[This guide was last updated on 18 September 2023. For further reading, you can check out 5 Things I Learnt About Spin Studios and Rhythmic Cycling Classes In Singapore. ]
My rhythmic cycling journey in 2021 evolved in a fairly unexpected manner. Sometime early that 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 rhythmic 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 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 rhythmic 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 rhythmic 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 spin 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 2023 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.
For further reading, you can check out 5 Things I Learnt About Spin Studios and Rhythmic Cycling Classes In Singapore.
Editor’s note: For a variety of reasons, I was unable to experience some spin studios prior to the publication of this guide such as Oompf! Fitness. The guide will be updated accordingly should I have the opportunity to feature these studios in the future.
ABSOLUTE CYCLE SINGAPORE
In a nutshell: The Fitness First of spin studios.
Locations: Centrepoint, Millenia Walk, i12 Katong, The Star Vista
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 (it has studios in Thailand) 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 rhythmic cycling.
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, the fact that Absolute Cycle still uses (in my opinion, less stable) Schwinn bikes in some of their outlets instead of the now ubiquitous and standard Stages bikes you see in most boutique studios means you are not often exposed to the more innovative and challenging choreography that are frequently performed at these other studios on the sturdier 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).
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”. The impossibly toned Ria – who seems like she often accidentally breaks wine glasses and sounds like your elder sister who happens to work at Kiss92FM – threw in a cartoony villainous dubstep track as well as seemingly endless runs interspersed with handlebar choreography. Elsewhere, with his “I love your screaming” Chinese arena tour artist feels, Vnex (apparently it rhymes with Kleenex) incorporated left leg action and sprinting pulses aplenty and had a playlist which had a tendency to remix/transform ballads and mid-tempos to balls-to-the-floor, YP E-Scooter Ah Lian anthemry.
9 Raffles Boulevard #02-43
176 Orchard Road
The Centrepoint #04-101
112 E Coast Road
i12 Katong Mall #03-25/27
The Star Vista
1 Vista Exchange Green #02-25/26
AIBI MAXWELL SINGAPORE
In a nutshell: Multi-concept wellness and lifestyle destination.
Locations: Tanjong Pagar
Why you should: Housed in a stand-alone building conveniently located near Tanjong Pagar MRT station, the snazzy new AIBI Maxwell offers six distinct wellness and lifestyle concepts. Aside from RE:SPIN, the studio also offers group classes under its RE:HIIT and a well-equipped state-of-the-art workout facility under its RE:GYM programmes respectively. The studio’s group classes are currently on ClassPass for your (affordable) ease of booking.
Pro tip: as the studio is still very new, the staff do not mind (and may even encourage you) should you wish to squeeze in a workout at the main gym after you finish your group class.
Why you shouldn’t: The studio is in its infancy stages, with a very modest stable of instructors and class slots offered. Also, the seemingly higher-resistance Johnny G Spirit bike – a cross between the Life Fitness and Stages RPM bike – manages resistance adjustment by way of buttons on both ends of the handlebar, and it has a dashboard which brightly displays resistance level, distance, RPM and time elapsed, so gone are the days of getting away with half turns when the instructor said two-and-a-half.
My experiences: While the energetic Jasmine kept the choreography fairly uncontroversial, her class felt rather vicious at parts – I recall giving up and sinking into my saddle before the conclusion of a particularly gruelling triple sprinting pulse-push segment.
AIBI MAXWELL SINGAPORE
30 Maxwell Road
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.
Why you shouldn’t: Given the nature of the luxurious amenities offered to its members, the average cost per ride is one of the highest across all studios in Singapore, with only CruCycle Singapore matching its price point. (Some of their classes are now available via ClassPass, which makes them just that bit more cost-accessible than CruCycle.)
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. Elsewhere, in line with her girl-next-door persona, Jamie dialled down the length of her runs…although her mode of punishment was to ramp up the number of said short runs, so it all balanced out; and the “Car Tunes with Jean Danker”-familiar Becky boasted a great vibey playlist and plied her runs with generous doses of challenging middle-bar action. The summery Ruth was a fan of left leg action and tapbacks, while highlights from my class with Marina included the running “planked beggar”, the random isolation moments strewn throughout as well as all the top bar-to-back bar swerving action.
8 Cross Street
Manulife Tower #02-01/02
ASCEND FITNESS SINGAPORE
In a nutshell: Multi-concept fitness space in Dhoby Ghaut.
Why you should: From the team behind RS Cycle and joining the likes of CruCycle and R10T, Ascend Fitness Singapore houses multiple different fitness concepts under one roof – RIDE, the spin studio; EXERGAME 4D, a futuristic group workout platform from Korea involves projection mapping and motion sensing; and EXERSTRENGTH, a personal training space. The studio is blessed with an abundance of space, from the cavernous spin room to the spacious male and female changing rooms which are fitted with their own toilets within. The spin studio’s light effects are one of the best around, with my favourite being the pink lights with yellow stars which plays it kinda Pac-Man arcade game. The studio also offers three different class types – Arise (for beginners), Ascend (for intermediate riders), and the soon-to-be-introduced Advance.
Why you shouldn’t: The three fitness concepts are not integrated under the same booking system – while RIDE is bookable via the ubiquitous Zingfit platform and Classpass, clients have to purchase EXERGAME 4D-specific credits and EXERSTRENGTH packages through different channels on the studio’s website – so there isn’t an obvious synergy between the different fitness programmes offered.
My experiences: Jolyn instructs with the kind of confident and slick clarity that you will appreciate as a new rider, while Elise‘s class was a high-tempo cardiovascular maelstrom, with highlights including that one run set against an unreal hyper BPM, the rapid-fire tapback pulses as well as the rounds of seemingly infinite jumping sprints. Rachel delivered a textbook-perfect spin experience inclusive of a form and basic choreography primer at the start, audible and clear instructions along with red-hot positive vibes, while Rachel Kelly (who ended songs with a crisp and authoritative “sit” whenever the music cut) played like an Outward Bound instructor when it came to hands-free choreography – you get eased into it in a manner that is structured and incremental without ever having your fear of falling kick in.
In a nutshell: The flashiest studio effects in town.
Location: South Beach Quarter
Why you should: The multi-concept Aurora Singapore (it introduced yoga classes in mid-2022) 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 addition, as of June 2022, the studio has a pop-up at Changi City Point offering open-air ride experiences on the same Life Fitness bikes the studio used during their earlier days, if you like your calorie-burning outdoors.
Like XYCO Studio, Axiom and Revel Cycle, Aurora offers two different types of classes to suit your fitness needs: Aurora (i.e. rhythmic) and Power (i.e. RPM-style). 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: 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. 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. Elsewhere, 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 rhythmic 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 spin 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.
My experiences: 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 the now defunct-BoOm Singapore.
Location: East Coast
Why you should: The shophouse space is cosy and not as threatening as the larger studios in the CBD. Notably, 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: The studio is still finding its way in terms of identity and style, 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. William‘s class had a most interesting format – we were taught distinct choreo blocks individually under slower tempos (think throwbacks, cross handlebar grips, handlebar climbs, sways and middle bar pulsing), and these choreo blocks recurred under incrementally faster tempos and were eventually combined (A+B, C+D, ABCD) in jog and ultimately sprint contexts.
282 East Coast Road
In a nutshell: American-style attitude, cult following and huskies.
Location: Duxton Road, Orchard Road (Pure Fitness)
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 CruBox classes at their studio 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. They also recently concluded extensive renovation works at their flagship Duxton outlet, which now feels a lot airier and open than before.
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 one of 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. 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.
68 Duxton Road #01-01
Orchard (PURE Fitness)
Level 8 Ngee Ann City Podium Block
391 Orchard Road
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, and Wynn‘s class played like a tornadic wind (hurhur) which swept everyone and their pet dogs to a wonderful world of consecutive fast jogs after fast jogs.
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: Popsicle boasts two outlets which are distinctly different in aesthetic and vibes but both equally gorgeous – the Joo Chiat space sports a more conventional studio design (a recent change from their former industrial, high ceiling format which I much preferred), 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. You can get a sense of the kind of instructor JJ is from how, by the time the class entered the 15-minute mark, we had already completed two sprints and two fast jogs.
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.
The Elvin Ng-adjacent Gabriel has been primed to be one of the studio’s most challenging instructors in terms of endurance, and his class played like an extended Haw Par Villa attraction but with the courts of hell replaced by a different type of purgatory in the form of a relief-less, never-flagging Sahara of fast jogs, jumps and runs. 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. A staple of Cat‘s classes is ever-changing choreography – you can never go on auto-pilot with her.
8 Grange Road #03-08
182 Cecil Street
Frasers Tower, Level 2
520 North Bridge Road
Wisma Alsagoff, Level 3
3 Temasek Boulevard #02-466,
Tower 1, Suntec City Mall
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 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. YH kept the tempo consistently and challengingly high, with your sprints never being simply just sprints.
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.
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: SMU spin studio.
Location: Bras Basah (SMU)
Why you should: Situated within SMU’s labyrinthine underground campus grounds, SPYN seems less interested in capturing the existing Revolution/Absolute/Aurora younger crowd than they are educating and converting the spin-curious, with a significant number of beginner classes in their initial schedules. This makes SPYN a viable option for new riders who want a safe space or, as SPYN would describe it, a “zero judgment zone” to master the fundamentals of spin and clock some rides under their belt at the start of their journey. To illustrate my point: when some riders who were new to spin were haplessly floundering about, unsure of where their hands and butt go during class, instructor Xin Jie actually got off the podium to personally explain and guide them with their choreography and on-bike navigation, which is a rare and commendable thing I seldom see at other studios. With their pretty lights and spacious studio, SPYN does have potential to go on to bigger and better things.
Why you shouldn’t: With their Schwinn bikes and campus setting (washrooms are a short distance away, and you need to request special access to use the school’s shower facilities), the use case for SPYN seems largely limited to students as well as those who are newer to rhythmic cycling.
My experiences: The reassuring and first-timer friendly Alicia kept things suitably breezy, with running tapbacks being her most vicious manoeuvre. Elsewhere, the Caribbean-sunny, Red Bull-winged chilli padi Xin Jie removed the child safety catch with fast jogs, hands-free moments and the surprisingly punishing running presses which felt more demanding than middle bar pulsing on Stages bikes.
70 Stamford Road
#B1-46 Singapore Management University
In a nutshell: Neighbourhood boutique shophouse spin concept in Serangoon.
Locations: Yio Chu Kang Road
Why you should: Set within a shophouse building, Sync Cycle offers a casual yet intimate ride experience conveniently close to Serangoon Central’s array of dining and lifestyle amenities. Also, the unique layout – 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.
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 the exuberant Ian transformed from mild-mannered guide to enthusiastic opportunity giver once his glasses came off.
22 Martin Road #02-02