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Cycling studio smackdown

Time Out Chicago compares three local cycling studios.

 (Photograph: Megan Carreon)
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Photograph: Megan Carreon

RealRyder Revolution
108 W Hubbard St,312-587-7933.

Imagine that unnerving sensation ofalmost falling off your bike in cycling class as you jump forward. That�s how you�ll feel leaning into the side-to-side movement (they call it �banking�) of the RealRyder bike, which simulates speeding around a street corner on your two-wheeler. Add in a projector screen hung from the exposed brick walls of the subterranean studio playing a virtual ride through country roads, suburban neighborhoods and city streets, and you can picture a 45-minute RealRyder Revolution ride.

Locker room
A bathroom features a handful of small lockers and two shower stalls, but the shampoo, conditioner and towel is up to you; you can dry off with the complimentary hair dryer.

Perks
Bring your own clip-in shoes and sweat towel�otherwise you�ll be slipping and sliding off those handlebars as you �bank.� Water is available for $1.

Class variety
There�s only one ride on the menu here.

Difficulty
While sprinting and adding resistance present the usual challenges, the lateral movement on the bike really amps up the focus on core strengthening and even provides an upper-body workout as you push your handlebars to either side.

Price
$20 for two classes for first-timers, $20 per drop-in after

 (Photograph: Nina Pagano)
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Photograph: Nina Pagano

Go Cycle
501 W North Ave,312-878-4999.

Cycling enthusiasts (the age range on a recent class was around 25-60; Mayor Emanuel recently took a class here) cram into this Old Town boutique cycling studio for a variety of classes. The space goes for an upscale vibe with crystal chandeliers adorning the studio, which houses about 25 odometer-outfitted Keiser M3 bikes. Most of the bikes are hooked up to an above-head monitor, so you can track your progress as well as take part in a friendly competition with the rest of the class.

Locker room
You�ll find six small lockers in the bathroom, which also includes a shower stall, towels and shampoo.

Perks
Sweat towels are provided; don�t forget to bring your own water.

Class variety
In addition to standard classes, you�ll also find sessions that extend the ride by 15 minutes or incorporate yoga, push-ups and light weight lifting.

Difficulty
Form was a big focus in the class we visited, so getting that right as well as keeping up with the pace can be challenging�in a good way.

Price
$20 per class

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Flywheel)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Flywheel

Flywheel
710 N State St,312-624-8485.

After regularly selling out classes in its NYC studio, Flywheel brought its boutique concept to Chicago in July 2011. Your power output (a combination of how fast you pedal and with how much resistance) is displayed on a leader board so you can see where you rank among the fit, lululemon-clad exercisers.

Locker room
There are two bathrooms and two changing rooms�lines form outside them before and after classes�but neither has a shower. Lockers are located just outside the cycling room.

Perks
Your class fee gets you clip-in (sanitized!) shoes, a towel and as much bottled water as you need.

Class variety
Classes are 45 minutes or 60 minutes long and the vibe differs depending on which instructor you get. (We�ve tried them all and you reallycan�t go wrong.) Flywheel also hosts theme rides, like the recent Britney Spears class.

Difficulty
Expect to sweat buckets, expect quivering muscles. And just a heads up: Each class utilizes body bars for about five killer minutes of on-bike upper-body strength training.

Price
$25 per class

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