Bowflex VeloCore Review (Unique Tilting Indoor Bike)
Bowflex Velocore 22 Overview:
When looking at the modern-day spin bike, you are starting to see more and more bikes that look like they are straight out of a cyberpunk or neo-futuristic comic book. Fortunately, these aren’t just for show, as the Bowflex VeloCore shows us. This has garnered the name “The Bike That Leans” thanks to its ability to lean right and left (simulates the road corners) while you cycle on it.
As the name might indicate this bike leans (ha, get it?) heavily on technology for it’s claim to success in this quite competitive market. However, we wanted to take a more in-depth look at this VeloCore and see if it was worth all the hype.
Especially since it’s one of the news bikes on the market and stirring up a nice little bit of hype thanks to this feature. So, without any further ado, let’s hop right into our Bowflex Velocore review!
Bowflex VeloCore Comparison!
This is where I update the Bowflex VeloCore review to let you know if there is a better spin bike for the price. Featuring the unique leaning design and available for $2100 with a 22″ HD screen, I believe Bowflex VeloCore is a great value indoor bike.
The fact that it comes with a Carbon Fiber Belt makes it even better value than most competitors on the market that are still (in 2020) stuck with the old Poly-V belts. Plus, unlike Peloton, Flywheel, or NordicTrack S22i, the Velocore allows you to use the 22″ touch screen monitor to surf online, watch Netflix, play HBO, or check out your Facebook account
However, if leaning on an indoor bike is not for you, there are a couple of other awesome options to look at. One of these good alternatives would be the Stages SC3. Although it doesn’t lean, it does come with Carbon Fiber Belt, 100% watt tracking accuracy, and top-notch durability.
Bowflex VeloCore Review and Specs:
- Width: 24.1 inches (61.2 cm)
- Length: 59.8 inches (151.8 cm)
- Height: 55.3 inches (140.4 cm)
- Max User Weight: 325 lbs (147.4 kg)
- Assembled weight: 175 lbs (79.4 kg)
Of course, the main feature that the Bowflex VeloCore is the ability to lean while you ride. Left or right, you can take your center of gravity and tip yourself whichever way you wish.
This gives extra opportunity for the user to exercise their glutes, core and arms. The fact is that the leaning allows for an extra level of work to be put forward on this piece of exercise equipment.
For those who prefer to work on a more traditional, they can put the bike into stationary mode and ride along without needing to worry about all the leaning and bending this feature offers.
Bowflex VeloCore Monitor:
- The Bowflex VeloCore Monitor can be either 16 inches or 22 inches
- The console displays metrics like time, distance (km or miles), calories, burn rate (calories per minute), heart rate, cadence, resistance, lean, and watts.
- The JRNY™ experience allows for the user to be fully entertained while you ride
- The Bowflex VeloCore comes with Bluetooth compatible speakers
- It also comes with a Bluetooth heart rate connection, allowing for that tracking
- Since it does come with the various streaming features, it does need WiFi to enable those programs to work
The monitor on the Bowflex VeloCore is probably the other main feature besides the fact that it leans. It takes what regular spin bikes attempt to do with these monitors and takes it up a level. This is thanks to the advanced levels of connectivity (more on this in a second) and the various experiences that the monitor offers (such as the JRNY membership) will make it much harder to skip out on cardio for the day.
We mention the JRNY membership in particular as this is a special type of membership that offers all sorts of additions to the basic cycling available. It offers the ability for an adaptive workout plan, saving you the trouble of having to plan one yourself. You can also explore the world, cycling through more than 40 destinations to look at while you get the blood flowing and heart pumping. There are also over 75 videos with instructors for those who prefer the feel of another human telling them what to do. These instructors are also not the type to shout at you, so for those who dislike the “cycling instructor” stereotype, there’s none to be found here.
There’s also more to the monitor than the JRNY membership. For those who have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ accounts, they can access it through the monitor and stream all their favourite shows or movies while they exercise. Ever felt the tough decision between entertainment and exercise? This feature allows you to do both at the same time. If you’re not one of those people who enjoy either those natural trails or the instructors telling you what to do, this gives a nice third option to allow for some different views while your feet spin around and around.
Finally, the monitor also acts akin to one you would find at the normal gym. If you have a Zwift or Peloton account, then you will be able to access that from the Bowflex VeloCore as well. This will give you access to thousands upon thousands of classes and other spin bike activities that will keep you entertained for a long while. All of this comes in addition to that standard list of statistics that the modern spin bike keeps track of. These are statistics like time, distance (km or miles), calories, burn rate (calories per minute), heart rate, cadence, resistance, lean and watts. Nothing special, but it should still be praised for having such options.
Since so many of the features about the Bowflex VeloCore’s monitor are linked to online subscriptions or other streaming services, it does need the ability to have those programs work. It does this through its wireless connection to the WiFi. The VeloCore also has the nifty little additions of coming with a Bluetooth Heart Rate armband so that you can keep track of it. Finally, it allows you to play your own music while you ride thanks to the Bluetooth speakers that are located just under the monitor itself.
Q-Factor and Pedals:
- The Bowflex VeloCore has dual-link pedals with toe cages.
- Q-Factors of VeloCore hasn’t been disclosed but expected to be between 160mm to 180mm.
For those who are unaware, the Q-Factor is the distance between your feet while sitting on the bike. Too much distance and it tends to become uncomfortable or give an unnatural feel to the ride.
The pedals of the Bowflex VeloCore are pretty straightforward in what they deliver. They are dual-sided, allowing for one to pedal with or without a toe cage.
The toe cage makes it much easier to exercise and stay in place on the pedal while wearing normal running shoes. On the other side, if you have specialised cycling shoes, you can use the side without toe cages to provide a more free experience.
Bowflex VeloCore Flywheel:
- The Bowflex VeloCore has a fixed flywheel.
- The exact weight of the flywheel is not disclosed.
This model comes with the flywheel in the back of the bike where it stays aways from the sweat zone so you don’t have to do too much cleaning after workouts.
Although the weight is not disclosed, we do believe it is less than 20-lbs (considering the size). The start and stop feel is more like road bike (fast flywheel and requires less effort to start spinning).
The only downside to its flywheel would be the lack of any sort of cover. So, the sharp edges are all in the open and if you have kids in the house, you may want to be extra careful they don’t fall on the bike. With that said, this indoor bike comes with a unique flywheel lock that would stop your kids from the turning the flywheel when not in use.
Bowflex VeloCore Resistance:
- The Bowflex VeloCore has a magnetic resistance system.
- The Bowflex VeloCore magnetic resistance system comes with 100 different levels of resistance.
- It’s not electromagnet resistance therefore, apps/programs can’t adjust the resistance automatically to simulate uphill and downhill.
When it comes to the resistance of the Bowflex VeloCore, there hasn’t been too much information reported outside of what the promotional material has said. What has been said is that the Bowflex VeloCore comes with 100 different levels of resistance, all accessible from the monitor or manually from a knob right in front of the seat.
That way if you want to have an automatic and preprogrammed workout where you don’t have to worry about changing the resistance, you certainly can. On the other hand, if you want to get extremely specific on how you prefer your resistance level, you have that manual option as well.
Thanks to the fact that this system is magnetic, that means that it is much more quiet and smooth than other, chain drive or friction-based resistance systems. This makes it ideal for those who have fussy neighbours or who might not want/get a chance to work out until late night or early morning.
Handlebars and Seat:
- The Bowflex VeloCore has both adjustable handlebars and an adjustable seat.
- The Bowflex VeloCore seat seems to be designed as unisex, which is good
- The Bowflex VeloCore comes with both a media/tablet holder and little dumbbell holders
This part is relatively simple, as both the handlebars and the seat on the Bowflex VeloCore are adjustable. Both are extremely easy to adjust as well, as all you have to do is pull and twist on the lever before moving them to whatever position you wish.
The seat is adjustable both vertically and horizontally, allowing for different shapes and sizes of people to get comfortable. The seat itself seems to be designed in order to comfortably accommodate both men and women. It does a generally good job doing so, though it isn’t the most comfortable seat of all time. The handlebars, on the other hand, are only adjustable vertically.
In and around the handlebars are a couple of neat little features that people might want to take advantage of. First up is the media rack that sits just in front of the handlebars and below the regular monitor. If you feel like keeping the statistics of the workout up on the screen and still want to be entertained by some device, this will allow you to do just that. The other nice addition is the dumbbell holder that is down underneath the monitor, through the handlebars. These 3-lb dumbbells that come with the bike will allow you to get some upper arm exercise in while you cycle along.
Drivetrain and Gear Ratio:
- The Bowflex VeloCore uses a Carbon Fiber Belt for transmission.
- As of right now, the gear ratio has not been released.
The drivetrain of the Bowflex VeloCore uses the (now) standard carbon fiber belt. This is because it requires less maintenance and is significantly quieter than those that use chain drivetrains.
This is particularly good for those who might want to use it at late or early hours of the day, or perhaps have some noise-sensitive neighbors. The maintenance is also certainly nice to not have to worry about.
The gear ratio of the Bowflex VeloCore has not been released, which is somewhat irritating. For those who are unaware, these bikes have a small pulley belt and a big belt ring connected to the flywheel. If a bike has a gear ratio of 5:1, for every turn of the big wheel, the small pulley turns 5 times.
Bowflex VeloCore Price and Warranty:
- The Bowflex VeloCore comes with a retail price of either $1,699.00 – $2,199.00 depending on what size monitor is chosen
- The Bowflex VeloCore comes with a series of warranties:
- It has a 2 year warranty on the frame
- It has a 2 year warranty on the electronics
- It has a 1 year warranty on the labour.
Now we arrive at the part that many people wish to see. Just how much does this fancy spin bike cost and how long is it covered? This can both have an impact on just how much value you are getting for the money. First, there are two separate prices for the Bowflex VeloCore. If you choose to go with the 16 inch console, then it costs just around $1,700. If you choose to purchase one with the 22 inch console, that price raises by about $500.
The warranties that come with the Bowflex VeloCore is where we start to have a problem. For such an expensive bike, one would hope that the company would be willing to put faith in their product and guarantee it for a long while. Instead, they have gone with 2 year warranties on the frame and electronics, with a 1 year warranty on the labour.
The fact that there’s no warranty with the parts is disturbing, while the 2 year frame looks pretty pathetic in comparison to many others, where the frame warranty is far longer. These aren’t terrible warranties, especially not compared to some other mid-range budget spin bikes. However, for such an advanced and high-price bike, they do seem rather pathetic.
Assembly and Shipping:
- Should take about 1-2 weeks to arrive normally, though there are a variety of factors that could affect that.
- It arrives disassembled, though has a clear manual to help make the process much smoother.
The Bowflex VeloCore can be acquired through both online sellers and from the company directly. The assembly process will certainly take longer than some bikes that might arrive preassembled.
But it shouldn’t take overly long thanks to the detailed manual that comes with it. You’ll just need to look over it carefully and make sure that you have the appropriate tools needed for assembly.
The actual shipping time can depend on a variety of factors. The postal service could be slowed down, a backup in demand might happen or a global pandemic might intercede. You just can never be too sure.
Bowflex VeloCore Pros:
The monitor of the Bowflex VeloCore is definitely one of the best highlights here. It is as good as, if not better, than the leaning ability that headlines the bike. It comes with a membership to a service that allows you to look at nature or be guided through the workout, without the constant yelling of a cycling class. Perfect for those who prefer to be shown a workout instead of having to come up with one of their own. The fact that the feature only brushes the surface of the monitor speaks volumes. It can connect to all sorts of entertainment features like Hulu and Netflix, other workout apps like Zwift and Peloton, and connect to the Bluetooth speakers on the bike itself. A fantastic piece of technology.
The Ability To Lean:
Now we come to the main headline of the bike. The VeloCore allows the stationary part of the “stationary bike” to become significantly less important. This combines particularly well with the videos on the monitor, as you physically get the feeling of leaning around corners or flexing your ways over the scenic hills. It truly brings a different level of fun and challenge to the land of indoor cycling, so we most certainly should praise VeloCore for their fantastic implementation of this feature. For those who might tire of this leaning mode, there is a stationary mode that allows you to ride just like any normal spin bike.
The Precise Resistance Level:
One of the best parts about the Bowflex VeloCore is the fact that it bends to your will in regards to the resistance levels of the bike. Normally you’ll find bikes with 8, 20 or even higher levels of resistance in order to allow the riders to choose exactly what sort of resistance they want. However, Bowflex have gone above and beyond with the amount of choice they offer here. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran on the indoor bike, you’ll be able to find some sort of resistance level that fits you. The more user customization, the better.
Bowflex VeloCore Cons:
The warranty is quite the issue when it comes to such an expensive bike. When one is spending up to $2,200 on a piece of exercise equipment, you would hope that the company in question would be willing to back up that price with a warranty that made sure it would last. While 2 years is not a terrible warranty by any means, you see much better warranties on much cheaper bikes. Even Sunny Health & Fitness, who are rather renowned for their standardized and less than ideal warranties are willing to put a 15 year warranty on the frame of their bikes.
The Unknown Future:
Because this bike was released so recently, it’s hard to tell just how long it might last or other potential issues that might rise in the future. Obviously, we don’t mean to be fear-mongers, but how long the bike actively lasts and performs well cannot be told at this stage. Especially by solely looking at the warranty.
Last Word on the Bowflex VeloCore:
The Bowflex VeloCore is a spin bike that will offer new aspects to any cyclist out there, whether they are a veteran or just entering the game. If you choose not to frequently use the leaning mode of the bike, just about every other aspect of the bike will make sure that you have an enjoyable time. Especially when you consider the monitor, which will be overlooked by many reviews and even those who use this bike. It provides all the different types of entertainment and functionality that you would want from one of the modern consoles and should most certainly be praised for it.
Of course, the main highlight has to be the leaning functionality. It completely changes the way that you can view your workout. You have the ability to bring an entire new dimension to what might have become a somewhat stale routine. There’s an almost indescribable feeling to seeing a curve on a screen and being able to really lean and feel that leaning and put yourself in the location that your screen shows.
The rest of the bike doesn’t do a ton to stand out, which is both good and bad. It means that it doesn’t do anything wrong, which is good. However, that does mean that all of its key features are loaded into two parts, and if either breaks or goes missing after a while, that’ll remove a lot of the value of the bike. Not to mention the pretty poor warranty attached.
The Bowflex VeloCore is an excellent new spin bike that brings something new to the table for those who are bored with the old standard of indoor cycling. It has some of the best features on the monitor that we have seen in recent times, using it’s own JRNY subscription and the connection with other services like Hulu and Zwift to truly take that technology connection to a new level. Then it brings the leaning feature to the table in order to separate itself from the crowd even further. This can improve your standard workout sessions and make each one more memorable than the last. Combine these two premium features and you’ve got yourself a brilliant spin bike. Even with the poor warranties and high price, it seems like the VeloCore would be worth it to any devoted cyclist.