Indoor exercise bikes have been a staple of home workouts and cardio since Johnny “G” Goldberg invented spinning in the early 80’s. Of course, technology has come a long long way since those original bikes, making workouts more efficient, engaging, interactive, and even fashionable. However, with all these advancements, the price tag has risen with them.
These days, the Peloton indoor exercise bike is possibly the biggest name in the industry and sets the standard as a premium product to whipping your ass into shape. It comes with a hefty price tag too – about $2,000. So, the big question is, does the bike really justify the price?
Let’s look at the features that really spotlight the Peloton.
Peloton Bike Features
Live Classes On-Demand
The Peloton offers you the ability to tap into a live cycling class from it’s New York City studio or choose from a variety of on-demand classes at your own level. This is indeed a pretty cool feature. It saves you from having to build your own workouts and keeps you more motivated than you would be cycling at your local Planet Fitness while you watch the local news.
If you want to see a quick 30 second video that demonstrates these classes (with a very cool setup I must say) click this YouTube link.
Peloton does a great job of pumping out insightful performance metrics throughout your workout. It also shows you where you rank in your class against other members. This is one of the best features as it nothing keeps you motivated like seeing other people whipping your ass.
There is a variety of different instructors who each have their own personality and specialty. This is another great feature that the Peloton offers.
As we discussed earlier, the cost of the bike itself is about $2,000. Then you have to add in the extra cost for the app. For the first year, Peloton provides free access to classes with purchase of the bike, however, after a year, that price goes up to $39 per month, while the app costs $12.99.
The Peloton Alternatives
The bad news is, you’re not going to get everything the Peloton offers rolled up in a nice little bundle the way it is offered. The good news is, there’s a very simple work-around.
Step 1 – Get yourself an iPad or Tablet and download a one of several truly excellent indoor cycling workout apps. Most of them are between $10-20/month and provide similar group ride experiences that the Peloton app provides.
Some of the top recommended apps include:
Step 2 – Buy a cheaper exercise bike and integrate it with your iPad and workout app. This is a simple setup and these apps walk your through the process.
So, now for the bikes!
This is number one on the list for two reasons.
- It’s a very high quality bike with plenty of features and ability to integrate with fitness apps
- It’s about $1,600 dollars cheaper than the Peloton bike.
This upright exercise bike has great components like 25 levels of eddy current brake magnetic resistance, a strong 3-piece crank system and oversized pedals, a large, padded fully adjustable seat, and angle adjustable handlebars with forearm rests.
This Schwinn 170 upright bike also has really nice features like a media shelf, in-console speakers with an MP3 input post and USB charging. The best feature, however, has to be the DualTrack™ console that equips on this bike. It has 29 programmed workouts, including 9 heart rate programs, and connectivity to fitness apps so that you can track your performance over time. You get all of this at a very reasonable price and with a warranty that is hard to match.
This could easily be slotted in the number one position for this list as it’s probably the best outright competitor to the Peloton. However, the price hike makes it a close second to the Schwinn.
The L NOW LD-577 is one of the newest indoor cycle trainers released in 2017. It’s definitely a model designed to support all spin workouts. It features a commercial construction, made to withstand 24/7 usage within the premises of a gym club. It’s similar in sturdiness to the Star Trac ION 7220 or the Spinner NXT.
The LD-577 offers a higher weight capacity, a much thicker frame, a higher adjustment span for the seat, and a more advanced exercise meter.
When it comes to looks, this bike is at the top of the list. If it’s the sexiness of the Peloton that draws you to it and you’re worried about having big ugly eye-sore in your house, the LD-577 will certainly appeal to you.
A great-looking and solidly-built indoor cycle with smooth operation, the Sunny SF-B1002C Indoor Cycling Bike is a chain drive version of the popular Sunny SF-B1002 (which instead employs a belt drive). The SF-B1002C has a heavy 49-lb flywheel that gives it a realistic road riding momentum and stability. It also has the nice accessories that make using the indoor bike easier such as fully adjustable seat and handlebars, a bottle holder, and wheels for transporting the bike around.
The indoor bike is also low maintenance and rust resistant with a heavy-duty crank. It should last for a long time with little upkeep. Resistance is easy to adjust with the knob, and a press-down emergency brake stops the flywheel instantly.
The Efitment IC031 is a well-built indoor cycling trainer, designed for spin workouts, with a weight capacity of 275 lbs and manual magnetic resistance. It excels in micro-adjustability; both its seat and handlebars are 4-way adjustable. It has a cushioned, comfortable seat, a multi-grip handlebar, and also includes a fitness meter. It’s an excellent bike for light to intense cardio workouts, endurance training, interval training, and weight loss. Although it’s not the most affrodable indoor cycling bike, it’s still a few $100 cheaper than most authentic spin bikes. In all, it offers excellent value for the price.
If you’re looking for a high quality indoor cycle that’s durable, reliable, and backed by an impressive number of reviews and a high average rating, the Phoenix 98623 is an excellent choice.
Provided you’re willing to sacrifice the display console then the smooth pedalling motion, resistance system and direct-drive reverse cycling option are sure to support a wide range of challenging workouts. The absence of the digital display is somewhat of a downfall, but this can easily be compensated for with the use of the iPad apps.
Summary and Overall Recommendation
Bottom line: the Peloton is a great bike with a lot of perks from it’s app. However, at a price $2,000+ for startup costs and ongoing monthly payments for access to classes, it’s difficult to justify it as a home workout purchase. If this is the ONLY source of exercise you are getting, it might be worthwhile to go all-out and buy the Peloton if you know for sure you are going to get a lot of use out of it. Personally, I only cycle indoors during the winter and prefer to do as much outdoor road or mountain biking as possible when the weather permits. If you are going to use the indoor bike to supplement your workouts, I would strongly suggest saving yourself some cash and buying one of the alternatives.