Peloton Alternatives: Get in shape without breaking the bank

Budget Hacks

Peloton Alternatives: Get in shape without breaking the bank

Peloton is one of the leading competitors in this space—but it comes at a price.

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Peloton Alternatives: Get in shape without breaking the bank

I am the first to say that you should invest in your health. Every. Damn. Time. I mean, hello, I’m a personal trainer!

However, the fitness industry is overrun with overpriced products, equipment and over the top marketing that will convince you that you NEED their product in order to get the body of your dreams.

So, here’s a little disclaimer: I lean towards affordability.

I literally coach clients who have ZERO workout equipment. Or clients who have very minimal equipment.

So before we get into this...you do not NEED any specific given product to get or stay in shape.

Okay? Okay.

The current state of spin classes

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In the last ten or so years, cycling classes have become quite frankly, the biggest fitness craze I have ever witnessed. From Soul Cycle to Star Cycle, spin classes have completely swept the nation.

Cycling classes typically focus on mindfulness and pushing through hard obstacles—whether it’s the workout itself or something going on outside of the studio. It can be quite emotional and physically taxing (in a good way).

With the rise of people wanting to get fit at home due to sheer convenience and also the pandemic, Peloton is one of the leading competitors in this space—and with good reason—their bike is beautiful.

Peloton experience

The peloton basic bike starts at $1875. For that price, you get the bike delivered and assembled in your space. They also offer monthly payment options, as low as $49/month for 39 months at 0% APR.

It’s important to note that you are REQUIRED to purchase a membership to Peloton classes with the bike, for an additional $39/month. Though, Beyonce is developing a Peloton class, so it could be a worthwhile investment... With the Peloton membership, you get access to thousands of live and on-demand classes ranging from a variety of difficulty levels.

I know a lot of friends who use this and they love it. A friend of mine who is a cycling enthusiast and cycling instructor said:

“Peloton is user friendly and tells you resistance and cadence numbers so if you’re unfamiliar with what that feels like the Peloton makes it easy.”

Basically, if you’re a beginner, Peloton is a great option because the cadence numbers make it easier to follow along to the spin workouts.

As someone who has ZERO rhythm, I can tell you right now that finding cadence in cycling class while doing the handle bar push ups/choreography is NOT easy. So I can use any help I can get.

Additionally, Peloton users love the accountability with the live classes and feeling like they have someone to show up for everyday. However, this experience does come at a price that may not directly fit its value.

6 Cheaper Alternatives to Peloton

Before I dive into the more affordable alternatives, I wanted to point out that mechanically these bikes are pretty similar. But let’s take a look at the details of what to look for in each bike:

  • Affordability
  • The Pedals

Strap in/toe box (Any sneakers work)

SPD or Delta cleats (Specific shoe for clipping in)

  • Adjustability (Seat height, handlebars)
  • The Seat
  • Is it Chain Drive vs. Belt Drive?

Chain drive is similar to outdoor biking. It simulates an outdoor bike. It clicks like a real bike, is a bit louder, and typically higher maintenance because you’ll need to eventually replace the chain.

Belt drive is what we typically see in stationary bikes and is generally a smoother, more quiet ride.

  • Is there a membership option included?

Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX5

For $19.99/month, the Echelon FitPass membership includes access to live classes and even on demand classes that you can take on your own schedule. These classes include boxing, cycling, strength, pilates, and stretching.

Bowflex C6 Bike

Although Bowflex doesn’t seem to offer their OWN membership, this bike is compatible with many other cycling apps, such as Pelton, Zwift, and the Explore the World App.

  • Price: $999
  • Magnetic resistance with 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels
  • Belt drive
  • SPD Clip in & cage pedals
  • Bluetooth enabled connectivity and compatible with Peloton, Zwift App, and others

Bonus features:

  • Pair of 3 lb. dumbbells with easy-reach cradles
  • Bluetooth enabled heart rate armband monitor
  • Backlit LCD metric console

Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike

Schwinn is a very popular indoor cardio equipment brand. Schwinn bikes are typically what you’d see in a personal training studio or larger commercial gym. Although Schwinn’s site doesn’t have a built in membership, their bike is compatible with the main competitors Peloton and Zwift.

  • Price: $899
  • Smooth, magnetic resistance
  • Belt drive
  • SPD Clip in & cage pedals
  • Compatible the Peloton® and Zwift® apps

Bonus features:

  • Full color backlit LCD display
  • Media rack
  • Slim, comfortable Bluetooth® LE (BLE) heart rate armband
  • 3 lb. dumbbells with easy-reach cradles
  • USB charging station
  • Access the Explore the World™ app where you can do digital races in places around the world

Synergy Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike

The synergy magnetic indoor cycling bike is the most affordable of the options included in this review comes from Sunny Health and Fitness. Although Sunny Health and Fitness doesn’t offer live or on demand workouts, they do have a blog and Youtube channel with a variety of follow along spin workouts for free.

  • Price: $347.82
  • Smooth, magnetic resistance
  • Belt drive
  • Cage pedals
  • Cushioned seat
  • Pulsing sensors on handlebars to monitor heart rate

Opt for Bodyweight Workout Memberships

Most gyms and studios offer virtual classes ranging from anywhere from $20-160/ month. You may need some equipment, such as a pair of dumbbells, a mat, and some bands, but generally speaking, instructors are highly aware that clients don’t have access to much equipment.

Studios offer anything from cardio kickboxing, HIIT, Tabata, strength, barre, you name it. This option is a great way to get a variety of workouts in! Additionally, it is a cheaper option upfront, and can take up less space. You can find class times over at Mind Body.

If you want to spend nearly $0 to get fit, you can look up follow along workouts on YouTube to get a sweat going. Other than needing access to wifi, it’s practically free.

Build Your Own Gym

Depending on your fitness goals, what you choose to include in your home gym needs to be is up to you. As a personal trainer, I wanted everything I could get my hands on.

We’ve purchased everything via Titan Fitness, Walmart, and Amazon, and managed to get the barbell and some plates for free from a friend. However, including the average price for those, we built our garage gym for under $1200. And it entirely replaces the necessity for a gym membership. Combined, my fiance and I used to spend $80/month on our gym membership which after only a year is ($960). Within two years, this gym pays for itself.

List of equipment for home gym under $1200:

Your health is always worth the investment: Recommendation from the Think Save Retire trainer

Should you go with Peloton, Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX5, Bowflex C6 Bike, Synergy Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike, bodyweight workouts or just build your own gym?

As corny (and obvious) as it sounds, pick whichever option suits your personal fitness goals and your bank account. If having the Peloton bike is important to you and gets you excited to move your body, then I think it’s worth the financial investment in your health. YOUR HEALTH MATTERS OKAY.

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Personally, I would choose the bike that fits your budget and needs!

What are your home fitness goals? Did working out from home help you save more money to invest toward financial freedom? Let us know in the comments!

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Dakota Butler
Hi! I'm Dakota. I'm a social media & digital marketing intern by day. By night, I coach humans online in strength training. I love all things fitness, content creating, and corgis.