Fitness Face-Off: Soul Cycle vs. Flywheel

There are two camps that have turned former non-enthusiasts into die-hard fans addicted to the ride when it comes to cycling – Soul Cycle and Flywheel. Although similar in structure (both offer 45-minute full-body and strength-training workout classes where you can expect to burn between 500 to 700 calories a session), most riders have a distinct preference when it comes to style. The snapshot below is your key to figuring out which workout is best suited to you.


Price: $32/class

Time to RSVP: Monday at noon. If you’re even 5 minutes late, good luck on the waitlist.

Male to Female Ratio: 3 to 7 

Celebrity Fans: Lady Gaga, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kelly Ripa, Jessica Alba, Chelsea Clinton

Vibe: Cool kids club

Instructor Style: Hair whipping, energetic dance moves off the bike and words of inspiration to motivate throughout the class.

Locations: New York and Los Angeles

Amenities: Separate men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers with toiletries.


Price: $30/class

Time to RSVP: Sunday at 5 PM. Flywheel classes tend to be smaller than Soul Cycle, so you’ll need to be by your computer to ensure your spot.

Male to Female Ratio: 1 to 1

Celebrity Fans: Katie Couric, Matthew Broderick, Kyra Sedgwick, Sofia Vergara, Jimmy Fallon

Vibe: Virtual cycling race

Instructor Style: A little more understated than Soul Cycle, instructors at Flywheel strive to keep you focused on pushing yourself to your limit with the help of a screen in front that ranks how you fare compared to others in the room (optional).

Locations: New York, Chicago, Florida, Atlanta, North Carolina, Seattle

Amenities: Male and female-friendly one-person shower stalls that lock. Toiletries located in other rooms that lock.

While I found Flywheel a little more challenging than Soul Cycle (maybe it was because I was visibly alerted to the fact that I was 5 notches down where I was supposed to be during each song at Flywheel thanks to the screen), I had more fun at Soul Cycle, even though it was $2 more expensive per class. The frenetic energy in the room was a draw and the instructor’s words motivated me to ‘push harder, be leaner, and achieve anything you set your mind to.’  Plus, the separate locker rooms and showers were a draw. Now the question remains: with both sides racing to the top, which side will you fall on?