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9 New York City cycling studios that aren’t SoulCycle or Flywheel

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CyclebarIn New York, SoulCycle and Flywheel are pedaling towards indoor cycling domination as if resistance didn't exist, but the megabrands' expansions have also overshadowed a larger cycling renaissance.

There are now lots of smaller brands that deliver quality classes across the city, most of which opened within the past five years. Some have the potential to compete with the big dogs; others are go-to community spots that do their own thing. Some deliver road-mimicking classes designed for outdoor cyclists; others have you dancing and tapping-back to the beat.

Here's what they have in common: Very few have full-service locker rooms with showers (just a head's up), and while cycling is their focus, many have additional space for other fitness pursuits, like yoga, strength training, and TRX.

We pedaled our way all over town to bring you this guide to New York's third-party studios (listed in alphabetical order). —Lisa Elaine Held

Photo: Cyclebar

 

Aqua StudioAqua Studio

Neighborhood: Tribeca
Single class: $40
Shoe situation: Rubber water shoes, $2

Need to know: This is the only cycling studio in New York where you’ll have to bring your bikini, since the bikes are literally in a pool. You'll get a good workout that varies in style based on the instructor, but it feels less intense overall than pedaling on land. The water has a buoying effect too, so it’s great for pregnant women and those with joint issues and injuries. Expect Europeans and Tribeca moms. www.aquastudiony.com

Photo: Aqua Studio

 
Crank CyclingCrank Cycling Studio

Neighborhood: Long Island City and Upper East Side
Single class price: $23
Shoe situation: Rentals provided, free

Need to know: Crank's original 25-bike studio is in Long Island City, but it opened a larger, beautifully-designed studio on the Upper East Side this past April, with 40 bikes and tons of space for lounging. Classes include elements you'll recognize from both Soul (candles, hand weights) and Fly (stadium seating, weighted bar), but teachers have lots of autonomy over their individual class style. So, my class was packed with choreography, tap-backs, and handlebar push-ups, but others may have you hitting tons of hills without choreography. The goal, says owner Anthony Maniscalco, is to be high-quality but less scene-y and more accessible. "We want people to feel comfortable," he says. That's also reflected in the price, which is the lowest of the bunch. www.cranknyc.com

Photo: Crank Cycling Studio

 
cyclebarCyclebar

Neighborhood: Park Slope
Single class price: $25
Shoe situation: Rentals provided, free

Need to know: Cyclebar is the go-to spot for Brooklyn cyclists used to taking over Prospect Park at dawn. It's known for its 90-minute Road Rides, which seriously simulate outdoor training, and also offers a 60-minute Endurance Ride. Cyclebar's 45-minute Full Body Ride, which includes a weights section, is attended more by the casual exerciser, says owner Lisa Craig. The studio's also equipped for TRX classes, although they're not currently on the schedule. In any class, you'll feel the Park Slope community. "It's very much a neighborhood crowd," Craig says.

Photo: Cyclebar

 

Pablo FitnessPablo Fitness

Neighborhood: Midtown East
Single class price: $30
Shoe situation: BYO to clip in or use sneaker baskets

Need to know: It’s a no-frills space that doesn't hit the cool boutique fitness vibe. But riders pack the place for the studio's heart-of-gold owner, Pablo Toribio. Toribio, a Dominican Republic motocross champion who came from Equinox and Reebok Sports Club, teaches in a Spandex cyclist’s suit and backwards hat. His energy is electrifying; his technique impressive. It’s an official Spinning studio, so no weights on bikes or tap backs. Just a hard-core workout that’s also tons of fun, and the studio has iPhone-linked tracking technology to help you measure your progress. It also has a Spin and Power class that pairs 30 minutes on the bike with 30 minutes of strength training, plus Zumba, yoga, and more. www.pablofitness.com

Photo: Pablo Fitness

 

Pedal NYCPedal NYC

Neighborhood: Midtown West
Single class price: $30
Shoe situation: BYO to clip in or use sneaker baskets

Need to know: Pedal’s draw is its master instructor and co-owner, Ray Wallace, who goes by “Mr. Ray.” While cycling is its bread-and-butter, the studio has the most diverse menu of offerings on the scene, thanks to a spacious fitness studio and outdoor courtyard, which the team uses during warmer months. You can take TRX classes, TRX mash-ups (which include additional props like kettlebells), 30/30 classes that pair cycling with a half hour of strength training, and CoreRxN, a "crunchless abs class." The studio is friendly and inviting, with a dedicated community of riders. www.pedalnyc.com

Photo: Pedal NYC

 

Revolve fitnessRevolve Fitness

Neighborhood: Union Square
Single class price: $25–$28
Shoe situation: Rentals for $2

Need to know: The DC-based brand debuted its first New York location less than a year ago, and it recruited (and still has) top talent when it comes to instructors, like Kristin Kenney, who created Equinox's High Gear class, and renowned trainer-athlete Kira Stokes. It offers three three different classes—Real Ride, which approximates road cycling, Body Ride, which includes weights (mini sand bags!), and RIP Ride, a hard-core class that lasts for 60 or 75 minutes. The studio itself is a super boutique-y destination, and it's the only on this list (other than Aqua) that has showers, although there are only two, and they're phone-booth narrow. www.revolvefitness.com

 Photo: Revolve Fitness

 
SyncstudioSyncstudio

Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Single class price: $25
Shoe situation: BYO to clip in or use sneaker baskets

Need to know: Durham, North Carolina-based Syncstudio debuted in Brooklyn last spring. Its super-young owners are in their mid-20s, and the vibe and crowd reflects that. The cycling classes, in the basement (which they call the "Bassment") are dance-based, so you'll almost never stop bouncing around to sit in the saddle. Upstairs, Sync offers a few styles of yoga and cardio circuit conditioning classes. Cool value aspect: Your single $25 class price is actually a day pass, so if you have lots of time and energy, you can gear up for work by pedaling and wind down after with yoga, without paying again. www.syncstudio.net

Photo: Syncstudio

 

Torque cyclingTorque Cycling and Fitness

Neighborhood: Williamsburg
Single class price: $24
Shoe situation: Rentals provided, free

Need to know: Torque's hip studio embodies the new Williamsburg (in a non-annoying way). Its front wall is a Garage Door that slides up (so you may be checking in for class in the open air), the lounge area has a cool mapped wall, and the back yoga deck is a sweet, brick-enclosed oasis with pretty hanging lights. They offer yoga classes when the weather's warm enough, and 30/30 cycling-yoga classes, too. Torque instructors have free rein to teach in their own style, so you'll have to check a few out to find the perfect fit. We did cycling and yoga here, and both instructors were skilled, helpful, and fun. It's the kind of place where the whole experience feels seamless and you leave in a good mood, feeling like you've gotten in an awesome workout. www.torque-cycling.com

Photo: Torque Cycling and Fitness

 
CycComing Soon

Cycling is so popular that there are even more brands set to open this fall and winter.

In November, Swerve Fitness will reveal its two-story studio in Union Square, and its team-based approach to cycling classes.

At-home cycling innovator Peloton Cycle will open its flagship live studio in Chelsea in December.

And college-campus brand Cyc, which has a class style designed by the beloved Keoni Hudoba, says it will open in New York "this fall." Stay tuned for more details!

Photo: Cyc