“Riders at Revolve will Rethink the cycling experience, Revive their spirit, and Reshape their bodies.”
This past Saturday I did something audacious — I cheated on SoulCycle. I know, the shock is outstanding, but in my defense a girls got to branch out every now and then. I honestly don’t seek out new spin studios — Before I was introduced to SoulCycle, I HATED spinning and swore I’d never go inside another spin studio after a terrible experience at FlyWheel. Many classes (including hour long and front row appearances) at SoulCycle has increased my confidence in my spinning ability, though, and when a new studio opened up in Union Square I was kind of siked to try it.
Who is this mistress I rendezvoused with on Saturday you ask? Revolve Fitness. Revolve is a cycling boutique that first originated in D.C. and has recently opened their doors to a second studio in NYC, located in the very popular Union Square neighborhood. Will we likely meet again? YES.
In short I’d describe Revolve Fitness as half way between FlyWheel and SoulCycle; or a friendlier version of FlyWheel with better music, but let me explain…
I was signed up for a 11:45am Real Ride class on Saturday with one of the master instructors, Kristin Kenney. I came a few minutes early to scope out the studio. My first impression on walking into the lobby was “this place is definitely new and pristine.” It’s set up very similarly to both FlyWheel and SoulCycle — You check in at the front where you get your shoes and can also peruse their branded merchandise (shirts, pants, bags, etc). Then there’s a long thin hallway with some seating that leads to the spinning studio and off to the side, down stairs are the locker rooms. They have lockers with built in locks, which is always nice (you just need to remember which locker you picked, your password and how to use the lock and you’re all set…probably easier for most, but for me I generally forget which locker I used). The locker room is co-ed and then there are separate women’s and men’s changing rooms with a couple of showers. The studio wasn’t packed, so the locker rooms felt spacious, but I honestly don’t see it ever being overly packed since there’s only one 50-bike spinning studio and a decent amount of space.
Students were allowed into the spinning studio about 5minutes before the start of class to adjust bikes and set up. I really liked the bikes. They were easy to adjust (*cough* unlike SoulCycle *cough*) and the upward positioning of handle bars tends to take some pressure off your back and forearms (I have my tilted upwards slightly on my outdoor road bike as well.)
Each side of the handlebars has a spot for water/towel/whatever you want. It nicely held my 16 ounce Poland Spring water bottle and would fit a larger water bottle as well. Each bike is equipped with a screen that tells you your RMP’s when moving; similar to FlyWheel, but not competitively displayed over a large TV infront of the class. One criticism is that I wish the staff had offered to help me set up my bike, knowing it was my first time at the studio. When I asked one of the staff how my bike should be positioned she replied “it’s just kind of what feels right.” I understand the logic, but for someone who is anal about proper fitting/alignment, I like some benchmarks to go by.
The class started and the instructor, Kristin Kenney, told us to press the button on the bottom of the screen on our bike to light it up and make sure it was turned on. Being new I was kind of lost at what the heck she was talking about, but luckily the girl next to me could see I was lost and showed me what to do. Unfortunately, the monitor on my screen was broken. I wasn’t sure what to do, I tried to get Kristin’s attention, but when that didn’t work I decided to just go with the flow. The instructor started the class by explaining that for the next 45min we were a team and we’d be riding as a pack — I liked this and the idea of “this is going to be tough, but we can do this together.” Another thing I truly appreciated was that Kristin had drew on the board behind her the topography we were riding. I liked knowing what was coming next on the ride.
This particular class consisted of 10 hills — so each hill you went up, you also went down. Kristin kept the class riding together by instructing us how fast our RPM’s should be at every point and how much resistance we should have on based on whether we were going up or down a hill. We went uphills at a slower pace with sporatic runs out of the saddle, while the down hill was faster paced with runs as well. I would say this ride was definitely more in the saddle than out, but that’s what a “real” ride on a real road is. Because I took the barebones signature Real Ride class, it was 45min of pure riding — no fancy arms, or dancing around. Revolve does offer more fully body classes that incorporate weights as well, but I enjoyed the simplicity of the Real Ride. Sometimes I just want a cardio fix without all the jazz, or already did another strength workout and don’t have the need to double-work my arms. The monotonous nature of just straight spinning scared me, but Kristin managed to keep things exciting and my attention at bay. She gave the perfect amount of motivation speaking, where it helped me push through some tough climbs, but wasn’t overwhelming to the point where I felt like I was trapped in a self-help book. I also LOVED the music. Kristin played a perfect new, cheesy hip-hop/pop style mix. Like any spin class, the intensity is what you make of it, but I was sweaty and tired after class and definitely felt like I had the opportunity to challenge myself.
After class I was chatting with the extremely approachable instructor and I learned that the Revolve Real Ride classes are based on actual mountain terrain, like FOR REAL. She explained how each class mimics an actual terrain, from the hilly cities of NJ to the French Alps. I thought this was kind of cool, keeps the ride authentic and probably a huge plus for anyone training for an outdoor bike race.
To be honest I came into this class somewhat hesitantly (the monitor of the bike reminded me of FlyWheel, which I strongly dislike), but came out pleasantly surprised. The class was not intimidating at all and the 45minute ride was tough, but flew by. My only criticism would be that the staff could be more helpful for new riders with setting up the bike and explaining the class and usage of the monitor. That being said, the staff was EXTREMELY friendly and welcoming. I mentioned to a staff member after class that the monitor on my bike was broken simply so that they’d be aware. Without me even asking or suggesting it in anyway, a staff member emailed me later to offer me a free ride as a makeup.
QUESTIONS: Have you tried Revolve? If so, what do you think? If not, want to come with me sometime?
Location: Union Square, 52 E. 13th Street, between Broadway and University
Cost: $28 + $2 shoes
Class Options:Real Ride, Body Ride and RIP Ride
Class Length: 45min and 60min options