Bowflex C7 Indoor Cycling Bike Review
Bowflex C7 Overview
The Bowflex C7 is a rather interesting indoor cycling bike, as it is not promoted on the Bowflex site and receives nowhere near the same sort of attention as the Bowflex C6 or the Velocore indoor cycling bike. Yet, despite this ignoring by the company, it still manages to provide many of the similar quality features of the other bikes from Bowflex.
Whether it is the JRNY Membership that you can purchase in addition to or the Bluetooth connections that the monitor offers, there is a good deal of modern technology involved in this bike. There are also plenty of other core elements of the Bowflex C7 spin bike that act as solid elements.
Whether it is the magnetic resistance or adjustable handlebars and saddle, there is plenty here to examine more closely. However, there’s also a bit of information missing, which is a bit of a concern. We shall go into more detail of these elements below.
Bowflex C7 Comparison
After doing an in-depth search on the market, I was able to compare the Bowflex C7 indoor cycle with similarly priced bikes to let you know if this one worths your investment. Currently priced less than $1200, the Bowflex C7 is with no doubt, one of “the best value spin bikes” on the market. For this price, there is no other indoor cycling bike that offers a 7″ touch screen, Bluetooth, USB charging, and so many app compatibilities.
The fact that it allows you to watch your favorite show or use the cycling app of your favorite (unlike Echelon bikes that force and only allow you to use their own app). Plus, everything on the Bowflex C7 works perfectly even without a paid subscription, so you are not forced to continuously pay in order to use the bike’s monitor features.
Therefore, I strongly recommend our readers to consider the Bowflex C7 exercise bike if their budget falls below $1500. However, if you are able to spend more than $1500+, I would recommend you to take a look at the Bowflex Velocore 16. It’s an awesome pivoting/leaning bike with a 16″ touchscreen monitor.
Bowflex C7 Review, Pros, Cons, and Verdict:
- Width: 21.2“ / 54 cm
- Height: 52.3” / 133 cm
- Length: 50.7” / 123 cm
- Bike Weight: 115 lbs / 53.5 kg
- Max User Weight: 330 lbs / 150 kg
The technical specifications of the Bowflex C7 spin bike are fairly straightforward. The C7 doesn’t take up all that much space, but is still built large enough to hold people of most sizes. The weight capacity of 330 lbs makes sure of that.
The bike itself weighs a decent chunk, but it doesn’t break the floor under it, which is nice. The C7 also takes the taller approach rather than the longer one. Once again, this reduces the general footprint that the bike will have on the home. In particular, this is useful for smaller homes or apartments.
The Bowflex C7 Monitor
- The Bowflex C7 features a 7 inch LCD monitor.
- The bike can track and display RPM, speed, distance, heart rate, resistance level, intervals, and calories.
- The Bowflex C7 comes with Bluetooth connectivity.
- The Bowflex C7 can subscribe to the JRNY Membership offered for the monitor.
- Aside from the Bowflex app, you can use the Zwift and other apps to watch videos or track workouts.
- Note! In order to connect the bike to Zwift, Train Road, and Peloton, you need your own tablet/phone because the bikes’ monitor doesn’t allow downloading those applications.
One of the biggest selling points about the newer Bowflex spin bikes are their monitors and the JRNY Membership that comes with them. Let’s start with that membership. The JRNY Membership is a service that gives you the ability to stream services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video directly to your bike. It also has the ability to make adaptive workouts and give a more personalized challenge to the cyclist, as well as giving the ability to display 40 different locations on the screen while working out.
The monitor itself offers the ability to connect to a variety of different popular apps like Netflix and Hulu (not Zwift, TrainerRoad, Peloton, or Google Fit). This is very nice, as it allows you to keep track of variety of different statistics through any Bowflex app. While the bike monitor doesn’t allow downloading the Zwift, Peloton and a few other popular applications, the bike itself does send the statistic to your Bluetooth devices. So, if you happen to be a fan of Zwift, you will need to download the Zwift app on your tablet or phone and then connect your device to the bike via Bluetooth.
It might not be a game-changing or revolutionary difference, but it is a nice addition and Bowflex should be praised for making the monitor compatible with so many different fitness apps. There’s also an additional bonus feature that will allow you to keep track of your heart rate through a heart rate armband monitor that can be bought separately.
Q-Factor and Pedals:
- The pedals of the Bowflex C7 are Dual Link with Toe Cages included;
- The Q-Factor of the Bowflex C7 spin bike is unknown;
The pedals of the Bowflex C7 are dual link. This means that they are double sided, allowing the user to use either side of them if they prefer. This dual-sided ability gives them compatibility with SPD cleats for those who want to use such footwear while they ride. For those who would prefer not to do that or do not have such cleats, the pedals also have toe cages included with them. This allows for those who prefer to cycle in regular athletic shoes to do just that without any sort of fear that their feat might slip off of the pedals.
The other element of examining the pedals of a spin bike is that of a Q-Factor. For those who are unaware, the Q-Factor of the bike is the distance between the two pedals. It is widely considered that the narrower this distance is, the better. After all, if the legs are spread too wide, they can become rather uncomfortable while they cycle. On the flip side, if the distance between these pedals is too narrow, then it can cause discomfort or even injury. The issue with the Bowflex C7’s Q-Factor is that… it just isn’t listed anywhere. Thus, if you have a burning desire to know if this Q-Factor will be comfortable enough, you’ll have to find one and measure it yourself. Certainly not ideal.
Bowflex C7 Flywheel:
- The Bowflex C7 has a 40 lb flywheel.
- It is fixed and bidirectional (not free-wheel for casting).
- C7 Bowflex indoor cycling bike has flywheel sweat resistance guard (lower maintenance and cleaner bike).
The Bowflex C7 flywheel that is reported to be about 40 lbs. This is a good weight for a spin bike, compared to many other spin bikes in this price tag.The heavy flywheel could lead to more intense levels of resistance, especially when you start pedalling.
This bike has a fixed flywheel which means you won’t be able to coast on the bike. But it does help you burn more calories as it won’t allow you to take breaks during the ride. So, what seems like a weakness of the Bowflex C7 actually turns out to be a pretty nice strength.
Bowflex C7 Resistance:
- The Bowflex C7 has a magnetic system of resistance.
- The Bowflex C7 comes with 100 different levels of magnetic resistance.
- C7’s resistance is adjusted manually (not electronically) therefore there is no automatic resistance adjustment when reaching uphills/downhills on Zwift or other indoor cycling apps.
The resistance of the Bowflex C7 is that of the magnetic kind. This mode uses a series of magnets that surround the flywheel in order to either increase or decrease the resistance of the bike. This, compared to the friction resistance of many older bikes, which use pads in order to physically pressure the flywheel and provide resistance that way. Magnetic resistance is the common method of resistance that is used by most modern spin bikes, so it is unsurprising to see that the Bowflex C7 spin bike has gone this way.
What is not as common is the pick of the bike to have 100 different levels of resistance. This is actually rather impressive, as it gives a whole host of options for the cyclist to choose from in order to get the ideal workout in. Whether they just want to go for a light ride or press against a brick wall on each foot, the Bowflex C7 gives them such an option. We always say that the more options, the better for the consumer. Fair to say, the Bowflex C7 gives quite a few options in regards to the resistance.
Handlebars and Seat:
- The handlebars of the Bowflex C7 are adjustable both vertically and horizontally
- The saddle of the Bowflex C7 is adjustable both vertically and horizontally
The handlebars of the Bowflex C7 don’t have any fancy names to come with them. However, they don’t necessarily need such fancy titles, as they do the job required of them without any issues. They are comfortable to hold and will adjust both vertically and horizontally. This allows for a greater range of people to fit comfortably onto the C7. At the top of the handlebars, there’s a media tray, which allows for entertainment from the phone or tablet to keep you busy while you ride. This is a good alternative to the JRNY experience if you are simply using that for entertainment purposes. There’s also a water bottle holder underneath the handlebars, allowing for some additional hydration during any exercise sessions.
The saddle of the Bowflex C7 is a racing style saddle according to the descriptions listed on all of the places offering it. It is similar to the handlebars in the fact that it can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally. Once again, this helps it be more accommodating to riders of all different shapes and sizes. The seat itself is comfortable enough, though after longer workout sessions it can become a tad more uncomfortable. There’s an additional bonus of having 3 lb dumbbells and the appropriate holders with them on the back of the seat. This is a nice little addition for anyone who might want to start getting some upper body workouts in while they continue their cycling.
Drivetrain and Gear Ratio:
- The Bowflex C7 has a poly-V belt as the drivetrain
- The Bowflex C7 does not have a listed gear ratio.
Here is where we have a complaint with the Bowflex C7. It is confirmed that it has a poly-v belt as the drivetrain. This is a much quieter and smoother drivetrain compared to a traditional chain drivetrain. It also requires significantly less maintenance than a chain drive. All nice and swell. Good on them for having a modern drivetrain that only the more traditional (or significantly cheaper) spin bikes have.
However, the gear ratio is not listed whatsoever. This is unfortunate. The more information about the various indoor cycling bikes on the market that we have, the better we can judge them against their fellows and their price points. However, there isn’t any listed gear ratio for the Bowflex C7 or even any of the other Bowflex spin bikes. For those who are unaware, the gear ratio of a spin bike is related to how many times a smaller pulley belt pulls a big ring. These bikes have such small pulley belts and a bigger belt ring that connects to the flywheel. So if a bike had a gear ratio of 5:1, for every turn of the big wheel, the small pulley will turn 5 times.
Bowflex C7 Price and Warranty:
- The Bowflex C7 is around $1,200
- The Bowflex C7 JRNY experience costs either $20 a month or $150 for an entire year
- The Bowflex C7 has a warranty that includes:
2 years on the frame
3 years on the mechanical parts
3 years on the electrical parts
3 months for the labor
Now we come to one of the most important parts when considering the purchase of an indoor cycling bike. The price and warranties can make or break the recommendation considering how much is on offer. The base price of the Bowflex C7 is around $1200, which is a pretty fair price. What one has to keep in mind is that in order to get the “full” experience of this bike, you will have to continue paying for the JRNY membership. If you are willing to pay for a year-long time, the cost isn’t that so bad. $150 is certainly not that bad. However, if you are actually paying the $20 per month, it quickly becomes quite expensive and the worth becomes much more questionable.
The other major aspect of the costs are the warranties that come with the bike. You want to know that these expensive bikes will last. Nobody wants to have the piece of equipment that they just dropped over $1000 on to break after 3 months only to find that it isn’t covered for that long. Fortunately, the warranties that come with the Bowflex C7 are pretty solid. The frame comes with a 2 year guarantee on it, which is less than some other spin bikes on the market. However, the 3 year warranty that comes with the parts (both mechanical and electrical) is also better than many others. The labour warranty is not great, coming in at only 3 months, though that is often the smallest warranty – so no real surprise here.
C7 Assembly and Shipping:
- The Bowflex C7 does not come fully preassembled (arrives 60% assembled).
- Shipping should take 1-2 weeks, though there are a variety of factors that could affect that.
- All the needed assembly tools are included with the Bowflex C7 exercise bike.
The Bowflex C7 does not come completely preassembled like some other modern spin bikes. However, this does not necessarily take away from the Bowflex C7 indoor bike. It comes with a manual on how to assemble it and the actual process should not take too terribly long. The parts that come assembled are flywheel, transmission, and the crank arms (the most difficult parts. You will need to assemble the feet, seat, handlebars, pedals, and the monitor. It shouldn’t take more than 40 to 60 minutes but it’s wise to do it in two people.
The shipping process should also not be terribly complicated. It normally takes about 1-2 weeks depending on a couple of factors. Location, weather, human mistakes or a worldwide pandemic can all play a factor in how quickly this bike could arrive. Another possibility is how available the bike is. As mentioned, it isn’t actually displayed on the Bowflex main site, so you will have to rely on third party sellers in order to acquire one of these bikes (at least for now).
Bowflex C7 Indoor Cycling Bike Pros:
The Bluetooth Connection Abilities:
Far too many Bluetooth connections of bikes these days are only able to connect to one or two fitness apps. That issue is not present with the Bowflex C7. You are able to connect to all sorts of different fitness apps. Zwift, Peloton, MyFitnessPal and others are all available for connection and will help you keep track of the statistics during the workout session. Because the monitor itself doesn’t actually seem to have this capability, it makes it all the more important that it can connect to these apps that do so.
The JRNY Membership:
We questioned including this one as a pro for a while, as it is a factor that ends up costing the user more as time passes. However, we decided that it is such a crucial element of the enjoyment of the bike that it should be listed as a positive aspect of the bike. The fact that you can try it out for $20 a month and see if you like it before subscribing to the much cheaper yearly rate certainly makes it much better for the consumer. Then you take into account how much entertainment and value that the membership actually provides, and you’ve got yourself a nice addition to the basic indoor cycling experience.
Customizable and Quality Resistance:
The magnetic resistance that is offered by the Bowflex C7 is a quality system. Thanks to the belt drivetrain and magnetic system, you will hardly notice any sort of noise coming from the noise. The 100 levels of magnetic resistance means that the user will be able to finely tune their workout experience to whatever intensity they are feeling for that session. Whereas other bikes might not have a flexible resistance system, the Bowflex C7 takes the opposite approach and allows the user to choose whatever challenge they desire. All the while, it’s nice, smooth and quiet.
Bowflex C7 Indoor Cycling Bike Cons:
Lack of Promotion or Information:
The most unfortunate part about the Bowflex C7 spin bike is just how difficult it is to find out about it. There’s no information on either the gear ratio or the Q-Factor of the Bowflex C7 indoor cycle. While this might not seem like a big deal (and to be completely honest, the gear ratio isn’t the most important factor), the Q-Factor can make a difference of how much the spin bike is comfortable to the user. Not to mention, the lack of information just makes it more difficult to judge just how worth it the Bowflex C7 actually is.
The Handlebars and Seat are OK at Best:
This isn’t so much as a negative as it is a disappointment compared to the rest of the Bowflex C7. Whereas there was so much effort put into the monitor and connections that come with it, the actual elements of the bike that you grab onto and are sitting on are simply underwhelming. It isn’t so much that they are bad. They just aren’t as good as some of the other elements of the bike and that leads to an overall lesser experience of the Bowflex C7. It’s rather unfortunate, as with some improvements in this area, there would be very little wrong with the Bowflex C7.
Monitor is not compatible with some apps:
Although the bike itself is capable of sending the stats to your smart device via Bluetooth, the monitor doesn’t seems to support the Zwift, Peloton and a few other applications. So, if you want to use these popular cycling apps, you will need to use your screen/device (can be a phone or tablet with Bluetooth).
Last Word on the Bowflex C7
The Bowflex C7 is a strange bike. This is thanks to it’s strange marketing and hidden elements that one would think to make it one of Bowflex’s premier bikes. The monitor and technological elements are quite well done and will entertain just about anyone who decides to hop on one of these bikes and get cycling. The JRNY Membership in particular is made for entertainment. Meanwhile the Bluetooth connections allow for stat tracking with regular fitness apps.
The physical elements of the Bowflex C7 spin bike are fine, though one might expect a little bit more from a bike of such a price. Despite this relatively high price, the warranties that come with it are fairly generous (especially compared to some competition on the market). This makes that price more justified for the user, which is always a good thing. For those with smaller homes, the Bowflex should fit well enough, though it certainly isn’t the smallest bike available.
It is hard not to recommend this bike in its current state. It offers many of the aspects of smart spin bikes while even having the “worst” elements of it being at least acceptable in terms of quality. It would be nice to know more elements about it like the Q-Factor, but at the end of the day it isn’t like Bowflex is actively hiding the resistance type of how the bike actually works. It’s just unfortunate that the Bowflex C7 spin bike appears to have been left on the side of the road when it comes to the public getting a good look at it.
The Bowflex C7 is a spin bike that is strangely underrepresented by it’s own company, despite the amount of quality that it can deliver to its users. With the JRNY Experience Membership and other functions of the monitor, there’s a fair amount of content here to keep even amatuer cyclists entertained for longer workouts. The resistance settings allow for everyone to set their own tempo and exercise at their own pace, which is always a positive aspect. While the seat and handlebars might not be the best on the market, the fact that they are adjustable is a definite plus. Overall, the price of the Bowflex C7 is a reasonable one for the amount of value it offers, even if you decide not to subscribe to the JRNY Experience.