When it comes to choosing an exercise bike, most of our attention goes to the big names, like Peloton. However, most of us what a high-quality machine that won’t break your budget.
That’s where the Bowflex C6 really shines. This bike will cost you almost half of what the Peloton bike will deliver, similar if not better results.
As you’ll see in this article, the Bowflex C6 can connect to the Peloton app giving you access to all of their classes and on-demand rides for a fraction of the price.
If you’re in the market for a new bike, continue reading as the Bowflex C6 will make its way to the top of your list!
Peloton vs. C6: Are you in a hurry? Here are the main things you should know before choosing
There are plenty of aspects to look at when comparing two great indoor bikes. There are various specifications, features, and sometimes most importantly, price!
Below we’ll outline some of the critical similarities and differences that these bikes offer, and in later sections, we’ll dive more into the details!
- The C6 does not have a touch screen monitor and instead has a tablet/phone holder where you can stream workouts.
- The C6 is compatible with third-party apps like Zwift, Peloton, Explore the World, MyFitnessPal, and more! The Peloton bike must use Peloton workouts and services.
- Both bikes come equipped with magnetic resistance and a weighted flywheel which keeps your rides quiet and smooth.
- Both bikes offer multiple levels of resistance.
- Both bikes come with a pair of lightweight dumbbells.
- Bowflex users can use the Peloton app to stream workouts for $13 per month per user, while Peloton users must pay a monthly fee of $39 per month.
- Peloton users are able to track more of their metrics in their console, while some Bowflex metrics may be more challenging to track.
- The Bowflex C6 comes in at the affordable price of $999, while the Peloton is much higher at the starting price of $1895.
While a few things may differ, you’re still receiving a high-quality bike from Bowflex for almost half the price of Peloton. Also, on top of that, you get access to Peloton’s workouts for a fraction of the monthly cost that customers receive.
So, if you’re for a bike with value over just the brand, the Bowflex C6 may be the right fit for you!
Bowflex C6 Review
What we Liked
- Connect to multiple apps giving you access to more than one company’s classes.
- Connect to a smartphone, tablet, or smart TV allowing you to do a class on any device or just ride while enjoying your favorite TV show or movie!
- 100 resistance levels and a smooth and quiet ride.
- Easy at-home assembly.
What could be Better
- Access to Peloton’s leaderboards through the app
- More comfortable seat. You may want a seat cushion
- Some metrics are lost in third party apps
The Bowflex C6 is a top-rated bike that comes at an affordable price. With the ability to connect to your phone, tablet, or smart TV and stream classes from multiple different apps, the Bowflex C6 is an excellent choice for a bike. The Bowflex C6 is a top-rated bike that comes at an affordable price. With the ability to connect to your phone, tablet, or smart TV and stream classes from multiple different apps, the Bowflex C6 is an excellent choice for a bike.
Connect to the Peloton, Zwfit, and explore the World apps, and have variety in the workouts you choose to do.
The C6 has 100 resistance levels, provides a smooth and quiet ride, and has a frame that will last you years. The C6 has an LCD backlit console that can track your distance, cadence, time, and heart rate, ensuring you know every detail about your rides. Ride in comfort with the C6’s comfortable frame and handlebars and choose how to ride with the dual-sided pedals giving you access to clips or toe cages.
Overall, for the price, the Bowflex C6 is a great bike. Sure, it could be a bit more comfortable, but the access to different streaming apps, live and on-demand classes, and affordability put this bike on the top of any list!
What we Liked
- Full integration in Peloton’s ecosystem
- Access to live classes
- More control and better tracking with metrics
- Magnetic resistance provides a quiet ride
- Full large touch screen monitor
What could be Better
- Price! This bike is out of reach for some budgets
- Resistance levels
- You can’t stream any other services to your Peloton
When you think of indoor bikes, your mind casually wanders to Peloton. They were the first, and they’re one of the biggest indoor bike companies in the world.
Peloton bikes are for those who tend to value brand names instead of bike quality. Yes, they do have some of the best instructor-led classes, but they tend to lack some of the variety that other companies can offer.
The Peloton bike has a large 21.5” screen where you’re able to ride with hundreds of pre-recorded and live classes. In addition, unlike the Bowflex C6, using the Peloton app provides the ability to track in-workout metrics.
Peloton’s resistance is similar to that of the Bowflex C6, but the conversion to the Bowflex C6 is much different. The online classes and training programs are really what set Peloton apart from its competition. Yes, you can have access to the classes through their app, which you can use on the Bowflex C6. Still, the ability to track your metrics in real-time and see yourself climb the leaderboard may sway some consumers in this direction.
If you decide to go with the Peloton Bike+, you get a bit more features, but they do come with a cost! Their higher-tier model gets you a larger monitor and some additional features like Apple GymKit integration.
What are the advantages of choosing the Bowflex C6?
Overall, the C6 is a fantastic bike. It comes with all of the features a beginner would need to get started riding, and it is also equally impressive for more advanced riders.
Unlike some bikes on the market today, the Bowflex C6 is a very affordable option. At $999, this bike won’t break the bank, and it doesn’t cost as much per year as a Peloton would.
At the end of the day, a Peloton will cost you close to $2,000 and then an additional $400 annually to use it to its potential. On the other hand, the Bowflex C6 will barely cost you over $100 per year, and you’ll be able to use more features.
As we’ve mentioned many times, the ability to connect to other apps really expands the Bowflex C6’s capabilities. The great thing about not having a mounted monitor is you can track your ride on your phone or tablet while watching your favorite movie or TV show.
- The C6’s Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect to multiple devices giving you more freedom to choose what you want to exercise to and what device you want to see your classes on.
- The additional integration with other apps gives you the freedom to choose what you want to do! Explore the World, bike in various exotic locations, or select the Peloton app and have access to their world-class trainers.
- The Bowflex C6 is extremely easy to assemble. Most customers can put their bikes together in one afternoon and start riding that day! Once assembled, the Bowflex C6 only weighs a few more than a hundred pounds making it easy to move if necessary.
- The Bowflex C6 comes with free shipping, so there are no surprise costs included.
- The Bowflex C6 includes pedals that allow you to wear mountain bike cycling shoes or just regular workout shoes, so you do not have to buy a specific pair in order to ride this bike, unlike Peloton.
There are no surprises with your purchase of a Bowflex C6. You’re getting a fantastic bike at an affordable cost.
Sure, you lose some of the name-brand flare that comes with choosing Peloton, but if you’re looking for a bike that will kick your butt on a ride, this is an excellent choice for anyone.
What are the downsides of choosing the Bowflex C6?
I don’t think there are many downsides when it comes to choosing this bike. However, every product is going to have its ups and downs.
Luckily the Bowflex C6 doesn’t have a very long list of negatives, and instead, it’s more of just a few minor problems.
- If you choose to ride with the Peloton app, you may get a bit frustrated with the resistance conversion. Unfortunately, Bowflex and Peloton do not have the same resistance levels, so when following an instructor-led class, you’ll have to adjust your resistance differently than you would on a Peloton bike. We will look at this more in a later section.
- There have been some complaints with metric tracking when using some third-party apps. Suppose this doesn’t bother you, great. However, there may be some accuracy issues.
- When purchasing this bike, you may want to look into a seat cushion as the standard seat that comes with the bike is not the most comfortable.
- Some users have mentioned that the handlebars feel a bit too close, most people find that this isn’t an issue, but if you have broader shoulders, it’s something to consider.
As I said, the issues with the bike are not significant. These tend to be more individual problems than the overall function and quality issues of the bike.
Your Bowflex C6 will function well, is made with high-quality material, and will give a great workout!
Bowflex C6 vs. Peloton Resistance Conversion
Riding with a Bowflex bike while using the Peloton app can get frustrating because your resistance won’t match what the instructor is calling out.
Many C6 riders have taken it upon themself to create resistance conversion charts which help when riding.
Resistance on these exercise bikes is never a 1:1 ratio, meaning that a 50 on the Peloton bike will not equal a 50 on the Bowflex C6.
To accurately track your resistance conversion, you’ll need to know your output levels which you can do with an app like Kinetic Fit. Then once you have your power output, you’ll be able to convert and then ride along with the instructor knowing you’re using a comparable resistance.
The real question becomes, how do you figure out your conversion chart? Someone on Reddit was nice enough to put together this worksheet to help you figure out your resistances.
You’ll first need to start your ride at an 80 cadence and adjust resistance until your power falls in range with what is on the chart linked above.
Once you’re riding at an 80 cadence, check your bike’s power output, and if it falls into one of those ranges, note where your levels are for later!
This will take some time upfront to do, but once you have it, you’ll never need to do it again!
Other Bike Alternatives
There are a few other indoor bike alternatives that are worth investigating.
The Schwinn IC4
The Schwinn IC4 and the Bowflex C6 are almost the same bike. They have the same footprint, weigh the exact amount, and connect to all of the third-party apps.
Having access to multiple different services allows you as the rider to pick and choose what you want to do with your ride. This decreases boredom and increases the value that these bikes provide.
The Schwinn IC4 will not disappoint you and is an excellent alternative to the Bowflex C6!
The NordicTrack S15i
NordicTrack is full of premium bikes at a more affordable price than a Peloton.
The NordicTrack S15i will provide a bit more value than the Bowflex C6 but will not cost you as much as a Peloton.
The S151 comes with its own 14” rotating monitor that allows you to follow along with riding workouts and strength training, and yoga workouts.
Unlike the Bowflex C6, you are forced to use NordicTrack’s ecosystem, which uses iFit as their live and on-demand workouts.
Although they have some pretty stellar trainers leading these classes, you can’t stream other workouts or classes. One benefit of using the iFit system is that NordicTrack has provided you the opportunity to text your trainers in real-time.
This is an exciting feature, and it allows you to get more out of the trainers than just following along.
The MYX II Bike
The MYX 2 fitness bike is an awesome bike that you may not have heard of. A less-known company, but a killer bike!
This bike is only a few hundred dollars more than the Bowflex C6 and comes with its own monitor.
One of the standout features of this bike is that you can have up to 5 separate profiles on one membership, meaning everyone in your household can track their own stats!
The monitor allows the opportunity to follow along with strength-based classes and access to their roster of coaches.
This bike is comparable to Peloton; however, their monthly cost is less expensive, only $29 per month, and that’s for five profiles. At the same time, the peloton bike charges you $39 per person per month.
This should definitely be a contender if you’re still deciding on a bike to choose!
The Echelon EX5
Built with performance in mind, this connected bike boasts a variety of features that will help you raise your cycling game. With a membership, you get live and on-demand classes for beginning to advanced riders ranging from 5-45 minutes long.
The Echelon EX5 is just like the Schwinn IC4 resembling that and the Bowflex C6.
Coming in at the same price and similar build, this is still an excellent bike to choose.
Echelon has been a very reliable company and offers an excellent service.
The main difference between the EX5 and the C6 is you must use Echelon’s suite of services.
So, you cannot connect to outside apps; however, their services provide you with over 1,600 classes, from rides to strength training to yoga.
So, What’s the Verdict?
If you’re in the market for an indoor bike, the Bowflex C6 should definitely be on the top of your list.
A very high-quality bike for an affordable cost, the Bowflex C6 is for consumers who don’t need all of the flash or brand when it comes to their fitness.
If you’re looking for an excellent bike that will last you a long time, look no further, as the C6 will check all of your boxes!
Nick, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA and a Pn L1 Nutrition Coach. He has over 10 years in the fitness world including training, coaching athletes, and working 1 on 1 with clients in the gym.