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Last Updated: January 3, 2023
Which exercise bike is better, the Peloton Bike+ or the Bowflex Velocore? We get asked this all the time! Both bikes offer streaming content and engaging features. The Velocore leans from side to side for more core activation and the Bike+ has the new AutoFollow feature! In this review, we’ll compare both of these popular exercise bikes to help you make the right decision.
Take a look at how the Peloton Bike+ compares to other bikes on our list of best exercise bikes.
Peloton Bike+ vs. Bowflex Velocore Overview
Ok, here’s the lowdown: both of these bikes are great. Really, the “better” bike will be the one that appeals most to you. Peloton provides fun, engaging classes on a top-notch bike. The Bowflex Velocore offers a bit more flexibility as far as outdoor routes and 3rd party apps, but it doesn’t have quite as good in-class content. On the Velocore, you can lean (or not). On the Peloton, you can race your friends and interact with the instructor. Structurally, the bikes are quite different, so let’s take a look at the overall design first and then dive into the user interface.
Peloton Bike+ vs. Bowflex Velocore Bike Frame
Bowflex claims that the leaning feature will “fire up your abs” and all that. I’m not sure that is the case. If you want rock-hard abs, I suggest getting off the bike and onto the floor. While I’m sure the Velocore is far superior to other stationary bikes for core engagement, I doubt you’ll walk away looking like Channing Tatum. However, the lean feature does challenge your balance and proprioception just enough that you have to pay attention while riding. Were my abs sore from all the activation at the end of the ride? Not really. But was it more fun than a standard exercise bike? Absolutely.
Peloton has dialed in their bikes (both original and new Bike+) to be uniquely comfortable for nearly every size rider. The frame is sturdy, stable, and quiet. It lacks an incline/decline or lean option, but the classes are engaging enough, you’ll find yourself standing up, sitting down, doing tap backs and handlebar push-ups, etc. Rarely do I get to the end of a Peloton class and think, “Well, that was boring.”
Peloton Bike+ Frame
- Welded, powder-coated steel frame. Neodymium rare-earth magnet system with dynamic resistance control.
- Belt Drive: Poly V power transmission belt drive
- Bike weight: 140lb (125lb frame, 15lb console)
- Footprint: 59” L x 22” W x 59” H
- Rider Size: 4’11” to 6’5” tall
- Max Weight: 297lb user weight
Bowflex Velocore Bike Frame
- Frame: Corrosion-resistant reinforced steel
- Stabilizers: Front and rear stabilizers hold bike securely
- Saddle: Racing style, narrow design, light padding
- Pedals: Hybrid flat pedal + SPD clip
- Flywheel: Iighted, rear placed under saddle
- Footprint: 60” L x 24” W 55” H
- Bike weight: 175 lbs
- Max weight: 325 lbs
- Ceiling Height: Rider + 16”
The pedals on the Peloton Bike+ feature Delta LOOK cleats. The Velocore has flat pedals with an SPD clip on one side.
Peloton Bike+ Delta LOOK pedals with an option for a clip-on pedal with cages.
- There are several advantages to using clipped pedals. They keep your feet firmly planted in the pedal which reduces the chances of pedal strikes (when your foot accidentally slips out of the pedal, which then spins around and whacks you in the shin).
- Cycling shoes allow the rider to pull up at the top of the pedal rotation which engages glutes and hamstrings for more balance musculature
- Delta LOOK cleats are wide and allow for more “float” in your ankle and knee joints which reduces strain on the joints for a natural feeling pedal stroke.
Bowflex Hybrid SPD Pedals
- Having hybrid pedals is a no-brainer. These pedals support a standard SPD cycling shoe or a regular athletic shoe.
- This allows both serious riders with cycling shoes and casual riders who prefer an athletic shoe to enjoy the Bowflex.
- This is the only type of pedal that makes sense on an indoor cycling bike.
The new Peloton Bike+ has standard handlebars with an elongated horizontal bar.
- This allows riders to lean forward and rest your arms on the vertical grips along the sides.
- Multiple grip options work for different riding styles and positions.
The Bowflex Velocore handlebars have four upright bars, an aerobar, two small drop grips, and two horizontal bars
- You have a lot of hand positions here. Personally, I like the two horizontal bars as these are where I found myself riding most often
- The upright bars are nice, but the narrow ones were a bit tight and only an option when leaning forward on the aerobar.
Both Peloton Bike+ and Bowflex Velocore have 100 Magnetic Resistance Levels with a heavy flywheel and smooth cadence
Both the Peloton Bike+ and Bowflex Velocore have 100 magnetic resistance levels. Magnetic resistance is nearly silent and doesn’t create drag on the flywheel. A smooth cadence and heavy flywheel provide multiposition riding options on both bikes. Both bikes allow riders to stand up, sit down, lean forward (or to the side!) while maintaining a smooth pedal stroke.
The new Peloton Bike+ has a large 24” touchscreen
The new Bike+ has a front-facing sound bar along the top that provides high-quality sound directed right at the rider. The new Bike+ screen also rotates 180 degrees to either side so you can view programs off the bike as well. This is handy when doing a yoga, bootcamp, or strength-based workout. Screen graphics and resolution are unparalleled in this space. Peloton excels at digital content and screen quality. No buffering delay. Excellent load times. Crisp screen and graphics.
The Bowflex Velocore also has a 16” or 22” touchscreen option.
The Velocore offers two different touchscreen options. For $1699 you can get the 16” screen and for $2199 you can upgrade to the 22” screen. Otherwise, all other functionality on the bike remains the same. It’s nice that buyers have the option to select the screen they want without downgrading bike functionality as Ill. Regardless of screen size, both the 16” and 22” touchscreens gently tilt up and down so riders can find the right angle for visibility.
Peloton Bike+ and Bowflex Velocore Unique Features
Here’s where these bikes start to distinguish themselves. The Peloton Bike+ has AutoFollow, which is a feature that allows riders to set the resistance within a specific range. The Bike+ will adjust as you ride along, which makes the experience feel more realistic. The combination of AutoFollow along with Peloton’s diverse content options makes it so you’ll be hard pressed to get bored or plateau while riding this bike.
The Bowflex Velocore lean feature is probably one of my favorite innovations on an exercise bike. Other bikes offer incline and decline, but I love the lean feature because it isn’t motorized. This means the lean feature isn’t likely to break, fail, or wear out. The frame secures the bike to the floor, while an internal system allows the seat, handlebars, and drive system to unlock from the frame and shift side to side. This is all under rider power – so you can lean as much or as little as you’d like. I compare riding the Velcore to riding one of those arcade motorcycles. It’s fun, and I never felt unstable or like I was going to fall off. It requires more ab and oblique activation than a stationary bike so even if the difference is only minor, you are getting more core engagement on the Velocore than on the Peloton Bike+.
Peloton Digital Subscription
Peloton excels because the digital content sets the bar for the whole industry. Film production is professional. The division of volume control between instructor and music is useful. Music is impressive, and the overall user experience is what sells this bike. The only area where Peloton could kick up their game is in Outdoor Rides. Currently there are only four, but we understand they plan to add more.
Bowflex JRNY App
Bowflex offers the JRNY app. In addition to the class database, JRNY allows users to access 3rd party apps (if you pay for the JRNY subscription). You have to have your own subscription for any 3rd party app (like Netflix for example), but once you login to your account, you can watch your favorite program right on the screen. This is something other manufacturers have steered away from, so I appreciate that Bowflex has included the option. Riding the Velocore while watching a bunch of Mini Coopers race through Italy in the Italian Job is a unique experience! In addition to Netflix, riders can access HULU, Disney+ and PrimeVideo.
Within JRNY, the auto trainer provides guidance as you ride. Users can respond to the vocal cues to lean left, lean right, power up hills, adjust the resistance, etc. Bowflex’s Explore the World features rides all over the globe. These are filmed live so you see people and cars pass by as you ride. JRNY also includes Bowflex radio with a good mix of music you can select prior to beginning your ride. There’s an option for 80’s, 90’s, country, classic rock, easy listening, etc.
Affordability & Price
Peloton’s Bike+ is currently $2495. The Peloton app costs $40/month. Peloton is currently including shipping and assembly in the purchase price, but this may not always be the case. Rumor is, additional shipping and assembly charges are in the works in the near future. While it’s cheaper in the long run than a gym membership, Peloton has always been on the higher-end of indoor exercise bikes.
The Bowflex Velocore is $1699 for the 16” screen and $2199 for the 22” screen. A 12-month JRNY subscription will add an additional $150 and assembly adds another $199. Currently, shipping is free. The bikes are roughly comparable considering the various assembly and shipping charges. The JRNY subscription is cheaper, but not as engaging. Long term, either of these bikes will be an investment.