Fitness was never a priority for me, but during the pandemic, a sudden change made me realize where I was going wrong with my health. For someone who always ignored what his body was trying to say, I am now much healthier, physically and mentally. I did it myself, without going to a gym or paying for a trainer. Although doing rigorous exercise in the morning mostly worked, I thought professional help would have made a difference. After all, it’s not a one-time thing and spending time and money on your body is not a luxury. This is 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 with an internet-connected bike that features a 22-inch touchscreen console, easy-to-adjust seat, and access to on-line lessons. Requirement. I always exercise in the morning, but I also like to train on the Flexbike+ at home at a time that suits me without going to the gym or a weight class.
Here is my opinion on the connected cycle.
The Flexbike+ retails for Rs 59,999 including delivery and setup. When you buy a Flexbike+ you are entitled to a free full access subscription to access Flexnext content – more on that later. You can buy the Flexbike+ as a standalone unit or in a bundle with accessories that add to your costs. For my review, I will focus only on the Flexbike+.
Flexbike+: delivery and installation
I received a phone call from the company to arrange a date and time and to confirm which floor of the house I would like to put the bike on. Delivery and installation are part of every Flexnext bike purchase. Once I scheduled my delivery date, a guy came to my house and assembled the bike in front of me in about 40 minutes. Once the bike was assembled, another 10 minutes went by setting up my Flexnext account and logging in before I could ride. Do not worry; the guy will help you navigate the interface and walk you through the basics of biking.
Flexbike+: Fairly compact
Mine is a bit of a big room, so it wasn’t a big deal to fit the Flexibike+ in the corner of my room. The bike doesn’t take up much space and plugs into a wall outlet. It has wheels, so you can move it around. However, the bike is heavy and I wouldn’t recommend changing the position of the bike or moving it unnecessarily from room to room. Make sure not to keep the bike on the balcony or where there is a risk of being damaged by water or other elements.
The frame of the bike is made of steel and it is completely black, which gives it a premium look. A horizontal bar connects the two rear legs, and from the center of this a tube runs diagonally upwards to the handlebars. Between the fork legs you’ll find the flywheel, from which a belt runs rearward to the cranks, which are attached through the aforementioned downtube. The bike also comes with an adjustable seat. Adjusting the seat height was fairly easy, with simple adjustable knobs.
At the front of the bike is a plastic holder for a water bottle. At the front of the handlebar layout is a massive 22-inch adjustable HD touchscreen, which is used to stream courses (more on that later). The monitor has built-in speakers and you can also connect a pair of headphones via Bluetooth. A large resistance knob, as with most indoor style fitness bikes, is there to increase or decrease the resistance mechanics of the bike. The good thing is that it is positioned in such a way that it is easily within your reach. To be clear, the handlebars cannot move forward and backward, or be tilted in any way.
Flexbike+: on-screen interface
The main board of the Flexbike+ is not the hardware but the software. The Wi-Fi-enabled high-definition giant screen separates the Flexbike+ from the more affordable standard Flexible. But why do you need a monitor attached to the indoor cycle? Well, it’s not a gimmick but rather the most important aspect of a high-end bike: the courses. Upon turning it on, you will be greeted by a login screen, just like a computer.
Flexnext lets you 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 courses (more on that in a bit), instructors, challenges, and more. On-demand classes and the rider can compete against other participants and get a snapshot of a cardio workout (by the way, I like how a live leaderboard ranks riders based on “output”).
Flexbike+: Ease of use and classes
I tested the Flexbike+ for over a month, averaging around 3 lessons per week. I didn’t rely solely on a bike for exercise like many others, as I already exercised quite a bit daily. But yes, I found a good balance between connected indoor cycling and running outdoors. It took me about two to three days to get used to the bike, but once the muscle soreness subsided, I enjoyed exercising 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 has worked with a device like a connected indoor cycle is that there’s no commitment like in a gym, where I have to go no matter how hard I am busy. It’s easy to get on a bike, train for 20 or 30 minutes (depending on your stamina), and stay home. There were days when I was already exhausted from running in the morning and evening, and I had no energy left to ride a bike. But then I got to choose how I wanted my daily fitness routine to be.
There are so many different classes to choose from and instructors to try out. You can choose between beginner, intermediate and advanced levels depending on your comfort. They offer a variety of courses and the selection is split between live and on-demand courses. The majority of the classes I took were where I was in contact with music. I didn’t get bored with the classes or the instructors.
The community angle is interesting. On each outing, I was competing against riders from across the country. Another thing I liked about the bike is that during a ride, the touch pad displays (which streams Flexnext-branded courses from its studios in New Delhi and Dubai) all sorts of stats: ride time (elapsed and remaining), current speed, distance covered, cadence (how fast you are pedaling, in revolutions per minute), resistance intensity, and calories burned, which are informed by your body size, energy level, and effort. Any classes you’ve started can be paused, but in case you can’t complete them (I’ve had this happen a lot), there’s no way to start where you left off.
Is the Flexbike+ worth it?
The Flexbike+ is not cheap. To 59,999 rupees, the initial cost is certainly high, but if you think rationally, this cost is less than that of a membership in a good gym. The advantage here is convenience and the ability to train at home without going outside. One of the things I liked about the Flexbike+ is that I didn’t know I wanted a connected indoor fitness bike. I’ve always hated going to the gym (I feel embarrassed there) but now I have the opportunity to turn my bedroom into a home studio. Yes, the cost of owning this bike is high, but consider the long-term benefits.