This up-and-coming fitness studio is turning into Soul Cycle's biggest threat

Cycle BarCycleBarInside a CycleBar studio.

Fitness can be an incredibly expensive habit.

Indoor cycling, which has become all the rage with SoulCycle and Flywheel, is notoriously pricey. With $US34 a pop Soul Cycle classes (not counting the $US2 water and $US3 shoe rental), boutique fitness classes can drain your wallet.

But an emerging studio, CycleBar, has a solution.

CycleBar was founded in 2004 by brother-sister duo Bill Pryor and Alex Klemmer. The up-and-coming studio is offering up the boutique indoor cycling experience for a significantly cheaper rate for a single class at a rate of $US18-20, depending on location. Class packages available in 5, 10, 20, 50, or 100, drop the per-class price down to as low as $US12 per class in some cities.

And the company is expanding like crazy. There are currently three studios in Cincinnati, Boston, and Detroit, and since March, the company has inked deals for 104 franchises to open, many of which are in major cities such as Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Austin, and San Francisco. Some of these new locations are expected to launch around mid-October, with around 100 expected to be open by the end of 2016.

Cyclebar CycleBarThe CycleBar front desk.

Like SoulCycle and Flywheel, the studio makes working out a luxury experience. Riders walk in and are treated by a concierge service. Unlike Soul Cycle (but like Flywheel), they can pick up free water and shoes as a part of the experience.

But in order to really make it in the boutique cycling business, you need to stand out. Soul Cycle has its zen-like mantras. Flywheel has intense athleticism and the famous Torq board that tracks your performance. CycleBar has a unique high-tech cycling theatre, complete with a massive video screen, enhanced sound, and lighting designed to match the experience.

Like Flywheel, CycleBar gives people the option to track their performance with, although it’s not required.

“If you talk to our clients, some of them don’t even use the performance measures, but … Bill Pryor [the CEO] felt that if you don’t offer the stats, then you don’t have a platform to be able to do it,” said Heather Harris, President of CycleBar.

“The people that do [use it] really love it,” she said, as they can track how hard they worked out from class to class and over longer periods of time, like a year. And like Flywheel’s Torq board, you became accountable for your work. “You know when you did not work out to the best of your ability,” she said.

Should you work out to the best of your ability, Harris says on average people burn 500-700 calories per class. Unlike other big-name studios, CycleBar provides clients with heart rate monitors. The company is working on a phase two version of its heart rate monitor as of now.

CyclebarCycleBarOutside the CycleBar studio.

People have the option to try five different classes, all of which pull from the best of the cycling world : a basic intro class for beginners, a classic 50-minute ride, a 5- minute strength ride that focuses on upper body strength, a performance class that focuses on tracking speed and stats, a “connect” ride which incorporates elements of the mind-body connection found in yoga, various themed rides, and an endurance ride for the strong who want a 75-minute workout.

Instructors — or “Cycle Stars” — aren’t necessarily people who pursue fitness for a living. Harris said many of them have regular day jobs and found a passion (quote). Rather than going through a Cycle-Bar specific program, they are trained through Mad Dog Athletics; one of the biggest companies for spin instructor certification. Then they put their own spin on their ride for a unique experience.

Cycle Bar also prides itself on its “Cycle Beats,” the playlists which the Cycle Stars use for class. The Cycle Beats playlists are readily available for download online, too.

Most importantly, CycleBar is tapping the market that wants to work out at luxury studios, but can’t necessarily afford expensive classes.

“We love what Fly and Soul are doing because they helped gain credibility to the classification,” Harris told Business Insider. “We just think we are bringing a great product to market, and we’re pricing it for the masses. We don’t like the feeling that […] only the richest people can afford boutique fitness. That is exactly the reason why we got into the space with the pricing model that we did.”

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