REVIEW: Spin Factory, Manchester

My best friend has given me a look of death before, but I’ve never experienced one like the one she was giving me right this second. We were planking next to each other. She looked over, her core shaking. The her look of death hit me. Twenty minutes into our BootSpin at Spin Factory, Manchester, and I think she was a bit cross with me. Ha!

I naturally diffused the situation by giving her a massive grin, emphasised by the drip of sweat that fell off my nose and splashed onto the mat. She’d later described me as a sadist. That’ll do nicely.

I’d convinced this most lovely of humans to get up early and come to a a spinning studio in Manchester with me while I visited her for the weekend. Five years ago and we’d have spent a Saturday morning with hangovers. Today, here we were, in an exercise class before 10am. I was so proud of us!

BootSpin was a 30 minute high intensity class, mixing short sharp bursts on the bike, including hill climbs and sprints, mixed with weight work (kettlebells), plyometrics (explosive moves such as tuck-jumps) and core work (crunches). Each floor move lasted between 30 seconds and a minute. We spent far more time on the mat than on the bikes.

The class did the trick of packing in a lot, quickly. The studios (3 of them in total) were housed in big refurbished archways under the train line, and so they were a bit chilly at that time of the morning. We practically had steam rising off of us within the first 5 minutes, proving the pace and intensity of our class. It’s what you’d expect and hope for when the session only lasts for 30 minutes.

I know absolutely nothing about the Manchester fitness scene, and I’m keen not to compare experiences of this studio to those in London because it’s an entirely different place. But this studio was great. It was a big and airy old railway arch, had a trendy feel to it (the front half of a car made up the reception desk), and it was only £6 for a 30 minute drop in class. The welcome was friendly and chatty. I wished it would have been more buzzing!

The interior of the studios is white, meaning that the disco type lights in them lit them up quite brightly- no hiding in dark, nightclub style corners in this place, although the pumping soundsystem gave it a party feel. My friend described it as “a workout in Warehouse Project” for those of you who know what this is. I assume it’s a cool thing for cool people?

I’d have liked a bit more direction on the bikes, but we weren’t on them much and it wasn’t a pure spin class, so I guess the constant instruction wasn’t really necessary. We did hear a pure spinning class going on in the studio next to us which was being instructed pretty heavily (and emphatically) and it certainly sounded like they’d captured the excited yelling associated with spin to keep you motivated.

The changing rooms were nice- lockers (bring your own lock) showers, hairdryers, and plug sockets for straighteners. I didn’t find out if you can rent towels, and we weren’t offered cleats so again I don’t know it’s an option to rent them.

Overall, big, open friendly studio with everything you’d want to enjoy a spinning class, lots of class variations offered on the timetable, and as a Londoner, SIX QUID was an immense bargain for a class, so I was well happy. I hope this studio continues to grow and grow, in what’s still a hugely untapped indoor cycling market on the Manchester fitness scene.

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