◊ THE CLASSES: Spin ◊
WHAT TO BRING
Socks (shoes are provided)
Minimal athletic gear (it gets super hot in there)
We spun again. This time at the largest spin establishment across the damn country, SPINCO. These guys, who first opened in beautiful little Kelowna in 2014, have since expanded to eight cities from coast to coast and specialise in the smaller markets (with the exception of Toronto). They’re continuing to grow with three new locations set to open in the next year introducing the concept of a spin addiction to more people across our great nation. The vibes at SPINCO are similar to a lot of other spin studios we see now, but as you’ll see, we assess who was really here first. The classes we took at their Spadina studio were challenging, the facilities are flawless, and these guys draw a loyal crowd that call SPINCO their fav in a city with many many options.
SPINCO has a v interesting growth strategy. With the exception of Toronto, they’ve dominated the smaller markets in Canada, bringing their sleek, high-energy, perfectly put together studios to cities where the competition is scarce. They’re now the largest spin conglomerate in Canada at ten studios in total with three in BC’s smaller cities and suburbs like Victoria, Cloverdale and the OG studio, Kelowna, and the rest of the studios are out east in Halifax, Ottawa, Oakville and Toronto. They’re growing too, with three studios set to open in Bedford (Nova Scotia), Montreal, and Westshore (Victoria).
SPINCO first came to Toronto in October 2016 and have since multiplied to three studios; Downtown (where we’re reviewing and the first studio), Uptown Toronto, and Summerhill and all three locations are spot-on considering the neighbourhoods and their target clientele. The downtown studio is probably our fav out of the three considering the location draws a highly diverse crowd. A stones throw from King West, this location is easy access for drivers since they’re right on Spadina Avenue, and public transportation options are plentiful with streetcars running east/westbound on King and north/southbound on Spadina. Full fruits easy peasy.
CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE
SPINCO basically has one style of class, Spin, however during the week Monday, Wednesday, Friday they throw in a SPINCO Express that only lasts 40 minutes as opposed to the usual 50. The class schedule is surprisingly lean at the downtown studio, especially for that location with no class after 7:30pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays in particular only having one 6:15am class and 2-3 more after 5:30pm. I would think the area attracts people with all kinds of schedules that would likely want to see multiple midday class options and maybe a few at night!? I do like that they have a 6:15am class every weekday, which is perfect timing and is always a packed class, and the weekend schedule is very similar to other spin studios in Toronto finishing by lunchtime – which is kind of sad face. Surely we’re not the only ones that would love to see a 4pm class on a Saturday/Sunday? Anyway, it’s ideal to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to give you the right amount of time to get your shoes and your bike sorted and unlike most spin studios, they allow a 5-minute grace period if you’re running late – which is kinda nice cuz
Toronto traffic efffing sucks shit happens.
SPINCO is charging for a drop-in ride what we’re seeing most spin studios charge in TO, $25 which includes shoe rentals, towel service and studio amenities. There are a few that are less expensive (Torq and Quad) and elsewhere across Canada there seem to have more options that hover around the $20 mark (Stax, Spinunity, YEG and YYC Cycle) but considering they include everything you need in a beautiful and high-end facility, we’re ok with the $25. SPINCO has a ton of class pack options, which we kind-of love considering the attendance behaviour in Toronto leans towards non-commital drop-in’s vs. memberships. The best deal is defs the 50 Class pack (which is a shit ton) dropping per rides to $17. The membership makes sense over buying the 50 class pack if you’re planning on attending more than four times a week. We also love that they have spin-it-forward classes that are $10 charity classes that takes place at all studios across the country at 6:30pm on Mondays supporting everything from local to national causes. Way to give back, homies.
K, so overall in this section we’d be down for awarding a full pineapple for price, but half for class schedule….So, we’re netting out at 3/4 fruits.
Class Pack Prices
- Drop-in: $25
- 5 Class Card: $110 ($22 per class)
- 10 Class Card: $210 ($21 per class)
- Flex Ten (priority waitlist, 4-hour cancellation, 10% discount off merch): $270
- 20 Class Card: $380 ($19 per class)
- 50 Class Card: $850 ($17 per class)
- Spin-it-forward: $10
- One Month Unlimited: $250 per month
- Three Month (instalments): $240 per month
Ok Vibe. So we’re talking – what are the people like, is it clean, well kept, decorated cool, is there good flow, good air circulation? Lolz – important. So yes to most of the above. It’s super pristine with white walls in the outer bits of the studio (i.e. sans the spin room), and the floors are polished concrete, the changerooms are clean and spacious and they’ve got you covered for a few IG photo ops. Wait, wait are you having deja-vu from an earlier review, perhaps Ride Cycle Club?! No my dear friends, this basically looks the same. The black and white, modern, crisp vibes are same same, the token neon sign at the front door is same same, the black spin room is same same. And guys, verdict is still out on who really started in first. Ride’s first studio in Yaletown Vancouver opened in 2014 and that same summer SPINCO’s Kelowna studio first started teaching how to ride to the beat. I dunno, I dunno, but let’s focus on the right fact here – this b&w minimalist, underground/garage thang started in 2014….What does 2018 have in store for us?
Anyway, back to the flow and what’s included in the studio – when you first walk into the Spadina location, SPINCO has a little lobby with said neon sign, front desk, and merch area to don your loyalty. After getting your clip-in shoes, you walk down into the room of white lockers and the filtered water station which are right outside the sole spin room. This is good, bc the flow allows for people to skip the washrooms/change rooms if they want to and just head straight to the lockers and into class. The change rooms are past the aforementioned “locker room” down the back hall and have everything you need if you need to get full-ready after class. The womens change room (which just underwent a slight reno to get a new air con unit) is spacious, includes towels and hair dryers, and has more lockers. The mens change room has about 4 lockers, most of the same toiletries, a washroom and two showers – so defs smaller, but they’re used to that, yes?! The spin room is black from floor to ceiling with the front wall covered in mirrors, a mini disco ball amongst perfectly placed bulb lighting on the roof, and shiny back writing with “change, purpose, challenge, passion, limitless” in block letters on the side wall. SPINCO branded towels are waiting for you on your SPINCO branded bike, and the bikes have hooks to hold your weights that you grab from the front podium crates. The layout is like most spin rooms with the instructor podium raised front and centre, two rows flanking the instructor and the three rows facing the front mirrors, giving a class capacity of 42 in total – which is nice because it’s not super crammed. The ONE THING – there doesn’t seem to be any fans, and if there are, we couldn’t feel ’em. So it gets hot as balls.
The crowd was pretty women heavy in all of our time being there (we tried two classes to get a feel) with only about 5% of the class being guys and both classes 70% full. It was a pretty young crowd as well, the oldest was probably us with a 35 year-old senior amongst us – oh lord. The one thing we did like is that the crowd wasn’t all hardcore spin fanatics. There were a lot of fresh faces to spin, or even just novices that go every once in a while, which obviously added an element of approachablness to it.
- Mens and womens change rooms with washrooms, shower towels, shampoo, conditioner, & body wash
- Sweat towel on the bike
- Ear plugs, ear buds, hair elastics, face wipes, tampons, and hair dryers.
- Filtered water
- Programmable lockers
- Sell bottles water and S/Well bottles
- Merchandise section, offering leggings, shorts, sports bras, workout shirts, sweatshirts, hats, socks & more.
- Spin shoes are included, but if you have your own they need to be Look Keo clips
SPINCO was first started by boss babe Michelle August on July 4th, 2014 (when she was only TWENTY-TWO) with a single goal in mind – build a community. They went from one spin studio to nine in only four years so clearly the community feels were felt. Michelle practices what she preaches and her go get ’em attitude radiates from her like my four-year old levels of excitement on Christmas morning. One of our favorite things about her is how she views vulnerability as an asset. She believes “vulnerability has held all of us back at one point in life” and pushing her team of instructors – across the country no less – to then push their riders to be vulnerable in the class, to turn up the dial a little more, push a little longer and play outside of their comfort zone, is the special sauce to a truly killer spin class. Toronto has a team of more than 22 instructors that sometimes float around to different studios but often have their home base and they each seem to have loyal fans that will seek out their classes specifically. We can tell you about two of them…
This little blonde bomby was full of perky smiles for our 6am class, and although she may have been the ONLY one, the class majorly appreciated her vibes as they silently shuffled into the room. First off her playlist was great, with her theme being “anything that loosens up the soul” (so, win) and it was a mix of light beats, heavy drops, some throwbacks, and hip hop. Resurrection (Axwell’s Recut Club Version) by Michael Calfanis is her favorite, if that gives you an indication. She was great about explaining the ideal state of being “on beat” but that ultimately, this was our class and “do us”. Now this 1000% might be bc it was an ungodly hour, but there was a fair bit of dead air throughout the class. She shouted out a lot of “Tuesday” and “Spinco” when it almost felt like she didn’t have much else to say and that those were meant to motivate us. Trust us, we couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to stay super motivating for a full 50 minutes, while doing the class yourself, while being awake before roosters, we certainly couldn’t do it, but it stood out that there wasn’t a lot being said. Perhaps that was to focus more on the music though!? In any case, our fav thing about Becs is that she wants those in her class to take a deep breath and realize that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. Remember to have a bit of fun along the way. Preach, girl. We agree.
Justin Scott (didn’t even mean to ref his distant cous, Michael, immediately above)
Ok so this good looking, muscly, tatted foreigner was a bit difficult to understand sometimes, a combination of the loud music and his accent, but we still REALLY enjoyed his class. His energy is so contagious and he was super clear about telling/showing/somehow communicating to us when we had another round to go. Justin was also really good with the dial. He adjusted the dial a great amount and made an otherwise moderately paced and simple ride a more challenging experience – which is the whole point of going to a spin class and not just cruising on your bike in your basement. He was also really really obvious about when he wanted the dial turned up or down so even if you struggled to understand him, you could see with his giant hand gestures that it was time to turn up. We had a fairly quiet class, there wasn’t as many woohoo’s and random yelling so he noticed that about ten minutes in, called it out, and said it was all good, that excessive levels of excitement are not required, however he’ll just kick our ass even more and make us work so hard that he’ll take our silence as dying. Cool, cool. So, most importantly, and why people seek out his classes – his playlist. Most of the songs had a Caribbean flare which I wouldn’t think would normally be my jam but it was actually SO MUCH FUN. The non-Caribbean tunes were still uppity as hell with Adel dance remix of Fire to the Rain, dance remix of Beyonce’s reformation and stretching to Maroon 5’s ‘Girls like you” – so it was good. Maybe our fav part.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Ok so we said this already, but there were no fans. So as a result, these were some of the sweatiest goddamn spin classes we have EVER taken. Out of three of us that went for the 6amer, we all immediately agreed that we weren’t sure if we had worked our asses off or if it was just the heat. Nevertheless, we’re giving these classes full fruits and rating them Hard but for dif reasons.
Rebecca’s class didn’t have as much choreography compared to other choreo intense classes like Soul or Spokehaus, and there wasn’t a lot of difference in hand positions on the bike so we could focus heavily on the ride. For our cycling purist friend, he enjoyed it more than Ride Cycle Club, for example, because it had more of a focus on riding, and riding properly, versus fancy full body dancing around on the bike. Bec’s was clear about which leg to lead and the room was most definitely aiming to be in unison which gave off a pretty cool group vibe. The class had a good mix of triple time pace (off the saddle), mid-range speed (to focus on the beat), and uphill climbs (high high resistance), so it was a v balanced class in that way which was awesome to see.
Justin’s class was fast AF. If you don’t know this about spin, you measure the class in songs. That’s part of why the playlist is so damn important because the beat of the song is what sets the pace. We started the class with a really great, simple warm-up with a bit of resistance to “feel the road” and we would “drop” for the chorus of the song to start warming up our upper body also. Pause. By “drop” we’re referring to that special move you see the pro spinners do where their ponytails have maximum bounce and they’re riding off the saddle, arms are bending when the lead leg is at the bottom and you’re all together in perfect unison. Which is a different thing than a proper dip or pump which is a focus on arms over the handlebar.
Anyway, once you get the drop which is always perfectly timed with a really really great beat, it feels awesome. After the warm up, we went into the Caribbean heavy fast-paced songs, most of the rides being at double or triple time, which was particularly challenging when adding “tap backs” and dips. What followed was about five songs that varied a bit in pace but were all generally fast and islandy and the choreography stuck to dips and tap backs. The arm section lasted a full song (pretty standard) and we did everything from shoulder presses, to bicep curls to holding our arms straight out in front – which is SO hard. After the arm section, which was 3/4 of the way through the class, we had TWO songs, back to back of straight sprinting – which means riding really really fast, which was unusual, it’s more common to see that broken up by a song with choreography woven or switching gears (literally) to a slower pace. And then we cooled down, thank the lord, with a final song that let us do our own thing.
If you’re into these classes and want to give them a try, see SPINCO’s full schedule here.
See ya next week, fineapples!