Top 5 Peloton Bike Alternatives of 2020
Deal Alert – Free Apple iPad Air ($250 Value) – When you buy a Ex3, Ex5 or Ex5s – Use Code AIR2020
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, competition from all corners of the industry has 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.
Streaming Vs. Programmed
First things first, whats 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 of. 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, Flywheel, 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
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 (1-year subscription included), which delivers thousands of on-demand spin classes in a range of formats from a multitude of instructors. You can also follow their “Around The World” courses that take you down real-world HD-recorded circuits from around the globe. You don’t get the same direct live classes you would from Peloton, but you can 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 $1000, so even when you roll in the $480 worth of monthly memberships you’re still saving a fair bit of money.
In many respects the Flywheel home bike is the closest apples-to-apples competitor with Peloton in terms of overall training experience. Flywheel offers daily live courses for riders to tune into (approximately 4-6 times per day), plus access to thousands of pre-recorded on demand classes. One key difference, with the Flywheel bike, the built-in screen is optional. Add the screen and it’s evenly priced with Peloton (about $2,200), but use your own tablet or smart TV for streaming and you’ll save a few hundred bucks.
4. Horizon Fitness IC7.9
One of the great things about Horizon’s entry into this space is a new software agnostic approach to the industry. Rather than saying “With bike X you require subscription Z”, the bike is designed to be used in conjunction with a string of different fitness streaming apps, including the Peloton app! Simply drop your tablet in the holder, connect to the bike, log into your app of choice, and you’re off to the races. You won’t have access to leaderboards and the kind of competition you’ll get from the Flywheel, Peloton, or NordicTrack bike, but otherwise you’re looking at a very closely matched experience on a sturdy and well engineered bike for a fraction of the cost. A full review will be on the site soon, but needless to say we’re big fans of this one!
5. Bowflex C6 Bike
The latest addition to the pack follows the same model as Horizon does, 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). 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. We’re looking forward to testing this unit in our Fitrated studio head-to-head with Horizon in the coming months!