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Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade, you know Peloton is one of the most popular brands for at-home fitness—specifically for indoor cycling. Peloton boasts sleek exercise equipment, high-quality studio sessions, and lively instructors. However, the brand (and the hype) come with premium prices.
So what happens to those of us looking for the best exercise bikes without spending a fortune? Well, luckily we’re not S.O.L., because other fitness brands have solutions geared toward us budget-friendly folk.
In this Bowflex C6 vs Peloton showdown, I’m going to lay out what each indoor cycling bike has to offer and give you a rundown of what to expect from each brand. Not all cardio equipment will suit every home gym owner, so it will be up to you to decide if you’re on team Bowflex or team Peloton.
Editor’s note: Peloton in May 2023 announced a voluntary recall of all original Peloton Bikes sold from January 2018 to May 2023 because of a defect with the seat post that causes it to break while in use. Peloton has identified 35 reports of broken seats, resulting in 13 injuries including a wrist fracture, lacerations and bruises.
The original Peloton Bike can be identified by “its PL-01 model number on the label located on the inside front fork (near the flywheel), the red ‘P’ logo followed by the white-colored’ ‘Peloton’ brand name on the Bike’s frame, and by its non-swivel display.”
If your bike is impacted or if you have any questions, call Peloton’s support team toll-free at 866-679-9129 from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. ET, 7 days a week or by visiting onepeloton.com and clicking on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page.
- Free 1-year JRNY trial for new members
- JRNY allows you to stream popular entertainment apps
- You can integrate with other apps like Zwift, Peloton, Sufferfest, Rouvy, and TrainerRoad
- Bluetooth-enabled heart rate armband monitor
- 100 resistance levels
- Tablet holder for custom experience
- Pair of 3-lb dumbbells are included in price
Pros & Cons
- Priced well
- 1-year JYNY membership included
- Integrates with third-party fitness apps
- Bluetooth heart rate armband monitor included
- Free shipping in continental U.S.
- Adjustable seat and handlebars
- Affordable alternative to pricier brands
- Reportedly noisy
- Display is not touchscreen
- 21.5" touchscreen for immersive training
- Live classes and on-demand cycling sessions
- Leaderboard-style competition
- Adjustable screen, seat, and handlebars
- 5-megapixel front-facing camera
- Bluetooth connectivity
Pros & Cons
- Immersive experience
- Access to thousands of classes, challenges, and a large variety of workout options
- Compact footprint
- Sleek design
- Financing options
- “Try before you buy” option
- Disappointing warranty
- Membership is required to use bike
- Shipping is not included
Peloton vs Bowflex C6 Spec Comparison Chart
|Footprint||54.6” L x 30.7” W x 51.8” H||48” L x 24” W|
|Weight||112 lbs||135 lbs|
|Weight capacity||330 lbs||297 lbs|
|Flywheel||40 lbs||38 lbs|
|Pedals||SPD clips and toe cages||Delta-compatible aluminum|
|Display||Backlit LCD console||22” HD touchscreen|
|Programming||JRNY (with options to do Peloton, Zwift, and more)||Peloton|
|Warranty||10-year frame, 3-year parts and electrical, 1-year labor||5-year fame, 12-month parts and labor|
Quick Look: Bowflex C6 vs Peloton
Peloton might be a popular and well-known brand from the last decade, but Bowflex has been around since the 1980s and caters to a wider range of home gym owners with an array of equipment to fit all budgets. Bowflex has everything from dumbbells and weight benches to treadmills and ellipticals. Bowflex is also well-known for their all-in-one home gyms with cable functionality.
The Bowflex C6 gives you a lower price point of $999 and the ability to utilize your own smartphone or tablet to stream interactive programming. You can use Bowlfex’s own JRNY app or sign up for other third-party cycling apps like Peloton, Zwift, or Rouvy.
Bowflex manufactures cardio equipment that features high-tech touchscreens (like the innovative Bowflex Velocore with leaning capabilities), but in this review we wanted to give you the chance to compare a budget-friendly exercise bike to the coveted Peloton Bike. We think the fact you can use the Peloton app with the C6 makes it one of the best Peloton alternatives for budget-conscious shoppers.
Bowflex C6 Video Review
Peloton Bike Video Review
Who Should Buy Bowflex C6 Bike
- Budget-conscious indoor cyclists
- People who want the option to stream entertainment and on-demand classes
- Folks who want to choose from several options for interactive programming
- People weighing 330 pounds or less
- People who don’t mind using their own smartphone or tablet to follow programing
- Anyone interested in tracking heart rate with the included armband
- First-time customers of Bowflex who want a free trial of JRNY
- Anyone who needs the flexibility of dual-sided pedals
Who Should Buy Peloton Bike
- Folks intrigued by the Peloton community
- Anyone interested in live classes and leaderboard-style competition
- People who desire trainer-led studio classes
- Anyone who weighs 297 pounds or less
- Tech-savvy folks who want a touchscreen experience
- People who want to connect with a wireless heart rate monitor or their Apple Watch
Key Similarities Between Bowflex C6 and Peloton
- Compatible with the Peloton app
- Heavy flywheels
- Multi-position handlebars
- Magnetic resistance
- Two water bottle holders
- 100 levels of magnetic resistance
- Quiet ride with nearly silent drive systems
- Financing options
Important Differences Between Bowflex C6 and Peloton
- Peloton features clip-in Delta-compatible aluminum pedals, while the Bowflex has SPD clips and adjustable toe cages (which don’t require special cycling shoes)
- Peloton has a large touchscreen and the Bowflex has a tablet holder for your own device
- Bowflex C6 can accommodate a slightly higher user weight capacity at 330 pounds versus Peloton’s 297 pounds
- Bowflex’s JRNY app features scenic rides and movie streaming options
- The Peloton app features live classes in addition to studio classes
- Bowflex C6 comes with a pair of 3-pound dumbbells
Programming and Technology
Both the Peloton Bike and the Bowflex C6 Bike have the ability for riders to use the Peloton digital app. However, it’s worth noting that when you own a Peloton piece of cardio equipment, you’ll be required to sign up for the All-Access Membership, which is $44 for the monthly subscription versus just $13 when you stream it from your own device and use another stationary bike (like the C6).
The All-Access Membership does have its perks though. You’ll be able to see real-time metrics including cadence, resistance, distance, output, and heart rate. You’ll also be able to see how you’re stacking up to other members with the Leaderboard during live classes and create user profiles for everyone in your household.
With the Bowflex C6 Bike, you’ll have a little more flexibility on what app you want to use and what kind of workout experience you want to participate in. Bowflex—along with Schwinn and parent company Nautilus—utilize JRNY, which is a fitness app comparable to Peloton with on-demand classes spanning from studio bike sessions to yoga and meditation.
However, JRNY is one of the only apps we know of that allows you to stream entertainment like Netflix and Hulu while you work out. Although you’ll need to pay for entertainment apps separately, the JRNY app software overlays your workout metrics like speed, distance, and cadence discreetly over your favorite show so you don’t have to toggle between apps. Plus with Bowflex, you’ll also have connectivity options for other apps, you’re not locked into just one program.
Although both bikes offer high-quality workout experiences, you’re the only one who knows which bike is right for you. To help you decide, here is a quick overview of the main differences between Peloton vs Bowflex C6:
- Built-in touchscreen to access on-demand Peloton classes
- Live classes and Leaderboard standings
- Pricey at $44 a month for All-Access Membership
- JRNY offers the option to stream entertainment like Hulu and Netflix
- Enjoy Explore The World for scenic destination rides
- You’ll need to use your iPhone, iPad, or other smart device
- Low monthly subscription fee at $20 per month
Bowflex C6 vs Peloton Conveniences
We think it’s quite convenient that Bowflex offers dual-sided pedals: One side with toe cages where you can slip a regular sneaker into place, and the other side with SPB clips, which is a two-hole cleat system.
The Peloton Bike does not feature toe cages, and you will be required to have cycling shoes with Delta-compatible, three-hole cleats. If you want the convenience of buying these cleats from Peloton at the time of your Peloton Bike purchase, it’ll cost you an additional $125.
An additional convenience we found was the fact that the Bowflex C6 comes equipped with a pair of 3-pound dumbbells, where the Peloton does not. Although that might sound trivial, a lot of studio cycle classes on Peloton and JRNY add high-repetition movements like overhead presses and lateral raises to incorporate upper-body strength training.
Here is a quick look at the company policies laid out by both Peloton and Bowflex.
The Peloton Bike warranty covers the frame for up to five years and the HD touchscreen for one year. The website states this warranty covers defects in workmanship, not wear and tear to the bike. It also states it’s important to review your owner’s manual for proper care of your Peloton Bike to prevent damage from use.
The Bowflex C6 Bike provides a 10-year warranty on the frame, three years on mechanical parts and electronics, plus one year on labor. This Bowflex warranty is a little closer to what we like to see on exercise bikes in general, but the best warranties cover at least 15 years on the frame.
Peloton has a pretty standard 30-day return policy from the day of delivery. If you decide you’re not thrilled with the Peloton Bike, it’s good to know ahead of time that you’ll be responsible for shipping fees to send it back. You will also have to contact Peloton’s customer service to start the return process.
Bowflex offers slightly more time with a six-week return window. You will also have to initiate the return process by contacting customer service for a return merchandise authorization (RMA) number. If you make any returns without an RMA, the brand will not grant you a refund.
Peloton uses third-party lender Affirm for equipment financing. To use this option, go through checkout as usual and select the “pay over time” button. You’ll need to apply and if you qualify, you can receive 0% APR financing for 12 months.
Bowflex equipment can be financed, but you’ll have to apply for a Bowflex credit card based on your credit history. If you qualify, you can make interest-free payments for the first 18 months.
Final Thoughts on Bowflex C6 vs Peloton
The thing about comparing the Bowflex C6 to the Peloton Bike is really the price tag—both the initial purchase and the ongoing membership fees. You get more built-in tech with Peloton, but if you’re shopping for a budget bike, built-in tech might be something to sacrifice. To review, here are some of the main differences:
- Bowflex C6 offers more flexibility to choose interactive programming apps, plus Bowflex’s JRNY app allows you to stream shows and movies.
- Peloton Bike and All-Access Membership allows for live classes and Leaderboard metrics.
- The C6 has toe cages that can be used with any type of athletic shoe, not just cycling shoes.
- The C6 offers a slightly higher weight capacity at 330 pounds, versus the Peloton Bike at 297 pounds.
- Bowflex offers a longer 10-year frame warranty versus Peloton’s 5-year warranty.
Bowflex C6 vs Peloton FAQs
How does Bowflex C6 resistance compare to Peloton?
Both bikes offer the ability to spin to your heart’s desire with heavy flywheels, magnetic resistance, and 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels. You’ll have everything you need for tough hill climbs and all-out sprints.
What bike is most comparable to Peloton?
Peloton has quite a few competitors on today’s market. We’ve tested and reviewed several bikes and put them head-to-head with the Peloton Bike including the NordicTrack S22i, MYX II, and the Schwinn IC4.
What is a cheaper alternative to Peloton?
The Bowflex C6 offers a budget-friendly indoor cycle bike that won’t cost you more than $1,000 with the ability to choose from popular fitness apps like Peloton, Zwift, and Rouvy, plus Bowflex’s feature app: JRNY.
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