Fitness has never been a priority for me, but during the pandemic, a sudden change made me realize where I went wrong with my health. For someone who has always ignored what his body was trying to tell me, I am much more fit now, physically and mentally. I did it myself, without going to the gym or paying a trainer. Although rigorous exercise in the mornings mostly worked, I felt that professional help would make a difference. After all, this is not a one-time thing and spending time and money on your body is not a luxury. That’s exactly the space the Flexbike+ has slipped into over the past few weeks, as my personal trainer at home.
The Flexbike+ attempts to recreate the experience of cycling in a home studio via an internet-connected bike that features a 22-inch touchscreen console, an easily adjustable seat and access to on-demand lessons. I still work out in the morning, but I like to work out on the Flexbike+ at home at a time that suits me without going to the gym or training.
Here is my review of the linked cycle.
The Flexbike+ retails for Rs 59,999, including delivery and setup. When you purchase Flexbike+, you’re eligible to receive a free full-access membership to access Flexnext content — more on that later. You can buy the Flexbike+ as a stand-alone unit or bundled with add-ons that increase your costs. For my review, I will only focus on the Flexbike+.
Flexbike+: Delivery and installation
I received a phone call from the company to arrange a date and time, and to confirm on which floor of the house I wanted to place the bike. Delivery and setup are included with every Flexnext bike purchase. When I scheduled the delivery date, the guy came to my house and assembled the bike in front of me in about 40 minutes. After the bike was assembled it was another 10 minutes of setting up my Flexnext account and logging in before I could ride. Do not worry; the guy will help you navigate the interface and explain the basics of the bike.
Flexbike+: Quite compact
Mine is a bit of a big room, so it wasn’t a big task to place the Flexibike+ in the corner of my bedroom. The bike does not take up much space and plugs into the wall socket. It has rollers, so you can move it around. However, the bike is heavy and I would not recommend repositioning the bike or moving it from room to room unnecessarily. Be careful not to keep the bike on the balcony or where there is a possibility that it will be damaged by water or other elements.
The frame of the bike is made of steel and is all black, giving it a premium look. A horizontal bar connects the two rear legs, and from the center, the tube goes diagonally upwards to the handlebars. Between the legs of the fork you’ll find a flywheel, from which the belt travels backwards towards the levers which are attached through the diagonal tube mentioned above. The bike also comes with an adjustable seat. It was quite easy to adjust the seat height, thanks to the simple adjustable knobs.
There is a plastic water bottle holder on the front of the bike. On the front of the steering wheel is a huge adjustable 22-inch HD touchscreen, which is used to stream classes (more on that later). The monitor has built-in speakers, and you can connect a pair of headphones via Bluetooth. The large resistance knob, as with most indoor fitness bikes, is there to increase or decrease the resistance mechanics of the bike. The good thing is that it is positioned so that it is easily within your reach. To be clear, the steering wheel cannot be moved back and forth, nor can it be tilted in any way.
Flexbike+: on-screen interface
The main advantage of Flexbike+ is not the hardware but the software. A giant Wi-Fi-enabled high-definition screen separates the Flexbike+ from the standard, more affordable Flexible. But why do you need a monitor attached to an exercise bike? Well, it’s not a gimmick, but the most important aspect of a premium bike: class. After turning it on, you will be greeted with a login screen just like on a computer.
Flexnext allows you to create multiple profiles depending on how many people in your family want to use the bike. Enter the login screen and you will see a dashboard with classes. Here you’ll find tons of classes (more on that in a bit), instructors, challenges, etc. Stream classes on demand and the rider can compete with other participants and get a cardio recording (like the way the live board ranks riders based on “output” by the way).
Flexbike+: Ease of use and teaching
I’ve been testing the Flexbike+ for over a month, about 3 hours a week on average. I didn’t rely solely on the bike for fitness like many others because I was already doing a bit of daily exercise. But yes, I have struck a good balance between connected exercise bike and outdoor running. It took me about two to three days to get used to the bike, but once the muscle pain went away, I enjoyed my exercise on the bike. Changing the resistance on this bike is so easy. The physical resistance button works best for on-demand classes with targeted metrics.
For me, what worked with a device like a connected exercise bike is that there is no commitment like at the gym, where I have to go no matter how busy I am. It’s easy to get on a bike, exercise for 20-30 minutes (based on your endurance) and still be in your home. There were days when I was already exhausted from running in the morning and evening, and I didn’t have the strength to get on the bike. But then I was the one choosing how I wanted my daily fitness routine to be.
There are so many different classes to choose from and instructors to try. You can choose from beginner, intermediate and advanced levels based on your comfort. They offer a variety of classes, and the choice is divided between live classes and on-demand classes. Most of the classes I attended were related to music. Neither the classes nor the instructors bored me.
The community angle is interesting. In any given ride, I was competing against drivers from all over the country. Another thing I liked about the bike is that while riding, the touchscreen tablet (which transmits Flexnext brand classes from its studios in New Delhi and Dubai) displays various statistics: riding time (elapsed and remaining), current speed, distance covered, cadence (how fast you pedal, in revolutions per minute), resistance intensity and calories burned, which depends on your body size, effort level. Any course you’ve started can be paused, but in case you couldn’t finish them (which happened to me many times), there’s no way to start where you paused.
Is Flexbike+ worth it?
Flexbike+ is not cheap. At Rs 59,999, the initial cost is definitely high, but if you think rationally that cost is less compared to a good gym membership. The advantage here is practicality and the possibility of exercising from home without leaving. One of the things I loved about the Flexbike+ is that I never knew I wanted a connected indoor fitness bike. I’ve always hated going to the gym (I’m uncomfortable there), but now I have the option to turn my room into a home studio. Yes, the cost of owning this bike is high, but consider the long-term benefits.