My indoor cycling journey in 2021 evolved in a fairly unexpected manner. Sometime early this year, a friend of mine posted on his Instagram Stories a certain sultry picture of himself by the pool at Sofitel Singapore City Centre. Known for his blog in which he writes about frequent flyer miles, credit cards and hotel chains, this friend had undergone dramatic weight loss since the start of the pandemic by attending spin classes regularly, sometimes twice a day. The visible difference in his appearance had some effect on our mutual audiences, some of whom for whatever reason forwarded the story to me accompanied by messages such as “wah wah now he’s damn fit” and “this blogger is now very fit sia”.
I shared this amusing incident with said friend, and our conversation soon turned to indoor cycling and his experiences at Absolute Cycle Singapore, where he regularly attends spin classes. By then, I had actually started spinning regularly at a new fitness studio in Singapore and was already sold on the spin concept, to the point of extolling the virtues of indoor rhythmic cycling in writing, but his anecdotes about spin helping him keep fit, the phenomenon of superstar instructors as well as the often insane demand for class slots sparked a further curiosity in me about the indoor cycling scene in Singapore beyond my regular spin studio. I was thus inspired to experience and write about every notable spin studio in Singapore, understand the spin industry better and find out what sets different studios and instructors apart from each other.
Equipped with a new pair of padded shorts from Decathlon (or, as I like to call them, “well-cushioned butt bras”) and across the span of seven months, I signed up for trials (and, for studios which I enjoyed more, packages) at most indoor cycling studios in Singapore. It was not an immediately comfortable journey because of the inherent barriers to entry when it comes to spin. Save for certain beginner classes that some studios offer as well as brief introductory routines incorporated by some studios at the start of class, you are basically left to figure out everything about spin cycling on your own, from what the optimal bike set-up is for each type of bike you may encounter (e.g. Schwinn, Stages, Life Fitness) and what the correct posture is for when you’re on the bike to the steep physical learning curve when it comes to double time as well as how to perform choreography which requires both hands to be off the handlebar (sometimes when you are off the saddle).
In addition, spin culture can be fairly intimidating, not just because indoor cycling enthusiasts who post spin-related content on social media seem to always (i) belong to some fitness fam with every relative religiously tagged and reposted on a daily basis or (ii) be dressed in midriff/sideboob-baring gear or Lululemon, but also in terms of the pressure you may feel during class to perform at the same level as fellow riders around you who may double time faster, add crosses more frequently or perform hands-off-handlebar choreography with more poise and swag than you do.
Given how trial packages mean I only had two or three classes with each studio, I was fortunate to have received quite a bit of guidance from both existing and newly-made rider friends as to which instructors I should try to book a class with in order to have the most fruitful representation of what the studio had to offer. “You HAVE to go for Aloysius’ class at Revolution Singapore,” a newly-minted spin instructor gushed at some point. “At Ground Zero Singapore, Sevian’s choreography is LEGIT,” another spin instructor shared. “Matthew from CruCycle Singapore does like 150-160bpm double time and I truly felt like a hamster,” someone else confided (and, for context, this person is somebody whom I once described as a lithe speed wizard, an Energiser Bunny on steroids and a bouncy jack-in-the-box, in case you need a better idea as to just how intimidating Matthew sounded at this point). Every recommendation given turned out to be right on the money.
The 2021 Ultimate Guide to Spin Studios in Singapore is my valentine to the spin industry in Singapore. It has been a fascinating and highly informative ride, because only when you have sampled many different spin studios can you really appreciate the distinctive qualities that each studio possesses, not just in terms of the physical spaces, quality of instruction and choice of equipment but also the profile of riders, range of choreography practised as well as the quality of the overall client experience.
Most casual riders would likely have memberships or packages with only one spin studio and would not naturally be in a position (or incentivised) to find out more about what other studios have to offer. Through this guide, the goal is to shed some light on the different strengths and weaknesses across all the studios and inspire you to make a well-informed decision as to which spin studio best meets your specific needs. I hope the guide provides a source of inspiration for your spin journey, and that you will enjoy your experiences as much as I did.
Editor’s note: For a variety of reasons, I was unable to experience some spin studios prior to the publication of this guide. This includes X Spin Club and Oompf! Fitness. The guide will be updated accordingly should I have the opportunity to feature these studios in the future. This guide was last updated on 16 January 2022.
ABSOLUTE CYCLE SINGAPORE
In a nutshell: The Fitness First of spin studios.
Locations: Centrepoint, Downtown Gallery, Millenia Walk, Zouk (pop-up)
Why you should: With four different outlets to choose from, Absolute Cycle Singapore rivals Revolution Singapore as the biggest spin studio in Singapore (although its franchise underpinnings makes it the bigger and more established brand). With compulsory beginner classes and many classes available throughout the day across the different locations, the studio is a great entry point into indoor cycling. It is also the only brand to have a studio set in the premises of a night-club (Zouk pop-up at Clarke Quay) for a unique, high-ceiling warehouse party spin experience.
Why you shouldn’t: Given its mass market audience, the hardware – think communal areas and shower facilities – may not be the most luxurious, and the studios do not usually offer any themed rides (e.g. 90’s playlist, Hip Hop, songs from BLACKPINK etc) which often do wonders in adding spice to your spin routine. Also, while the average choreography is not exactly easy, the fact that Absolute Cycle uses a different type of bike (Schwinn) from most other boutique studios (Stages) means you may not have access to more innovative and challenging choreography that are frequently performed at these other studios.
[Editor’s Note: The studio is progressively switching to Stages bikes, with the Downtown Gallery outlet being the first to replace their Schwinn bikes with Stages bikes.]
My experiences: Jia En (JE)’s classes blend the conversational address-the-audience intimacy of a late night comedy club with clubby neon vibes and the clash boom bang of an arena pop concert. The Naruto-esque and Red Bull hyper-charged Brian and the jovial chilli-padi-meets-Bacardi Shaun kept energy levels high, while Terence – who boasted enough swag to play a cheesy song like Chinese Orchestra staple 男儿当自强 and still make it somehow work – demonstrated a remarkable theatrical showmanship and almost section leader-esque mastery of audience engagement, with the most notable example being the audience participation aspect of his weights segment (if your half of the class does not cheer and respond loud enough, you have to do more reps). Elsewhere, Chantal exuded doses of glossy-lipped glamour, while the fierce Hyekel was memorable for both his distinctive-coloured fringe (he could be a wisecracking sidekick or villain in a Mortal Kombat/Pixar movie) as well as his signature ringtone-worthy exhortations of “ah ha”, “hoo” and “OWWWWWWWW”.
6A Shenton Way #02-01
OUE Downtown Gallery
9 Raffles Boulevard #02-43
176 Orchard Road
The Centrepoint #04-101
3C River Valley Road
Clarke Quay, #01-05
In a nutshell: A spin studio in Bukit Timah Shopping Centre.
Location: Bukit Timah Shopping Centre
Why you should: Perched on the 17th level of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and occupying a former office space, Algorhythm Singapore bears the distinction of being the only studio in Singapore to offer impressive sunset views. While the reception and communal spaces may feel more tuition centre than boutique fitness studio due to the unit’s origins, the cosy spin room itself manages to make the most of its basic lighting set-up, from single colour intensity and Paddle-Pop pulsations to the warm ambient orange light under the podium which illuminates the faces of everyone around the instructor who is situated in the middle like an oracle in a hushed campfire ritual.
Despite being a lean team (business owner Simin currently takes most of the standard classes while her team members usually conduct the beginner classes), the studio makes an effort to offer a range of weekly themed rides to keep the proceedings fresh, from “David Guetta x Rihanna” and “Mandopop” to “90s Club Hits”. Their efforts to build the business and overcome the experiential shortcomings of the studio space is evident, and the earnestness of the proceedings does make me want to root for them and see them do well.
Why you shouldn’t: Given its very niche location and small stable of instructors, the studio’s use case does seem fairly limited to those living in the vicinity.
My experiences: A cross between a seasoned fitness instructor and a hip and caring aunt (by virtue of her frequent and endearing use of the word “baby” in an encouraging context), Simin provided a comfortable and conducive environment for a good workout.
170 Upper Bukit Timah Road
#17-01 Bukit Timah Shopping Centre
In a nutshell: The most luxurious spin studio in Singapore.
Location: Cross Street
Why you should: Situated on the 2nd level of Manulife Centre along Cross Street, Ally Singapore offers a splashily statement luxury spin experience. Aesop products are everywhere – think Coriander Seed Body Cleanser, Equalising Shampoo and Classic Conditioner in the shower, Resolute Hydrating Body Balm and Sculpt Hair Polish in front of the bathroom vanity and the Geranium Leaf Rinse-Free Hand Wash at the check-in counter to even Post-Poo Drops in the washrooms. Dyson hairdryers and a steam iron (!) are on hand to ensure you leave the studio feeling glamorous as opposed to being all early morning MRT drippy/straw-like hair and crumpled T.M.Lewin, while BRITA still and sparkling water on tap incentivise one’s extensive self-hydration. Ally Singapore’s in-house coffee and shake bar, Neighbourhood, maximises use of the studio’s brightly lit and sizeable outdoor-while-indoor social space for even non-spin cafe-hoppers to meet their caffeine needs. In addition, in a nod to a Barry’s-esque style of work hard party hard culture, the studio will soon launch their Champagne Fridays programme whereby members who attend a Champagne Friday ride get to enjoy a complimentary glass of Berry Bros. & Rudd Crémant De Limoux NV sparkling wine.
In terms of the actual spin experience, Ally Singapore has snagged itself former Absolute Cycle Singapore superstars Janice, Jasper and Lionel to spearhead the studio’s launch, so you are assured a challenging yet suitably vibey time on the saddle. They also frequently organise extended classes (e.g. their 2021 New Year’s Eve 100-minute ride) for advanced riders looking for that extra push.
Why you shouldn’t: Given the nature of the luxurious amenities offered to its members, the average cost per ride is the highest across all studios in Singapore, with only CruCycle Singapore matching its price point.
My experiences: The immensely popular Jasper, whose charisma is simultaneously JJ Lin and Oprah Winfrey-esque, commanded a remarkable level of audience adoration from loyal riders who have followed him since his Absolute Cycle Singapore days, while lean mean machine Lionel revealed early in the ride that he meant serious business with some gruelling sprint pieces. Janice played it all chilli padi charged, crisp and resolute physicality as well as comfort zone-furthering positivity, with highlights including a punishing running V-ups segment as well as one heck of an extended and high-resistance isolation piece that made me weak in the knees and not in a romantic comedy way. Elsewhere, the summery Courtney led a flawlessly executed ride that could have served as a pre-recorded virtual class with minimal edits.
8 Cross Street
Manulife Tower #02-01/02
In a nutshell: The flashiest studio effects in town.
Location: South Beach Quarter
Why you should: Located right smack in town, Aurora Singapore is the only studio in Singapore to offer two different rooms within their premises. The bigger Infinity Room boasts the most extensive variety of lighting effects I’ve seen, ranging from dotted lines, rainbow colours and glittering stars to my favourite effect where all the boxes around you become TV static noise like you are literally in a reality TV nightmare. Mirrors on three sides of the room lend an epic visual expansiveness, while a smoky cage effect around the podium is employed at the start of classes for a sense of heightened drama. (In comparison, the cosier Experience Room is smaller in scale in terms of both lighting capabilities as well as capacity.)
Furthermore, Aurora offers three different types of classes to suit your fitness level and needs: Aurora Fundamentals, designed as an introduction to rhythm-based cycling; Ride the Aurora, the studio’s standard rhythm-based class; and Ride the Thunderstorm, the most advanced class with the most demanding and sophisticated choreography. Also, like Revolution, the studio offers an extensive class schedule throughout the day, with night classes available on both weekdays and weekends.
Why you shouldn’t: Having used Life Fitness bikes since their opening (which I am not entirely convinced are suited for rhythmic cycling), the studio only just recently switched to Stages bikes, and they may take time for their instructors (and riders) to get acclimatised to the new bikes. Also, like Revolution, they have a very extensive team of instructors, so you can expect the choreography, tempo and general standard of instruction to vary significantly.
My experiences: The slightly intimidating but ultimately amiable Brazilian-Japanese Kazuo (whose facial fuzz and wavy locks lend a certain Game of Thrones edginess) sent up heavily choreographed sessions with signature lightning-fast pulses during his sprints while the (knowingly?) goofy YJ, who felt like a young Paul Rudd-esque Korean lead of a romantic comedy set in an engineering campus, was all about TikTok-trendy and cheesy dance moves. Ben‘s ride had a dramatic finale where a “Zombie” remix played in the background while lights blinked ominously and frantically in manner of banned Pikachu Porygon episode as everybody triple-timed their escape away from the undead.
Possessing much unbridled enthusiasm and a Hulk-ish upper back that chewed much scenery during the arms segment, Vehn went for heavy physicality when it comes to choreography, with his 45 degrees trench digging being quite the punisher. Lastly, blending the defiant attitude of P!nk with a softened brand of regimental instruction, Pussycat Dolls fan Jess unleashed wave after wave of breathtakingly relentless choreography, most of which crescendo to a single cross combination frenzy which left novices scrambling on their handlebars, and during her isolation track Jess showboated her hands-free isolation prowess/powerful abs strength with a certain good-natured haughtiness.
36 Beach Road
South Beach Quarter #02-01/02-02
In a nutshell: The best indoor cycling studio in the West.
Locations: Holland Village
Why you should: Conveniently situated within a shophouse building facing Holland Village Food Centre and steps away from Holland Village MRT Station, AXIOM Singapore offers a comprehensive suite of fitness services, from their Rhythm and Road classes held in the indoor cycling studio on the second level to their Strength classes in the sheltered outdoor space on the third level.
Safety is top of mind for their Rhythm classes – all first-timers who buy a trial (even if you aren’t new to spin) are required to attend their Foundation class which involves a dedicated and extended time window where you receive a short lesson on bike set-up and basic movements (and receive personalised attention and assistance) before the regular spin proceedings start proper. Elsewhere, their Road classes (i.e. terrain-based and RPMish) mesh Rhythm-esque beats with the dashboard fixation of Barry’s as well as the AMRAP buddy system of team-based fitness classes, and you receive an email report after each class which captures your workout stats and holds you more accountable in terms of your performance during class.
Why you shouldn’t: Likely due to their generally older and expat Holland Village clientele, the Rhythm classes are maintained at a manageable and non-threatening pace, although I sensed certain instructors like Crysta could push the envelope much further if the class that day was gauged to be receptive and confident enough.
My experiences: Possessing an edgy coolness and radio DJ-isms to her brand of instruction, Crysta was a connoisseur of the single arm push, while Edwina eschewed spin’s reliance on ubiquitous EDM heaviness for a more poppy, jaunty and summery musicality. On the Road side of things, the encouraging Hann Khee led the class with the kind of vocal tone you often hear in the background at a Raffles Place alfresco drinking spot at 9.15pm.
18A Lor Mambong
In a nutshell: Spin concept from the guys behind BoOm Singapore.
Location: Shenton Way
Why you should: Housed within the premises of Core Collective along Anson Road, the boutique spin concept is founded by the folks behind functional training/boxing concept BoOm Singapore, with many of their instructors also being instructors at BoOm Singapore and/or having extensive experience in the fitness space, so you know you are in good hands. Also, the studio expressly does away with the concept of a weights track in their classes, dedicating more time and attention to the ride experience.
Why you shouldn’t: Being part of Core Collective as opposed to a standalone spin studio with its own premises, the studio at this stage lacks a distinct identity, and it remains to be seen whether the studio can build a cult and loyal following in the same manner as BoOm Singapore.
My experiences: Founder Bryan piped in plenty of rest time for his crew in manner of caring father/officer or similar and thus when he assured the class that the next push was going to be chill you would believe him, but before you realised it you would be in the midst of a heavy resistance sprint and not quite sure what just happened. In similar fake out fashion, Ivan lulled everyone into a false sense of security with seated choreography for the first track before, in manner of Bohemian Rhapsody meets Barry’s, segueing into a non-stop cardio rollercoaster with no isolation track, no arms track and only one single-time song and the rest of the ride being all jumps, fast jogs and sprints. Marina – whom I must commend for keeping her cues clear and continuous throughout the entire session – incorporated a rapid fire single-arm pulse segment set to a strident beat where the class looked like a marching zombie army in the mirror reflection, which was a pretty nifty spin moment.
79 Anson Road #22-01
In a nutshell: American-style attitude, cult following and huskies.
Location: Orchard Road, Duxton Road
Why you should: One of the original boutique spin studios in Singapore, CruCycle Singapore has a loyal cult following and plenty of American-style attitude. Aside from their CruCycle concept, CRU offers specialised CruYoga, CruHIIT and CruBox classes at their studios as well as their Peloton-style CRU TV Bike complete with an extensive video library of high-quality on-demand fitness videos, making CRU quite the fitness empire and one-stop wellness solution.
Classes are conducted at their snazzy new flagship outlet at Orchard (which plays like a glossy CRU brand centre) as well as their original shophouse outlet at Duxton. In the past, the studio also opened up classes at their very atmospheric and vibey Rave Cave space at Ruby Land Complex, where filming is done for their on-demand CRU TV workout videos.
In addition, the owners’ huskies (who are brand mascots) as well as the instructors’ own fur pets (including an adorable black French Bulldog named Boba Elizabeth) often make guest appearances in the studios, which lends to a very warm and convivial environment.
Why you shouldn’t: Amongst all spin classes in Singapore, a CruCycle class is on average the most expensive. Unlike most of the studios on this list, CruCycle is not on ClassPass, meaning affordably-priced drop-ins are not possible unless you commit to a full package (and you need to buy many, many classes in order to bring the average cost of a class below $30). They seldom do sale promotions, and even when they do, the cost savings are usually not significant.
My experiences: Co-founder BeBe is possibly the purest and most unadulterated crystallisation of CRU’s brand DNA with her inimitable blend of effortless edgy, American-style bad-ass and female boss sass. Like a level 72 Mewtwo in a Pokemon game, Matthew was legendary, playing like the optional boss of a role-playing game who is definitely not compulsory to complete the game (lest casual players rage-quit in protest) but yet offers a whole lot of self-accomplishment should you manage to conquer him. The immense challenge lies not just in the insane tempo (which is significantly higher than most rides you’d encounter) but also the complexity of the choreography which seems designed to test your psychomotor skills and push your bodily coordination to breaking point. His classes have been by far the most challenging spin experiences I ever had.
Elsewhere, the slightly scary and British garage MC-esque Shiqeen demanded high-speed and intense upper body physicality while the budding young Bryan Y and hands-free choreography enthusiast Mandalyn tested my endurance with plenty of fast jogs and extended sprints. True to his CruBox roots, the most painful part of Jeremy‘s ride was that excruciating “Jeremy special” moment when he made us extend our arms to our sides and make tiny circles with our dumbbells. During my 100-minute class with the effortlessly badass Sherie and resident Darlie ambassador Kenny, highlights included the numerous extended sprints as well as a West Side Story-esque moment set to an Adele soundtrack where the class was split into two and alternated their jumps and saddle time in a most theatrical fashion. Jerry‘s class started off on a relatively breezy and comfortable tempo before abruptly segueing into a manic wave of fast-time rapid-fire choreography to the point that keeping up was like shadowing a ninja stealth darting from tree to tree.
The very likable and ebullient Jolyn was responsible for possibly my favourite spin moment ever – when the first chorus of Little Mix’s military-tinged Salute came on and the three riders in the front row executed the “down/both hands up/down/up cross” choreography with regimental precision in front of their supreme leader, it was goosebumps-inducingly epic.
442 Orchard Road #01-29
68 Duxton Road #01-01
GROUND ZERO SINGAPORE
In a nutshell: Winning combination of challenging choreography and a sleek boutique experience.
Location: Cross Street Exchange
Why you should: Boutique studio Ground Zero Singapore does seem to have the full package. Aside from its appealing industrial aesthetic, spacious common areas, beautiful shower facilities, OMNO bath amenities and highly Instagrammable lit walkway for them post-workout squad photos, the studio is also popular for their themed rides, which manage to remain dignified affairs without crossing over into gimmick territory, as well as their challenging choreography which will undoubtedly redefine what you think is possible on a stationary bike. You can expect to ride with both seasoned and mature riders here (read: less kids).
Why you shouldn’t: Like CruCycle Singapore, Ground Zero releases a weekly schedule, and you are likely to experience challenges booking classes with your favourite instructors. Also, some of the more faith-testing, hands-off-handlebar choreography – a Ground Zero staple – may not sit well with novice riders or those who prefer to stay strictly in their comfort zones.
My experiences: The popular Joshua – who channels Akin Akman from AARMY filtered through boyish platoon commander lenses – is famed for his ever-changing, engaging and fun choreography, thus attracting a certain level of rider sophistication, and it was quite a treat to observe in the mirror the snappy and sharp sync of everybody’s movements during the woodchopping segment of a Mary J. Blige x Zara Larsson themed ride. Channelling a manic, euphoria-charged Scary Spice performing at a sell-out Wembley Stadium concert, Sevian always cranked the handlebar-free choreography dial to eleven, with hovering front and back claps leaving the biggest impression, while the oft-recommended Wei Ren is famed for terrorising riders with his signature 7-minute non-stop off-saddle marathon extravaganzas. Amanda’s “Ride or Die” advanced ride was a master class in endurance, while Asmine‘s classes were equally memorable, primarily for her signature pontianak-style choreography (i.e. being off the saddle with your hands outstretched during a hover/sprint). Elsewhere, Eunice‘s rapid switching of single arms across the opposite handlebar during the final sprint certainly left my quads red-hot.
18 Cross Street
Cross Street Exchange
LUMI CYCLE SINGAPORE
In a nutshell: Spin and açai in Kovan.
Why you should: Situated within the Stars of Kovan residential/commercial mixed development a short walk from Kovan MRT Station, the boutique studio boasts the distinction of being the only one on this list that also doubles up as an F&B concept, serving açai bowls and soft serve for your icy, antioxidant-packed post-spin recovery. The studio is also strategically located near major residential neighbourhoods, with few other spin concepts in the vicinity.
Why you shouldn’t: The studio is fairly cosy in size (12 bikes in 4 rows of three) and its no-frills stylings – shoes are self-serve from the rack at the back of the spin room and there are no showers or washrooms so guests have to walk a certain distance to access the nearest toilet – limit its appeal to mainly nearby riders looking for a quick, fuss-free workout.
My experiences: The suitably peppy and friendly Amanda kept the tempo manageable for the benefit of the first timers present and reserved the studio’s secret visual surprises for the very last track – I must admit I was fairly impressed that the seemingly humble spin room had such tricks up its sleeves.
LUMI CYCLE SINGAPORE
988 Upper Serangoon Road
Stars Of Kovan #01-43
In a nutshell: Rebranded concept with two outlets offering very different spatial experiences.
Locations: Joo Chiat, UE Square
Why you should: Formerly known as Cycle Beats, rebranded concept Popsicle boasts two outlets which are distinctly different in aesthetic and vibes but both equally gorgeous – the uniquely open-concept Joo Chiat space (the ground floor encompasses the reception, locker area and spin room) filters the shophouse setting through industrial chic lenses, while the snazzy new UE Square outlet adopts a futuristic, high-fashion take on striking candy colours, with the spin room using pulsating ambient lighting and rotating stage spotlights for a fun disco vibe.
Why you shouldn’t: Because of their Joo Chiat and River Valley locations, the studios may serve as viable options only for those who live or work in those respective neighbourhoods.
My experience: Probably a track & field enthusiast in former times, Kamesh’s class comprised of multiple jumps, a whole lot of runs across so many songs as well as a seated mad sprint segment where I fleetingly felt like Icarus soaring in the sky towards the sun. The flicky-fringed and Ben from A1-esque Gerald threw in energetic hands-free moves fairly early in the game and kept the choreography coming throughout the session. My class with mistress of seven turns Priscilla involved me spinning double-time on ten turns (!) and a frantic “Zombie”-soundtracked triple-time finale, while the cap-wearing, sick beats head-bobbing frat boy-esque Jin incorporated a seemingly never-ending endurance track where I pulsed to urban beats until my quad felt tyre track burns. Elsewhere, Linda conveyed the chirpy brightness of a children’s morning TV presenter and the vivacious Kristel sent up a radio-friendly playlist of recognisable pop tunes.
368 Joo Chiat Road
Central (UE Square)
UE Square #01-34
83 Clemenceau Avenue
In a nutshell: Excellent location near Great World and Zion Riverside Food Centre.
Location: Zion Road
Why you should: I actually quite liked Revel Cycle Singapore‘s cosy and decidedly chameleonic studio, which was capable of being transformed from vibey candlelit dorm room to naughty university underground rave with a push of a button. Also, the studio’s strategic location close to Great World and Zion Riverside Food Centre means you are able to weave a workout easily into your social and dining schedule. In addition, aside from the usual rhythmic classes with choreography, the boutique studio is one of the few local studios which offers RPM-style classes focused on terrain.
Why you shouldn’t: The premises – from the locker area to the shower rooms – lack the boutique luxe factor of its contemporaries. Also, rather incomprehensibly, the studio adopts a defensively-worded and customer-unfriendly late policy (“it is Revel Cycle’s policy to reserve the right to respectfully turn away riders who rock up one to two minutes prior, on the dot or latecomers”). Yes, you might be turned away even if you are early.
On one occasion, during an extended period of intense storms (just to be clear, we are not referring to your garden variety shower but literally people trapped in cars, property damage, flooding and making headlines of Channel NewsAsia levels of wet), I arrived two minutes after the stipulated class timing because of slow traffic due to the rain but I was neither allowed to join the class nor offered for my credit to be refunded/penalty to be waived. I am not challenging the concept of a late policy and not admitting late attendees after the class has started, but from my experience, every other studio I have visited have adopted a more understanding, customer-friendly and case-by-case policy towards late-coming, with turning clients away being a matter of last resort as opposed to the default. I would have appreciated that the studio take into account the extenuating circumstances and adopt a more human and kind response to my plight instead of simply mechanically apply a rule quite so coldly and unfeelingly.
To clarify, the above late policy page did not exist on the website when this unhappy incident took place.
(Postscript: On a more positive note, the late policy page specifies a number to call if a rider knows he/she will be late, and I am pleased to share that after a reader recently called the studio when they were running late, the studio actually re-allocated them a bike closest to the door and allowed them into class after it had already started. This is a step in the right direction and I am very heartened to know the studio is working on its processes.)
My experiences: Both displaying confident student leader qualities, Chyna and Xuan offered breezy approachability and friendly instruction, while the no-nonsense and commanding Jude, a mixture of Sandra Bullock and seasoned army regular, dispensed with sweet radio voices and instead ran each choreography combos like drills which you performed until perfection and went “Hydrate. Everything good?” without fail after every single track.
REVEL CYCLE SINGAPORE
46 Zion Road
In a nutshell: Youth-skewing vigour and an abundance of classes all day, every day.
Locations: Orchard Cineleisure, Cecil Street, Frasers Tower
Why you should: With four outlets to choose, Revolution rivals Absolute Cycle as the biggest studio in Singapore, and you would not have as much difficulty securing your workout slots as you may with other boutique studios. The average riding difficulty at Revolution is higher than at Absolute Cycle, with some instructors being comparable to the more technically demanding instructors at Ground Zero and CruCycle. Revolution also frequently organises various themed rides – from “House Party 2.0”, “Seoul Special” and “Cardi B vs Nicki Minaj” to something ridiculous titled “YP E-Scooter Upsized” – which keeps things fresh and lively. (I once saw an Instagram post depicting Revolution riders vibing to the Don Don Donki theme song. I kid you not.)
In addition, Revolution bears the distinction of being the only studio which offers night classes on weekdays – their Tanjong Pagar outlet has its last class at 9pm and their Orchard outlet even offers 10.30pm classes on Friday nights – as well as evening classes on weekends after most spin studios would have ended classes by mid-afternoon.
Why you shouldn’t: Given the size of the Revolution team, the choreography, tempo and general standard of instruction will vary significantly across different instructors, and you are likely to experience a large degree of inconsistency if you usually book classes based on timing and convenience and not stick to your preferred instructor. Also, as the studio offers various student packages, you may find yourself sharing bikes with significantly younger riders, and your mileage may vary in terms of what that means to you. When I attended a class at the Orchard outlet, realising the median age of the attendees around me did make feel like an old pervert in a sea of XMMs (小妹妹) and XXR (小鲜肉).
My experiences: Valerie‘s class played like a “Now That’s What I Call Spin” compilation showcasing some of my favourite rhythmic cycling moments I’ve come across this year (running crosses! running pulse claps! alternating presses! woodchopping! single arm opposite side bottom bar reaches! upping the resistance just a touch every time you saddle down during jumps!) in rapid succession and all killer no filler mode. Endo‘s comic mannerisms, verbal Japanese/Singlish duality and abrupt tone switches – “train your small muscle guruupu….ehhh don’t think I cannot see you ah” – were all sorts of brilliant, while her classes demanded high endurance (think choreography during sprints/fast jogs). Classes with the effervescent Jim Carrey-meets-Pikachu Aloysius always feel like a Taiko No Tatsujin/Dance Dance Revolution advanced stage, while Queenie – possessing so much swag that she names her own classes Queen-chella and Queenie Level-Up – was a force of nature, possessing the red-hot firespin of a Charizard and what appears to be a full-sized Ninetales on her head which frankly deserves its own class.
Elsewhere, on his very first class – not that you could tell – the Elvin Ng-adjacent Gabriel (you can easily see him as Rui En’s younger lover in a 9pm Channel 8 serial) paid tribute to Barry’s Singapore by giving three numbers of resistance knob turns for you to choose from (with the lowest number usually being 3 and above) and offered no recovery track, a generally rapid-fire tempo and so many tapbacks that my core continued to register the performance of phantom sit-ups hours later. Highlights from my 90-minute ride with Angela and Paul include the “Beastmode” segment – a rollercoaster kitchen sink of choreography when we swerved schizophrenically from soar-in-the-saddle high BPM runs to off-saddle sprints and then to jumps – as well as “London Bridge” segment which was a relentless, stamina-testing repetitive choreography monster.
8 Grange Road #03-08
137 Cecil Street
Hengda Building, Level 2
182 Cecil Street
Frasers Tower, Level 2
520 North Bridge Road
Wisma Alsagoff, Level 3
In a nutshell: Beautiful people in a beautiful setting.
Location: Robinson Road
Why you should: The overall R10T spin experience feels fairly polished and intimate, with the instructors (usually with hair so voluminous, long and lustrous they deserve their own L’Oreal commercial) favouring a more beginner-friendly form of guidance and instruction via soothing radio DJ tones as opposed to a shoutier and more rah-rah approach. Also, in terms of lighting, the studio boasts some seriously nifty lighting effects, from overhead flying lasers and glittering stars to the flashing white lights programme which sets the stage for some particularly epic battle atop a cliff between a hero and someone with a long beard and trident in the midst of a hazardous storm. R10T was the first studio to feature the cage of lights around the podium accompanied by a certain dry ice-esque smokiness which makes the instructor seem like an ethereal being descending to share some powerful world-saving wisdom, and most recently they added machines on both sides of the podium which create a dramatic explosive/puff of smoke effect.
In addition, as opposed to the usual credits-based system used by most spin studios, those who sign up for R10T’s unlimited packages can reserve as many spin classes as they like, which is tremendous value if you spin often or enjoy attending back-to-back sessions for maximum calorie burn.
Why you shouldn’t: The relatively lean team means you often spin with the same instructors, which could go either way in terms of how much you value variety over familiarity. While the Kiehl’s shower amenities are much appreciated, the shower facilities are fairly modest due to spatial constraints. Also, due to its ties with the modelling and entertainment industry, the studio frequently attracts the attendance of influencers, celebrities and media artistes (and those in the orbit of such circles), and they also frequently organise brand-sponsored events (e.g. a recent ticketed HUGO promotional event to promote the brand’s Active collection). While the studio’s glamorous and happening vibe as well as social media-centric workout culture (think obligatory mirror wefies, post-workout social media mass tagging and self-filming during class) may appeal to some, your mileage may of course vary.
My experiences: The Nicole Scherzinger-esque JM always went all coy and “oh my gosh” whenever the opening bars of a track which heralded particularly vigorous choreography kicked in while Carolyn – one of the strongest emerging spin instructors this year in terms of the difficulty and tempo of her classes – is known for the unique classical music flourishes in her playlists as well as her signature Middle Eastern-tinged resistance tracks. Former Miss Singapore Chinatown Mandi is the queen of the seemingly endless “up the saddle for a few counts/back to saddle and turn the resistance up a touch…and repeat” sequence, always giving the dial quite the defiant smirk with each turn. Elsewhere, there are spin classes which give you a good workout and good workouts which come packaged as spin classes and Ely clearly sat on one end of that spectrum.
You can imagine the reserved and demure Sophia selling Girl Guide cookies for a fundraising drive or matchsticks in the snow but in class she went all “WOOOOOOOO” and “HELLO R10T HOW ARE WE FEELING” and towel swishing and hands aloft and high energy double-timeisms and it was a massive fake-out. Elsewhere, handlebar catwalk enthusiast and twerktastic TikTok extraordinaire Kevin relished physically demanding routines – think rapid single arm crossing to the opposite handlebar and doing the common “left/middle/right/middle” choreography single time on 5 turns of the resistance knob.
140 Robinson Road
RS CYCLE SINGAPORE
In a nutshell: Spin studio in a bicycle shop.
Why you should: Hidden at the back of RS Works, a large bicycle store along Changi Road, RS Cycle Singapore offers the industrial grunge of Ground Zero, the rotating disco spotlight of Popsicle and the residential cosiness approach of Sync Cycle in a pink-themed studio setting.
Why you shouldn’t: Based on its scale and low-key, no-frills approach, the studio seems to cater primarily to riders in the vicinity.
My experiences: I attended Hazel‘s class in the month of August, and amongst her playlist were various National Day-themed songs such as Reach Out For The Skies, Stand Up For Singapore (!) and Rasa Sayang (that’s right). Elsewhere, Elise‘s 60-minute Armin van Buuren themed ride turned out to be one of the most challenging non-CBD/town rides I’ve ever done, with highlights including a stamina-testing 45/30/15/30/45 second pyramid sprint for EACH LEG as well as a 2-minute non-stop jump/sprint finale, both of which had me planking and clutching onto the handlebar for dear life as I fought to ease some pressure off my dying legs.
500 Changi Road
In a nutshell: Neighbourhood boutique shophouse spin concept in East Coast and Serangoon.
Locations: East Coast Road, Yio Chu Kang Road
Why you should: Set within shophouse buildings located in the heart of two laid-back and desirable neighbourhoods, Sync Cycle offers a casual yet intimate ride experience conveniently close to East Coast and Serangoon Central’s respective arrays of dining and lifestyle amenities. Also, the unique layout of the Yio Chu Kang outlet – a long and narrow room with the podium on one end and rows of bikes gradually extending onto platform steps towards the other end – is pretty cool.
On an entirely unrelated note, the same studio is steps away from Song Kee Eating House, which serves undeniably the best fish dumplings (her geow) in Singapore, thus giving you more incentive to visit.
Why you shouldn’t: Like XYCO Studio, Sync Cycle generally keeps the tempo and choreography at a comfortable and accessible level in line with its residential setting, which may not appeal to those seeking a more advanced ride experience. On that note, like Absolute Cycle, the studios use Schwinn bikes, in contrast to other boutique studios such as Ground Zero and CruCycle whose classes typically involve more sophisticated choreography performed on Stages bikes.
My experiences: The small wins-motivational Jas punctuated her rhythm with encouraging belachan cat yelps as she ushered the class towards maximum effort, while Tricia consciously controlled the flow at every turn and made sure options were always on the table to dial down if needed. Elsewhere, coming across like an easy-going and song-humming adult version of Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons but given an auntie killer upgrade (the Whampoa Drive wanton mee auntie who always used to upsize my noodles for free because I was a cute boy would no doubt also give him extra shredded chicken for his Ipoh Hor Fun), Jaryl surprised with his fast-switching and challenging combinations despite most of his riders being female casual leisure riders.
East Coast Road
282 East Coast Road
Yio Chu Kang
92 Yio Chu Kang Road
In a nutshell: Pet-friendly and zen sanctuary with comfortable tempos.
Location: Martin Road
Why you should: With its clean white palette, Dyson hairdryers and beautiful outdoor patio, XYCO Studio delivers a comfortable and luxe offering within the similarly laid-back Robertson Quay neighbourhood, and it is no surprise that expats form a significant bulk of the clientele here. In addition, this is one of the few pet-friendly studios around, and I have met no less than four dogs during my visits, including the adorable twin girl schnauzers Maxine and Mini who serve as unofficial mascots of the studio. Also, aside from the usual rhythmic classes with choreography, the boutique studio is one of the few local studios which offers RPM-style classes focused on hill climbs, sprints and flat riding.
Why you shouldn’t: In keeping with the chilled out vibes all round, the choreography is usually kept at a comfortable and non-threatening level, although you will by no means remain dry.
My experiences: In terms of their more RPM-inclined programming, method instructor Dean – the proud father of Maxine and Mini – guided over an adult contemporary playlist (think Ricky Martin and Martine McCutcheon covering Donna Summers) with a firm, trustworthy and familiar accent that recalls Middle Earth tours and fishing expedition documentaries on National Geographic. Starting off with the sounds of babbling brooks and avian chirps which gave a surprisingly experiential take on nature road cycling, the Ali Wong-esque Alex delivered an almost audio tape-perfect brand of instruction through various jogs, sprints and jumps, including a gruelling six-minute segment on seven full turns which helped me create a lovely puddle.
On the rhythmic side of things, Brandon channeled his inner boys’ school student council president with his unassuming demeanour and gently encouraging style and will likely be someone that mothers at parent-teacher conferences will positively fawn over (and want for/on their own son), while Dian had the patient grace of a Primary Five form teacher infused with a certain yoga-esque serenity and every time she gets all encouraging and says “yasssssss” I just wanted to be her best friend and watch reality TV together. My 90’s themed ride led by Ruth was the first time I had to publicly perform the Macarena dance (or any music video dance move for that matter) and it was genuinely quite a lot of fun. Elsewhere, the exuberant Ian transformed from mild-mannered guide to enthusiastic opportunity giver once his glasses came off.
22 Martin Road #02-02