In addition to being the most size-inclusive option, SoulCycle has successfully set itself apart by sticking to its roots and leaning into what it knows: the Soultribe community. Riders come to SoulCycle to break a sweat, to be moved and to feel alive. It’s simply not about the numbers (in fact, there hardly are any numbers). With Peloton, you almost can’t escape the metrics. Your speed, distance, total output, calories burned, cadence, resistance and leaderboard rank are all measured, averaged and meticulously organized into individual bar graphs that live on the app forever. If you love tracking your progress or are training for a specific challenge, there’s no doubt these numbers can be useful. But for SoulCycle, it’s about riding with the pack, not against it. And that energy is palpable throughout each and every class.
When it comes to design, the bikes are almost identical (though SoulCycle comes with a fourth fit setting that can adjust the handlebar depth, compared to Peloton’s three). The main difference lies in the screen, which is fixed on Soul and can swivel 180 degrees in either direction on the Peloton Bike+, allowing you to unclip and begin a floor workout without having to switch devices. Though SoulCycle focuses on spinning, it also has upper body sculpt classes that can be taken on or off the bike. The lack of swivel made it a bit tricky—though not impossible—to participate in these classes while standing. The Peloton Bike+ also has an auto-follow feature that, when engaged, will automatically adjust to the instructor's recommended resistance changes throughout class (so you don’t even have to touch the resistance knob). SoulCycle and the original Peloton bike do not offer this feature.
The app integration is also very different. With Equinox+, each type of workout available on the app is its own brand, with its own filming style and workout philosophy. You won’t see your favorite SoulCycle instructor popping up in a Rumble boxing class or a [solidcore] beginner series, and none of them are filmed on the same set. With Peloton, there’s consistency across all modalities in terms of set, style and class structure. They’re built to be done on their own or stacked on top of each other, and you know what to expect because they each have a similar cadence and rhythm. If you prefer a cohesive experience, Peloton’s app takes the cake. But if you like mixing it up and don’t mind learning new workout methods, Equinox+ will keep you on your toes.
Where SoulCycle undoubtedly has a leg up is with entertainment. Unlike Peloton, the SoulCycle bike supports Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, so you can stream your favorite shows while cycling at your own pace using the “free ride” feature.