RubmdReviewPeloton vs SoulCycle - Which Bike is Better for Indoor Cycling?

Peloton vs SoulCycle – Which Bike is Better for Indoor Cycling?

Indoor cycling has become an incredibly popular workout in recent years. Two major players in the at-home and in-studio indoor cycling world are Peloton and SoulCycle. Both offer intense spin-style classes led by charismatic instructors and feature specialty bikes designed for a low-impact, high-sweat experience.

Overview of Peloton and SoulCycle

What is Peloton?

Peloton is a exercise equipment and media company that launched in 2012. Their main product is a high-tech indoor exercise bike that allows riders to join live and on-demand spinning classes from home.

The Peloton bike features a built-in touchscreen tablet that streams classes filmed in Peloton’s NYC studio. The classes are led by elite instructors and feature motivating music and cycling coaching to give riders an authentic spin class experience without leaving home.

In addition to the signature bike, Peloton also offers treadmills, strength training equipment, yoga equipment and fitness apparel.

What is SoulCycle?

SoulCycle, founded in 2006, is an indoor cycling studio chain with locations across the United States and Canada. The classes utilize stationary bikes with weighted flywheels to provide a high-intensity full-body workout led by inspirational instructors.

Unlike Peloton, SoulCycle does not sell equipment for at-home use. The workouts can only be accessed by visiting one of their cycling studios, many of which have stadium seating to enhance the exciting and competitive vibe.

SoulCycle is known for it’s candlelit rooms, upbeat music and almost cult-like community atmosphere. From the start, they have focused more on the workout experience rather than just cycling.

Peloton Bike vs SoulCycle Bike – What’s the Difference?

While both Peloton and SoulCycle offer intense indoor cycling workouts, there are some key differences between using the Peloton exercise bike at home and riding a SoulCycle bike in their studios:

Accessibility & Convenience

One of the main appeals of the Peloton bike is the convenience of having spin classes available at home any time. No need to commute to a studio or coordinate schedules – just hop on your bike and take a class on-demand.

SoulCycle requires visiting a physical studio, which are located only in major metropolitan areas. So accessibility is limited based on your geographical area.

Instructor Interaction

Peloton instructors can see rider’s output and shout out shout-outs, but interaction is still limited through a screen. With SoulCycle, you ride in a room with an instructor who provides real-time feedback, motivation and pushes you to increase resistance or speed based on what they observe.

Data & Performance Tracking

The Peloton touchscreen display provides riders with performance metrics like resistance level, cadence (pedal rate), output and heart rate. You can track your progress over time with detailed workout statistics and analysis.

SoulCycle bikes do not have built-in metrics or tracking. You get motivation from the instructor and gauge your effort level yourself rather than relying on data.

Music & Sound

Music is central to both workouts, providing beats to match your pedaling tempo. SoulCycle studios allow the instructors to curate their own playlists and control the sound system during class.

Peloton instructors choose songs but riders can’t hear the music directly – it comes through the bike’s tablet speaker, which doesn’t provide the same surround sound effect you get in SoulCycle studios. However, you can connect external speakers to the Peloton bike for better sound.

Bike Customization

The Peloton bike features a manually adjustable seat and handlebars to find your ideal riding position. Their commercial model used in hotels and gyms also allows handlebar height and depth adjustment.

SoulCycle bikes do not offer the same customization. Since you ride in studios, bikes are fitted to fixed measurements rather than each individual. Taking SoulCycle classes may require getting used to whichever bike you happen to start on.

Peloton Bike Features & Specs

Photo: Peloton interactive exercise bike with touchscreen tablet

The Peloton exercise bike is specifically engineered for interactive indoor cycling:

  • Flywheel: Front-facing 31 lbs (14 kg) precision-balanced flywheel with magnetic resistance
  • Adjustable seat & handlebars: Fits riders from 4’11” to 6’4” inseam heights
  • Touchscreen: Built-in Android tablet streams on-demand and live spin classes
  • Membership: Access to all classes requires $44/month Peloton membership per bike
  • Outputs: Shows cadence, resistance level, heart rate metrics, total output and other data
  • Connectivity: Links to fitness apps, syncs with heart rate armbands, connect headphones or external speakers
  • Size: 4’ x 2’ footprint, weighs 135 lbs
  • Price: $1,895 for bike package

Peloton recently launched a cheaper model called Bike+ which starts at $2,495. It features a rotating touchscreen, Apple GymKit integration, auto-follow resistance and enhanced sound system.

These high-performance features allow Peloton riders to feel fully immersed in classes without leaving home. Data output helps riders quantify progress and training zones while the internet-connected platform provides both live engagement and flexibility.

SoulCycle Bike Features & Specs

SoulCycle bikes found in their studios are not available for sale to consumers. But they utilize custom stationary cycles featuring:

  • Flywheel: Rear-facing 22-30 lbs weighted (not magnetic) flywheels provide a smooth pedaling feel. Flywheels on new bikes are 30 lbs.
  • Fixed frame: Designed to keep riders safely in place for intense training. Fixed heights vary so riders may start on different sized bikes.
  • Clip-in cycling shoes: SPD clip-in spinning shoes required for optimum power transfer (rentals available).
  • No digital metrics: SoulCycle believes metrics are distracting. Riders gauge intensity by instructor calls and the ride feeling.
  • Bring the beat: Instructors curate playlists and control the sound system to energize the studio.
  • Themed classes: Special classes like SoulCycling (cycling + core work) and Beat Play go beyond basic cycling.
  • Instructor motivation: SoulCycle prides itself on charismatic instructors who develop personal connections with riders.

The SoulCycle bike itself is not the star of the show – rather it’s the complete motivational experience fueled by the environment, music, coaches. Metrics and data take a backseat to pure sweat, energy and fun.

Peloton vs SoulCycle Pricing & Membership Fees

A major difference between Peloton and SoulCycle is equipment cost versus recurring class fees:

Equipment purchase cost$1,895-$2,845 for bike packageNo equipment for home use
Membership cost$44/month Peloton membership per bike$36+ per class drop-in rate
Total first year cost*$2,803$3,312 for 3 classes/week

Peloton requires a large upfront investment for their exercise bike and additional monthly membership charge. But with the bike at home, each class then costs nothing beyond the membership.

With SoulCycle, you don’t spend anything initially. But classes range from $30-$40+ each depending on location and time. Costs add up quickly, especially if you attend regularly.

Over one year, frequent riders end up spending similar amounts. But Peloton sees lower yearly costs long-term since the equipment is already purchased.

*First year cost estimates based on purchasing basic Peloton bike package plus membership vs. SoulCycle drop-in class rates. Regional promotions vary.

Which Offers a Better Workout?

When it comes to pure cycling performance, Peloton and SoulCycle are quite evenly matched. Both provide heart-pumping cardio, quad/glute strengthening, endurance building workouts guided by experts.

However, there are some slight differences in the training experience:


  • Quantified data like resistance level helps riders train in targeted heart rate and output zones for defined fitness gains
  • Special endurance, intervals, climb, theme and beginner rides available to switch up training focus
  • Egg-shaped pedals allow riders to engage different leg muscles


  • Weighted flywheels offer a smoother, more outdoor riding-like feel than magnetic resistance
  • Instructors personally curate music, choreography and motivate riders in the room during classes
  • Variety of class types like SoulActivate cardio intervals, toning arms series and meditation sessions

While SoulCycle doesn’t provide performance data, instructors often recommend levels of effort (e.g. “give me a resistance that feels like an 8 out of 10”). So riders can still push themselves as intensely as on Peloton based on feel rather than numbers.

Ultimately both platforms allow you to build cardio fitness, leg and core strength and endurance with the level of difficulty up to each individual rider.

Peloton vs SoulCycle: Which Has the Better Instructors?

Peloton and SoulCycle are both known for their upbeat instructors that inspire riders to work hard and bring fun energy. But which has better teachers?

Peloton Instructors

Some favorite Peloton cycling instructors include:

  • Robin Arzón – Tough-love coaching helps riders push past perceived limits. Also guides running and strength classes.
  • Cody Rigsby – Outgoing personality dubbed the “Sweaty Spice” of Peloton. Known for his dance moves on the bike.
  • Emma Lovewell – Emotionally grounded rides help you find empowerment. Signature cryptic t-shirt phrases keep fans guessing.

What makes Peloton coaches stand out is their unique backstories and genuine connections they build with the at-home audience. Because class participants are invisible behind the screen, instructors work hard through words of affirmation and personal sharing to inspire riders.

The extensive Peloton instructor roster allows you to find personalities and music genres best matched to your tastes. They strike an impressive balance between pushing riders to work hard while still having fun.

SoulCycle Instructors

Beloved SoulCycle instructors include:

  • Stacey Griffith – Her spiritual, cathartic rides draw huge celebrity following. Also teaches meditation classes.
  • Rique Uresti – High-energy motivating coach with dance/cheerleading-style classes featuring hit tracks.
  • Akin Ashewo – Infectiously positive former pro dancer. Focuses on detoxing mind and body.

SoulCycle leverages the in-studio environment by letting charismatic coaches personally connect face-to-face with riders to drive performance. They weave inspiration into drills – getting on the bikes themselves to lead arm toning segments or dance moves between speed bursts.

The rockstar vibes and intimacy of SoulCycle studios allow instructors to shine. Fans line up after sweat-soaked sessions for photos and hugs with their favorite teachers.

Both Peloton and SoulCycle have amazing instructors. But SoulCycle coaches can provide greater personal attention due to live interaction. Of course Peloton offers more convenience for at home riders.

Which Has the Better Variety of Classes?

Class variety is an area where Peloton bikes pull ahead for home use. Their on-demand class library spanning cycling, strength training, yoga, cardio, stretching and more tops over 11,000 total workouts.

Standard Peloton cycling classes like HIIT & Hills, Groove rides or beginner level offer enough selection alone. But branching out into other modalities like bootcamp, barre and pilates available on your Peloton screen exponentially expands possibilities.

SoulCyle studios exclusively offer indoor cycling classes. While they do have specialty class types like:

  • SoulActivate = Cycling intervals + plyometrics
  • Arms toning classes
  • Themes rides with DJs / performers
  • Pod cardio workouts off the bike

Riders looking for cross-training and padding cycling with running, strength training, yoga etc. will run out of options quickly at SoulCycle. Their singular focus limits variety compared to the extensive Peloton digital fitness catalog.

So while SoulCyle offers uniquely-themed spin classes, Peloton provides greater diversity for supplemental training. Their stacked class library lets you customize varied routines without needing gym memberships elsewhere.

Which Provides a Better Sense of Community?

Indoor cycling is just as much about the communal experience as physical intensity itself. Both SoulCycle and Peloton aim to spur motivation through group connectivity. But which actually brings riders closer together?

The Peloton Community

Despite working out separately on screens, Peloton members develop an incredible sense of community support. Features that foster camaraderie include:

  • Shout-outs: Instructors call out milestones and rider achievements watched live around the world.
  • Social media groups: Riders share advice, cheer each other on and plan meetups on Peloton Facebook groups.
  • Tagging: Use @ mentions while riding to virtually work out with friends who can like your progress.
  • Leaderboards: See where you rank on the live leaderboard against other members in real-time.

Even CEO John Foley mentioned in an interview: “I feel closer to certain members who I’ve never met…than friends who live blocks away.”

So while remote and never having met your fellow riders, Peloton’s networking features help motivate and give a feeling of togetherness.

The SoulCycle Tribe

SoulCycle uses in-studio components to bond riders:

  • Energy: SoulCycle classes feed off the vibe of everyone sweating and breathing hard in unison. Like being at a concert where you feel connected to strangers.
  • Chatter: Instructors and classmates shout words of encouragement, giving high fives and bonding through shared agony.
  • Common locker rooms: Socializing continues post-workout in gender-specific locker rooms and bathrooms.
  • Familiar faces: Studio regulars provide community and accountability to keep coming back.

The physical proximity of people working out beside you – matching each other’s speed and energy – can’t be replicated digitally. SoulCycle leverages their studios to create natural communities enhanced by instructors connecting people.

While Peloton offers impressive digital tools for community engagement, the in-person SoulCycle tribe fosters special bonds through collective struggle. Ultimately both platforms allow members to find motivation through other people rather than just fitness metrics alone.

Which Provides a Better Overall Value?

For pure value, the Peloton bike generally provides more bang for your buck – with some caveats.

Reasons Why Peloton Offers Better Value

  • Don’t pay recurring studio class fees after buying the bike
  • Unlimited accounts allow entire households to use the Peloton bike
  • Huge on-demand workout library beyond just cycling -Tracks performance metrics to quantify training
  • Earn achievement badges, climb leaderboards to stay motivated


Situations Where SoulCycle Wins on Value

  • No equipment needed so no huge upfront cost
  • Specialty theme rides and celebrity/DJ appearances
  • Location convenience if you live or work next to a studio
  • Instructors provide personal attention during class
  • Luxury of studio amenities like showers, towels, lockers

For just indoor cycling under $100/month, having your own Peloton generally provides greater overall value long-term. But super fans who love the motivational theater of SoulCycle studios don’t mind paying steeper premiums for that unique experience.

Which is Better – Peloton or SoulCycle?

So when considering the core differences between Peloton and SoulCycle for intense indoor cycling programs – which comes out on top?

For complete home fitness flexibility plus quantified training metrics, Peloton exercise bikes win out. The lower cost of entry plus mix-and-match class library lets you train on your own terms without recurring studio fees.

However, SoulCycle prevails for those craving extreme motivational entertainment. The nightclub-like atmospheres, charismatic coaches and tribal commmunities give SoulCycle almost cult-like follower status amongst fans.

Overall there’s no universally “better” option – each platform attracts different demographics.

Peloton typically appeals more to goal-oriented people who want excellent workouts backed by data. Accessibility and convenience are priorities amidst busy lives.

SoulCycle draws social exercisers seeking inspiration wrapped in music and dance. They don’t mind paying premium rates for high-energy experiences that feel less like exercise and more like happy hours.

The below comparison chart summarizes the key differences:

Best ForData-driven riders prioritizing convenienceMotivation seekers wanting luxury boutique studio experience
Workout QualitySweat-dripping and measurable using digital performance metricsHigh intensity guided by instructor with smooth flywheel ride feel
InstructorsEntertaining online coaches closely connected to remote ridersCharismatic in-person instructors make soul-to-soul connections
Class VarietyMassive on-demand library spanning cycling, yoga, strength, cardio, moreOnly spinning sessions. Specialty theme rides, dance fitness
CommunityDigital networking features and social media build remote connectionsIn-studio tribal atmospheres and locker room bonding
ValueLower long-term cost with unlimited account household sharingPay per classes each visit. Luxury of studio amenities


In the end, choosing between Peloton or SoulCycle comes down to personal preferences around cost, convenience, training style and the type of motivation that fuels you best. For many, having unlimited access to a wide world of on-demand workouts right at home makes Peloton the more practical choice. But SoulCycle continues to thrive amongst loyal followers enamored by the infectiously fun and premium in-studio experience.

While the platforms take different approaches, both Peloton and SoulCycle succeed in offering intense, community-oriented indoor cycling workouts led by inspiring instructors. Whether you prefer quantifiable fitness powered by technology or a more entertainment-driven sweat session, either option can get you incredible results. It just depends whether you think the metrics or the music matter most on your journey towards your health and wellness goals.

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Dr. Preeti (Fitness Geek)
Dr. Preeti (Fitness Geek)
M.Sc. - Home Science (Food & Nutrition), Therapist, Dietitian and Weight Management consultant, actively practicing for 17 years.

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