Studio Review: Vital Cycle, Saugus, MA

I love spinning, but I’ve struggled with finding a studio that is conveniently located and close to home. For a few years I kept my membership at Boston Sports Club to take advantage of their spin classes, but I didn’t really love the instructors and over time I realized that I preferred small, locally owned studios instead of the large chain gym experience. I’ve bounced around to a few studios scattered across the North Shore of Massachusetts but either found that they were too far away to be convenient or that they were too expensive to stick with for the long term.

Luckily, I recently discovered Vital Cycle, located on Route 1 South in Saugus, MA. This location is super convenient to my house, and also only about 10 minutes away from my home-away-from-home, Studio Poise. The studio is tucked out of sight and doesn’t have prominent signage, so I didn’t notice it when it first opened. For locals, it’s in the same building as Roller World – you can’t really see the studio from the highway, but it’s very easy to spot once you pull into the parking lot.

Vital Cycle logo, from the Vital Cycle website

 

I’ve taken a handful of classes at the studio, so it felt like a good time to share a review.

The pros…

  • Large, roomy studio space. I cannot stand when spinning studios try to cram too many bikes into a small room. There’s nothing I hate more than being too close to my neighbors when I’m trying to get my sweat on – I really value my personal space! The spinning studio here is a large space and there’s plenty of room between bikes. I can stretch my arms out between rides without worrying that I’m going to smack a neighbor. There’s a mirror that runs the width of the room so you can check your form, which I appreciate, and the lighting is great – instructors have the ability to change the lighting levels through the class and there are specialty colored lights to help keep the energy levels up.
  • Ability to reserve a specific bike. When you go for your first ride, the instructor helps to get your bike set up for you and notes your settings on a small client card. For future visits, you reserve a specific bike and the Vital Cycle staff has the bike set up and ready to go when you get there for class. This is such a great perk! I like being able to reserve placement in the class (let’s be real, we all have our favorite spots!) and I appreciate that the bike is ready to go for me in case I hit traffic or am running late.
  • New bikes. Vital Cycle uses the Spinner Blade ION bikes. Each bike is outfitted with a monitor that tells your your RPM and your power, which brings me to my next point…
  • SpinPower system. Vital Cycle tracks SpinPower throughout the class and shows the group’s output on monitors at the front of the room. The instructors use these monitors throughout the class to make sure the group is hitting the appropriate RPM and pushing hard enough. The monitors can also show how each individual ranks against the rest of the class, a feature that I first experienced when I took a class at Flywheel. I’m a super competitive individual, so I love that extra incentive to push harder and beat the rest of the class. Vital Cycle also sends you an email at the end of each class with your stats, and you can log into your account on their website to track your progress over time.
  • Excellent promotional offerings. Vital Cycle currently offers the first week of rides free to new customers, which is a great way to try out the studio risk-free. The studio also offers free rides when you bring a friend to try a class, so I’ve been coaxing my friends into fit dates with me! They also are currently offering a Groupon deal, but I’m not sure how long that will last, so snap it up now – it’s an excellent price! I bought the 5 class option because I hadn’t yet tried the studio, and now I’m kicking myself for not getting the 10 class option instead.
  • Fun themed rides and special offerings. Periodically the studio offers special classes. I took a 90s themed ride which was a blast, and I also loved the Thanksgiving morning class offerings. It’s an extra little bonus that helps to keep customers engaged.

The cons…

  • Limited class options. There are anywhere from 2 to 4 classes offered on any given day. There aren’t a ton of early morning classes, so I haven’t been able to fit in a class before work. I’ve stuck mostly with evening classes, but I do wish there were more late evening options. At present, the latest class begins at 6:30. Since the studio is still so new, I’m hoping their class offerings expand as classes get busier.
  • Parking can be tricky in the evenings. As I mentioned, the studio shares a parking lot with the Roller World facility next door. Depending on what’s happening at the rink, parking can be a little bit nuts.
  • Water for purchase only. I have gotten really spoiled by studios that have water filters so that clients can refill their reusable water bottles with cold, filtered water. Vital Cycle does have water for purchase, but I try not to drink bottled water, so I’d love to see them invest in a filter at some point.
  • No monthly class options. At present, Vital Cycle only offers a pay-by-ride system. Since spinning is a supplementary workout for me, this isn’t really a huge negative for me, but the current pricing wouldn’t be sustainable for me personally if I wanted to make this studio my primary workout location.
  • Still working out the technology kinks. My first class at the studio, there were recurring problems with the SpinPower displays at the front of the class. The displays would periodically lose connection to our bikes and stop displaying statistics, and the owner ended up coming into the studio to try to sort out the issue while the instructor continued teaching the class. It was really distracting! Since then, the displays have faltered one or two other times, but not to the same extent as I experienced in my first class, so they do seem to be working out the problems.

Overall, I’m really glad I found Vital Cycle. It’s still a relatively new studio, so I can overlook some of the cons listed above – I trust that as this studio grows and more people learn about it, they’ll continue to make improvements. The location really can’t be beat, and I’m so grateful to finally have an affordable spinning option that’s conveniently located to both my home and my office. I hope more people discover this studio so that it can continue to succeed!

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