ProForm Studio Bike Pro vs. Bowflex C6: The Value Battle
The ProForm Studio Bike Pro and the Bowflex C6 Bike bring a tough choice to budget-minded bike shoppers, with a whole lot of options squeezed into a most competitive price range. Designed to deliver high-tech programming, these two bikes really differ most in terms of their virtual offerings. In terms of machinery, both offer solid engineering and a high-quality warranty. As with all exercise equipment, no two machines are created equally, and these two bikes make for a terrific contrast. While both will offer a stellar user experience, individual preference will certainly rule the day. But in terms of bikes available for under-$1,000, we feel buyers can’t really go wrong with either one. Below is our side-by-side spec analysis, along with our own experiences testing these bikes, along with others from rival brands.
The pricing options are probably the first thing one notices here as the ProForm Studio Bike Pro offers a three-year Family Membership to the iFit training app along with the purchase. Valued at $1,188, or $396 per year, this greatly offsets the online sale price of $1,404, making for a near-free bike. For a complete review of the iFit fitness app, read our analysis here. Meanwhile, the Bowflex C6 Bike is offered online at $999 and comes with a six-month introductory membership to that brand’s JRNY Fitness App, regularly marked at $39 per month. The C6 however is designed to be compatible with the Peloton, Zwift, and other biking apps, whereas the ProForm bike is engineered with iFit in mind. Size-wise, the ProForm bike is a bit larger, but C6 buyers may find more diversity of options.
For this reason, we’ve selected these two bikes as a great match-up, as more of a contrast, with pro’s and con’s associated with both. Read below for the complete details and links to our complete reviews of each bike. Meanwhile, feel free to browse our comprehensive Exercise Bike Reviews for 2021 here.
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ProForm Studio Bike Pro Specs & Highlights
The ProForm Studio Bike Pro is built for adjustment to suit with iFit-trainer controlled capability and live training options. Whereas other bikes in this price range may rely on a small screen or display, this bike brings a 10-inch Smart HD Touchscreen which swivels 180 degrees. In addition to three years of the iFit Family Membership package, users can also go to the ground with two 3-pound dumbbells which are included with the purchase. One of many competitors in the arena of connected exercise bikes, some of the top features of this bike include:
- Adjustable ergonomic seat
- 10-inch HD touch screen which swivels
- Silent Magnetic Resistance
- 22 levels of resistance
- Pedals with toe cages and clips
- 3- years iFit Family Membership plan
- Two 3-pound dumbbells included
- Water bottle holder
- User weight capacity of 250 pounds
- Lifetime warranty on the frame, three years for parts, one for labor
Bowflex C6 Bike Specs & Highlights
While the Bowflex brand has long been known for its Max Trainer series, it’s been a bit slow to enter the connected exercise bike business. That said, the C6 is a terrific way to enter for sure. Competitively priced, the bike not only offers the brand’s JRNY Fitness App, but compatibility with Peloton, Zwift, and others to boot. Equipped with a backlit LCD screen, read-out includes basic information such as RPM, time, speed, calories, distance, resistance level, and pulse. To fully access the benefits of apps users will need to bring their own tablet or phone. But, this bike is equipped with a Bluetooth armband heart-rate monitor. Other top features of the C6 include:
- Adjustable padded saddle with universal stem
- Caged pedals and multi-grip handlebars
- Silent Magnetic Resistance
- Six months free JRNY Fitness App included with purchase
- Compatible with multiple apps
- Dual water bottle holders
- Two 3-pound dumbbells included
- User weight capacity of 330 pounds
- 10-year warranty on frame, three years for parts, one for labor
ProForm Studio Bike Pro Vs. Bowflex C6 Bike Breakdown
ProForm Studio Bike Pros
· iFit package value nearly equal to bike
· 10-inch HD screen can swivel
· Silent Magnetic Resistance
· Great warranty
Bowflex C6 Bike Pros
· Compatible with multiple apps
· Higher user weight capacity
· Bluetooth heart-rate monitor included
· 1-100 levels of variable magnetic resistance
ProForm Studio Bike Cons
· Programming limited to iFit and LiveCast workouts
· Lower user weight capacity
· Assembly tricky
Bowflex C6 Bike Cons
· No large screen
· Newer model with fewer reviews
· Slightly shorter warranty
Key Differences Between The ProForm Studio Bike Pro and Bowflex C6 Bike
In terms of raw specs, the ProForm Studio Bike Pro measures 64.75 inches x 25 inches x 59.25 inches. Meanwhile, the smaller and more compact Bowflex C6 is 48.7 inches x 21.2 inches x 51.8 inches. That’s a pretty healthy difference for sure, meaning space available could be a consideration for the purchaser. It is a bit striking that the larger bike offers a 250-pound maximum user weight relative to the smaller bike’s 330 pounds. With regards to the warranty, the ProForm Studio Bike Pro offers a lifetime warranty on the frame versus the Bowflex C6’s 10-year. Both bikes utilize magnetic resistance, as opposed to air or traditional friction.
Obviously the biggest difference comes down to programming choices and screens. The ProForm Studio Bike Pro brings a respectable 10-inch HD Smart Touchscreen, with 180-degree swivel action, and as it’s iFit-enabled, this means users can allow their professional trainers to control the bike’s resistance from remote locations while participating in a nearly unlimited variety of classes. The Bowflex C6 meanwhile does not have a screen per se, rather a read-out display for workout information. Users will need to bring their own device if they’re wanting to participate in the JRNY Fitness App programs, Peloton, Zwift, or other.
So, just how important the screen size is, and how attached one is to a particular fitness community, may well be a deciding factor here. The size of the bike is also of note given it will be inside a home. A good deal of the three year iFit package offered by ProForm rests on the assumption that users will like that app. Meanwhile, Bowflex offers a wider variety of compatibilities, but one needs their own device to fully utilize this.
Where The ProForm Studio Bike Leads
- If a larger bike is desired due to rider height, the ProForm model is certainly the bigger of the two. Ergonomically speaking, the bike also has seat adjustment both vertically and horizontally.
- The ProForm bike offers a 10-inch HD Touchscreen, which is certainly better than none at all. Screen sizes are trending upwards these days for bikes, but 10 inches is more than respectable, and the fact that it can swivel 180 degrees is a big plus.
- There’s no question that getting three years of the iFit programming with the purchase is a huge score for the ProForm bike. This makes the bike’s cost less than $300 real dollars. And the fact is, iFit is a well-rated program, no doubt.
- The lifetime warranty on the frame is certainly a big plus, and three years for parts with one for labor is also quite respectable.
Where The Bowflex C6 Bike Leads
- The Bowflex C6 brings the JRNY Fitness App for six months with purchase, and it’s also compatible with Peloton, Zwift, and other programs. All very popular, this is a big plus for the bike.
- Smaller and more compact, the size of this bike may be a decision point for buyers needing that in their home studio.
- The small LCD screen built into the bike may very well be sufficient for many users, meaning one could use the bike subscription-free with more ease than the alternatives.
- With a whopping 330-pound user weight max, just about anyone’s body size can be accommodated here.
- This bike also comes with a heart-rate monitor included.
We’re rating the ProForm Studio Bike higher than the Bowflex C6 for a number of reasons, although there are no bad choices here. The fact that one gets three years of the iFit programming, valued nearly at the price of the bike, has to be noted. Also, it has a 10-inch HD Touchscreen which swivels. Yes, it’s a bit of a bigger machine and has a lower maximum user weight, but in terms of overall buy-for-the-buck, it’s clearly the better choice. That said, if a rider is over 250 pounds, or perhaps they’re devoted to the Peloton, Zwift, or JRNY apps, we’d say that for the money spent here the Bowflex product is solid.