By Caroline and Jon
(NOTE: Caroline’s review is in italics; Jon’s is in bold)
That Class Couple loves to spin together. We can’t always agree on favorite exercise classes, but spin is one activity which we always enjoy sharing, even when we are fiercely competing against each other (let’s just say the Flywheel torque boards provide some fantastic motivation).
For a while now, we’ve wanted to try out SWERVE’s new midtown studio, just a 15 minute walk away from TCC HQ (aka our apartment). It’s all but impossible to book a class at SWERVE Midtown during the week, so, for the first free weekend day we spent in New York in months (TCC has been busy), we scooped up spots at SWERVE Sixty as soon as we could.
Here’s what we thought:
That previous week, I attended an amazing event at SWERVE Midtown–SWERVE’s Speakers Series, featuring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (see my review here), and was very impressed by SWERVE’s new studio, which is so much more spacious than SWERVE’s original Flatiron location. On a Saturday morning, without the mid-week crowds, the studio was downright cavernous, much larger than the typical New York City boutique gym. The facility consists of a large entrance hall, with a check-in desk in front, a smoothie bar in back (note: SWERVE’s smoothies are DELICIOUS), and a huge amount of lockers with benches along the side. The locker rooms are also quite large, but, strangely enough, have no lockers inside. But what they do have is plenty of showers, which is incredibly important for a midtown studio, especially one which has midday classes (TCC isn’t lucky enough to be able to work close enough to SWERVE at lunch, but for those who are, it’s a great midday option).
The spin studio, located downstairs, has a very modern vibe, with bikes crammed in, but not in a way that feels uncomfortable. The bikes are fantastic, and rival Peloton for best spin bikes in the city (SWERVE provides complementary clip-in spin shoes). Every instructor I’ve had has been top notch, with a great, inspiring playlist (generally pretty heavy on the EDM). So basically, SWERVE is a newer, slightly nicer version of all of the other boutique spin studios in the city, right? Well yes, but also not really. SWERVE differentiates itself by placing participants on one of three teams, which compete against one another for the grand prize of, well, pride. But for those of us who grew up playing team sports, sometimes pride is all that really matters, and don’t think I haven’t gotten borderline angry when my SWERVE team hasn’t won (note: my SWERVE team has never won).
The start of my relationship with SWERVE was a rocky one. After the first date, I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue when I had so many reliable, consistent other studios to swipe right on (Peloton, Flywheel, etc). The first date was back in January at the Flatiron location, and I left with a so-so taste in my mouth. I guess I hadn’t done my stalking to figure out how the class works with the different ways to earn points, and I was running a little late, so I found myself just confused for the first half of the class. In addition, the Flatiron location was a bit stuffy and crowded, and I found myself lost in a sea of spin dating experts. SWERVE and I didn’t hit it off on the first date, so I was a little hesitant to go on a second. But after Jon came home a few weeks ago raving about his time at the Roger Goodell speaker series and saying how much nicer the Midtown location was, it was time to give SWERVE another chance.
SWERVE classes follow a basic script, which is to mix speedwork, hills, and jumps with mini-competitions throughout the class, all of which adds up to an aggregate score at the end for each team. The mini-competitions consist of timed races as well as “SWERVE to the beat,” in which teams are supposed to synchronize their RPM count to the beat of the music. Some people get really into the competition, while others just do their thing, but it definitely adds a unique element to differentiate SWERVE’s product, and to make classes fly by. Also, for those of us who are uber competitive, video boards tell riders who on each team is riding the fastest during races, which is dangerous, but also fantastic motivation. At the end of class, SWERVE emails participants with detailed individualized metrics, which can also be tracked on SWERVE’s well-designed website.
It’s interesting- even though SWERVE falls in the same “boutique spin studio” bucket as all the others (SoulCycle, Flywheel, Revolve, Cyc, Peloton), it is probably the one that differentiates itself the most. I have now taken two SWERVE classes at the Midtown location (weekends since they do not offer many weekday classes) and I have to say, after each time, I am drenched and exhausted. You’d think that by taking on average two spin classes a week, it’d be piece of cake. I like to describe SWERVE as HIIT spinning. You are constantly doing short bursts of sprinting (~30 seconds each), changing your pace, or changing your position. This gets your heart rate moving up and down like no other. In addition, I think that out of all the spin studios I have been to, SWERVE is the one that I am least bored at. Especially when the music isn’t the best, spin classes can be extremely boring. The SWERVE Sixty class flies by as you are constantly participating in mini competitions against the other teams. In addition, you are competing within your team to see your number at the top of the team score. Competition on competition!
Everyone has their individual preference when it comes to spin. I’m all about straight out cycling, as opposed to the dancing on a bike that you might find at other studios, so, for me, SWERVE is a great option. I’d highly recommend it as being on par with Flywheel and Peloton as my favorite spin classes in New York, and can’t wait to return.
I definitely agree with what Jon says above. SWERVE is on par with Peloton or Flywheel, if not better. I am looking forward to going to more SWERVE classes at the Midtown location, and I am hoping that they offer more classes to ClassPass members! Definitely going to pursue this match more 😉