Bowflex C6 Bike – The Affordable Exercise Bike for Beginner Indoor Cyclists

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Summary:
The Bowflex C6 Bike is a great indoor cycling bike that has dual-sided pedals, 100 levels of magnetic resistance, and a backlit LCD metric console, among other features.

It also has Bluetooth connectivity and cadence sensors to help accurately track metrics. You can subscribe to any cycling app out there too. All in all, I found that it's a simple exercise bike with all the necessary features I needed to start cycling!
Bowflex-C6-bike

Bowflex C6

The Bowflex C6 exercise bike by Nautilus is by no means a smart bike — unlike newer indoor cycling bikes that have speakers and smart fans.

Despite that, I still found that this particular bike is very good at what it does. 

For one, its flywheel is just the right weight, allowing for a smooth ride. 100 levels of magnetic resistance contribute to a quiet ride that also lessens the wear and tear of the flywheel and brake pads.

You also get a device holder and dual-sided pedals. The bike can also be connected to a number of different fitness apps.

The best thing about it is the bike costs less than $1000. In fact, the Bowflex C6 exercise bike is around two-thirds the price of a Peloton bike!

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Resistance levels aren’t fixed
  • Has four adjustment points
  • Relatively low price

Cons

  • Only for upright cycling workouts
  • Tablet holder isn’t adjustable

Main Features

The Bowflex C6 Bike is equipped with excellent features that have made my workouts as convenient as possible. 

Below are some of those notable features:

LCD Display

From what I’ve seen, indoor cycling bikes tend to have a VERY basic console — or no console at all.

But the Bowflex C6 Bike has a liquid-crystal display (LCD) backlit computer console that displays:

  • Time
  • Calories
  • Speed
  • Distance
  • Revolutions per minute (RPM)
  • Pulse
  • Resistance levels (Heart rate)

I found the display’s ability to show my current resistance level to be particularly impressive since not a lot of even micro-adjustable bikes do that.

However, I had some difficulty reading the cadence bar graph.

The display has a Bluetooth button you can use to connect the exercise bike to fitness apps. 

One thing to be careful of is that the console’s external cord can get in the way if you reach for the weights or your water bottle.

I tucked it out of the way so I wouldn’t accidentally catch it.

Tablet Holder

Rather than being solely a tablet holder, it can hold OTHER devices, too — like your smartphone. Devices that are 13 inches and below will fit comfortably.

The holder is not adjustable, so you might have to remove protective covers (especially if they’re thick or heavy) so they can fit.

The media holder doesn’t pivot or swivel, either.

Cadence Sensors

The bike’s cadence sensors are found in the pedals.

As the name implies, these sensors help measure your RPM and speed. They transmit the data to the LCD console, but you can also have them send it to third-party apps.

However, you might have to adjust the metrics so you can accurately calibrate the information with other apps.

Resistance Levels

The Bowflex C6 Bike has what’s called magnetic resistance.

The way this kind of resistance works is magnets are used to create tension against the flywheel. However, the magnets do not make contact with it.

Instead, a magnetic force between magnets causes them to repel each other. This creates a FRICTIONLESS resistance that made me experience a quiet ride, regardless of my resistance level!

Aside from that, having no friction points also lessens the wear and tear on the flywheel and brake pads. This was great news to me since that meant I didn’t have to worry about having to replace them!

You can adjust levels using the resistance knob, which is just easy to reach.

Other exercise bikes have 16 or 32 levels of resistance. But what I really liked about the Bowflex C6 is it has 100 resistance levels.

This made it easier to fine-tune my workout, and it’s great for all fitness levels!

Because of the preset digital levels, the resistance is exactly the same every time.

For instance, one day, I wanted to feel like I was on a gradual incline at level 45. I can switch it to different levels in the following days, but when I twist it back to level 45, it’s exactly the same as the last time it was that level.

Since the LCD screen also displays resistance, you get to see what level you’re at when you tweak the resistance knob. But because you’re using a knob, you can’t immediately jump between levels.

But I think it’s still BETTER compared to if the LCD doesn’t show resistance, and you’re only relying on the feel of the resistance.

Fortunately, the LCD is accurate, though it will take a few seconds for it to register what level you’re on after tweaking the knob.

The Bowflex C6 Bike also has no automated resistance, so you’ll need to adjust it yourself every time.

Build

The Bowflex C6 is built from sturdy materials that will last you a long time. I like how I still felt stable on it despite going on more intense sprints!

This exercise bike also has excellent engineering to make your workouts comfortable and efficient.

Frame

The bike has a steel frame with welded junction points and front-mounted wheels. Meanwhile, the drive cover is made of plastic.

The handlebars are also made of steel, but they’re covered with a spongy grip material that kept my hands comfortable. You can adjust the bicycle handlebar forward, backward, up, and down.

If you look under the front and back stabilizers, you’ll find that there are adjustable levelers to ensure that the Bowflex bike is stable.

The bike also has an AC power adapter that you can plug into the left side of the front stabilizer.

You don’t necessarily need it since the bike can run without power. But I like using the console and the Bluetooth function, both of which require electricity.

Pedals

The Bowflex C6’s pedals are impressive.

Other bikes tend to use plastic pedals, but the Bowflex C6 uses aluminum with a perimeter of rubber grips.

Aside from that, they’re dual-sided pedals.

One side has SPD clips in case you have shoes made for standard spin bikes. If you don’t (like me), you don’t have to worry!

The other side is just a flat bicycle pedal with an adjustable toe cage that accommodates even ordinary sneakers.

Because of this, the Bowflex C6 Exercise Bike can accommodate MULTIPLE users, whether they have cycling shoes or not.

FlyWheel

Flywheels at gyms typically weigh 50lbs, while other indoor bikes (like the NordicTrack bike and Peloton bike) weigh around 30lbs.

The Bowflex C6 offers an excellent middle ground with its 40lb flywheel.

You might be interested to know that the weight of a flywheel MATTERS.

That’s because an indoor bike doesn’t have any external momentum that will keep the wheel spinning. Instead, the bike relies on weighted flywheels to get and maintain inertia to keep them spinning smoothly.

If the flywheel is too light, the back part won’t receive the right momentum — this can cause jerky pedaling.

The C6’s 40lbs flywheel gives enough support to keep you riding smoothly.

Seat

If you’ve been on enough exercise bikes, you know there’s no such thing as a COMPLETELY comfortable bike seat.

However, the C6 has a lightly padded seat that’s quite comfortable and has a slim shape.

You’ll be surprised to know that this kind of seat is actually better if you’re going to be cycling for a long time since it lowers friction points on your inner thigh and groin area. This will also reduce sweat and moisture build-up.

You can’t change the seat, but you can buy an “extra comfort bike seat.” The seat can be adjusted to be higher, lower, forward, and backward.

The ideal positioning lets you have a gentle bend in the knee — around 25 to 35 degrees — while keeping your foot flat on the pedals. This prevents stress from building up in your kneecap.

Thanks to the adjustable seat, the Bowflex C6 Exercise bike can accommodate people from 4’6″ to 6’6″.

However, some say that it would be better if the exercise bike had more seat (and handlebar) adjustment options to suit their height more.

Accessories

The Bowflex C6 Bike automatically comes with accessories that can help you make the most of your workout!

The freebies you get when buying a Bowflex C6 Bike depend on the deals they’re currently running.

What you can expect includes free shipping, a kettlebell, and a mat. But below are some accessories you get whether you’ve struck a deal or not:

Heart Rate Armband

A heart rate armband is less invasive than a chest strap, so I found it more comfortable to wear.

This armband is Bluetooth-enabled and can be used for advanced heart rate training and monitoring.

You can connect the armband to the Bowflex C6 Bike’s console or third-party apps on your other devices. However, the data the console shows tends to be more accurate than other apps.

Three-Pound Weights

You can find the 3lbs weights in the two front-mounted weight cages, which provide easy access.

They’re placed under the water bottle cages and handlebars to prevent your knees from hitting them while cycling.

However, taller riders’ knees might still hit them. In that case, just make sure the handlebars are high enough that you won’t experience any problems.

The 3lbs dumbbells are there to give you a more well-rounded routine, so you can work out your upper body while cycling too.

Subscription Options

The C6 has no preprogrammed workouts, so I had to get them somewhere else.

You’ll also need a separate device to stream classes since the LCD is solely for displaying metrics.

You can even hook your classes to a smart device like Chromecast or Apple TV so you can see your workouts on a bigger screen.

Some cycling apps you can use for both iOS and Android devices include:

  • Apple Health
  • UnderArmour Record
  • MyFitnessPal
  • GoogleFit
  • TrainerRoad
  • Sufferfest
  • Strava
  • Rouvy

Let’s talk about some of the more popular cycling apps you can pair with the Bowflex C6:

Bowflex Apps

Bowflex apps actually aren’t that much different from other cycling apps.

But I liked the Explore the World app since it lets you ride to landscape videos all over the globe.

The app automatically adjusts your speed as you cycle through virtual destinations. New places are being added every month, so you’ll NEVER get bored!

You can also map and share the exercises you’ve finished around the world.

JRNY App

When you buy the Bowflex C6, you get a free one-year subscription to the JRNY app.

You get video-on-demand classes, as well as real-time coaching and tracking.

As a fitness app, you also get classes for:

  • Cardio
  • Treadmill
  • HIIT
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Strength
  • Whole body

As someone who needs additional motivation to exercise, I liked how I have the option to stream music and watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other accounts.

You can choose to continue your subscription even after the free one year. Then if you want to cancel it at any time, contact Nautilus through email or by telephone.

Peloton App

The Peloton app allows you to get live or on-demand classes.

However, you won’t get Shout-Outs or show up on the Leaderboard if you’re not using a Peloton bike.

The Peloton app will show you your RPM, but you won’t see metrics for speed or calories.

But if you have friends using the Peloton bike, you can see them enter the same class as you. Search for your friends in the Peloton app and ride in the same Peloton class together!

Zwift App

Zwift is a virtual reality cycling app where you compete with fellow bike owners on a virtual course.

You can sync your Bowflex C6 Bike to Zwift for more interactive training.

You never know — you might find a new fitness pal with this app!

Performance

I was actually surprised by how great the Bowflex C6 Bike performed.

Despite weighing only 106 pounds, it was very stable — a lot thanks to the front and back stabilizers.

This exercise bike functions quietly, so I can easily work out even when there are other people in the room. It’s EASY to pull or push to the side so it’s not in anyone’s way.

The 100 levels of magnetic resistance make it possible to fine-tune the exercise too.

Everything you might need during a workout is within reach, thanks to the dual water bottle holders and weight cages mounted in front.

One thing to note, however, is the Bowflex C6 Bike has no in-built incline or decline. But I didn’t think of this as a problem since I can mimic the feeling of slopes by adjusting the resistance.

Assembly and Storage

Assembling the Bowflex C6 Bike can take 30 minutes to an hour. 

Aside from that, I had to ask for help from other people since the bike parts are pretty heavy. Some steps would need some extra hands.

If you’re not sure if you can handle DIY assembly, you can opt for expert in-home assembly. It costs $129 and will cover:

  • Movement of the bike’s box into your chosen room
  • Assembly
  • Removal of packaging materials

As for storage, the Bowflex C6 does not fold. However, it has a compact footprint, so you can just put it on the side if you want it out of the way.

There are wheels under the front stabilizer to help you. 

But don’t be like me — REMEMBER to remove the weights and tablet/smartphone before you tilt the bike to roll it out of the way.

Price

The Bowflex C6 Bike costs $999.

The company offers a credit card program. If you apply for it, you can pay $56 monthly for 18 months — but this doesn’t include taxes or shipping charges.

If you haven’t finished paying the full amount by the end of 18 months, the company will start charging you interest.

Warranty and Returns

I think the warranty for the Bowflex C6 Bike is pretty good:

  • 10 years for the frame
  • 3 years for mechanical parts and electronics
  • 1 year for labor

You can pay an additional $109 to extend the warranty in all aspects for another five years.

As for returns, you can get a FULL refund if you return the bike six weeks from the delivery date. However, you’ll be shouldering the cost of shipping.

If you decide to return your Bowflex C6 Bike, contact their Customer Service department by telephone to ask for a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number.

The company won’t acknowledge any bike that arrives with no RMA. Instead, it will be discarded.

Dimensions

The Bowflex C6 Bike is 54.6″ L x 30.7″ W x 51.8″ H.

It supports users up to 330lbs.

NOTE: When choosing a room to put the bike in, add 15 inches to the user’s height to ensure that there is enough headspace when sitting on it.

Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Users

To give you more information on the Bowflex C6 Bike, I’ve answered more relevant questions below:

Is Bowflex C6 a Spin Bike?

Yes, it is. Spin bikes mimic the position of typical outdoor bikes. They’re also better for adaptive workouts that can include coasting and acceleration.

Is Bowflex C6 the Same as Peloton?

No, it’s not. The Bowflex C6 Bike and Peloton bike have similar features, such as:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Adjustable parts
  • Water bottle holders
  • 100 resistance levels

But if you look closer, the two bikes are actually VERY different.

For one, the Peloton bike is more expensive — by around $400, in fact. The dimensions are also bigger, with a lighter flywheel and lower maximum weight capacity. The Peloton bike also has a shorter warranty than the Bowflex C6 Bike.

You’re not required to subscribe to Peloton apps to use the bike. However, the subscription business model gives you access only to LIMITED features.

If you ever want to access all the Peloton classes, you’ll have to pay $44 a month.

Some Peloton bike users complain that the ONLY fitness app option for them is the Peloton app.

You also need a specific pair of cycling shoes since it doesn’t have dual-sided pedals — which will cost you an extra $125.

Is Bowflex C6 the Same as Schwinn IC4?

Surprisingly, yes. At first glance, you might even mistake them for being the same bike.

Despite having different names and branding, these two bikes share the SAME parent company: Nautilus.

These two are mechanically the same. They even have the same compatible apps and dimensions!

If you’re going to choose between these bikes, you’ll probably be looking at which appearance appeals to you more.

Alternatively, you can also buy whichever bike goes on sale first.

Regardless of what you get, you’ll pretty much get the same experience.

What’s the Difference Between the Bowflex C6 and C7?

The C6 and C7 have pretty much the same features — from the resistance system and frame to everything else but the console.

The C7 comes with a 7-inch HD touchscreen where you can access entertainment apps and the JRNY streaming app.

Aside from that, the C7 is more EXPENSIVE and has a shorter warranty.

Because of that, I think the C6 is a better option than the C7.

Is the Bowflex C6 Worth It?

The Bowflex C6 Bike is 100% worth it! For $999, it’s CHEAPER than similar bikes I’ve seen.

After all, you get a sturdy build and a smooth ride. You also get a free mat, 3lbs weights, and a Bluetooth heart rate monitor!

If you want to save money while buying a stationary bike that’s simple yet fully functional, I definitely recommend you to get this Bowflex bike.

Do I Need an App Subscription to Use the Bowflex C6?

You DON’T need an app subscription to use the Bowflex C6!

The Bowflex C6 Bike doesn’t have a locked-in subscription, so you can choose among the many fitness apps out there.

Bowflex’s company itself recommends the Peloton app.

You can even choose to NOT subscribe to anything too.

After all, if you only want to see your metrics, the LCD screen will be enough for you.

How Do I Adjust the Handlebars on the Bowflex C6?

To adjust the handlebars on your Bowflex C6 Bike, follow these steps:

  1. Loosen the handlebar post adjustment knob and adjust it to the height you want. DO NOT pull the handlebar post above the “stop” mark.
  2. Tighten the knob. Check if the locking pin is fully engaged before completely tightening the knob. DO NOT crimp cables.
  3. If you also want to move the seat forward or backward, loosen the handlebar slider adjustment handle.
  4. After sliding it to the desired place, fully tighten the handle again. If the handle isn’t turning because it’s hitting another part, just pull the handle, turn, then push it back in to reposition it.

How Can I Change the Distance Unit From Kilometers to Miles?

To change the distance unit displayed on the LCD, do the following steps:

  1. Push and hold the Increase and Decrease buttons at the same time for three seconds.
  2. Push the Increase or Decrease button to toggle between units being displayed.
  3. Press any button to save the preference.

How Can I Connect the Bowflex C6 to a Fitness App?

In general, you can follow these steps to connect your Bowflex C6 Bike to fitness apps:

  1. Turn on your device’s Bluetooth.
  2. Open your fitness app.
  3. Press the bike’s Bluetooth button.
  4. Choose a workout class from the mobile app.
  5. Pick the Bowflex C6 Bike from the connected devices list.
  6. Go back to the program.

Bowflex C6 Bike Bottom Line Review

The Bowflex C6 Bike is a GREAT bike. It’s a simple exercise bike, but its performance and functionality are excellent for something that costs less than $1000!

The frame is very sturdy and stable despite being lightweight. You also have dual-sided pedals, so you have the option of using the SPD clips or the toe cage.

Bluetooth functionality lets you pair it with fitness apps — from the Peloton app to Apple Health. However, you automatically get a FREE one-year subscription to the JRNY app.

A device holder and USB charging port let you put in and connect your tablet, computer, or mobile phone so that you can stream classes.

Alternatively, you can just watch Netflix or listen to music too.

Overall, I 100% recommend you have the Bowflex C6 bike at home so you won’t need to hit the gym anymore!