BowFlex has filed for bankruptcy — should you still buy its home workout equipment?

 Woman working out with the BowFlex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells.
Woman working out with the BowFlex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells.

If you’ve been on the lookout for new home workout equipment, you may have been tempted by BowFlex weights, smart treadmills or exercise bikes. However, in March 2024, the company filed for bankruptcy and is up for sale. So, is it still a good idea to buy BowFlex equipment?

Years ago, this wouldn’t have been much of a question — weights are essentially plates of metal, after all — but BowFlex, the company behind BowFlex equipment and Schwinn machines, made its name with smart equipment that syncs data to your phone and integrates with an app.

So, while the company makes some of the best adjustable dumbbells and great exercise bikes, what’ll happen to your smart equipment now it’s up for sale? Plus, we’ll dig into whether it’s still worth still buying BowFlex products, even at a discount.

Which BowFlex equipment should you buy on sale?

Generally, the best option, if you want to pick up BowFlex equipment (including Schwinn-branded exercise bikes) on sale, is to stick with the non-smart machines that don’t exclusively rely on the company’s JRNY workout app to function.

So, it may still be worth considering BowFlex weights, Schwinn bikes, and BowFlex multigyms. However, you’re taking more of a gamble if you buy BowFlex-branded exercise bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills, as most of the features are locked behind the JRNY membership.

Now is a great time to invest in these machines and weights, as the news of BowFlex’s bankruptcy has meant that a lot of the equipment is on sale right now, like the BowFlex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell which is currently down to just $329 at Amazon.

BowFlex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell: was $400 now $329 at Amazon
The BowFlex SelectTech 1090 replaces 15 fixed-weight dumbbells, and ranges from 5 lbs up to 52.5 lbs. It's only a single dumbbell, but that's all you need for classic strength moves like biceps curls, dumbbell squats, and presses. Plus, the adjustment dial is easy to use, so you can quickly switch loads between exercises. View Deal

BowFlex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell: was $200 now $150 at Amazon
Like its dumbbell sibling, the 840 replaces six kettlebells, and lets you select 8, 12, 20, 25, 35, or 40 lbs loads. Plus, the adjustment dial at the top means you can change weights between moves or gradually as you get stronger. View Deal

BowFlex 5.1s Weights Bench: was $500 now $287 at Amazon
While the SelectTech weights work with the JRNY app, this weights bench won't be affected by the bankruptcy at all. The frame is made of stainless steel, you can adjust it to 30, 45, 60, or 90 degrees, set it flat or on a decline, and it can support up to 600 lbs. View Deal

Which Bowflex equipment should you still buy?

Woman using the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike
Woman using the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike

BowFlex (the company formerly known as Nautilus) owns BowFlex and Schwinn Fitness. The BowFlex brand primarily focuses on strength training equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells, and home gym multigyms, but it also manufactures exercise bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills.

Most of BowFlex’s equipment is integrated with its JRNY workout app and has a built-in display for streaming classes, in a similar way to Peloton, which produces home workout machines and a virtual membership for classes and training sessions.

Schwinn-branded exercise bikes generally have non-smart displays for tracking your workout, but you can download the JRNY app and use the machine for instructor-led classes. Plus, Schwinn also produces some of the most popular recumbent bikes for low-impact exercise, like the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike.

Although we don’t have details on what will happen next with the BowFlex company, the safest option is to only buy items that don’t rely on the JRNY workout app. This way, if the new owner does shut down the app or leave it to fall into disrepair, you can still use your equipment.

Is the JRNY workout app still available?

The JRNY app is an essential part of most BowFlex products, even the SelectTech dumbbells, which use the app’s motion-tracking feature to help you improve your weight-lifting form. The JRNY app was last updated on March 6 on the Google Play Store — a day after the bankruptcy filing.

The app is also available on the Apple App Store, and the most recent update was on March 12, although that’s likely the same update you’d find on Android, but the week-long delay is likely due to Apple’s app review process. And, importantly, it’s still available to download on both platforms.

But, it’s also embedded into the display on many BowFlex machines, and it’s not clear when the most recent update to that version was. However, you can still sign up for a JRNY membership for $11.99 per month or $99 annually.

That gives you access to thousands of on-demand workouts, a virtual coaching feature, bodyweight sessions, and classes designed for your equipment. This is quite competitive, as the Peloton equivalent, the Peloton App+, costs $240 a year, although that includes live workouts too.

What are the best Bowflex alternatives?

Peloton Bike+ in a person's living room
Peloton Bike+ in a person's living room

Peloton and NordicTrack are BowFlex’s closest competitors. Both brands produce smart home workout equipment, designed around a subscription-based workout app (Peloton App+ or Peloton One, NordicTrack’s iFit app).

If you’re after live classes, Peloton is your best choice. The brand popularized on-demand and live home workouts with the Peloton Bike+, and the Peloton Tread is among the best home gym equipment you can buy right now. But if you’re wondering how Peloton escaped BowFlex’s fate, it very nearly didn’t.

The brand had a terrible 2023, with mandatory recalls affecting the entry-level Peloton Bike due to safety risks, and a stuttering demand for its Tread and Row machines. However, the app had a makeover and the company refocused on more affordable training options, like the Peloton Guide.

Meanwhile, NordicTrack is a great Peloton alternative and the most similar brand to BowFlex in its range of products. The company makes standard and smart equipment, so you can pick up gym-style rowing machines and exercise bikes, or Peloton-esque treadmills and ellipticals integrated with the iFit workout app.

These studio-grade treadmills are great, and two NordicTrack models even made our best treadmills roundup. But, given the similarities between the two brands, it can be hard to decide between them. Fortunately, we pitted Peloton against NordicTrack to help you find the right bike for your home.

What happened to BowFlex?

BowFlex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2024, which allows other businesses to make offers to buy the company. We don’t know whether any new owner will decide to keep the BowFlex name going, discontinue some or all of its products, or close the brand altogether.

This decision followed a difficult trading period as pandemic lockdowns eased, gyms reopened, and demand for home workout equipment dropped. The pandemic was a great time for fitness brands like BowFlex, with millions of people eager to invest in home workout equipment.

As lockdowns lifted, the demand for expensive machines and weights basically disappeared, leaving BowFlex in a tricky position. The company, previously known as Nautilus, rebranded as BowFlex in late 2023 and attempted to reverse its declining sales.

But it was a big mountain to climb, as the financial year 2022/23 saw BowFlex’s sales drop 43% and losses widen to $21 million. By February 2024, BowFlex warned that the company may file for bankruptcy, which it ultimately did a month later.

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