The most frequent questions I get about using the Peloton App with my Sunny Bike are about how to measure resistance. The questions generally go something like this:
  • Should I buy these power pedals? (tip, these pedals are expensive but if you put them in your Amazon cart you will receive a notification when they run their flash sales where you can sometimes save up to 75%)
  • How do I convert Peloton resistance when using my own bike with the Peloton App (conversion charts below).
  • Is there anything similar to the Wahoo cadence sensor that will measure resistance?
  • Is knowing your resistance worth the extra money to buy the Peloton bike?
  • How do I  convert Peloton resistance to my Sunny, Keiser M3i, Echelon or NordicTrack?
  • How do I measure resistance on my Sunny?

My answer is always the same. Let go of not knowing. Work hard. Get sweaty.  Let your fitness do the talking (and BUY THIS disco ball to keep your workouts exciting!).

I chalk it up to FOMO (fear of missing out). But if you absolutely, positively need to know your Peloton resistance, I have some advice with several resistance charts at the bottom:

What works for me?

First, let’s talk resistance.  Resistance is how heavy your wheel feels.  To make the wheel feel heavier, turn the knob to the right.  Lighter? Turn the knob to the left.  The Peloton bike displays your resistance on its screen. It is measured from 1-100. Without it, you need to get a feel for the resistance just like in a spin class at your local gym.

As I mentioned in my original Peloton for Less” post, I have found that on my Sunny cycle every turn of the resistance knob equals about 10.  It’s not an exact science but I equate a 1:1 ratio.  So, if the instructor tells you to add 10, that is one full crank for me.   Not all bikes are calibrated the same and I am confident that when an instructor calls out a wide range of resistance (“Get somewhere between 35 and 55”), that I am falling somewhere in that range.

I’d say more importantly, though, is to make sure that I am following the rhythm of the instructor. I watch their legs. If he or she is going very slowly up a hill and I am cruising along pumping my legs fast, that means I need to turn my knob to the right, slow down and make the wheel heavier. It is really easy and intuitive to get the hang of it.

With all of that said and after well over a year of using the Peloton App with my own bike, I find that I concentrate more on my cadence numbers using my Wahoo cadence sensor than I do thinking about resistance. Resistance is an after-thought for me.

As I describe in my recent post, Apple Fitness+ has launched its own fitness app with spinning, rowing, yoga, strength training, etc.  The spin classes are fantastic and the instructors do NOT talk resistance, just cadence.   If not knowing your resistance bothers you, check out Apple Fitness+ – I am really enjoying their spin and core workouts at the moment.  In fact, I love it so much I created a dedicated Apple Fitness+ group on Facebook come join!

What About Other Spin Bikes?

There are some spin bikes out there that do include the resistance but they are significantly more expensive.  For example, the Keiser M3i displays resistance, cadence, heart rate, etc. on its built-in computer.  A great bike but too rich for my blood.  There are also some awesome power pedals out there to measure your watts/output but again, uber expensive.  Of course, there is always the actual Peloton bike.

What Others Think About Resistance

I’ve also consulted Christy Abbot Alvey, world-renowned cycle instructor, on the resistance issue, and with her permission, I have pasted her advice here:

“I ride 2 different bikes. The Keiser shows resistance; the LeMond does not.

I find myself not looking at the resistance. Ever.

You want to base your resistance on your perceived exertion, HR, and class guideline. The instructor is often very good at describing the road: sprint, power jog, moderate climb, heavy climb.

Don’t overcomplicate it. Truly. Put on as much resistance as you can to sustain the cadence suggested. Then, monitor your HR and perceived exertion. HR is an honest, truthful way to tell if you could or should add more or less resistance.

If you are bouncing in or out of the saddle, you need more resistance. If you feel like you are chasing your pedals, you need more resistance.”

So there you have it, friends.  Listen to Christy: stop worrying and start sweating.

Here is what my gym looks like with the lights down and the disco ball glowing!!

Peloton App

UPDATE:  After 500+ rides on my Sunny, I splurged and bought the Keiser M3i.  With a bike like the Keiser M3i that displays resistance,  cadence, distance, heart rate, etc., you will need to convert the resistance from Peloton’s 1-100 to Keiser’s 1-24.  I found this conversion chart online and it is necessary if you have the Keiser:

Peloton Keiser Conversion Chart

Due to popular request, I’ve also included some other resistance charts that I have found for Sunny, Echelon and NordicTrack here:

Sunny B1805 Peloton Resistance Chart

Peloton Sunny Resistance

Sunny B1879 Peloton Resistance Chart

NordicTrack S15i Peloton Resistance Chart
Peloton NordicTrack Resistance
Echelon Peloton Resistance Chart
Echelon Peloton Resistance

NordicTrack s22i Peloton Resistance Chart
Peloton NordicTrack Resistance

Please drop me a line with any more questions about how to measure resistance!


Peloton with my own bike

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Steve W.
April 9, 2020 8:52 am

thanks for sharing your experience! I was motivated to try out the Peloton app with my existing Pro-Form stationary bike and it’s working out great. Next was to figure out the “resistance conversion rate” from Peloton to my bike, but this post backed me away from the “over-complexifying” ledge.

July 21, 2020 2:34 am

Great post! I was really looking for a perfect resistance solution but this helped me just accept my little cheat sheet hack and move on. I’ll share what I did just incase it may help others: I have a Sunny B1879 and my resistance crank has 6 Full turns. The first two make little to no difference as the magnetic resistance is still too far away. So I just took the remaining 4 cranks and calculated each half turn would add 12.5 resistance and came up with this nifty cheat sheet. For me it feels like I’m right where I’m… Read more »

May 1, 2021 12:40 am
Reply to  Sarah

Hi! I don’t think this chart is quite accurate 🙁 I have a peloton bike and my friend has the same sunny model you do. I’ve used her bike before. Her max resistance feels like a 50-55 on my bike. I hope that helps a bit.

May 1, 2021 12:48 pm

The chart in the picture / comment I replied to from Sarah re: her Sunny bike.

December 31, 2020 1:29 am

Hey! When thinking about resistance on your sunny do you mean each complete 360 turn of the knob equals about 10? Or a half turn of the knob? My JLL bike (uk brand) does about 20 complete 360 degree turns from one end of the resistance to the other so trying to figure out how that would convert to peloton resistance.

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