The at-home cycling market is about to become even more competitive.
On Aug. 7, New York-based SoulCycle announced it will be introducing an at-home bike to the consumer market later this year. The Equinox Holdings-owned brand, which has grown to 90 locations since its inception in 2006, will compete directly with Peloton, Flywheel and Echelon Fit for a foothold in an evolving space abundant with innovation, infringement claims and private equity interest.
SoulCycle has not announced pricing details or a release date for its first at-home bike and supplemental digital content platform, but the company encouraged its social media followers to subscribe to a related mailing list through which it will eventually share more information. (Peloton's signature bike starts at $2,245, not counting membership fees.)
An Aug. 7 SoulCycle Facebook post states: "Finally: the transformative, mind-body-soul experience you love—everywhere you are. Legendary instructors. Incredible music. And yes, a bike you can dance on—launching in partnership with a first-of-its-kind digital platform, featuring best-in-class content from SoulCycle, Equinox, Precision Run and more."
When it does launch its consumer bike, SoulCycle will likely become another key player in a turbulent and highly competitive market.
SoulCycle and Peloton have both flirted with initial public offerings (IPOs) in recent years, with Peloton most recently submitting an IPO draft registration statement to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 5. However, the company also faces a $150 million lawsuit filed in March by multiple music publishers that claim Peloton has committed copyright violations by illegally using more than 1,000 songs in its streaming and on-demand classes.
Concurrently, Peloton is suing competitor Flywheel in Texas federal court on claims that Flywheel had used proprietary Peloton technology to stream classes and track performance on its at-home FLY Anywhere bike. Meanwhile, Flywheel's majority stakeholder, New York-based investment firm Kennedy Lewis Investment Management LLC, is seeking a buyer for the allegedly struggling company that recently announced the closure of 11 of its studios.
In July, stationary bike vendor Echelon Fit, Chattanooga, Tennessee, received a growth capital investment for an undisclosed sum from private equity firm North Castle Partners, Greenwich, Connecticut. North Castle currently values Echelon’s business at $100 million and, as part of the deal, claimed a significant minority interest in the company.
In other news, Equinox-affiliated SoulCycle has been the subject of controversy since company owner Stephen Ross' support of President Trump became widely publicized in early August. A statement distancing SoulCycle from Ross' politics was posted to the brand's Facebook page on Aug. 7 and signed by CEO Melanie Whelan.
Let us know your thoughts on the state of the at-home cycling market and SoulCycle's latest business strategy on Facebook or Twitter, and stay posted as Club Industry continues to cover these developments.
In the meantime, you can watch SoulCycle's teaser video below that announces the brand's next venture.