The Bowflex Velocore is like no other exercise bike. At the push of a button, it morphs from a stationary bike to a leaning racing machine, recreating an authentic cycling experience in the comfort of your own home…  

Bowflex Velocore Bike  

BUY IT NOW: 

$1,799, bestbuy.com / £1,999, fitness-superstore.co.uk

Pros:

  • Fun to ride. The leaning feature also hits the core and arms not just the leg muscles  
  • Decent selection of riding mode workouts and a one-year free membership to the JRNY app
  • 22in high-definition touchscreen (there’s a 16in option too) 
  • Smooth and quiet ride with magnetic resistance from 1-100 
  • Can be used with or without the leaning feature

Cons: 

  • You’ll need space. The design is bigger and heavier than most indoor bikes
  • Expensive  

Smart features: 5/5
Stability: 4.5/5
Comfort: 5/5
OVERALL: 5/5 

Designed by Bowflex, the manufacturer of the popular SelectTech adjustable barbells and dumbbells, the Velocore exercise bike is the latest evolution of the humble exercise bike. Yet this one takes home cycling workouts to a whole new level, and we think it’s one of the best exercise machines around.

It works like a normal stationary bike, but with the press of a  button, it switches from a stationary bike one that actually leans into corners. In a similar way to the Garmin Tacx Neo Bike, it adds an unprecedented degree of realism to stationary, virtual cycling.

As you lean from side to side riding through the winding roads of your virtual workout, you’re also giving your core, arms and shoulders a more significant workout than you would on a stationary bike. You’ll automatically increase muscle activation, and hence increase calorie burn.

Check out the best home gym equipment

Bowflex Velocore features

In addition to its standout leaning mode, the Bowflex VeloCore comes equipped with a host of other features that make for an engaging cycling experience. There are two touchscreen console sizes available – a 16in version (£2,499) as well as the 22in model we tested. These are compatible with a variety of streaming apps including Netflix, Hulu and HBOMax.

Both versions also come with a one-year membership to JRNY, an adaptive fitness platform that offers a variety of workout options including a personalised coaching system that creates daily custom workouts that automatically adjusts the time and intensity of your workouts as your fitness improves.

Front-on shot of a man riding a leaning Bowflex VeloCore exercise bike

Activate leaning mode on the Bowflex VeloCore for a full-body workout

Alongside built-in Bluetooth speakers, a water bottle holder and a media rack for your phone or tablet, the bike also comes with a pair of 1.5kg dumbbells, which dock nicely in an attachment underneath the touchscreen console. 

 All you need to know about how to use a heart-rate monitor

Measuring 141.7 x 140.5 x 62.2cm (55.8 x 55.3 x 24.1in), the bike is a pretty normal size. You’ll just need to remember that in Lean Mode, you’ll need an available width of at least twice that 62.2cm to make full use of this feature. The Bowflex Velocore’s main frame, however, feels extremely sturdy and is pretty straightforward to set up (though it helps if there are two of you). It’s also easy to manoeuvre and relocate thanks to the wheels at the front of the bike and the handle behind the rear wheel.  

Getting started with the Bowflex Velocore

The bike accommodates riders between 155cm and 196cm (5ft 1in and 6ft 5in). Changing the height of the four-way adjustable seat and handlebars couldn’t be easier, and once set up the bike feels impressively solid. Both the moving parts and the finishing kit on the Bowflex VeloCore are extremely high-quality; the bike feels stable and the pedalling seamless.  

The pedals also offer dual-functionality. On one side you’ll find SDP clips for cycling shoes, but if you don’t have the correct footwear, no problem; just pop on your trainers, flip over the pedals and push your feet into the toe baskets.  

Want to ride to get slimmer? Here’s how to use an exercise bike for weight loss

The bike offers 100 resistance levels, which you can move between by twisting the large red knob between the bike seat and handlebars. And of course you have the leaning mode which works exceptionally well and which you can turn on and off mid-workout.  

Post-session, you’ll definitely feel that you’ve worked your upper body as well as your legs and core. It’s this leaning feature that creates a whole body workout as you work to maintain balance and coordination. And that’s something you wouldn’t otherwise get from an indoor bike. In that respect the BowFlex VeloCore is different to anything else we’ve tested. 

Is the JRNY App any good? 

So how does the display work, and what’s on the touchscreen monitor while you’re pedalling away?

Just like many interactive cardio machines, you’re able to keep an eye on your usual metrics like time, distance (km or miles), calories per minute, total calories, heart rate, cadence and resistance, as well as amount of lean via the touchscreen monitor. 

BowFlex also has its own interactive fitness and content platform, called JRNY, where you can access different features and cycling classes as well as full-body classes like stretching, yoga, and strength training – which you can do off the bike. It also allows you to stream workout videos, music playlists and video services. The 22-inch touchscreen we tested is responsive, well-lit and has a clear and high-definition screen – great for watching a movie whilst pedalling.  

Should you buy the Bowflex VeloCore? 

There’s certainly a reason why the Bowflex VeloCore has won so many awards – it’s effective, engaging and most of all, fun. But if you want to own one it will cost you – though Fitness Superstore offer significant discounts on the retail price. Sure, the price might raise a few eyebrows, but the leaning feature does offer an immersive feature that helps relieve boredom and works your core and upper body more than any traditional stationary bike that we’ve tested.

So if you’re a lover of cycling, and you’ve got the space to spare at home, then the Bowflex VeloCore may well be the exercise bike for you. This innovative piece of gear offers a unique workout experience, and you’ll reap the fitness benefits.