The Peloton Bike!   I saw the commercials and was hooked. Over 10,000 on demand group spinning classes right in the comfort of my own home?  You mean I never have to find someone to watch my kids, get in a car and drive to the gym?  A dream come true – sign me up!  (Plus, I am assuming that it must come with a housekeeper because everyone’s homes seem so neat and tidy.)

Then I saw the price tag…almost $3,000 right off the bat when you add delivery, special shoes, a $468 yearly subscription, etc. Crikey! I wish I could afford it – I really do but I already have a graveyard of exercise gadgetry and workout DVDs in my house (do P90X and Insanity ring a bell to anyone?).  I didn’t want to splurge on a Peloton bike only for it to gather dust in the corner like my old treadmill.   What if I didn’t like it?  What if I got  bored of spinning after a few months?  What if its screen stopped working – would I have to return the whole bike?  For me and my track record, it was too much of a gamble and I needed to dip my toes back into exercise with a less expensive bike.

So what did I do?

After loads of research (Amazon reviews, fitness blogs, etc.) I created my own Peloton experience by using the Peloton App with a Sunny Spin bike and some simple alternative add-on gizmos. It saved me almost $2,400. So far it works great and I am really enjoying my Peloton workouts.  In fact, I just celebrated my 250th ride on my Sunny.  This is how I did it…

Step One- the Sunny Spin Bike

All reviews and research pointed to this wonderful Sunny Health spin bike:

The Sunny spin bike is the best Peloton bike alternative. Save money on this exercise bike.

Sure, there are cheaper bikes and more expensive bikes out there but this seemed to check all the boxes.  It is a good-looking, sturdy, easy to assemble bike (I did it myself) that is fairly quiet to use.  Plus it has “dual access” pedals meaning that you do not need to spend $125+ on special clip on shoes. You can use your regular sneakers and slip them into the cages on the pedal as you would at the gym. But if you want to use clip-in-shoes, you can just use the other side of the pedal.   Brilliant!  Plus with Amazon Prime you get free shipping which saves you $250.

Here I am in action

We had previously converted some empty space in our basement into a home gym (I wrote a blog about my home gym, too).  Interlocking rubber floor tiles, a drop ceiling, a little bright yellow paint (which I am second guessing), and a cheapo TV bought on Black Friday.  We simply put the bike in front of the TV.  Another bonus is that I don’t need to plug the bike in so there is no extension cord for me to trip over.

I also considered this other good looking Sunny Health spin bike but I wasn’t sure if it was worth the extra cost.

Sunny Health Fitness indoor cycling bike cheaper alternative to Peloton

Combined Savings: Around $2,000

Step Two – Peloton App

How to get the Peloton On-Demand Classes

I downloaded the Peloton Digital App from iTunes for $12.99 per month (as of July 1, 2018, the price is now $19.49 per month).  It is also now available for Android.  This made more sense to me than spending $39 per month to stream the same content to the video console that is attached to the Peloton bike, especially as that device can only be used for Peloton classes!  (This doesn’t make sense to me – what if Peloton is not around in a year or two or if you have a problem with the software?  What if better online classes comes along?  You never really know, right?  I remember buying my 1st BlackBerry at a Radio Shack next door to my local Blockbuster near the Sears…).

Live Classes and Pre-recorded Classes

From the Peloton app, I can choose from over 10,000 pre-recorded classes or access up to 14 live daily spin classes.  What’s great is that you can filter the class selection.  For example, you can choose class lengths from 20 minutes to up to 120 minutes (I usually do a 45-minute class).  You can also choose the theme of music you want to spin to – Country,  Pop, Hip Hop, Rock, 80’s, 90’s,  Live DJ (which is kind of funny), Y2K, etc.   What I really like is that you can select your favorite instructor – my current favorite is Emma Lovewell.   She rocks.  I find that the spin classes are far more intimate than the classes at the gym and with over a dozen classes recorded every day, there is really something here for everyone.

UPDATE 1: The Peloton app now has awesome workouts like yoga, running, strength, boot camp, stretching, abs, HIIT cardio, core, meditation, and toning.  There are so many classes to choose from.

Here are screenshots of some of the Peloton App On-Demand Choices:

Spin 
Peloton on-demand classes

Running, Bootcamp, Yoga, Strength, Cardio, Running, Stretching and Outdoor

Peloton App, Peloton Treadmill, Peloton Bootcamp, Peloton Yoga, Peloton Stretching, Peloton Cardio, Peloton Outdoor, Peloton Strength

Savings on Annual Subscription Fees: $312

Step Three – Display the Peloton Classes

To display the classes, based on all my research I considered two different options.  As my Sunny didn’t come with a tablet holder, my first idea was to buy a tablet holder/mount for my iPad and attach it to my handlebars.  There are many to choose from but this was the one I had my eye on:

spin bike mount for ipad or iphone. low budget Peloton alternative

But, I didn’t buy the mount.

Instead of mounting my tablet to the bike, I decided to simply stream the classes from my iPad to my flat screen TV via  Apple TV.  That way the class is on my big screen mounted on the wall instead of my 10” iPad screen.  I turn the lights low and blast the music.  You almost feel like you are in the studio with the rest of the class.  It’s awesome.  A very immersive experience.

Plus, I occasionally like to catch up on my educational TV shows (OK, the Bachelor) while exercising.  You can’t do that with the Peloton bike’s built in display.  This was a big deal for me.  Having the TV  is also better for all the “off the bike” classes like yoga, abs and boot camp.

Peloton App, Peloton for Less, Peloton Alternative

Savings:  Well, I already owned the iPad and TV so no additional cost for me!

Step Four – Cadence

During class, Peloton instructors yell out what your “cadence” should be.  This is a fancy word for describing how fast you are pedaling.   For this, you need a cadence sensor.  I bought a combination  Wahoo cadence sensor and speed sensor, attached the cadence to the arm that attaches to the left pedal (called the crank), the speed sensor to the front wheel and downloaded the free Wahoo app to my iPhone.  The Wahoo app tracks your workouts, calories burned, miles biked, etc.  You can even link to MyFitness Pal if you use that app to track calories.  It took about 10 minutes to set up.  You could also just buy the Wahoo cadence sensor without the speed sensor for a little bit cheaper.

wahoo speed and cadence

The sensor transmits your cadence via Bluetooth to your phone.  As long as your phone is visible you are good to go.  I bought this MaxMiles mobile phone holder and attached it to my bike’s handlebars for ease of visibility.

better peloton bike phone holder alternatives how to save money

Here is what the Wahoo App looks like in the phone holder.

Wahoo app on iPhone holder-on spin bike

Update 2:  A reader asked that I post pictures of what the Wahoo Speed & Cadence sensors looked like on my bike.  Here you go:

Speed Sensor:

Wahoo Speed & Cadence Sensor

Cadence sensor (a bit of a tough angle for the picture):

Wahoo Candence buy on Amazon

NOTE:  You may be wondering why I didn’t download the Wahoo app to my iPad.  Well, it is simple – you cannot run both the Peloton App and Wahoo App on the same device at the same time.  However, with another  recent update to the Peloton App, you can now display cadence and heart rate directly to the App using your Wahoo cadence and heart rate sensors.  If you are using just the a tablet to view the classes (without streaming) this is a great feature and you DO NOT need the MaxMiles phone holder. Even more savings. BUT if you are streaming from your device to the TV like I do, the cadence and heart rate will not display on the TV for some reason – only on  the tablet.  So long story short, I still need to use the phone holder.

Step Five – Sports Mat

I ditched the idea of buying a sports mat as my bike is on rubber mats on the concrete floor.

spin-bike-sports-mat

Step Six – Weights

Some of the Peloton spin classes include awesome arm and shoulder workouts that require light weights.  The Peloton bike allows you to click two weights under your seat.  The Sunny bike doesn’t have that and I couldn’t find anything to attach.  So when I choose a class with weights, I grab them from the portable cart next to the bike.  We already owned a bunch of weights so nothing new to buy but if you are going to buy some you probably do not need anything more than 5 pounds.  I use 2 and 3-pound dumbbells.

Neoprene Dumbbells

We eventually also picked up this compact weight rack.  The weights are also great for the “After the Ride” Peloton workouts and the rest of the strength and boot-camp classes.Dumbbell Rack

Step Seven – Heart Rate Monitor

To track calories burned you need a heart rate monitor.  I use the Wahoo heart rate monitor that is compatible with my free Wahoo app.  At the end of my workout, I can upload the number of calories burned to MyFitness Pal where I track meals, calories, weight, etc.Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor

Step Eight – Some Optional Items

Here are a few optional items that I bought to complete my “Peloton Hack” (as some of my readers have called it):

Cart. I bought a simple small metal cart with wheels to hold my weights, a towel and a place to put my iPad.  I purchased the one in the picture below but any old table or cart will do.  I’ve moved it to the front since taking the picture. rolling Utility Organizer

Bike Seat.  I’ll admit it. My bum hurt after a few classes so I bought two seat cushions (a His & Hers for hygiene reasons).

Ear Buds.  If you can’t crank up the volume on the TV, I suggest these wireless Plantronics headphones.  They are very highly rated

Clip in Shoes.  I just use my regular old sneakers but if you want to clip in, people rave about these Shimanos.

Assembly.  I assembled it myself but some opt to use Amazon Home Services to have it assembled.

My Total Cost

My total cost?   About $469 for all of the equipment plus $156/year for the Peloton class subscription on iTunes.   That is almost a $2,400 savings!    Not too shabby and I’d much rather spend the money on this fancy wine cooler.

Is my Peloton hack EXACTLY the same?  No.   Here are some main differences as I see them:

Shout Outs.

The instructors will never shout out my screen name during a live class. For a $2K+ savings, I am OK with not hearing  “Good Job MomJeans1973!” during class.  Plus I only seem to take the pre-recorded, on-demand classes so it doesn’t really matter to me anyway.

BIG UPDATE: Peloton App users now have a chance at being shouted at during live classes!  Here is a clip of my  shout  out!!

Leader board.

You cannot see how you stack up against others during a live class.  I’ll never be in the lead and seeing how far behind I am would likely be demotivating for me anyway.  In fact, some instructors recommend that you turn it off.

Resistance.

If you have ever taken a spin class you will be familiar with resistance.   It is how heavy your wheel feels. If you are going uphill the instructor will tell you to turn your resistance knob to the right somewhere around 50 to 60 resistance.   If a straight road, 20 to 35 resistance. The Peloton bike displays your resistance on its screen. Without it, you need to get a feel for the resistance just like in a spin class at your gym.  That is how spin classes have always worked and it is absolutely fine. I have found that on my Sunny cycle every turn of my resistance knob equals about 10.  So, if the instructor tells you to add 10, that is one crank.   I also make sure that I am following the rhythm of the instructor.  If he or she is going very slowly up a hill and I am cruising along, that means I need to turn my knob to make it more difficult.   It is really easy to get the hang of it.

There are some spin bikes out there that do include the resistance but they are a significantly more expensive.  For example, the Keiser M3i displays resistance, cadence, heart rate, etc. on its built in computer.  A great bike but way outside of my budget.

My Results so Far

I am about five months into cycling with the Peloton App without the actual bike and both my husband and I spin several times a week.  We have shed a lot of weight, are sleeping better and are really enjoying our workouts.  We especially enjoyed saving a load of money.

Even my kids are getting into the action:

I’d love to hear how you are getting along so please leave a comment!

Update 3: Peloton is now also available in Canada and in the United Kingdom!   Welcome to the community, England and Canada riders, you are going to love it!

Happy Spinning!

Disclaimer:  My Sipping & Shopping blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  

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Jake Ryan

WOW! Can I just say how awesome you are? I wanted a Peloton Bike but the price was so much of an investment. I sat down prepared to spend a few hours doing research and I came across your advice in 30 seconds. You have done all the work for me and I can’t thank you enough. You are good people and I am a lifetime fan. Thank you again. Great job!!!

Anisha

Thank you so much for the work that you have performed and shared. Very inspiring! Need this less expensive version of the Peloton Bike/Tread

Kyle L. Breslow

Thank you so much for this article. I have read it 10 times! I’m doing everything you did except I’m also getting a replacement seat and water bottle holders on the back of my saddle to hold my weights.

Question for you: you said one turn equals 10 in resistance. Is that one 360 degree turn? Or is that one flick of the wrist turn? What exactly do you mean by one turn?

Thank you!

Monique Martinez

Thank you for writing this. I followed your advice and am in week four of my Peloton addiction. I am using weights that I bought at Five Below and Mpow flame Bluetooth headphones ($23.00 on Amazon). I love being able to sweat it out in the basement, without worrying about driving to the gym. My family is getting a little tired of hearing about how great Cody, Jess and Robin are, but they just don’t get it 😉. I love that Latin music is an option. Thank you again for steering me in the right direction. I’d still be plodding… Read more »

Catie

Don’t think I’ve ever commented on a blog in my life but this is AMAZING. Seriously thank you!! Going and doing this right now…

Meredith

Thank you so much for writing this post! I just moved abroad and peloton bikes aren’t supported here so your post is a life saver! Can’t wait to get everything set up. 🙂

Jenny

OMG thank you!!
I just ordered my Sunny bike and will be spinning away. I joined a gym just to use my Peloton app however, after finding your post, I will save my gym membership a month and bike away. Your instructions are amazing.
One very happy reader!!

Jeff

This was a great write up and suggestions. We went ahead and purchased the bike, cadence/speed, phone Holder. All works perfect, I would just add the speed sensor really isn’t needed since it can’t be mounted as necessary for true readings.
Thank you for all the suggestions. Anyone thinking about this, don’t think twice and just go with it!

Chris Donnelly

I have been on the fence about getting A peleton or not for the past year and a half. I read this article 5 times when I first started researching about it; kind of forgot about it for months then got motivated again and came back to this article as a hub to re-launch my research. I came to the realization that spending the money on the Peleton was foolish and this guide was a major help. I finally stopped making excuses and ended up going with the the sunny B 1805 with magnetic resistance, but did everything else as… Read more »

Sully

Great info. I have been on the fence for the same reason – price. Thank you for sharing!

Lindsey

Do you know of an app for Android users? I have looked into Peloton but have not purchased due to price. Researched a ton and decided on the Sunny fitness bike but want to know of an app I can use because the Peloton app is only for iOS users. Thanks.

Staho

I read your post a month or so ago and loved what you did! I took your direction to heart and am setting up my bike at home. Thanks! One question though. The Wahoo speed sensor (the one that goes on the wheel) isn’t designed for a spin bike as far as I know. How did you install it?

Alex

Hi! Thank you for this post, I found it very interesting because it’s a personal experience and not just some static review. I was wondering how you like your bike so far? I’ve been reading SO MANY reviews on so many different models and brands, but I keep coming back to this one.. The cons mentioned more often than not are the squeaking it starts making after a month or so, that and the grinding of the belt. I’m not exactly sure about how long you’ve had it – you say three months at some point but three months from… Read more »

Laura

Hi Thanks for this! Do you stream from your iPad with AppleTV? I have iphones and ipads, but never had TV. If so is that the only way to stream to a TV? I’m with you, I think I would prefer the TV experience.

HSK

What an ingenious idea! I never would have thought to create my very own set-up at home! It looks as if you have pretty much the full experience of an in-person spin class without having to leave the house. Driving to a spin class, fitting the specific times of the classes into my already full schedule, and feeling like I’m competing with the rest of the class are my main demotivators, and you have done away with all of these. Solid advice.

Lizzy

This is an awesome post! I’ve been reading lots of reviews about this workaround. Definitely some pros and cons but certainly a money saver. If I may ask, are you still using it?

Helene

I am curious about the setting up of the bike, is it advisable to set up the bike myself or I should get an expert to set it up?

MImma Palazzolo

Just ordered all of these goodies- can’t wait… I appreciate this post!

Gil

Thank you so much for this info! I have been researching this a while and this was very helpful. I would like to note though, that putting the cadence sensor where you did does not seem to measure cadence accurately. Wondering if you have come across this? Thanks a lot.

Lindsay

Hi! Thinking of doing this but wanted an update on how the bike it working out! I went on Amazon and saw a bunch of reviews in a row that says this bike isn’t worth the money. It’s loud and the pedals keep coming loose. Any issues on your end?

sonja

My husband and I were seriously considering getting a Peloton. After reading your blog I am sold! Thank you for all the helpful advice…really great!

Dianne

Awesome information!!! You saved me a fortune!!! Just one question, the bike comes in 2 options – chain or belt drive. Which option is better?

Mike

This is an amazing blog!! Thank you for your time and efforts. Where did you get the flooring?

CJ Simmons

Your article (and the videos!) were extremely helpful. Seeing your progress and your set up has encouraged me to move forward. I’m a 44yo male with injuries and need to better my health. I never thought of tracking cadence as I would like to get an Apple Watch.

Thanks so much for taking the time to blog this for us and to get me excited to improve my health….it is very appreciated!

Frankie

How did you mount the speed sensor to the wheel with no center hub? I tried mounting my new to the wheel but would not register.

Alberto

Thanks for the suggestions! Great hack… I’m going to XSport Fitness tonight to see what spinning is like. I’ve never done it, preferring to jog 12 miles a week or alternatively, do stair climbing. Unfortunately I’ve developed osteoarthritis in my right hip, so I have to search for new alternatives.

Mel

Hi I am from he U.K. and looking to use your hack! The sunny bike isn’t available, so looking for an alternative, what are your recommendations for the specifications on the bike? Such as resistance and chain etc? Thanks

4TC

This so awesome. Your home gym looks great! You made so many great points especially the one about the limitations of device on the Peloton bike especially if it is not around for years to come. I currently work out in the garage, we don’t park in there so all of my workout stuff is there and it’s plenty of space forme to do the dance workouts I love so much. I have really been wanting to get a bike in there for cycling workouts. Thank you so much for this “blueprint” to go by. I will be doing this.

Aslana

I’m a spin instructor not for peloton but locally! I am so happy for this information since the ad is indeed alluring! Also aimed for people with expendable income! And high paying jobs. I have a great spin bike at home and don’t want to get rid of it, I like your advice on a work around since I like my own workouts. I also have used some you tube videos for my spinning (free) and I am looking forward to seeing what peloton app has to offer!

Lisa

Thanks so much for your post! Just bought everything you suggested! I wanted the peloton but didn’t want to spend so much money on a piece of equipment that won’t be used everyday. Thanks again!

Sarah

Hello,
I am trying this for ge first time. I am a little confused about the resistance. When you say “crank” do you mean one half turn of the knob

Cynthia

Hey Beth! Thank you for this post. I LOVE how you detailed every step so perfectly… I am just going to add everything to my Amazon cart and call it done. I already have the TV and I have Apple TV installed on that TV. One question for you–do you have access to the App through Apple TV?

Danny

Amazing! Thanks! Hey any idea if there is a newer version of that bike that works better? All the model numbers are deliberately confusing. 🙂 Thanks again

Jerry

You just save me tons of $$$. I was about to click on buy on the Peloton when I decided to research alternatives. THANK YOU

Miyuana Young

Thank you so much for putting this together. I too fall off at times and I would like give cycling a try. I wanted a peloton bike with the whole package and once I seen the price I knew I needed to research alternative options. Your break down is so awesome. Once again Thank You!

Bob Hamilton

So, great info! I have the peloton bike, shoes and screen. I bought at this used. Is there a way to use the Peloton app to then hook it up to my Peloton screen? Or is there a way to play riding scenery videos on this screen? Just trying to avoid another $39 a month.

mercydava

Hi! awesome post and blog. I am still very confused about exactly where the wahoo sensors are mounted on my sunny health bike. could you please take some pictures of your bike with the position of the sensors? thanks so much

Manesi Mendez

This was exactly what I needed to read to get back out there and start my fitness journey! Thanks!

Keli

Hi I just read this, and I’m so happy I did! I just ordered everything you suggested off of Amazon. I can’t wait to get started. I was so close to spending 3 grand!

Keli

Thank you so much for this! I have a question, Can I stream the Peloton app through the Roku or my Smart tv? Do I have to stream it through apple tv? I don’t have apple tv and would like not to have to buy that just to steam on my tv. Thanks

Michael

This was a great post and thank you for posting. One question: I understand that the monthly subscription when you buy the Peloton bike is $39/mo. but then the app version is ~$20/mo. Do you know why would folks who bought the Peloton bike be charged more? Is it because they’re paying for the convenience of getting it streamed to their builtin display monitor?

Momnot

Hi Beth, this is great information. Regarding the Sunny bike, my husband is a big guy – tall and over 240 lbs, and he rides like a maniac for an hour. would the Sunny stand up to that? Thank!

mike

I can’t get the app to show cadence and speed at the same time? Also, what size did you set the speed monitor to?

Brittany Burnett

Thank you so much for this! I was about to do it and I definitely can’t afford it!

Eric

Does anyone know if you buy the bike, can you use the app on the bike verses the 40$ membership through the bike? I’m wondering if it’s cheaper to purchase the peloton and only buy the 20$ membership but use the screen on the bike

Carrie

Thank you for this great information!
Have a similar setup in our basement.
I was trying to figure out how to add a cadence / resistance/speed device to my stationary bike which works just fine, but to really get the full benefit of the peleton classes seems necessary.
Many thanks for sharing

Anne Michaud

Hi!! I have been wanting a Peloton since I saw the first commercial!! I finally decided to do some research to try to find a comparable product and came across your article. I am so thankful that I did!! The only thing I am trying to figure out is about streaming the Peloton classes to the tv and using the wahoo app. Ok, so I do not have a tablet but I have an iphone. I have this connector thing that I hook the phone to the tv that I sometimes use to watch basketball games that are being streamed… Read more »

Anne Michaud

Hi I am so thankful I came across your article!!! Will I need 2 devices to make this work?? To stream the Peloton app as well as the wahoo app?? Is there a way around this? I have an iphone but do not have a tablet is why I am asking…Thanks so much 🙂

Andrea

I may be late to the party but just came across this blog as I have started my own peloton hack. I purchased a sunny health bike as well. Struggling with the resistance. When you say one turn is about 10..is it a full 360 turn? I have the cadence sensor, this is my only struggle is estimating the resistance. Thank you!

Jennifer N

Thank you so much for ALL of your info. Not only did it save me time but totally cracked me up (“MomJeans73”)!! Thanks again for sharing!

Jacci

Any updates? Are yous till spinning? Still liking the bike you chose?

Lauren

Hi! I just purchased the peleton digital app since I already have a spin bike. However, I am going to upgrade it. I am still dealing with diastasis recti from my pregnancy and I need the handle bars to adjust very high so I am not bending over too much. How high do the handle bars adjust? Any chance you can measure the height?

Elisabet

If I have an Apple Watch can I skip the wahoo heart monitor?

Also ty! Ordered a few things you mentioned

DMC

Awesome advice

Tammy

Hi, I just wanted to see if your bike was still holding up well? I read your article and purchased a different bike, however I will be returning it because it makes a loud roaring/vibrating sound. I am now considering buying the one you purchased if you are still happy with it. Thanks for your help!

Zachary

Thanks so much for this thorough and informative post! Two q’s as I implement these hacks:
1) how did you get Wahoo to send the cadence info to the Pelaton app? None of the options in the Wahoo app that i see include sending to Pelaton.
2) you mentioned that your husband is also spinning. Do you have separate Pelaton accounts or are you okay with all of your workouts and preferences getting logged together? Doesn’t seem like you can have multiple profiles on the same account.

Thanks so much for any intel and the great write up!

Kelly

Thank you for your blog post! I love this idea!! Quick question….I have a friend who has a Peloton bike and wants me to get one so we can ride “together” but it is just too much money. If I use the app, can I take the same classes at the same time she does with your amazing hack?

Emmit

Thanks for this. Purchased everything and have been spinning a couple of days now. However have you ever had a problem with the cadence dropping off or going blank while spinning?

ryan prendergast

What setting did you use for the speed sensor (wheel size). Sorry if this was already asked.

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