The success of the Peloton Bike sparked a rush of home exercise bikes that link up with apps for guided training, and I’ve reviewed models from the likes of Echelon and Apex that do a great job of offering a similar experience to Peloton for less money.
However, the Technogym Bike is the first I’ve tested that can claim to offer a better experience than Peloton, while still coming in a little cheaper once the monthly costs are taken into account. Notably the Technogym Bike’s screen can be used for more than watching guided classes or scenic landscapes, with apps like Netflix available to stream on it; combining this open access with the quality of the bike makes it the best home cycling experience I’ve yet seen.
The Set Up
The Technogym Bike costs £1,990, and as you’d expect at that price delivery and installation are included, so it’s very easy to get going with the bike. You also get a 30-day trial of the app’s subscriber features with your purchase, so you can make an informed decision about spending £29 a month to maintain that membership level.
It’s actually a viable option to skip the extra outlay, unlike with Peloton or Echelon where you get very little from the bike without the paid-for app. Without a subscription, the Technogym Bike still lets you access a selection of on-demand classes from the partner studios (1Rebel in London and Revolution in Milan) and some of Technogym’s own cycling and strength sessions, as well as access to apps like Netflix and YouTube on the screen. The full membership opens up live classes from the studios, but you can get by pretty happily when riding without a subscription on the Technogym Bike.
The bike has a 17.4kg flywheel with a dial to control the level of magnetic resistance. On the handlebars is a 22in (56cm) HD touchscreen. As well as the bundled workouts and apps, you can also plug in an HDMI cable or use Google’s Chromecast or the Amazon Fire TV Stick to mirror the screen on other devices, opening up even more entertainment options.
This extra degree of control was something I found wanting on the Peloton Bike, because sometimes you don’t want to do a spinning class. Sometimes you want to pedal away while watching Parks And Recreation on a massive HD screen perfectly positioned right in front of your face.
The pedals on the bike are dual-sided, with clips for SPD cleats and a toe-cage for normal trainers on either side. The bike is easily adjusted to achieve the right fit – you can raise or lower the handlebars and saddle, and move the saddle forwards or back.
There are a variety of grips on the handlebars to suit the varied demands of spinning instructors, as well as space for two water bottles. Two 1.5kg dumbbells are included with the bike and can be stored underneath the saddle.
Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself with an all-out HIIT session, take a gentle pedal through a scenic landscape or sit back and watch some TV while clocking up your 30 minutes of daily activity, the Technogym Bike delivers a top-notch experience.
The classes from 1Rebel and Revolution are in keeping with the spinning sessions you find on the Peloton or in real-world studios, with instructors delivering motivational patter and a leaderboard on screen to push the more competitive participants to work that little bit harder.
As someone who rarely has the foresight to plan a ride to fit with a studio’s schedule, I mostly used the on-demand classes on the bike, including several of Technogym’s own ones, which I found to be equally enjoyable to the 1Rebel ones.
All the stats you’d expect are shown on screen, including your power and cadence (RPM). An engaging colour-coded system helps to display your effort level and the difficulty of the next part of the class. However, to take advantage of this you will need to enter a functional threshold power (FTP) measurement, since the colour-coded zones show a percentage of this, though the bike will estimate it for you if you don’t know your FTP.
The bike is very quiet and runs smoothly even as you ramp up the resistance and rise out of the saddle, and the instructions from the trainers in the classes I tried were clear across the board. I’m not a spinning devotee or someone who is motivated by being shouted at by an earnest trainer, but I didn’t find the instructors at all annoying. The HIIT sessions I tried were well designed, with a good balance between the work and rest periods.
On all of the above, the Technogym scores well, offering a similar experience to rivals like Peloton. However, what sets it apart is the en
tertainment options, especially the integrated access to video and streaming apps, and screen mirroring via Chromecast. You can of course just use your own tablet propped up close by, but having TV shows and movies displayed on an excellent-quality and sizable HD screen built into the handlebars of your bike makes for a far more immersive experience.
It will also hopefully keep you motivated to keep using the bike if the appeal of spinning classes starts to wane. One tactic I’ve tried in the past with another bike is to watch one particular show only when cycling, a rule that worked surprisingly well for me with The Last Dance, especially as new episodes only came out weekly.
My only minor complaint is that the Technogym Bike doesn’t link directly to apps like Zwift, where you control an avatar cycling in a virtual world. This is probably not a feature that will appeal greatly to the core audience the bike is aimed at, but it would have extended the entertainment options even further to include keen riders who do use Zwift and might have family members who also want spinning classes.
The Technogym Bike matches any other exercise bike and it does so with a monthly cost that is less than the £40 a month you have to pay for rivals Peloton and Echelon. You also get plenty of free workouts on the Technogym Bike, certainly enough that you could take a month or two off the subscription and still enjoy using it regularly.
Of course, the upfront cost is still substantial (although it can be paid off in monthly installments of £53.10 over three years) and there are significantly cheaper options with Echelon’s entry-level Connect Sport bike at just £799, while the Apex Bike is £1,200. The Technogym Bike is a superior bit of kit with a weightier flywheel and smoother ride plus the built-in screen, but you can get a great HIIT session done on those other bikes using a tablet.
However, the Technogym Bike is built to compete at the top end of the market, and if you have the cash to splash, it’s the best all-round option for cycling at home available.
Buy from Technogym | £1,990