It’s Hip to Spin: SoulCycle vs Kinetic vs Flywheel

Spinning – or as I like to call it, head-down-sweat-dripping-rock-fest – has been around for a while now. But this year it seems to have really taken off.

As a spin-addict friend of mine said when she convinced me to try my first class: “You won’t die.” Now there’s an endorsement. “You may look like death at the end of class,” she said, “but you will LOVE IT.” Hmmm.

Now let’s look at three big players in the spin scene.


SoulCycle has studios on both coasts. It has a cool vibe, a spiritual edge to it. The bottom line: it’s super hip.

SoulCycle invites you to “Take your journey. Change your body. Find your soul.” And don’t forget to bathe and do your laundry. Really, that’s part of SoulCycle etiquette: don’t stink up the place. Along with these directives: no texting, no chatting, be part of the pack, and be kind.

SoulCycle has cooked up that secret sauce that makes people feel like they’re not just working out, they’re part of something bigger (a la Lululemon, which has somehow made buying yoga pants that lift your rear feel like a life-changing event).



Kinetic was founded by 20-year spinning veteran John Scarangello and is frequented by A-listers Reese Witherspoon, Sophia Vagara, and Katie Holmes. Yes, Kinetic is in West Hollywood.

It’s a fully-produced experience, with LED lights, THX surround sound, and high-def videos that aim to inspire you to spin your way to happiness. Or at least to a raised metabolism, boosted immune system, and reduced anxiety levels – which could very well lead to happiness.

The light show, thumping bass, and videos of skydivers jumping out of planes – it all might also have the added benefit of distracting you from the fact that you’ve been on your bike, pedaling at a steep uphill grade, for 45 minutes.


Flywheel may be the most traditional of the three. It’s straight-up spin on custom engineered bikes with a torque board and RPM connected to your bike that allows you to see where you’re tracking in the class.

Flywheel keeps it simple: “This is the workout for you. Whoever you are. Ride as hard as you dare.”

Like SoulCycle, Flywheel’s instructors are gorgeous and pumped up, ready to rock you. Unlike SoulCycle, there are no arm weights or emphasis on the upper body. It’s all legs and core, all the time.

With centers in many cities across the country (and Dubai), Flywheel’s “stadium cycling” is spreading quickly.

So … I tried it. I appreciate the raw sweat value of spin. But I didn’t become addicted. I think I’ll stick with yoga and trail runs, snowshoeing and free weights at the gym with my husband.


How about you? Are you fan of spin? Tell us in a comment!

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Exercise Books that Will Rock You (Inside and Out)
  • Book Cover
  • Book Cover
  • Book Cover
  • Book Cover

[email_signup id="5"]
[email_signup id="5"]