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Bowflex C6 Bike Review

Quick Summary

The new Bowflex C6 Bike came as a bit of a surprise from the brand, as they’ve long shied away from the segment. That said, good things come to those who wait, and the C6 Bike makes a compelling case as an affordable alternative to Peloton and other live and/or streaming training bikes on the market. Priced at a very modest $949, the focus here was to build a sturdy indoor cycle capable of linking up to other streaming services, and in that respect they’ve executed perfectly. The Bowflex C6 Bike isn’t without its shortcomings, but depending on your needs/requirements, it’s still an option that’s worth a second look.

Specifications

Model Bowflex
C6 Bike
Rating

Our custom rating considers all of the bike's features, specs, warranties, and 100's of user & expert reviews, to save you time!

85.0%
List Price

Suggested retail price, typically higher than the price you'll pay with our recommended retailers.

$949
Best Price

Since prices change daily, this link goes to our preferred retailer for the current best price. Note: MSRP stands for Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.

$949
Resistance

The flywheel in an exercise bike is what creates resistance. You can choose the level of resistance to increase your workout intensity.

1-100 variable
Resistance Type

The type of resistance shows what kind of flywheel is being used (if any), and its weight if the manufacturer provides it.

Magnetic
Type

Type refers to the style of the ride: Recumbent bikes allow you to lay back, while Upright bikes are more like road bikes (lean forward).

Indoor Cycle
Drive System

The bike's drive system is how your pedaling interacts with the rest of the bike (flywheel) to give you a good workout.

n/a
Frame

It's important to choose an exercise bike that will last, and the material of the frame determines how durable the bike is.

Heavy-Duty Steel
Seat

The most important part for comfortability during your workout, the seat should be adjustable and have ample cushioning.

Padded Road Bike Style, Adjustable
Pedals

Pedals are the driving force for an exercise bike, and should be comfortable, adjustable, and easy to control without slipping.

Dual-sided — Toe Cages and SPD Clips
Programs

Bike Programs allow you to complete a workout with changing speeds and inclines, without changing anything manually.

Multiple streaming options available
Heart Rate

Heart Rate programs allow you to track how many times your heart is beating per minute (bpm), and some control the workout for you.

Bluetooth Armband Sensor
Display

Display refers to the screen you'll look at to monitor workouts. LED and LCD displays are similar to TV screens.

Backlit LCD
Max. Weight

Max. User Weight is the amount of weight, in pounds (lbs), that the bike can safely support, which can represent durability.

330 lbs
Dimensions

Dimensions are included to help you figure out if this treadmill will fit properly (Length x Width x Height and Height x Depth).

48.7" x 21.2" x 51.8"
Accessory Tray

Some bikes include an accessory tray for holding items such as water bottles, wallets, keys, or MP3 players like iPods.

Speakers

Cooling Fans

Portable?

Some exercise bikes can fold up and/or have wheels that make it easy to roll them around for convenience and to save space.

Warranty

The warranty is a very important part of your investment. The longer the warranty, the longer you can get free/discounted repairs by the manufacturer.

Frame: 10 Years
Parts/Electronics: 3 Years
Labor: 1 Year

Rating: 85.0%

Our Rating

Rating: 85.0/100. There was a lot to take into consideration when evaluating the Bowflex C6 Bike. On one hand you have a sturdy-framed bike with good ergonomics, ample adjustability, and fitted with the usual level of niceties (thoughtful placement of water bottle and weight holders, standard toe clip pedals, smooth and quiet magnetic resistance, etc). On the other, this sort of setup isn’t without its flaws. The biggest consideration will be your tablet/iPad situation at home, as well as the Wifi quality in your workout space. Without a tablet and good Wifi you’re losing out on the biggest benefits that come as part of the Bowflex C6 Bike, but if you’ve been looking at this bike, odds are you’ve already taken that into consideration.

Pros:

  • Compatible with Peloton, Zwift, and several other training apps
  • Quiet magnetic flywheel system
  • Bluetooth armband heart rate monitor included
  • Adjustable padded saddle with universal stem
  • Caged pedals; also compatible with road bike pedals
  • Multigrip handlebars
  • Set of three-pound dumbbells for upper-body exercise
  • Two water bottle holders
  • 330-pound user weight capacity
  • Transport wheels

Cons:

  • Monthly carrying costs of streaming training services
  • Plenty of competition in the category

Introduction

After a long wait, Bowflex has jumped into the ring as one of the affordable indoor cycles that leverage the popularity of Peloton and other programs. It’s one of the contenders in our recent “Peloton Alternatives” list, and for good reason. The C6 Bike can currently link up to a dozen different fitness apps, including both Peloton and Zwift—two of the market’s best rated streaming training apps you can download these days. While both Echelon and Horizon Fitness also have competitors in this space priced very close to the C6 Bike, so far it seems Bowflex is the candidate with the most diversity in terms of training options. That said, once you find a program you like you aren’t likely to sign up for multiple paid accounts for multiple streaming services.

Workout Programs

This bike is purely designed to work with streaming classes like Peloton, Zwift, FulGaz, Sufferfest, and many others, meaning the world is really your oyster when it comes to workout program options. Most of these apps offer free trials, and it won’t take long before you narrow things down to the line of training that works for you. Some will log you into a leaderboard and allow you to compete against fellow fitness enthusiasts. Others (FulGaz and Sufferfest in particular) will lead you on open-road routes, and provide useful metrics related to your performance that will help you track your progress. Thanks to the included Bluetooth armband heart rate monitor, the data captured will be more accurate than what’s typically seen from contact grip heart rate monitoring. Is also worth noting that the “Around the World” app (a Bowflex undertaking) is expected to launch shortly.

Bowflex C6 Bike Features

At the end of the day the C6 bike isn’t particularly “feature rich” in many respects, as it lets its connection to technology do all the heavy lifting. At a basic level, we have easily adjustable ergonomics, which make a significant difference when trying to find the correct riding position. This is fairly standard across the market these days. The bike uses magnetic resistance—once again an industry standard for anything that is reasonably well constructed. The bike comes with a pair of 3lb weights for those occasional workouts that require them, and they’re quite thoughtfully positioned just below the handlebars. This setup is much more practical than the tail mounting we’ve seen from other manufacturers over the years.

Though very basic overall, the LCD backlit console on the C6 Bike provides all of the information you’ll need for your workout. The list of metrics includes rpm, time, speed, calories, distance, resistance level, and pulse. The brand was also rather thoughtful when it came to pedal design. On one side, SPD clips are fitted for those with cycling shoes, and on the other, conventional toe cages are fitted if you’d rather ride in sneakers.

Warranty & Guarantee

The standard warranty for the Bowflex C6 Bike is pretty respectable, especially considering higher spec bikes like the Peloton and Flywheel bikes have shamefully short 1-year warranties for bikes that cost more than twice as much. The coverage offered on the C6 Bike is as follows:

– Frame: 10 years

– Parts and Electronics: 3 years

– Labor: 1 year

Extended warranties can be purchased along with the bike or after receipt. Though there are extended warranties available, given how basic this bike is we suspect you’ll be just fine with the standard offering. This is one benefit of running an exercise bike that’s low on built-in tech—there’s less on it to malfunction or fail.

Conclusion

For a first step into the indoor cycle market, the Bowflex C6 Bike is a solid start. Its programming agnostic approach makes it a much more versatile bike than those from Echelon, NordicTrack, and others, and we suspect many riders will appreciate the open-access element. If you just want to get on your new bike and ride, then going for one of the indoor cycles out there that don’t force you to research the different training apps/options (this is where Nordictrack flourishes). Again, there’s the monthly membership costs, Wifi situation, and access/ownership of an iPad or Tablet to consider before buying the C6 Bike, but realistically this is the direction the market is moving in across the board, and unlike the big built-in display bikes out there, the C6 also gives you the option to get on and ride when you don’t feel like fussing with technology. The Peloton and NordicTrack S22i will physically work without the display/programming as well, but I can’t see anyone wanting to pedal away while staring at a blank screen.