The Best Online Cycling Classes to Kick Your Workout into High Gear

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online cycling classes

MIHAJLO CKOVRIC / Stocksy

With up-tempo music, swanky interiors, and top-of-the-line spin bikes, cycling classes have encouraged millions of us to pedal through heart-pumping and challenging routines. But with more bikes available at competitive prices, as well as reliable trainers to stabilize your equipment, creating your very own spin studio from the comfort of home is becoming a popular option.

With a stream of On Demand and live-stream classes available at the touch of a button, you’ll never miss a workout. Here, we’ve compiled the best online cycling classes for all budgets, styles, and goals.

The 6 Best Online Cycling Classes of 2021

Best Overall: Peloton

peleton spin bike

Peleton

Why We Chose It: We chose Peloton as the best overall for cycling classes given its overall value. Customers experience affordable luxury with its first-rate line-up of classes. Both live stream and on-demand videos are filmed with state-of-the-art technology for a polished, in-studio experience.

What We Like:

  • A wide selection of live classes and on-demand workouts
  • Suitable for beginner, intermediate, and advanced cyclists
  • Affordable monthly payment options for the Peloton Bike

What We Don’t Like:

  • The all-access membership is an additional cost to the Peloton Bike
  • Add on equipment is a separate cost to the bike

Peloton has risen to cult-status among cycling and fitness enthusiasts as a pioneer in the high-tech, home workout market. The brand’s immersive workouts are designed to empower clients through each and every session, while generating a community of like-minded fans.

Although you can cycle your way through Peloton workouts with your indoor bike of choice, the full Peloton experience requires a specialized brand bike, with an estimated delivery time of four to eight weeks. The basic bike, without additional equipment, costs around $1,895 with payments as low as roughly $49 per month, and comes with a 30-day at-home trial and a 12-month limited warranty. Add ons, such as cycling shoes, weights, and heart monitor strap, cost more.

Additionally, you’ll need to buy a month Peloton All-Access Membership for around $39 per month to stream class content. But with 24-hour access to live classes—each accompanied by a DJ for a blast of motivation—many feel the price tag is worth it. Whether it’s a 20-minute ‘80s Rock Ride or a 45-minute HIIT & Hills class, there is a workout to suit every day of the week.

If live classes aren’t your jam, Peloton provides access to more than 4,000 on-demand rides for every level, length, and fitness goal. There are also "intimidation-free" rides for beginners to get into the swing of cycling, as well as pro-cyclist classes for the experts.

Beyond this, Peloton offers a dynamic range of classes led by top trainers, with strength, yoga, running, stretching, and meditation, for a cost of roughly $13 for a Peloton Digital Membership, which doesn’t require brand hardware and allows single-user access to the Peloton App class library.

Best for Community: CycleBar Go

Woman at spin class
Rob and Julia Campbell/Stocksy United

Why We Chose It: CycleBar Go brings the community vibe to each of its workouts, with an all-encompassing social and friendly vibe.

What We Like:

  • Affordable, on-demand service with polished videos
  • Classes for all levels
  • No additional equipment required (other than your bike)

What We Don’t Like:

  • No live classes
  • Compared to other cycling services, some reviews claim there is less of a class variety

CycleBar Go’s low impact, high-intensity classes bring foster community within every workout and all levels. Blending strength and endurance with hill climbs and drills, the company's on-demand content brings more than 200 hours of both audio and video sessions to your phone, tablet, or TV screen.

Just like the in-studio workouts, a range of classes can be found within the on-demand lineup, including Xpress 30-minute cycles, 45-minute Classic rides, and 45-minute Empower sessions. And, most of them incorporate a bar into the workout to target the upper body.

You can drill down your options to ride with your preferred trainer or select a program for a spark of motivation, including the 28 Day Beginner challenges for first-timers. New content is also added on an ongoing basis to keep your rides energized.

Additionally, there is a library of restorative classes off the bike, targeting various muscle groups, and aiding your recovery. New riders can bag a 7-day free trial, before committing roughly $20 a month for membership.

Best Variety: Studio SWEAT onDemand

woman spin bike

Stocksy

Why We Chose It: Studio SWEAT onDemand has received high praise across online reviews. Filmed in the California-based gym, classes provide clear, simple instructions for riders to follow (ideal for new and inexperienced riders) with a variety of classes led by trainers who have a down-to-earth appeal.

What We Like:

  • Wide variety of classes for all levels, with off-the-bike workout options
  • All indoor spin bikes suitable for workouts
  • No additional equipment required for spin classes (other than the bike)

What We Don’t Like:

  • Limited live classes
  • Expensive to download a single video, relative to the monthly all-access cost

Studio SWEAT onDemand classes are streamable from virtually any device, including the company's app. With plenty of classes to choose from, there’s no risk of workouts becoming repetitive.

Members can search by date, length, title, trainer, and type, including beginner 10-minute Saddle Up sessions and a 20-minute Rhythm Ride, going all the way up to an advanced 1,000-calorie burn cycle. New workouts are released routinely to keep the content fresh.

Membership also grants access to other workouts for a well-rounded routine. Boot camp, HIIT, yoga, body sculpt, and stretch courses are all available for the taking. The 7-day free trial is perfect to sample an array of classes, before converting to the roughly $20 a month fee, or about $189 for a full year.

For an additional $5 a month, members will receive customized workout plans, nutrition trips, offline downloads, and a discount on merchandise. Studio SWEAT onDemand also has the option to convert your home into a spin studio with its bike bundle, starting at roughly $899 for a Spinner L9 Chain consumer-grade bike, and a 12-month all-access plan.

Best for All Levels: LES MILLS On Demand

spin bike

Santi Nuñez / Stocksy

Why We Chose It: As an established global brand with a loyal following, LES MILLS On Demand delivers value, quality, and variety. Members have access to quality, signature classes, and immersive bike rides.

What We Like:

  • Great overall value with a low monthly cost
  • Free 30-day trial
  • A good range of high energy signature cycle classes, suitable for all levels

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not all courses are filmed in front of a live audience
  • Some reviews suggest that darker set backgrounds can make it difficult to see clearly what trainers are doing

Known for its empowering in-studio workouts, LES Mills provides the goods with its On Demand classes, streamed from your phone straight to the TV.

In the cycling category, LES MILLS offers The Trip, a 40-minute virtual cycle workout through "digitally-created worlds" for a moment of escape; an RPM class that blends hills, sprints, and flat cycling to level up your biking abilities; and a 30-minute Sprint class for a blast of HIIT and big calorie burn at any time.

Membership provides access to cycling sessions and over a thousand sweat-inducing workouts, across strength training, cardio, dance, abs, and flexibility. The monthly cost is roughly $15; three months is about $36; and an annual fee costs approximately $120.

Best Experience: SoulCycle on Variis

woman on stationary bike

Getty Images

Why We Chose It: Founded in 2006, SoulCycle is a top-of-the-line brand in cycling, which is now available at-home via Variis. It's widely-known for providing an engaging and motivating experience.

What We Like:

  • Multi-camera shots and upscale lighting closely emulate the in-studio experience
  • Cycling classes available for all levels
  • Wide variety of courses across various lengths

Won’t We Don’t Like:

  • For the price tag, the app may not be worth using solely for cycling classes
  • Crossover in music between many classes

Variis combines a fitness collective of cult-favorite brands under one virtual roof, powered by none other than Equinox Media. SoulCycle made the cut, offering daily live cycle classes between 45 and 60 minutes from the comfort of your own bike.

The pre-recorded courses—around 200 and counting—range from 20 to 60 minutes, including titles you’d see in the studio like “Rise and Ride.” Most classes are suitable for all fitness levels, with some incorporating light weights to work the upper body, as well as a stretch sequence to finish.

If you prefer to work out on your own time, Variis’ stream of on-demand SoulCycle classes can be tailored to your schedule. However, for the live experience, classes from “SoulCycle Studio Stream” will cost you about $20 each, unless live-streamed to the SoulCycle at-home bike, in which case they are included in the cost of a Variis membership.

Access to the Variis app is included in costs for Equinox membership holders or else is priced at roughly $40 per month with a 7-day free trial.

Best for Solo Riders: CardioCast

spin bike

MARKO / Stocksy

Why We Chose It: For solo riders, CardioCast has an extensive selection of guided, cycling workouts led by expert trainers, no matter your biking level. Each session is backed with music matched to the workout intensity, to motivate you through daily workouts when you're not with a group. 

What We Like:

  • Wide variety of cycling classes and other guided-workouts
  • Super affordable subscription
  • Instructors provide options to modify your ride, making classes suitable for all levels

What We Don’t Like:

  • No capability for personal music integration
  • Only available in the United States and U.S. territories, meaning it won’t work internationally

If you prefer to cycle the road alone, CardioCast may be the workout for you. With glowing reviews across the board, the on-demand, audio-guided workout app is the fitness tool you didn’t know you needed. In terms of cycling classes, CardioCast boasts hundreds of workouts across Beats Ride, where you ride to the beat, and a Classic Ride which is interval-based.

The app recommends using an indoor, weighted flywheel bike or an outdoor bike with a stationary trainer, stable enough to support you through a full range of movements. There is also a follow-along Set Up Your Ride guide to ensure your workout is safe and efficient.

The app offers a 7-day free trial before a monthly cost of roughly $10 kicks in, with the option to pay every three months (for about $25) or annually (for around $90). The price is very low considering the app has a variety of other workouts including running, walking, jogging, and bodyweight boot camp sessions for cross-training purposes.

Final Verdict

Whether you’re a die-hard cyclist or a casual rider, there is an online cycle class for every taste and budget. With high-end brands such as Peloton and LES MILLS On Demand delivering on technology and the in-studio experience of cult-favorites like SoulCycle delivering its studio classes to your living room, it’s never been simpler to hop on the bike at home. Aside from cycling, brands like SWEAT On Demand have more affordable and diverse workouts for a well-rounded fitness experience. For solo riders who prefer to work without a screen, plug into CardioCast for your very own guided-classes with a personal instructor in your ear.

What Type of Bike Can I Use for Online Cycling Classes?

There are many options for indoor stationary bikes, including budget-friendly ones (under roughly $300) and luxury price ranges. For more serious riders who pedal daily, it’s wise to invest in a higher-quality bike that will stand the test of time.

While most indoor cycling bikes come with the basic gears and display monitor to keep track of your speed and distance, the higher range models are more likely to include additional features such as built-in screens, and Bluetooth capabilities to link up the music and metric tracking. Alongside this, you can invest a modest amount in a trainer to attach to the back wheel of your bike to stabilize it in position, allowing you to safely cycle in place from the comfort of your outdoor bike.

How Do I Adjust My Seat and Handlebars?

Your seat should be high enough to allow your knees to bend at a 90-degree angle, with a soft bend maintained at the knee as the leg extends. The handlebar should also be adjusted to maintain a slight bend in the elbow and raised higher if bending over pulls too much along the back at any point. Read individual guidelines when setting up your bike and check with your chosen online class if they offer additional safety recommendations.

Is It Safe to Do an Online Cycling Class Every Day?

This depends on your individual goals, fitness level, and style of training. Cycling, although an all-over body workout, puts a lot of stress on the lower body and it’s therefore best to balance this with other forms of exercise. For more advanced cyclists, a daily pedalling session can be on the schedule, but again, adding variety and changing the intensity of your workouts day-to-day is the safest way to help avoid overuse and injury. Make sure to mix and match intensity, length, and class style for the best results.

Should I Wear Special Shoes for Online Cycling Classes?

There are different types of cycling shoes for road and mountain bikes, as well as indoor cycling and spin bikes. Most of them will require bolted cleats to clip into the bike for better efficiency while pedaling, allowing for a push-and-pull movement in both directions. Non-clip-in cycling shoes for outdoor and indoor bikes are designed to be more sturdy than the average athletic sneaker, which is primarily built for support and flexibility. Cycling shoes have a much stronger grip and tougher exterior to allow for maximum power with each stroke.

If you are a serious cycler, selecting a shoe that provides anatomic support is crucial, and it’s advisable to invest in quality footwear that is measured precisely to your foot for optimum cycling. Whereas for the causal cycler, a supportive shoe that provides stability in the foot is your safest bet.

How We Chose the Best Online Cycling Classes

We chose these cycling workouts based on their consistently high ratings across online reviews in terms of affordability, quality, and diversity. The standout is Peloton, a brand that delivers on every level with its technology-driven equipment and workouts, and a full range of live and on-demand classes to suit all schedules and fitness levels. Although pricier than some other online workouts, Peloton’s high-end offerings are worth the investment for many users.

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