Flywheel expands its empire by acquiring Ride the Zone
While most us were wallowing in the relaxation and overindulgence of the holidays, the owners of Flywheel Sports went out and bought themselves an extravagant yet healthy gift on Christmas Day: Ride the Zone, the New York spinning studio founded by Marion Roaman and known for its RealRyder leaning bikes and celebrity fans (notably Matthew Broderick and Kyra Sedgwick).
With the acquisition of Ride the Zone’s three indoor-cycling studios (one on the Upper East Side and two in the Hamptons), Flywheel will surpass its competitor, SoulCycle, in number of locations with a total of seven cycling outposts.
Adding fuel to the already red hot spinning rivalry, New York Magazine‘s Daily Intel reported that Flywheel swooped in and sealed the deal with Ride the Zone although they’d been in negotiations with SoulCycle for weeks. Ride the Zone’s Roaman would neither confirm nor deny the report. “Once I started the process of considering selling, I talked to a lot of establishments,” she said cryptically. “Most of them kept quiet about it, and some of them didn’t.”
Flywheel’s co-founders, Ruth Zukerman and Jay Galluzzo, remained similarly mum. “Ruth has known Marion for about 15 years,” said Galluzo. “So, I think we were always aware of her trajectory with her business and what she wanted to do and were always talking to her on a friendly level. We don’t have any direct knowledge about negotiations she had with other people.”
With the deal swiftly signed, Flywheel has wasted no time transforming the studios with the brand’s signature stadium seating and TorqBoards (the Ride the Zone leaning bikes will be sold for club and home use—you may even be able to snag one on Craigslist or eBay). The East Hampton and East 67th Street locations will open in four weeks, estimates Galluzo. “We have a lot of studios in the pipeline, so we were able to divert some resources to the Ride the Zone properties,” he said. The more-seasonal Watermill studio will open closer to summer.
Good news for Ride the Zone customers with pre-paid credits: They’ll soon be able to use them at all Flywheel locations.
As for who’ll be teaching the classes, it will be “a combination of existing Flywheel instructors and many of Marion’s instructors—those that adapt well to the Flywheel message,” says Zukerman. In fact, one of the big draws for the expansion was Marion and her instructors and staff, said Galluzzo. “Having this new source of great talent is really exciting for us.”
It’s also exciting for Roaman, who will join the Flywheel team as a Master Instructor. “I’ve been in this business a long time, and I love what Flywheel has created,” she said. “I love their TorqBoard and their training program, and I love supporting something I think is innovative.”
Roaman added that both her staff and clientele are on board for the change, especially now that that the rumors have ceased and they know where they’ll be headed. “The client base we serve is really into training, working out, and seeing and feeling a difference,” she explained. “Any feeling of loss [over Ride the Zone] was quickly alleviated, because they know and love Flywheel.” —Lisa Elaine Held