Whether or not you're that into exercise bikes - you've likely already heard about the Peloton.
The Peloton was a huge hit, and it was all that you'd hear about across the fitness blogging world for a while when it was first unveiled in 2019. And soon after, masses of fitness fanatics proclaimed it the king of bikes when it came to interactive training options.
But, while it's undeniably an amazing bike, especially if you're keen to follow along with guided programs while you tick off one fitness goal after another - today's market actually offers quite a few options that stack up well against this all too famous "blogger bike."
Among these, the Bowflex C6 is one that definitely stands out a fair bit. And with an incredibly similar feature offering, it's no surprise that many people get stuck trying to choose between the Peloton vs. the Bowflex C6.
So, to help you on your quest - today I'll be sharing all of my research and insights into both options, in an effort to help you pick the absolute best bike for yourself.
Keep reading to get a quick walk-through of both exercise bikes, get familiar with their features, explore their differences, and finally - as always, I'll be giving you my definitive recommendation on which bike wins out.
Let's dive right in!
A Quick Overview Of Each Bike
Before we jump into a detailed side-by-side comparison of both models, let's take a closer look at the Bowflex C6 and the Peloton to give you a nice background overview of the options at hand.
Below, I'll be covering the ins and outs of both bikes, breaking down the coolest features they boast, and giving you the low-down on what I like and don't like about each bike, while also giving you a solid idea of the key differences between the two.
While Bowflex, and their parent brand Nautilus, have long stayed away from the interactive training bike market - the C6 was a much welcome surprise that hit the market toward the later end of 2019. Nautilus are used to making great exercise equipment, don't get me wrong, but they made outdoor elliptical bikes, treadmills like the T616 and the T618 and other great cardio machines; making interactive bikes wasn't their main focus.
That said, this bike is an absolute beast. It stacks up evenly with the Peloton in just about every way and offers an incredibly sturdy, compact, and feature-rich option at an incredibly affordable price-point compared to other interactive training bikes.
From a whisper-quiet magnetic resistance setup, along with the 100 levels of variable resistance that it offers, to the wealth of creature comforts and connectivity features the C6 comes equipped with - there's just about nothing more that you could wish for, that the bike doesn't already boast.
What I Like About This Bike
Nautilus (the folks behind Bowflex) is one of my favorite fitness manufacturers, and this bike is easily a testament to how awesome of a brand they are.
Here Are Some of The Coolest Things About the C6:
- Incredibly sturdy and durable build, making the C6 one of the more reliable bikes on the market, period.
- 100 levels of variable magnetic resistance built around a super quiet flywheel setup.
- Well-designed for modern spacially-challenged dwellings and home gym setups thanks to its small footprint and built-in transport wheels.
- Huge library of interactive workouts from Zwift, Explore the World, Sufferfest, Rouvy, FulGaz, and even the ability to follow along with Peloton's handy app.
- Seamless BlueTooth connectivity with smart devices like smartphones, tablets, and even smart TVs.
- Plenty of high-end creature comforts like caged pedals, road bike-style seats, a roomy media tray, water bottle holders, as well as adjustable handles and seating.
- Maximum weight capacity of over 330-lbs, making the C6 a fantastic fit for a wide demographic of fitness-minded folks.
- Very affordably priced given its plentiful feature kit, compared to comparable competitor options.
What The C6 Can Improve On
While the Bowflex C6 is an absolutely fantastic bike and packs quite the punch when it comes to its amazing feature offering at the price-point it runs at - there are a few minor shortcomings or areas that Bowflex may potentially want to improve on in the near future.
Firstly, despite the fact that the bike works perfectly with the Peloton app - there is one minor kink you'll face. Due to the way the app is set up on Peloton's end, users on non-Peloton bikes aren't able to access the leaderboards for their class or see their performance score.
Another potential "con" compared against the Peloton would be the fact that unlike the latter, the C6 doesn't come with a mounted display. However, this can easily be remedied by making use of the C6's fantastic connectivity with devices like tablets or even smart TVs. And even if you have to pick up a brand new device over top of the cost of the bike, you'd still be saving tons of money.
Leveraging the digitally-driven interactive and social exercise craze - the Peloton has definitely carved out a pretty cool niche of its own in the spin bike space.
Everything about the Peloton is simply made to impress. From the huge mounted display and great performance features to the sleek and minimalistic design, as well as the sizeable price-tag it comes with. That is how Peloton differentiates itself from other bike brands.
But, while this bike is definitely expensive(it's not like a pair of cheap dumbbells), the quality of the live interactive instructor-led workouts you get is absolutely amazing. The bike actually automatically adjusts to the right levels of resistance and dynamics throughout each workout, and all you have to do is pedal.
And while it doesn't offer much in terms of flexibility, customizability, and some of the performance features that we've come to expect and love with top-end exercise bikes - it's all about connectivity, in the same way, that Apple is all about the user experience, and it definitely does an amazing job there.
However, as the fanfare has died down a bit since its unveiling - many people are starting to realize that there are plenty of bikes that can offer a comparable, if not identical experience to the Peloton, while bringing more features to the table, at a way lower cost. Is the C6 a viable alternative to Peloton? let's see.
What Are The Biggest Differences Compared To The The C6?
Having had the chance to learn a bit more about each of the bikes, let's take a second to get a bit of clarity on their biggest differences.
First and foremost, the Peloton comes with a mounted screen. And while the display's tech is certainly impressive - the coolest perk lies in the fact that it actually swivels around on the mount, allowing for a truly interactive experience as you work out. Exercise bikes with screens have been gaining a lot of popularity recently.
However, this isn't exactly a deal-breaker for most people, especially since you can get a nice tablet and hook it up to the C6. Albeit, it won't swivel.
Next up, Peloton actually designed the footholds around their custom branded shoes. While trying the bike out, I've found that some of my shoes just didn't fit well, or didn't offer any semblance of comfort while pedaling. And considering the fact that these shoes will cost you another $125 overtop an already hefty expense to pick up the bike in the first place - that's kind of uncool.
Lastly, while Bowflex offers on-demand connectivity - meaning you can hook up with apps and get rid of them as you like - the Peloton basically forces you to subscribe to their $39 / month app. Without the subscription, you won't have access to the console, and won't really be able to use the bike for much. It's also worthwhile to mention the fact that with the C6, you'll be able to enjoy just about any app you like, while Peloton pretty much locks you into their system.
The Bowflex C6 vs. The Peloton - Which Is The Better Buy?
Now that we've gotten a bit more familiar with both options, and having understood what sets these two bikes apart - let's dive into the meat and bones.
Below, I'll cover how the Peloton and the Bowflex C6 stack up against one another in some of the most important areas that people have questions about before choosing either one of the bikes.
The Bowflex C6 features a very impressive suite of apps that it can be hooked up to. This includes Peloton's own app, alongside Google Fit, Zwift, Sufferfest, Apple Health, Strava, Rouvy, Fulgaz, My Fitness Pal, and RideSocial, to name a few. I like taking my GTX 3 for a ride every now and then but recently with the lockdowns I was forced to cycle inside and the C6 provided me with many apps to choose from.
Whereas in the Peloton's corner, we've got ... Peloton (and a few "integrations").
Jokes aside, the Peloton does come with a few extra interconnected apps like Strava, but the amount of connectivity options you get doesn't come anywhere close to what the C6 offers.
Let's get a tad more familiar with some of these apps so that you have a better idea of what each one offers.
The Peloton app offers thousands of interactive exercise classes geared towards just about any category of fitness, streamed on-demand around the clock.
When it comes to the interactive classes, they are instructor-led and are broadcast directly from Peloton's studio in New York, though there are quite a few pre-recorded programs as well.
The app works great on the bike, as well as across a wide array of smart devices like smartphones, tablets, and even smart TVs.
If you're a fan of gaming and cycling - both of these bikes are great Zwift bikes. This app comes in the form of a clever virtual trainer, and where Peloton excels at offering interactive classes - Zwift brings a competitive social edge to indoor cycling.
However, if you're not too keen on the whole virtual training concept, the app does offer some instructor-led workouts, and even live group training classes.
Explore The World
Bowflex's own Explore the World app allows you to cycle all across the globe, and discover some of the coolest places on planet Earth from the comfort of your home.
The app features basic statistics and progress-tracking but offers very little in the interactive class department by comparison to the two apps we just covered.
However, while it's way less feature-rich than some other apps, it does offer a pretty cool experience that you can only get on a Nautilus-made bike (Bowflex or Schwinn).
Which One Is Better Built?
Just like many popular commercial bikes, the Peloton is built out of some pretty darn sturdy materials. The frame is largely composed of carbon steel, while the rest of the bike is made from industrial steel - so it's safe to say that this bike will last you a pretty good while.
However, according to some reviews that I've read, and my own experience with the bike - the handles and pedals feel as though they fall under a very different standard of quality, creating a bit of dissonance with the otherwise top-notch build.
When it comes to the Bowflex C6, the overall build quality is pretty much comparable, with the bike largely being made from industrial steel. But, what pushes it over the Peloton for me is the fact that the grips are made from a much nicer-to-the-touch resin, along with the pedals feeling far sturdier. That was also the conclusion we arrived at when we compared the Bowflex C6 to the Schwinn IC4.
Which One Is Quieter?
Both the Peloton and C6 are built around a magnetic flywheel setup - making both bikes very quiet and offering a very smooth ride feel.
Which One Is More Comfortable?
One of the biggest things that irked me about the Peloton is the fact that there was no sort of media tray built into the bike. I definitely appreciate the minimalistic design, but not having any space to put my phone, keys, or water bottle is a big red minus in my books.
In addition to this, as I mentioned earlier - the footholds are not very comfortable and don't fit well with most shoes outside of Peloton's own cycling kicks that you can grab off their site. which makes it not the ideal exercise bike for knee rehab, if you just got back from injury
On the other hand, the C6 features comfortable adjustable caged pedals and offers an ample media tray among the plethora of creature comforts that it boasts. It's a great bike for beginners.
It should also be noted that the Peloton's display is surprisingly close to the rider's face. And if you ride with a lean like me, that can be a bit of a pain.
Which Bike Offers More Features?
The Bowflex is the clear winner here
The Bowflex C6 is definitely the clear winner here. Whether you're keen on creature comforts, general build-quality, or having a wealth of options when it comes to wireless telemetry and connectivity - this bike has got every base covered. This was also the same result when we put the Bowflex C6 against the Keiser M3i.
At the same time, the Peloton does offer a bit more in the "user experience" department, really accenting on the interactive part of interactive workouts, but it lags behind severely in pretty much every other aspect.
How Do They Stack Up Price-Wise?
If you've done any amount of digging on both bikes, you're likely already aware of the fact that the Peloton costs an arm and a leg. In fact, you can buy two C6s and still have some money left over at that price.
In comparison, the C6 offers most of the same awesome features and is actually way more flexible if pre-programmed interactive exercise classes aren't the only thing you'll be using the bike for.
And when you consider the fact that you can save over $1,600 - the Bowflex C6 is definitely the winner, by a landslide, in this category.
How Does The Warranty Compare?
Surprisingly, despite its hefty price-point, the Peloton doesn't offer any sort of stellar warranty that you'd typically expect with most high-end bikes. It comes with a flat 12-month warranty covering the bike's electronics and labor. However, you do have the option of getting extended warranty coverage, bringing that 12 months up to 39.
On the other hand, the Bowflex C6 comes with a whopping 3 years on parts, alongside a single year covering the labor. And since my comparison of the C6 vs the IC4 - I got confirmation of the fact that the bike's frame is covered for a whopping 10-years too.
As you can see, the difference in warranty policies is pretty staggering. And while most people don't pay much attention to the warranty coverage, as someone that's owned over a dozen bikes - it's definitely something that can come in handy occasionally, so it's always better to be covered than not.
Which Is The Better Fit For Small Spaces?
Bowflex Wins Again
The Peloton takes up roughly 4-feet by 2-feet of floor space when assembled. In addition to this, the bike itself weighs some 135-lbs. This makes it a relatively compact bike, that would be a good fit for most spacially-challenged setups ranging from a cramped apartment to a small home gym.
In comparison, the Bowflex C6 is actually marginally smaller, having a footprint of 4-feet by 1.7-feet. And where the Peloton might be a bit hefty, the C6 only weighs a mere 106-lbs - making it an even better fit for just about any sort of small spaces.
Ease Of Setup
Upfront, Peloton advertises the fact that assembly is quick and easy - even stating on their site that a technician can get it done in under 30 minutes.
However, let's face it - more likely than not, neither of us is Peloton technicians. And if you're not keen on opting into the paid at-home assembly option Peloton offers, you'll have to rely on the obfuscated assembly manual the bike comes with. Did I mention that it's 22 pages long?
At the same time, the C6 comes with a far more friendly set of instructions, including some nifty videos that show the entire process from start to finish. This allows even the most technologically-challenged folks to get the whole bike together in just under 40-45 minutes.
Which Exercise Bike Should You Get - My Recommendation
Now that we've covered every little thing you should know about the Peloton and the Bowflex C6 prior to making your choice and picking one up - let's get back to the question at hand.
Which one of the two should you go out and get for yourself?
Ultimately, it really depends on your personal wants and needs. However, my personal recommendation stays with the Bowflex C6!
After all of my strenuous research, this is the bike that I went with - and after years of ownership, I couldn't be happier. Effectively, it offers just about everything (if not more) that the Peloton does, at a far better price-point. And at the end of the day, Nautilus is also a far more reliable manufacturer, so that's also a big plus.
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