which home bike is really the best?

The cycling purist 

A thwarted former elite triathlete from Scotland, I have spent the last five years on the grind in the Big Smoke and am now itching to regain my former fitness. The trouble is, I no longer have legions of Cairngorms to climb, or quiet country roads that stretch out for miles. I tried popular spin classes in boutique studios, furnished with all those Aesop products and Dyson hairdryers, but while the disco lights, exaggerated cadences and added dance moves motivated others, they felt silly to me. 

I just wanted to enjoy real cycling again. With a one-hour hustle required to pedal out of the crazy city roads, the shortage of winter light and the added nightmare of a global pandemic limiting outdoor hours, I turned to indoor innovations. At worst, I thought, they’d help me get my weekday workouts in – and at best, they might even enhance them. In search of road-worthy simplicity, I tested out the new Wahoo Kickr Bike and the Watt bike. Eilidh Hargreaves

The spin class addict

Some people, like Eilidh, live for the challenge of ever-more-demanding physical feats. Others have to trick themselves into getting up off the sofa and breaking a sweat at all. I’m from the latter camp, and I’ve found that the thing – the only thing – that works for me is indoor cycling. The high-energy music, the competitive vibes from riding with a group, the candles, the activewear trend-spotting – I eat it all up. So much so that when I moved back to London after four years in New York, never with more than seven blocks between my apartment and a Flywheel and/or SoulCycle location, I emailed both companies begging them to open in London.

I like to think SoulCycle listened, because it opened two London studios in 2019. I quickly became a weekly rider at its Great Marlborough Street studio. Until lockdowns and the onset of months of working from home made riding in a studio either impossible or unattractive. I needed a proxy – a way to keep fit (maybe even shift a little sourdough weight) and release stress/tension/aggression (homeschooling! aaaargh!) – without leaving home. The Peloton Bike and CAROL sounded like the answers. But would I actually ride, or would they become glorified coat hangers in my lounge? Emily Cronin

Tried and tested

Wahoo Kickr Bike

Katherine E. Ackerman

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