That’s right. Starting today, ClassPass users can book rides at more than 60 SoulCycle studios in the US and London with ClassPass credit.
For a refresher, SoulCycle and ClassPass were both all the rage in the mid-2010s. But there’s a gulf between ClassPass studio jumpers and devotees of the mystical SoulCycle. At the time, nearly every gym used ClassPass, and SoulCycle was a notable exception. It’s the only studio with enough dedicated community that it doesn’t need the student stream that ClassPass brings to other studios and can comfortably charge $30+ per class, plus equipment rental. It’s no exaggeration to say that SoulCycle is really famous for not being on ClassPass.
You’ll now be able to book a SoulCycle ride for between 10 and 15 ClassPass credits. Each credit costs about $2 to $3 (depending on your exact ClassPass subscription). That price is not significantly more expensive than other bike classes. For example, ClassPass says Cyclebar in New York City ranges from about 8 to 11 credits, and Pedal House in New York City ranges from about 8 to 13 credits.
How did we get here?
it’s been a long time since i came
First of all, ClassPass has grown seriously in recent years. In 2018, it switched from a class package subscription model, which includes the purchase of 5, 10, 15, or even unlimited classes, to the current credit-based model. Before that, there was no way to distinguish between the value of a luxury class using a lot of expensive equipment and something simpler. Class is class, and this makes high-cost studios feel like they’re not being paid what they’re worth and that they’re at a loss when allocating points to ClassPass users. All of this sparked a backlash with ClassPass in the late 2010s, in which studios accused ClassPass of eating their users, in the same way that Grubhub or Uber would drastically cut down on food delivery. or take a taxi.
Today, studios can set the amount of credits they want to charge for a class, or use ClassPass’ dynamic pricing models that allow the class to charge more or less, or allocate more or less. more points, based on need. So, essentially, ClassPass has made a lot of changes that it thinks will benefit studios better than it did in the past.
Next, of course, is the pandemic. As gyms and studios close in mass, what has become the face of the home fitness pandemic is the biggest existential threat to SoulCycle: Peloton. Just like SoulCycle, it has gurus with cult followings, transcendent playlists, and cachet for the elite. Most importantly, it has something the SoulCycle doesn’t: The convenience of cycling from home.
SoulCycle launched its own in-home bike and digital class schedule at the start of the pandemic, but it hasn’t caught up in the same zeitgeist way that Peloton did. SoulCycle also happens to be owned by Equinox, which is shutting down gyms and their accompanying huge rent bills. (Earlier this year, Equinox was sued for millions of dollars for not paying that rent.) On top of that, in late 2020, a toxicity investigation at the company and in the SoulCycle community tarnished the shine. organization light.
Something had to give. In August, SoulCycle announced that it would be closing 25% of its locations and having to lay off 75 of its 1,350 employees. Recently, Equinox declined to provide Well+Good with a comment on the state of its business, including SoulCycle.
ClassPass and SoulCycle are announcing this news as an exciting new partnership, which is certainly for those ClassPassers who have never been able to set foot in SoulCycle with their credits. But the message of the announcement is also the story of how the fitness industry has changed. From boutique studios with slightly underpowered expertise, to ClassPass disrupting entire businesses, to ClassPass backlash, to the pandemic and the rise of home exercise, and finally where we are today: To the industry trying to rehabilitate its leg and get students back into the classroom, ready to clamp it and knock it over again.