Clambering into the saddle of the at-home cycling trend sounds great – until you look at the price. For many, it is prohibitively expensive. Of course, the explosion of the living room spin scene has risen from the ashes of gym closures, meaning some expense is saved on cancelled memberships. But even still…
And so, one upstart British brand is looking to disrupt the big boys from across the pond and bring you all the cardio and fat-loss benefits of spin, just at a more accessible price point. Meet Apex, founded in London in 2018, and is now ready to help chase down your 2021 body goals.
What you get when you order an Apex Bike
A bike with design in mind. It was created knowing that an at-home bike spends more time on display than in-use. The bike is offered in four neutral colours (blue, navy, sand, mist) to suit different interiors, and is compact and mobile so it can be easily moved around the house.
Access to some of the best spin instructors in the country. Apex has partnered with renowned London spin studio, Boom Cycle, known for their inclusive high-energy workouts.
Unlimited Apex classes are available both live and on-demand on the Apex app. This is done on an affordable subscription basis, and therefore everything is accessible 24/7.
Up to six different profiles can be added to one account. That means housemates and family members can split the cost.
Using Bluetooth technology, Apex riders connect their bike to the Apex app via their own iPad or iPhone - and can also cast to their TV screens.
The app’s real-time interactive leaderboards measure RPM and resistance, and reward each rider with Apex points (calculated based on their power output versus their height/weight/age).
The app displays the rider’s additional personal data including calories burned, total time, distance cycled, classes completed, and speed, and fully integrates with your social media.
The app is gamified and offers challenges and reward schemes to its riders, enabling them to get competitive with fellow riders and keep motivation high.
The bike price is £1200, plus a subscription to the app and workouts for £30 per month – all at apexrides.com.
The Men’s Health Apex Bike Review
I really appreciate the different colourways. The point made about it sitting on display is a good one, and though mine sat in a home gym, being able to choose a colour to blend into your living room is a smart thing.
The delivery and set up was dead easy, and it was very easy to manoeuvre. The build felt secure and steady. I’m a big lump at 93kg and it felt like it could take whatever I threw at it when hammering through a hill sprint. The different pedal options were a nice touch, too. If you’ve got cleats then clip on and get going. If not, there is a cage the other side that can tighten around your trainer.
The obvious missing element is the screen. But that’s where you’re saving money. If you were to do classes on a phone, it would be doable, but it certainly wouldn’t be the same experience. If you have an iPad, then great. If you don’t, buying one to use with this kind of defeats the point of saving money in the first place! Really, I think wheeling the bike in front of the TV when you want to use it and casting the classes is the way to go.
The app is simple to use and connect to. When you’re navigating the classes, the filter system is really easy and effective. There’s also a good delineation between a metrics-lead class and a music-led class, depending on what you’re into. I’m less into the happy-clappy dancing stuff, more into the pedalling really fast to make myself fitter stuff – so that really helped.
The on-screen metrics during the ride are great and help you to feel connected to exactly what you’re doing. The real-time feedback of seeing your power output go up, or when your pedal rate slips below the target rpm, both motivate you. One potential weakness is that the calorie burn tracking is generic, based on height, weight and power output. It’s not measuring your heart rate. But then again, if you’re really into that stuff then you probably have a tracker doing it for you already. If you’re not that bothered, then this is a good estimate to help compare your workouts.
The classes are really enjoyable and the coaches are fun. The fact that the coaches are British may be a defining factor, too, for those who find the perma-smile enthusiasm of our American cousins slightly too cloying. There was good coaching throughout. Importantly, they made the distinction between those riding for different reasons – you were encouraged to ride to the beat of the music, or if that wasn’t your thing, you could simply stick to a prescribed rpm. Plus, you are constantly reminded about good posture and pedalling with a full range of motion – focusing as much on pulling up as you do pushing down.
I’m looking to kit out my new home gym and that is going to get expensive, quickly. And so the notion that I can save a few quid on this bike is very appealing. Really, the only difference is that you have to bring your own screen – but that’s not a problem. Eventually, I’ll get an old TV hooked up to the wall and cast to that, so it’ll be bigger than any of the other built-on screens brands provide, anyway.
In truth, I’m more into road bikes than spinning and so I was conflicted as to whether I wanted to hook my bike up to a turbo and use Zwift inside. But I’m glad I didn’t. The reason I like cycling is because it’s outside – I’m looking around and talking to friends. If I’m going to be indoors then I need to be engaged. The classes on Apex are the entertainment I needed to make sitting and pedalling without actually going anywhere feel like a worthwhile thing to do. I enjoyed it. And the fact I burned some calories, added a bit of puff to my fitness levels, and got all the mental boosts of a morning workout are very, very welcome bonuses.
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