January was a time when some of us were signing up for a gym membership. But with Covid-19 and Omicron, those days are well behind us. However, the need to focus on our physical health has only grown. This also explains why many are seriously considering home fitness equipment. The Cultfit bike is one such device to help users who want to achieve their fitness goals at home.
Interestingly, the Cultbike was originally called “TreadOne” until Cult acquired the company and rebranded it. It comes with a screen and the ability to attend live or on-demand classes. But how does it measure up, given the other options on the market? Let’s find out.
Cultbike review: The good
The Cultbike is definitely imposing once installed in your home. Just make sure that wherever you decide to place it is close to a pick up point. It is necessary for the display to work. The company will send someone over to set up the bike, and they’ll also demonstrate all the controls. Be sure to pass by.
I made the mistake of ignoring it the first time around because I was stuck in a desk job. And then we had a little trouble changing the seat height. However, once the tech explained exactly how to use the lever, it wasn’t a challenge.
It is a spinning bike with magnetic resistance and quite quiet when in use. One can adjust the seat and the handlebar according to their height requirement. But the main selling point here is the 22-inch screen and the content it offers. The screen is fully rotatable. However, spinning it is like a full upper body workout.
There’s a resistance knob, which you can turn left or right depending on how hard you want to push yourself. You can also press the button all the way and it will increase the resistance to 100 during the session. But it doesn’t stay down.
Cult offers live lessons for spinning. On-demand classes are available for spinning, yoga, cardio, strength training, and there’s also the option of scenic walks. There is no subscription yet for these courses. But I guess that will be rolled out at some point once the business model has evolved. Classes are free right now, which is a pretty good deal.
When setting up the bike, you will need the cell phone number used to purchase it. It is required for account registration. Interestingly, since mine was a review unit, I couldn’t use my cell phone number to create an account. Cult then had to provide access to one with a different number. This is also the reason why all my trainings are attributed to a man named “Harish” in Bangalore.
I took four spinning classes – two live and two on-demand. There is a live leaderboard as you ride. You can see how other class members are doing and where you are at. The screen displays resistance, RPM (revolutions per minute), distance you’ve covered, calories burned, and the amount of energy you’ve generated during the class. This last bit is what is used to decide the ranking in the ranking.
I liked the fact that in each class the coaches spend the first few minutes explaining all the right things to do before they start shooting. From seat height to handlebar height to knee position, everything is discussed. This is crucial as some might slouch too much or have the seat too high, which is never a good idea. The power of Cultfit is also on display in these courses. The fitness channel clearly has access to many trainers and this is reflected in the quality of the content.
The classes themselves are very energetic and will keep you motivated. In fact, I managed to reach number three in the leaderboard for one class. You can also rate each course after it is completed and provide feedback. The statistics of each class can be sent to your WhatsApp in case you want to post them on your Instagram account. You can also access your entire training history from the bike/classes from your account page. Cult shows your performance in the class with detailed stats on resistance, RPM, calories burned, and more.
Cultbike review: The bad one
But it wasn’t a smooth ride at all times. For one, the seat came loose just two days after installing the bike. The technician had to come back to fix it. One of the nuts behind the screen also came off. I only noticed it because my husband pointed it out by rotating the screen.
Although the screen is rotatable, it’s not the most elegant solution. I never really knew how to do this. Considering the screen size, it also takes a bit of effort. The display quality is disappointing on this Full HD display as we’re all used to sharper, higher quality screens these days. It runs a version of Android 7 with Cult software on top and all is not perfect. Screen response, even the power buttons, is a little sluggish at times.
You can also connect the bike via Bluetooth to other audio devices. Except when I go to the Bluetooth tab in the settings, the section only shows MAC addresses for most devices. So good luck trying to figure out your speaker or headphones on this.
I found the base resistance on the bike disappointing. I struggle with resistance levels over 50 on most spinning bikes. But with Cultbike, I could easily pedal even at 70 resistance. It wasn’t until 80 resistance that I felt some kickback. But yeah, I struggled to get past the 100 RPM, which is consistent with what I’ve experienced on other bikes.
Cultbike Review: Verdict
The Cultbike is an attempt to make a “Peleton” for India. And there’s certainly a market for it, given the expected growth in home fitness. It has a few key positives. It offers a number of workouts for users and is not limited to spinning. The trainers are knowledgeable and offer lots of guidance and motivation. Frankly, if you want to get that heart rate going, a smart spinning bike is one of the best ways.
But I would say this bike needs some tweaking, at least on the software and the display. The build quality could also be better in some areas considering the price. Finally, I urge you to think about your commitment before investing Rs 50,000 on it. Otherwise, the bike will end up as a rather expensive and smart hanger in your home.