Flywheel is Nipping at SoulCycle’s Heels


The boutique fitness trend is on fire and not likely going anywhere any time soon. SoulCycle, which recently filed to go public, is at the forefront of this fitness dynamic, and has garnered a tremendous amount of press. While it may be the most well known boutique fitness brand, it does have some stiff competition, with the standout being Flywheel Sports. The mainstream may not know much about this brand, but it certainly is worth paying attention to, as it raised a funding round of over $100mn in 2014, and has nearly the same number of studios in operation that SoulCycle has. 

Want to learn more about Flywheel, SoulCycle’s biggest threat? 

There are two kinds of people in New York City: Those who go to SoulCycle, and those who go to Flywheel.

SoulCycle devotees observe the ritual of signing up for $34 classes when the clock strikes noon on Mondays. They say they’re addicted to working out in a sweaty, cramped room with a teacher who howls yogic platitudes. The company has recently filed to go public, showing how profitable the business has become.

But one of SoulCycle’s founders, Ruth Zukerman, has started a major competitor: Flywheel.

To its devotees, Flywheel is the antithesis of SoulCycle. The no-fuss workout makes no claims about being a spiritual experience, and there’s no discoballs and “dancing” on the bikes. Instead, it features a stadium layout, and a display that ranks riders serves as a lure for competitive athletes.

Flywheel opened its first studio in 2010, but its origins lie in Zukerman’s divorce 14 years earlier. She spoke with Business Insider to explain why — after a start with SoulCycle — she wanted to do things differently.

It was after her 1996 divorce that Zukerman, a former dancer and aerobic instructor, took up indoor cycling at a Reebok gym on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

“I just instantly became addicted to it — I knew right away there was something about the physical combined with the mental component which really actually helped me get through my divorce,” she said.

Get the full story: A booming cycling studio started by one of SoulCycle’s founders is turning into the chain’s biggest threat

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