Top 5 Peloton Bike Alternatives of 2021
Ever since the dawn of SoulCycle, there has been a growing boom in indoor cycling/Spin classes. The cult-like nature of the training—friendly competition, leaderboards, the welcoming atmosphere—has drawn huge crowds. And since the arrival of the Peloton Bike, competitors from all corners of the industry have been popping up to bring this engaging studio experience into your home. For a while, the fitness tech powerhouse was alone in its class, but these days there are a good number of competitors in the ring, some of which are coming in with much more affordable means of getting that streaming studio experience.
That said, things have gotten a bit more complicated with some recent announcements at Peloton. With the announcement of the Peloton Bike+ and a lower entry price on the classic Peloton Bike. The new model will still be more expensive than its competition, but it now comes with a new larger 23.8-inch HD touchscreen that swivels, meant to be used to take advantage of Peloton’s growing catalog of strength training, cross training, yoga, stretching, and Boot Camp workouts. The classic bike’s sticker price has dropped to $1,495, making it much more competitive than before.
Top comparison points to consider will of course include price, but these days, smart shoppers are also looking at warranties. Another key element is the size of the screen, and whether or not it’s included with the bike. What type of workout program is included is also a big deal, considering the strength of the Peloton fitness community and its celebrity trainers. Most of the Peloton alternatives on the market today are comparable in terms of overall size, but maximum user weight is another element to consider. Read below to check out the alternatives on the market today, waiting for a rider.
Best Alternatives to the Peloton Bike:
Streaming Vs. Programmed
First things first, what’s the big deal with interactive training? Well, it’s simple, really. Depending on your fitness level, interests, and personal motivations, getting up and onto your bike could be second nature, or it could be a real struggle. Having built in programming is a good start to overcome this, as it gives riders a guide of sorts as to how long and how strenuous your workout should be. For some, that’s enough of a kick in the pants, however not for everyone.
Think of it the same way that many people look at going to the gym in general. For some, having the membership is enough of a motivator to get their butt in the door however many days a week they’re capable. For others, it’s the added investment in a personal trainer that does the job. If you’re shelling out $XX per day/week/month for a trainer you have no choice but to drag yourself out there, and having a professional push you through your workouts means you’ll burn the calories you want to burn, or build the muscle and definition you’ve long been lusting after.
Streaming training bikes (Peloton, MYX Fitness, the NordicTrack S22i, and other competitors that we’re discussing below) are effectively the equivalent of hiring that personal trainer. You’re paying a premium not only for a well-built spin bike, but also for monthly access to a slew of training classes with high caliber instructors. In the live sessions (depending on the bike in question) instructors can see your training data and offer encouragement as they push you through their classes—not an experience you used to be able to get from the comfort of your own home.
What to Consider In a Peloton Alternative
This is a bit of a different animal when just comparing spin bikes overall—a category we have covered extensively here. At a mechanical level these bikes are going to be very similar to one another. They all run magnetic resistance systems that adjust manually, They’re all quite sturdy, and from an ergonomics and adjustability/comfort standpoint they’re too close to really bother breaking down.
Where these bikes will differ will be how their programs are delivered (on bike vs. streaming to your tablet or TV), how many classes (live or on demand) you’ll have access to, how long their warranties last, and how much they cost (both for the bike and for the monthly streaming services. As you’ll see in the options below, in some cases you’re looking at being pretty much on par with Peloton, whereas if you’re willing to give up a few less essential features there are some pretty decent savings to be had.
The Top 5 Peloton Bike Alternatives
A lot of brands are claiming to be Peloton alternatives, but few manage to match the majority of its features while still undercutting its sticker price. Enter MYX II Fitness—a true Peloton alternative. Your bike cost is lower by a fair margin (at $1,399), and even afterwards the cost of monthly subscription to MYX Fitness streaming classes are more affordable. You’re looking at $29/month to stream a wide range of spin classes, cross training, strength training, and other fitness options. What’s more, unlike the Peloton, you can actually swivel the screen of the MYX II bike a full 360 degrees to take better advantage of their off-bike training options. We also like the compact design of this machine at 3’4″ x 1’7″ versus the Peloton’s 4′ x 2′ model. Also, this bike lets one pause workouts, while the Peloton model quits the program once one stops. This is handy for home fitness as sometimes one simply has to hop off the bike for a moment and then jump back on.
Hands down the closest competitor in the ring, the Stryde Bike actually picks up on a few of the Peloton bike’s key shortcomings. For starters the unlocked tablet/screen is a welcome change. Though the android tablet can’t access the Google Play store (access is blocked to any screen over 18″), users are still able to download 3rd party apps that are accessible via its web browser. That means Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and even Peloton apps are available to load onto the Stryde bike. Beyond that, it offers magnetic resistance, streaming training from some of America’s top indoor cycling studios, and a 21.5-inch HD touchscreen. As a final perk, its monthly subscription cost is $10/month cheaper than that of Peloton, NordicTrack, and others ($29/month instead of $39).
The NordicTrack S22i was one of the first real competitors in this space, and at a spec-to-spec level is closest aligned to the Peloton Bike’s setup. Its screen measures the same 22″ across, but rather than streaming Peloton classes you gain access to iFit (30-day family membership subscription included), which delivers thousands of on-demand spin classes in a range of formats from a multitude of instructors. This model also offers 360-degree screen rotation while the Peloton screen cannot tilt. The NordicTrack S22i features 10% decline and 20% incline, which is a rare feature among bikes. The Peloton, like most bikes, doesn’t offer the road-like movement of up and down. Other add-ons include the built-in workout fan and onboard programs here. You can also follow their “Around The World” courses that take you down real-world HD-recorded circuits from around the globe. You can also participate in leaderboards and track your progress in comparison to other iFit users.
When it comes to Echelon, the brand decided that they were better off leaving the hard tech out of the equation, which given the millions of iPads and tablets found throughout countless households around the globe, it sort of makes sense. Their sturdy bike gets the job done just fine, and through a monthly subscription, riders can take part in unlimited on-demand spin classes just like what’s available via the competition. The difference here? You’re into the bike for just over $799, so even when you roll in the $480 worth of monthly memberships you’re still saving a fair bit of money.
Bowflex’s latest indoor cycle is all about giving you a well-built indoor cycle that can link up the the fitness app of your choosing (once again including the Peloton app, with limited functionality), for very likable price of $999. It’s worth noting that Bowflex is also working on a handful of apps/services that will also go along with this bike, including their own version of “Around the World” like you see in the higher spec NordicTrack. This bike comes with a 1-year membership to the Bowflex JRNY Fitness app which is worth $149, as well as a pair of 3-pound dumbbells. This Bowflex bike also allows riders to pause their workouts, which is important for home fitness machines. We’re looking forward to testing this unit in our Fitrated studio head-to-head with the Schwinn IC4 in the coming months!
Spin to Win
Let’s face it, there just aren’t that many cardio exercises that can rival a good spin class. When it comes to burning calories while incorporating strength training into the legs, spinning is winning all the way around. The great thing about anything of the Peloton Bike alternatives is that they are each compatible with workout programming suitable for top-flight cardio. Nearly every app on the market today features not just High Intensity Interval Training, but Long Slow Distance, and even yoga. When comparing the top Peloton Bike alternatives, it might be worth checking out the numerous apps available as well.
Questions & Answers
- Are Peloton bikes the best?
The term best is quite subjective, obviously. That said, the Peloton brand has definitely set the bar pretty high in terms of public approval. Ever since their product first hit the market though, the competition has been fierce, and we see a number of great alternatives here.
- Who is Peloton’s biggest competitor?
As a company, probably NordicTrack and Bowflex. In terms of the bikes themselves, we’d say the Stryde Bike. That said, the NordicTrack family of fitness brings an iFit package which allows trains to control the machines from remote, and that’s an interesting comparison/contrast to the cult-like following of the Peloton app.
- What is a good Peloton Bike alternative?
We’d say the Stryde Bike is the closest in terms of machines.
- What is a cheaper Peloton Bike alternative?
The Bowflex C6 is one of the alternatives under $1,000 on the list.
- Can Peloton Bikes be used without a subscription?
Yes, the bike can be ridden without a subscription to the app.