams most of its workouts at home, whereas SoulCycle is focused on meetups

Is indoor cycling a good workout?

To be clear, with both SoulCycle and Peloton you can get a variety of workouts. But both are most well known for their training programs centered around indoor cycling.

Like any workout, there are pros and cons– and here are my top reasons to take on an indoor cycling program like Peloton or SoulCycle–or skip it.

Peloton vs Soulcycle

Pros of Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling is a great way to get your cardio in, and I also love that it’s convenient and can be taken on from low to high fitness levels.

(Almost) anyone can do it

As a runner on and off all my life, technically you can make the same argument for running, but, in reality, indoor cycling is a much kinder exercise for different fitness levels and ages. You can start off as slowly or quickly as you like, plus it doesn’t take much learning, aside from getting adjusted to your new equipment.

It’s convenient

What could be more convenient than having a way to work out right in your home? While there are gyms of course, that people join who don’t own the equipment, indoor cycling offers a great workout no matter the weather.

If you have it at home, you can cycle while watching your favorite show; listening to music or your favorite podcast, or following an instructor and others through programs like Peloton and SoulCycle.

It’s a decent calorie burner

Depending on your weight, height, body composition, and intensity, you can burn hundreds of calories in a 45-minute workout. While indoor cycling doesn’t burn as many calories as some, it’s also considered a decent calorie burner, and you can adjust the intensity to burn more in less time.

It’s great for your heart

Indoor cycling of any kind provides cardiovascular benefits, whether you’re going for a long ride for endurance or a shorter burst of high intensity. Indoor cycling can lower your risk of heart disease over time, as does cardio in general, by regulating your blood pressure, pulse, and improving circulation.

It’s low impact

One of the main reasons that nearly anyone can do indoor cycling is that it’s considered a low impact exercise–it’s considered gentle on joints.

When I was an athlete, many of my teammates took time off running to cycle instead as a way to cross-train to heal from or reduce the risk of injuries. Plus, since it’s low impact, you can likely do it with fewer rest days.

Cons of Indoor Cycling

Of course, indoor cycling is not the be-all-end-all, whether you’re buying the best indoor bike for your own use or investing in programs like Peloton or Soul Cycling. Here are a few reasons why indoor cycling is not the very best option for everyone, or always.

It’s not a full-body workout

The first important thing to keep in mind when choosing indoor cycling for your go-to is that it really should be paired with a strength and resistance training regime, whether that means powerlifting or even just free weight dumbbells. Indoor cycling will not give you upper body strength.

It can get repetitive

This is a personal preference, but any fitness machine runs the risk of getting monotonous, which is likely why many opt to join fitness programs or watch or listen to something. Still, from the repetitive motion to the same environment, some may find themselves less engaged.

It May take longer to lose weight

Despite the claims –and the truth that it does burn a reasonable amount of calories–indoor cycling can range from very modest to more intense, but on average does not burn as many calories as outdoor cycling, or other activities like running.

And if you do indoor cycling alone, without strength training, then you’re missing out on your chance to increase your basal metabolic rate.

You don’t get the benefits of outdoor fitness

There are countless benefits to working out inside, especially if you live in an area where it’s not safe or hard to workout outside, or somewhere bombarded with inclement weather.

That said, getting outside to workout can improve your sleep-wake cycle and emotional health. If you never get outside much, you’re missing out on Vitamin D for bone health; sunlight to regulate melatonin; and the chance to see and experience new things.

Is Peloton or SoulCycle a better program?

Now I’ll tell you what you need to know when you’re trying to decide between Peloton vs SoulCycle. I’ll focus on the equipment, but primarily on the fitness programs both offer– and which ultimately is the better value.

SoulCycle

Who is it for?

Peloton

Peloton is very focused on personal success, pushing yourself to the limits, and getting in your best shape. Though Peloton does also tout fitness at different levels, the target audience seems to be younger adults and maybe those with a young family, explaining how you can get in quality workouts that will ‘fit’ your lifestyle.

The message of pushing yourself to the limit is nearly always accompanied by images of men and women in their 20s and 30s. While not unusual, Peloton does also seem to cater a bit more to those that at least are not new to fitness.

Soul Cycle

SoulCycle likewise seems more targeted to younger men and women, though it seems less apparent. Rather than focusing so much on pushing yourself to the limit, SoulCycle overall has a bit of a softer marketing approach, from the warm colors to pictures of groups exercising together; they stress connection overall, prominently featuring locations and their app to encourage people to “evolve together” and join with friends.

My Takeaway

While there are similarities, Peloton is most targeted towards the younger, already fitness attuned, and tends to emphasize personal goals and progress, whereas SoulCycle caters more to those in search of a strong community, or sense of connection.

Which has the better indoor bike?

Next, I wanted to take a look at how the signature bike for Peloton compared with SoulCycle. For this category, it was important to compare not only price but also features and overall quality.

Peloton

If nothing else, Peloton is known for its sleek, high-end bikes. While there are some upgraded versions, I’ll focus on the Original Bike.

The Peloton Original Bike is sturdy, made out of welded steel, and designed with an ergonomic seat, which is especially important for anyone with a history of back pain.

Resistance magnetics provide for more intense workouts. It’s also equipped with a 21-inch touchscreen, USB, and headphone ports. The price includes live-streaming classes.

Price: $1895 to $2,245 (for the upgraded Bike+; $49/month for 39 months and 0% APR financing.

SoulCycle

SoulCycle noticeably makes it harder to find their bike– most of the marketing goes towards encouraging gym memberships.

But they do now have a SoulCycle Stay At Home Bike, that, like Peloton, connects to streaming classes.

The bike features a 21.5-inch touchscreen, a speaker, and can connect to wifi and Bluetooth. I love that it comes with a 30 day trial and warranties on the frame, but no other features are mentioned.

Price: $2500 or $64/ month for 39 months with 0% APR financing.

Winner: Peloton

There’s a clear winner if you want to know which has the best stay at the home bike. Not only is Peloton noticeably more affordable; it also has far more information, and likely features, than the SoulCycle bike. I especially like the ergonomic seat and transparency.

Does Peloton or SoulCycle have better other exercise equipment?

If you aren’t completely sold on indoor cycling, or just want to look into other ways to get a good workout in, Peloton will have to be your go-to. SoulCycle only offers a single model, at-home exercise bike, whereas Peloton also carries treadmills.

The Peloton Tread also syncs with streaming classes and features a 59” running belt; 23.8” touch screen; and can run up to 12mph with up to a 12.5% incline.

Upgrading to the pricey Peloton Tread will give you a shock-absorbent belt; 67” running space, and 32” touchscreen and an incline up to 15%. Both are pricey, at around $2500 for the Tread and around $4300 for the Tread Plus.

Winner: Peloton

This is an obvious choice, as SoulCycle doesn’t have any other equipment. That said, unless you love Peloton courses, I’d shop around for the best treadmills. The prices are quite high, and aside from the shock absorption on the upgraded treadmill and the HD touchscreens, there aren’t exceptional stand out features.

Does SoulCycle or Peloton have better workouts?

A huge decision maker, of course, which–SoulCycle vs Peloton–offers better workouts. In terms of better, some of this is subjective, but I look for versatility, variety, accessibility, and overall service.

Peloton

If you’re looking for variety, Peloton excels. Even though Peloton is known for its cycling you can access workouts for running, strength training, walking, bootcamp, HIT, and more.

Bike classes include workouts for different fitness levels and interests, which is something I love. These include beginner and low impact lessons, but also options diverse as intervals and climbing for working in some strength, and entertaining features like the Artist and Live DJ series. That said, the focus is mostly on endurance and high-intensity cardio.

Peloton Workouts

With your Peloton membership, you can take daily and on-demand classes. But they also offer challenges and special training programs for a more catered feel.

Meanwhile, you can connect with a community through badges, community challenges, and more. During normal times, there are also options to meet in person and connect with a fitness community.

But perhaps one of the best features of Peloton workouts is that you’ll be trained by professionals; in fact, they list all of their trainers, alongside their credentials. You can view all Peloton Instructors here.

SoulCycle

SoulCycle highly encourages you to attend one of their studio locations in the United States; during the pandemic, there are also outdoor locations with social distancing guidelines and masks required. Before you attend, you’re advised to wear certain shoes and adjust the bike to your preference.

Though there are a variety of different workouts, nearly all follow the same structure, which includes a warm up song, 4-6 songs at varying paces, a free weight workout, and two more songs to cool the day.

In addition, there are Theme and Survivor classes. Themed classes simply feature songs by an artist or follow a genre, survivor classes are more intense 90-minute sessions and an intermittent break.

I like that you can go at your own pace and that there are options for strength training, too, and that now you can access these workouts through the app and on your own bike–but there’s not that much variety in terms of the workouts themselves.

As is the case with Peloton, you’ll be taught by experts, and you can browse SoulCycle Instructors and learn more about their credentials.

Winner: Peloton

Peloton simply offers more variety. While I love the somewhat more approachable feel for SoulCycle, as well as the fun music themes, you’ll get more workouts and workout types from Peloton, and there’s less risk of becoming bored.

Does Peloton or SoulCycle offer better subscription options?

Aside from the workouts themselves, it’s important to keep in mind what subscription options you have and what they get you. I’m looking not only at price point, for overall access and different options to fit a variety of lifestyles.

Peloton

Peloton gives you two membership options: one that you pay by the month for basic access to their app, and one that gives you quick access to all courses.

Digital Access costs 12.99/month and includes access to the app that you can stream through TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones. The classes are limited and you won’t get additional perks, but it’s an affordable option for someone who just wants a reasonable number of courses.

peloton vs soulcycle

All Access costs $39/ month and includes access to every class and special classes, as well as family membership and real time metrics to help you keep track of your progress.

SoulCycle

SoulCycle has two options: single class purchases or an access pass. You can purchase single classes at any time under the Buy Classes section of their site. Simply enter your location, and you’ll be shown a list of available classes.

You can buy one class at a time, or in a bundle. Classes average around $30 each, but 50 classes will cost you $3500 in New York. Class availability and pricing depend on your location.

If you’d rather not purchase per class, you can also sign up for a SuperSoul Package. A SuperSoul Package isn’t technically a membership, but provides concierge service for 6 classes; VIP service, and invites to special events.

Winner: Peloton

In some ways, it does depend on personal preference–if you don’t want commitment, SoulCycle is a better option for drop by classes.

But looking at the overall cost, you simply get a lot more out of Peloton, especially with the basic membership,

By paying monthly you have access to workouts as frequently as you want. Paying by workout with SoulCycle can get expensive very quickly.

Alternative Recommendations for Peloton vs Soulcycle

Peloton vs Soulcycle – Alternatives to Try

There are other options out there if neither Peloton nor Soulcycle are suitable to you:

Bowflex

Bowflex offers the C6, C7, and Velocore home exercise bikes. You can sign up for their JRNY Membership program, which will give you trainer-led videos, or you can connect your bike to Peloton or Zwift. Depending on which bike you go for, you could enjoy extra features, like dumbbells with cradles, Netflix or Disney+ streaming, and 100 resistance levels. The Velocore allows you to lean from side to side, which works your core too. 

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Bowflex offers a wide assortment of cardio and strength, including the popular Bowflex Max High Intensity Trainer, the innovative Bowflex VeloCore bike, and more.

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Read our Bowflex Velocore and Bowflex C6 reviews for more details.

Total Gym

Total Gym home gym systems are great for home workouts. It offers several home gyms, as well as the CycloTrainer exercise bike. You can buy home exercise DVDs, or you can join Total Gym TV, which gives you access to classic workouts as well as newer cardio, strength training, and pilates videos. 

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Total Gym Home Gyms are the best at-home fitness and gym equipment on the market. Choose Total Gym XLS or Total Gym FIT and get healthy with Total Gym!

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Want to find out more? Read the Total Gym XLS vs GTS and Total Gym Supreme vs Fit comparisons.

Horizon Fitness

Horizon Fitness offers treadmills, ellipticals, indoor cycles, and rowers. Their bikes have a media holder, allowing you to connect to live or recorded fitness classes. While it doesn’t offer memberships, they are decently priced, so you may find it more affordable than a Peloton or Soulcycle membership.

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Shop treadmills, ellipticals and indoor cycles that stand up to your toughest workouts at affordable prices. Count on Horizon Fitness for the highest quality.

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You can read our thoughts on the Horizon IC7.9 in the guide to Top 10 Best Stationary Bikes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is a SoulCycle class like?

Answer: A SoulCycle class consists of songs synced to different levels of intensity, as a way to bring more fun and motivation to a stationary bike workout. Generally, you’ll go through a few warm-up songs, songs with different levels of intensity, and then cool down.

Question: How long is a SoulCycle class?

Answer: Most sessions are around 45 minutes, aside from the 90-minute warrior sessions, and may include some strength training. You’ll be guided through by an instructor.

Question: Is a peloton worth the money?

Answer: In itself, a Peloton bike is well constructed, with great features, from HD touchscreens to USB and wifi connections, to an ergonomic design. That said, there are many great alternatives to Peloton bikes. If you go with Peloton, it should also be because you’re interested in their classes.

Final Decision: Try Peloton

When it comes to whether Peloton vs SoulCycle classes are your best option, I have to go with Peloton. Peloton, while expensive in some ways, will actually run less expensive than SoulCycle for the number of classes.

It also has more options for different types of classes; does a better job of offering options for different fitness levels, and is less likely to become monotonous. Finally, Peloton does better in terms of options for at-home workouts.

How To Build A Home Gym On A Budget

 

(Even if you have small or limited space!)

 

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