Classes We Love: Flywheel Sports

The indoor cycling mecca finally makes it to Boston.

Photo provided.

Photo provided.

What It Is: 

Flywheel is a boutique indoor cycling studio with locations across the country. It started in NYC in 2010 when Ruth Zukerman, an original co-founder of SoulCycle, left the company after three years to open Flywheel with a team of investors, including former NFL star Tiki Barber. But don’t let the former affiliations fool you; most indoor cycling studios are different, and Flywheel is in a league of its own.

The classes are called Fly 45, which is an intense 45-minute indoor cycling class. You’ll sprint, climb hills, and pedal to the beat of carefully selected and curated pop, hip-hop, and dance mash-ups and remixes by NYC based music producer and DJ, Scott Melker.

One of the best parts of Flywheel are the bikes. There’s an electronic screen on each bike that tells you exactly where you’ re at when it comes to resistance and RPM. So this way, when you turn the resistance knob to say, a 25, you are actually on 25. Most indoor cycling studios have just the knobs so when the instructor says to turn it to 30, you never really know what number you’re really at.

About three-quarters of the way through class, it’s time to break out the weighted bars for arm work. Flywheel offers two bars, one thinner than the other. You’ll never realize how hard doing bicep curls with just a 5-pound weight is until you’ve tried it on a bike.

Photo provided.

Photo provided.

Know Before You Go:

The high-tech Flywheel bikes are clip-in shoe-only, but they offer free shoe rental, which is unique because most places charge. Also free: water! It’s BYOBottle, and there’s taps built right into the wall. You even get your choice of room temp or chilled. There’s also free lockers to store all your belongings and free towels, so basically you don’t need to bring anything with you at all. If you forget your water bottle, they offer Smartwater for sale.

You check yourself in via Surface tablets (with keyboards) once you get to the studio, but there are also front desk employees on hand to help out with any kinks.

Flywheel also employs people who clean the cycling rooms after every class. These same guys are on hand to help you set up the bike properly to your height specifications and help you clip onto the pedals. This makes the class really stress-free.

The Vibe:

Tucked in an underused enclave of the Pru, the bright and airy studio is filled with stylish workout apparel and plenty of seating. But the actual cycling room itself is small and packed with bikes. A Flywheel exclusive perk is that every studio has stadium seating, so everyone can see the instructor and there’s really not a bad seat in the house. Although the room is crowded, the stadium seating ensures you won’t take an elbow to the head when doing the arm work.

The studio can get competitive if you like that sort of thing (I do). Another Flywheel-only bonus is the Torqboard. Two large flatscreens display the class’s performance metrics a couple of times throughout the ride. It’s an optional thing, so you can always opt-out if you don’t want to know how you’re doing or get embarrassed if you don’t make the board. (My first Flywheel class in two years was Wednesday, and although I opted IN to the board, I didn’t even make it ON the board. It displays the top 10 men and women.)

The lights are turned off in class, so you spend less time looking around the room and more time concentrating on your own ride.

Photo by Melissa Malamut

Photo by Melissa Malamut

The Cost:

Like most boutique anything, classes are not cheap: a single ride is $28; 5 rides for $125; 10 rides for $235; or 20 rides for $430. If you prefer a monthly unlimited membership, there are still a few spots left in the “Founder’s Membership” which is only open to the first 100 people that sign up. It’s $170 a month unlimited; normally the unlimited membership is $220 a month.

What to Bring:

Nothing. Just your game face. You’ll need it. And maybe an empty water bottle. If you have your own “spin” shoes, bring those as well, but it’s not necessary (see above).

Flywheel Co-founder Ruth Zukerman

Flywheel Co-founder Ruth Zukerman

The Bottom Line:

There are a lot of indoor cycling studios out there, and if you love cycling, you’ll most likely love them all. But Flywheel always seems to be a step ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to technology and amenities. If you like indoor cycling, Flywheel is a must-try.

800 Boylston Street, 617-300-0388, boston.flywheelsports.com 

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