Fusion Fly vs SoulCycle vs CycleBar
Seriously, what is the difference?
Over the last year, I have tried all three of these spin classes. While they have similarities, they are also so different.
(I took "Rush Hour" but they offer 6 different versions of cycling)
Energy of class: Such good vibes here. Between the blasting music, dark room except for an LED sign at the front and LED strip lights on the instructor podium, and the instructor screaming motivational things at you, what's not to love? Similar to the Fusion Drenched class I took, I got chills when the instructor cued the final sprint to a sick beat drop of an EDM song. Most of the music was in-fact EDM.
Intensity: Maybe it was because I hadn't been to a spin class in 3 months due to covid, but I thought it was hard. I actually thought it was particularly more difficult than other spin classes at other studios, but more on that later. You can always go a your own pace in any workout class, but it was specifically tough to sit during this class because the instructor is constantly motivating you to keep going.
Format of class: The 45 minute class consists of fast runs, jogs, and sprints both up above the bike seat and sitting. There was no choreo like push ups, tap backs, etc. I was pretty much out of breath the whole time and it was tough to catch the fast af beats. Towards the end, there was a 4-5 minute arm song, which is pretty typical among spin classes and you use 3-5lb dumbbells for it. The class wasn't so much based on riding to the beat of the music, but rather to let the music motivate and drive you. The instructor does call out RPM numbers that you should be riding at, which you can see the number on your bike screen.
Studio: The spin room connects to the check-in room which has merch and other workout equipment you can purchase; that room connects to another studio which holds regular Fusion classes. For a review on that, check my last post. There is a locker room.
Location: Although Fusion Fitness has 3 locations in KC, only the Plaza & Overland Park location have Fly.
Booking: Book classes through MindBody app or Fusion's website. Clients don't book a specific bike, rather pick any bike that is available when they arrive at their class. Drop in price is $23 but they offer first-time clients 10 classes foe $100. Clients have options of 3 classes for $60, 5 for $100, and unlimited 1 month / $149 or 1 year / $900.
Extras: Bring a towel, spin shoes if you have, water, and motivation- you're going to need it. Be prepared to sweat a ton and leave feeling full of energy.
Glimpse of Fusion Fly here:
(They offer a basic 45 minute class which I took, an Activate class with more strength training added, and Survivor which is 60 minutes instead of 45.)
Energy of Class: SoulCycle advertises it's classes as leaving you "in your feels" and "soulful" hence the name SoulCycle. Each instructor is different in their taste of music and how they format the class. But nonetheless, Soul has such good vibes and doesn't even really feel like a workout. You are likely to be riding to artists like Lady Gaga and Drake rather than EDM here. There are no colorful lights, except if you are at LA instructor Jamie Artsis' class (on my workout class bucketlist,) which resembles a freaking rave.
Intensity: Again, each instructor is different but I think the class itself is pretty challenging. Soul is most similar to Fly because there are no screens showing everyone's stats like CycleBar has, and instead you are focused on moving your feet to match the beat. They don't even tell you an RPM number, which I kind of like better because you can focus more on the beat of the music. Soul classes usually include choreography like tap backs, push ups, and around the worlds. The instructor cues it, but honestly during my first Soul class I felt behind and like the pace was too quick.
Format of Class: You begin with a warm up song which is in the seat or standing. Each song is usually a jog, run, or sprint with added choreography to match the beat of the music. There is also an arm song using 2, 3, 5, or 8lb dumbbells. Soul is notorious for having a challenging arm section with super fast bicep curls, overhead tricep dips, and other moves targeting shoulders and biceps. I'd say the most important part of a Soul class is to stay on the beat, which DOES take practice and sometimes 2 or 3 classes to get the hang of.
Studio: Most SoulCycle studios have 1 spin room, a main area with digi lockers and the front desk, and a locker/shower area with bathrooms and stocked amenities like a hair dryer and face wash (this is also probably why Soul classes are crazy expensive.)
Location: Soul has over 100 locations around the country, but not in KC sadly. I took a class in Boston, MA at the Back Bay Location.
Booking: Book a class through the SoulCycle app. The classes for the week are open to book at noon every Monday. Drop in price ranges $30-$40 (locations like the Hamptons cost more) and they offer other packages but no unlimited option. Clients book a specific bike when they book the class.
Extras: Soul charges $3 each class to rent shoes, or you can bring your own SPD or Delta spin cleats. They give you a towel and you can buy water or bring your own. Soul feels very cult-like, and it's sort of known for that. While the staff and instructors are welcoming, it's not exactly KC where everyone is friendly to strangers.
Glimpse into SoulCycle here:
(They offer 5 class types: Connect with no screen data, Performance which is more challenging, Classic which this review is over, Empower which my studio doesn't offer, and the 30 minute express class.)
Energy of Class: Cyclebar classes feel more like a workout compared to Soul which feels like a party on a bike. Each instructor is different with their choice of music, but I have rode to EDM, explicit Rap, and even Country at Cyclebar. I think Cyclebar is very instructor-specific and you kind of have to figure out which ones you vibe with the best.
Intensity: Compared to the first two classes, this class is much easier. Way more jogs and runs with a final sprint at the end, while Fly is mostly sprints and runs. The added choreography (similar to Soul) adds some challenge. Cyclebar is also a beat-based class and it's is more fun if you can ride to the beat.
Format of Class: The 45 minute class consists of a warm-up song usually sitting, and then 7 or 8 more songs riding to the beat with added push ups, tap backs, etc. Like the other two, there is an arm song where you use a 4 or 6lb bar. People who want a challenge can put the two bars together (to make 10lbs) and complete bicep curls, chest press, overhead tricep dips, and other moves to the beat of the song.
Studio: The spin room is it's own room with a gallery of 40 bikes facing the instructor podium with a large mirror behind the teacher's bike (the other two studios have a mirror too and bikes are mapped out similarly). The instructor can change the color of the lights as it's usually red to match the CB brand. Outside of the spin room is a wall of digi lockers, a small room with 1 shower, and two bathrooms stocked with amenities like hair tie and hair products. At the front of the studio is the check-in desk, the area with shoes, and a bike in the corner to take photos with.
Location: Cyclebar has 200 locations all over the US, with one in Leawood, Kansas.
Booking: Book a class through the Ride Cyclebar app. Drop in price is $25 and they offer other packages and classes per-month deals. Clients book specific bike when they book the class.
Extras: They offer towels and shoes for free, but you can still bring your own if you want. Bring water, but you can fill it up there if needed. The staff and instructors are so nice and I actually keep in touch with a few of them through social media.
Photo from Cyclebar:
Best class for a beginner? I would say Cyclebar because the pace is much slower compared to Fly and Soul.
I really don't have a favorite out of these three, but I recommend trying them all. Especially if you are in an area with a SoulCycle studio I highly recommend going. If you are in KC, I 10/10 recommend trying Fusion Fly.
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Click here to read my last post about Fusion Fitness in KC.
All images are mine.