I Tried Both: Spinning at Flywheel Philadelphia and Body Cycle Studio

Which is the best studio for you? We break it down.

Flywheel (left) and Body Cycle Studio (right) // Photos via Facebook

This summer was my first in Philly, and as the new girl to the local fitness scene, I couldn’t pinpoint Philly’s it exercise right off the bat. You know, are Philadelphians yogis? Long-distance running fanatics? CrossFit fiends? Then, as soon as I started writing for Be Well, it came flying at me: It’s Spinning—Philadelphians really dig Spinning. And the best part for carless city dwellers like me is that Center City houses two Spin-only studios within blocks of each other, where you can pedal your heart out: Flywheel Sports at 1521 Locust and Body Cycle Studio at 1923 Chestnut.

Now, being a Spinning novice, I wondered what made each of these very popular studios unique. To find out, I took a 45 minute class at each on two different Sunday mornings to see for myself what all the hype is about. Here are my takeaways.

{P.S. Spinning is totally addicting. Looks like Philadelphians are on to something.}

SIGNING UP:

FLY: Online, super easy, and the first class is free. You can reserve cycling shoes in your size for free. You can also select the bike your going to ride using a handy floor plan map of the classroom, so you decide beforehand how close you want to be to the front of the class. The studio provides email confirmation.

BODY: Online, super easy, and the first class is free, too. No snazzy bike selector—bikes here are first come, first served—but you get an email confirmation.

INITIAL VIBE:

FLY: Energetic, very clean, bright, futuristic, kinda TRON-like.

BODY: Homey, wooden floors, natural lighting, pretty mirrors.

AMENITIES:

FLY: Showers with Bliss Spa beauty products, bathrooms, lockers with locks attached, towels, seat cushion, shoes.

BODY: Bathrooms, cubbies, towels.

CLASSROOM AESTHETICS:

FLY: Lights off. Neon blue lights on your bike show you RPM. Stadium-style, semi-circle seating, with rows of bikes on tiers—meaning you can see your instructor no matter where you sit. Mirrors in the front. If you opt in, the TorqBoard shows stats so you can compare your performance against other riders in your class.

BODY: Natural light streams from the windows. A screen that separates the classroom and the waiting area. The classroom is smaller, making sessions feel more intimate. The instructor is front and center. Easy to see from everywhere.

THE CROWD:

FLY: Only a half dozen riders or so. Classroom felt rather empty.

BODY: Practically every seat is filled! My neighbor showed me the different positions to ride.

THE WORKOUT:

FLY: 45 minutes of switching inclines and RPMs. Added free-weight bars for an arms workout while you Spin towards the end of class. Wayyy cool.

BODY: 45 minutes of switching inclines and RPMs with more incorporation of third position, which is when you are off your seat and peddling. Challenging!

THE PRICE:

FLY: One ride is $25; five classes, $117.50.

BODY: One ride is $20; five classes, $87.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

FLY: Flywheel is for the people who like shiny things. That might sound weird, but if you’re into flash and gadgets, go to Flywheel. The added bonus is the arm weights, which is admittedly genius.

BODY: If you’re looking for a friendly, energetic community (students are called “Body Rockers,” which I sort of love) and a non-intimidating, homey atmosphere, go here.

And if you’re wondering about the sweat factor, you’ll be drenched no matter which studio you choose. So, really, you can’t go wrong!

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  • Philadelphia Girl

    If you’ve ever stepped foot into Flywheel, then you know just how warm, welcoming and non-intimidating the staff, instructors and members are. While they certainly have “way cool” gadgets, the atmosphere is anything but “TRON” like.

    • Velovil

      It is not genius to do weights with your pelvis involved in cycling. It’s called a contraindication=dangerous.
      Look it up fitness pros!
      Get with the program.

      • KyleD

        Certainly if the weights were maximal instead of 2 and 4 pound bars, i can see some validity in your argument, but engaging the core to stabilize the hips while you lift controlled upper body movements with lighter weights is hardly dangerous. In functional movements we do different things with our upper and lower body all the time, play any sport and you can be running while throwing or catching. for a more cycle specific example, check out videos of bicycle polo sometime.