The Peloton Bike still seems to be the gold standard when it comes to home streaming cycles, but with a luxury price, it’s unfortunately out of reach for a lot of homes.
Fortunately, these days there are plenty of alternatives that are much more affordable.
Like Bowflex’s C6.
With a 40 lb flywheel, 100 levels of resistance, and a heavy-duty frame, the C6 has what it takes to provide a great workout.
And with bluetooth compatibility, you can sync up with fitness apps (like Peloton) to access streaming workouts.
Long-story-short: the C6 is one of the better Peloton alternatives out there (maybe the best, given the price), but I’m getting ahead of myself.
In this article, I’ll compare the C6 and the Peloton with regards to all the key specs and features each has to offer.
After reading, you’ll know everything you need to about these 2 cycles to decide which one is the better option for your home.
Let’s get rollin’.
|Bowflex C6||The Peloton Bike|
|Resistance||40 lb flywheel|
100 levels of magnetic resistance
|35 lb flywheel
100 levels of magnetic resistance
|Frame||112 lb assembled weight|
330 lb weight capacity
|135 lb assembled weight
297 lb weight capacity
|Warranty||10 year frame|
3 year parts
1 year labor
|5 year frame
1 year parts
1 year labor
|Features||Small LCD console|
Heart rate monitor included
Pair of 3 lb dumbbells included
Fully adjustable seat
Fully adjustable handlebars
Compatible with multiple fitness apps
6 month trial of JRNY app
|22" HD touchscreen console
Access to 1000's of live/on-demand workouts
Fully adjustable seat
Optional JRNY app: $19.99/month
Membership fee: $39.99/month
The Bowflex C6 vs The Peloton Bike
Above images courtesy of Bowflex and Peloton, respectively
Peloton was the first brand to bring instructor-led, streaming workouts to our home gyms and they’re still going strong today (even with the recent issues with their Tread).
Given the ridiculous amount of success Peloton has had, it’s only natural that other brands start doing the same thing.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen several competent Peloton competitors hit the market.
We’re familiar with brands like NordicTrack and Echelon, but there are plenty of less familiar brands popping up all the time too.
Bowflex is by no means a “less familiar brand”, but I’m not sure everyone knows that they offer streaming products these days too.
And yes, this is the same Bowflex that started out with their power rod home gyms (which are still going strong).
Bowflex has their own streaming app now (JRNY) and they have several cardio machines that are compatible with it, but more on that in a bit.
Their C6 is what we’re here to talk about today, so without further ado, let’s get to it.
Let’s start with the performance side of things with these 2 cycles and then move on to the features.
I realize most folks who are interested in the Peloton or any other streaming bike are probably more interested in the streaming features themselves, but I still think performance is the most important aspect for any bike.
Because let’s be real- if a bike doesn’t feel smooth or provide a good workout, odds are you won’t be using it for long.
When it comes to resistance, the key things to look for include flywheel weight, resistance mechanisms, and drive trains.
Most exercise bikes these days are designed to benefit from having a heavier flywheel. This is because the extra weight builds more momentum, which helps keep the pedals moving between pedal strokes.
The result is a smoother feel during workouts.
The Peloton comes with a 35 lb flywheel and the C6 comes with a 40 lb flywheel.
The C6’s is a good 5 lb heavier, but both flywheels are easily heavy enough to provide a smooth feel during workouts.
Spin bikes can use friction brakes or magnetic systems to provide the resistance. The Peloton and the C6 both use magnetic systems, so there’s no need to dive into friction brakes here.
(Just know that magnetic systems are better).
When it comes to resistance, both bikes offer 100, micro-adjustable levels that are adjusted via a knob.
As a Peloton owner myself, I have to say I love this feature because it gives you the ability to make very small changes to your resistance.
And it’s great for the C6 too, especially if you plan on using Peloton’s Digital App, because your resistance settings will match the resistance settings the instructors are using.
When it comes to the drive train, indoor cycles will use either chain or belt drives to connect the pedals to the flywheel.
The C6 and the Peloton both use quiet, belt drive systems, so there’s no real difference here (belts are considered better than chains because they’re quieter and a little more responsive).
Overall, the C6 is very similar to the Peloton when it comes to the resistance systems. Both bikes come with 100 levels of magnetic resistance and quiet belt drives and the C6 is even packing a heavier flywheel.
When I’m comparing the frames of 2 bikes, I like to look at a few key specs to get an idea as to how heavy-duty they’re going to feel.
In this case, I own a Peloton, so I know that it feels very heavy-duty and secure, but most of us don’t have the luxury of being able to test a bike out before purchasing.
In these cases, looking at the weight capacities and assembled weights is the next best thing.
The C6 comes with an assembled weight of 112 lb and a max user weight of 330 lb.
The Peloton comes with an assembled weight of 135 lb and a max user weight of 297 lb.
So, a few things here.
First of all, both bikes come with basically the same foot print (4′ x 2′), so no big difference when it comes to how much space they take up.
The Peloton weighs about 20 lb more than the C6- now the C6 doesn’t come with a huge monitor, so that alone gives the Peloton about 10 lb on it.
But the C6’s flywheel is about 5 lb heavier than the Peloton’s.
Basically, all of this means that the Peloton’s frame is still quite a bit bulkier than the C6’s.
That said, the C6 comes with a higher weight limit than the Peloton (I’m still not sure why the Peloton comes with such a low, oddly specific weight capacity).
Either way, both bikes are heavy enough to be considered heavy-duty in my book.
Overall, with assembled weights this high, you shouldn’t have to worry about either bike wobbling or feeling unstable during workouts.
Both bikes also come with with weight capacities high enough to accommodate most riders.
Yes, I know I’m bouncing from one boring topic to the next, but this is important stuff people.
I realize warranties aren’t the most exciting features to talk about, but it’s definitely something to consider. After all, the warranty is your bike’s insurance policy.
Peloton offers the following residential guarantee on their bike:
- 5 year frame
- 1 year parts
- 1 year labor
And Bowflex offers this residential guarantee on their C6:
- 10 year frame
- 3 year parts
- 1 year labor
Comparing the 2 warranties beside each other like this, it’s easy to spot the differences.
It’s also easy to say that Bowflex offers a much better warranty than Peloton does.
The warranty department is one of the areas Peloton has plenty of room for improvement, although I have to say I’ve been very happy with mine so far.
At the time of writing this, I’ve had my Peloton for about 4 years and I’ve had 0 issues with it so far (knock on wood).
But the warranty that Bowflex offers is very generous, especially considering the price difference.
10 years on the frame is pretty solid, as is 3 years on parts. One year on labor is pretty standard, regardless of price range.
Overall, Bowflex wins this category hands down.
Ok, we’re finally getting to the good stuff- if you’ve made it this far, I thank you for your patience.
Time to talk features.
Let’s start with a rundown on what the C6 comes with and then do the same for the Peloton.
Bowflex’s C6 comes with the following included features:
- Small LCD console
- Fully adjustable handlebars
- Fully adjustable seat
- Bluetooth arm band heart rate monitor
- Pair of 3 lb dumbbells
- Dual-sided pedals (toe cages and SPD)
- Dual water bottle holders
- Tablet holder
- 6 month JRNY trial
- Compatible with several fitness apps (including Peloton’s)
Ok, and the Peloton Bike comes with the following:
- 22″ HD touchscreen display
- Access to 1000’s of live and on-demand instructor-led workouts
- Fully adjustable seat
- Height adjustable handlebars
- Delta cleat compatible pedals
- Dumbbell holders
- Dual water bottle holders
Ok, so the C6 comes with an impressive collection of included features.
It’s awesome that it comes with an included heart rate monitor and a pair of dumbbells (because Peloton makes you pay extra for these features), but it’s the LCD console that’s a real game changer here.
I say this, because with the LCD console, as basic as it may be, you can track your cadence and all other workout metrics without an app.
This means you can use the C6 as is, without having to be a member of some monthly membership- which is awesome in case things change and you might want to cut down on costs.
I also want to point out that Bowflex has their own streaming app too- JRNY.
Bowflex includes 6 months of JRNY free with purchase, but after that you’d have to pay the monthly fee to keep using.
Through JRNY, you get access to on-demand, instructor-led workouts, metric tracking, and scenic routes. They also have non-cycling workouts and personalized workouts based on your performance.
But the C6 can easily pair with the Peloton Digital App too, using your tablet/phone as the monitor.
And since the C6 has its own little console, you’ll be able to see all of your stats directly on the bike (without it, you wouldn’t be able to see your cadence through the Peloton app).
With the Peloton, the bike itself is nice, but it’s the HD touchscreen that’s the real star of the show.
Well, that and the Peloton app itself, which is amazing.
The Peloton app still has the best instructors and the best production value if you ask me (although I admit I’m a bit biased).
Through the Peloton app, you get unlimited access to live workouts as well as a library of thousands of on-demand workouts.
As you’ll notice from the lists above, Peloton doesn’t include the dumbbells, cleats, or heart rate monitor with purchase. Instead, they offer different packages (for additional cost) that include them.
Overall, the C6 comes with a lot of included features for the price, but I think it’s the inclusion of the small console that sets it apart from a lot of the other competitors.
Speaking of price, it’s about time to go over some numbers.
I mentioned at the beginning that the Peloton is priced as a luxury bike- well, it’s time to get a little more specific.
Here are the current (at the time of writing this anyway) prices for these bikes:
Bowflex C6: $999
Peloton Bike: $1,495
So, the most basic Peloton package (which is only the bike itself) is about $500 more than the C6.
I’d just like to point out how much cheaper the Peloton is now than it was a few years ago- I’m pretty sure the basic package was about $500 more expensive before the Bike+ came out…
Anyway, Peloton offers a few other packages that come with varying accessories, like dumbbells, headphones, heart rate monitors, etc, which will increase the initial cost.
With the C6, you don’t need a streaming membership, but if you decide to keep your JRNY membership active, you’ll have to pay the ongoing $19.99/month streaming fee.
Peloton’s streaming fee is $39.99/month with the bike, but you can also use their Digital App ($12.99/month) without the bike.
I like to save this area for any other thoughts or concerns I have regarding either bike.
In this case, I don’t have much to add.
I’ve already mentioned a few times that I own a Peloton and have for a few years now. I would like to point out that I love the Peloton and I still use it a few times a week.
The quality of the bike is great, but it’s the quality of the instructors and the streaming app itself which is the real attraction.
If you already own a tablet, only having to pay $12.99/month to access Peloton’s digital app is a pretty sweet deal, especially considering that other bikes (like the C6) are compatible.
Alrighty, I think it’s about time to wrap things up here.
I’m impressed with the Bowflex’s C6. I think it has a lot to be proud of for any spin bike, not just one that can be used as a Peloton alternative.
Performance wise, it’s packing a heavy flywheel, comes with a ton of resistance levels, and is durably built.
I also like that it comes with so many additional features (dumbbells, heart rate monitor, etc).
The Peloton is the Peloton- it’s awesome and it’s still the gold standard when it comes to streaming workouts.
But that awesomeness comes with a pretty high cost.
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, I think the C6 is a great option- I think I mentioned it earlier, but I actually think the C6 is one of the best Peloton alternatives out there.
Especially since with the C6, you can use several different fitness apps (including Peloton’s), but you can also use it without a streaming service.
That’s win-win if you ask me.