And now for something COMPLETELY different—enter the Bowflex VeloCore Bike. For the types of indoor cycles we typically look at the Bowflex VeloCore taps into a number of key features—magnetic resistance, a high definition display, toe slips for riding shoes, and Bluetooth heart rate monitoring (with sensor included)—but it has another trick up its sleeve. The VeloCore is effectively the second high-level indoor cycle with the ability to lean. That’s right, unlock the bike from its frame via the big red button, and the bike is suspended on a pair of pivot points, allowing the rider to lean into turns and strengthen their core as they maintain stability while pedaling. Its a rare experience, as there’s only ever been one bike in the segment to do so—the tech-free indoor cycle from RealRyder. While the RealRyder is designed for the in-studio experience, the VeloCore is 100% geared towards the indoor user, and offers a broad range of streaming training options to make the most of its special capabilities.
|List Price||from $1,699|
|Seat||Padded Road Bike Style, Adjustable|
|Pedals||Dual-sided — Toe Cages and SPD Clips|
|Programs||Multiple streaming options available|
|Heart Rate||Bluetooth Armband Sensor|
|Display||16" or 22" HD Touchscreen|
|Max. Weight||325 lbs|
|Dimensions||59.8" x 24.1" x 55.3"|
|Warranty||Frame/Parts: 2 Years|
Electronics: 1 Year
Labor: 1 Year
The Bowflex VeloCore is an interesting bike to score based on first impressions. In some respects, we can safely see that on paper it delivers tons of value in terms of features and functions, and is competitively priced among bikes of similar specification. That said, there’s then the question of its leaning capability. Is it a necessity? Is it a gimmick? Where does it land in the spectrum of workout interests and types. That’s really why we’re here.
So here’s the reality. Having that sort of free motion in the VeloCore bike does a great job of engaging your core while riding, and forcing you to engage your core, arms, and other upper body stabilizer muscles more than you would on a conventional indoor cycle. That said, that narrows the use case of this bike to a particular subset of riders who are looking to push themselves harder than they can on an indoor cycle, which generally speaking is not the majority of the buying audience in the space. That said, of you’re looking for a seriously exhausting workout, the VeloCore will be right up your alley.
From a mechanics standpoint, the VeloCore covers all of our core bases. With a 1-100 control for its magnetic resistance, this is very much aligned with most industry-standard indoor cycles and Spin bikes on the market today. Some brands like to break resistance steps into smaller numbers, providing more pronounced steps in between, but Bowflex opted for the more traditional route here. The bike is built like a tank due to the added parts needed for its leaning capability, and weighs a total of 175 pounds when set up. This added rigidity also means a higher weight capacity, making the VeloCore capable of holding riders up to 325 pounds and can accommodate a wide array of heights from 5’1″ to 6’5″ . The bike offers a traditional level of adjustability, including seat height, seat fore and aft position, and handlebar height. Its pedals are fitted with toe cages on one side, and clips on the other for use with riding shoes. Lastly, its screen can be tilted forward or back depending on your comfort level in regards to screen position.
On the topic of screens, it’s nice to see that the screen of the VeloCore comes with two different available screen sizes—16 inches and 22 inches. 22 inches (give or take an inch) has become the new benchmark when it comes to on-board HD touchscreen displays, however some will make the argument that given the rider’s close proximity to the screen this can be a bit overwhelming. Whichever route you decide on, it’s nice to see Bowflex joining the party alongside the half dozen or so other bikes currently in the market offering a built-in screen rather than forcing users to follow along to training sessions using their tablet, iPad, or smartphone. While on the topic of tech and perks, it’s nice to see that a wireless armband heart rate monitor is included with the purchase of the Bowflex VeloCore, as is a pair of 3-pound dumbbells.
Although the VeloCore doesn’t come with any pre-loaded programs, you do get 6-month trial access to the Bowflex JRNY App that converts to a paid membership for $19.99 per month once free trial ends. That’s less expensive than most gym memberships. Peloton and Zwift users can also integrate their subscriptions for use with VeloCore, but app content doesn’t appear on the console. If expert exercise guidance is important to you, check out the Bowflex Max Trainer series. They come with the JRNY app, AI technology, and personalized, virtual workouts and feedback.
The Bowflex VeloCore is equipped with all the right extras. Bluetooth speakers located below the screen feature excellent sound quality, and Bowflex Radio is also available. The media rack makes it easy to store both tablets and phones
One last distinguishing feature, and one that we’ve only seen elsewhere on the Stryde bike, is the fact that you have access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus directly through the Bowflex’s HD screen. This is something that the likes of Peloton and NordicTrack have been avoiding thus far, yet it’s such a logical and practical option that we’re happy to see it on the VeloCore bike. The reality is that some days you might just want to zone out and watch your favorite show/movie during your workout, and with the VeloCore you can do that with ease.
- Ability to lean when riding
- HD Touchscreen in two sizes
- 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
- Access to Netflix/Hulu/etc
- Explore The World ride options
- Transport wheels
- Monthly carrying costs of streaming training services
- Leaning ability likely overkill for some
- More expensive than most comparable models from Peloton, NordicTrack, and ProForm
- Large footprint of 59.8″ L x 24.1″ W
- Extra 50 inches of width space needed to use the leaning mode
- Console brightness isn’t adjustable
Getting into the programming side of things, Bowflex have had their own iFit/Peloton/etc equivalent for a little while now, known as JRNY. The JRNY app is built into the bike’s hardware, and allows riders to follow along with streaming instructor-led training sessions, keep track of performance metrics, and delivers personalized direction to your workout options at is registers your progress. As you start crushing lower level workouts, more intense alternatives will be presented as your next goal or target. The JRNY system has now been integrated across the VeloCore, Max Trainer, and Bowflex Treadmills, and on the VeloCore side it’s especially in-depth in terms of metrics. You’ll capture data on your cadence, resistance level, heart rate, calorie burn rate, and total calories burned per workout. To add a level of encouragement, the app has its own system of trophies and rewards to keep you motivated, rather than pitting you against other Bowflex users. As an added perk, JRNY also offers ‘Explore the World’ training sessions, allowing riders to cruise along scenic destinations from around the world.
Warranty & Guarantee
Bowflex warranties seem to be ever changing like the wind, and in the case of the tech-heavy VeloCore we’re a bit surprised at how short things stand. Granted, their warranty still beats the likes of tech startups like Peloton, Stryde, and MYX. The coverage offered on the Bowflex VeloCore Bike is as follows:
– Frame and Parts: 2 years
– Electronics: 1 year
– Labor: 1 year
Extended warranties can be purchased along with the bike or after receipt. Given the level of complexity of this bike, we would consider spending the extra $139 to $219 on Bowflex’s 3-year/5-year protection plan. This is something we seldom recommend in this category.
Niche bikes are always tough to weigh out, in that they score huge points for some while losing points for others. The reality of the VeloCore bike is simple. It’s the most tech-heavy and boundary pushing exercise bike we’ve seen in quite a while, hands down. That said, it’s also at a level that isn’t necessarily worth it for more recreational or novice fitness enthusiasts who just want to pedal their way to better health. If you’re a road cyclist this can still be the best new option on the market for you, as nothing out there can give you both the technology and the lean capability in the same way. That said, if you’re that type of rider, you’re likely to log some serious miles on your VeloCore bike, and with that we start raising questions about warranty length. It’s a complex bike with a lot of moving parts, so again we’re going to recommend adding an extended warranty to its sticker price. If the bike had been in the market for years and had a more proven track record, maybe not, but bleeding edge tech comes at a price and a risk, so be sure you’re comfortable with that before you pull the trigger.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does the Bowflex VeloCore Bike weigh when fully assembled?
Can you use the Bowflex VeloCore Bike without a JRNY subscription?
Yes, but console only shows workout metrics
Is the Bowflex VeloCore Bike a quiet machine?
Yes, with its magnetic resistance, the VeloCore is nearly silent.
How difficult is it to assemble the Bowflex VeloCore Bike?
Because the VeloCore is heavy and difficult to move, assembly is somewhat complicated. It can be worth it to opt for the in-home assembly service.
How much does the JRNY App cost after the 6-month trial?
$149/year or $19.99/month
Can you watch Netflix on the Bowflex VeloCore Bike?
Yes, you can stream Netflx on the VeloCore as well as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+.