The Peloton Cycle!  I saw the commercials and was hooked.  Over 9,500 on demand group spinning classes in 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 already have a graveyard of exercise gadgetry and workout DVDs in my house (does 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.   Don’t get me wrong,  the Peloton bike is awesome.  It is built like a tank and a nice ride. If you can afford it and are confident that you will continue to use it, I say go for it!  For me and my track record, it was too much of a gamble and I needed to find a workaround.

So what did I do?  After loads of research (Amazon reviews, fitness blogs, etc.) and with this Sunny bike I designed my very own Peloton bike alternative and it saved me almost $2,400.  I have seen it called a Peloton “hack.”  It works great and so far I am really enjoying my Peloton workouts. This is how I did it:

Step One- the Sunny Spin Bike

All reviews pointed to this Sunny Health spin bike:best peloton bike alternative save money on exercise bike

Sure, there are less expense bikes and more expensive bikes 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 in shoes – you can use your regular sneakers and slip them into the cages on the pedal like you would see 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 and a cheapo TV bought on Black Friday.  We simply put the bike in front of the TV.

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

peloton cheaper alternative cheap exercise cycles

Combined Savings: About $2,000

Step Two – Peloton App

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).   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?  You never really know, right?  I remember buying my 1st BlackBerry at a Radio Shack…).

From the Peloton Digital app I can choose from over 9,500 pre-recorded classes or access  up to 14 live daily 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  choose 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 something here for everyone.

UPDATE: The Peloton Digital app now has awesome workouts like yoga, running, strength, bootcamp, stretching, abs, HIIT cardio, core and toning.

Here are screen shots of some of the on-demand classes:

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

To display the classes, based on all the research I considered two different options.  One was to buy a tablet holder 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:peloton for less low budget peloton alternativeBut I didn’t buy it.  Instead of a tablet holder 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.

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, 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.

Peloton alternatives peloton workaround solution

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 alternatives how to save moneyHere is what the Wahoo App looks like in the phone holder.

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.

Step Five – Headphones and Sports Mat

I ditched the idea of buying these headphones as I am using my TV and I didn’t need a sports mat as my bike is on rubber mats on the concrete floor.

 

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.

We eventually also picked up this compact weight rack.  The weights are also great for the “After the Ride” Peloton workouts. 

 

Step Seven – Heart Rate Monitor

To track calories burned you need a heart rate monitor.  I use the Wahoo heart rate monitor that is compatabile with my  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.

Step Eight – Some Optional Items

Here are a few optional items that I bought:

Cart. I bought a simple small metal cart  with wheels to hold my weights, a towel and a place to put my iPad.  I bought the one in the picture below but any old table or cart will do.

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

 

My Total Cost

My total cost?   About $469 for 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 MomJeans73!” during class.  Plus I only seem to take the pre-recorded, on-demand classes so it doesn’t really matter to me anyway.
  • 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 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 slow 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.

I am about five months into cycling with Peloton 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 even getting into the action:

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

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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77 Comments on "My Peloton Bike Alternative; A Great Money Saving Hack"

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Jake Ryan
Guest

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!!!

Kyle L. Breslow
Guest

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
Guest
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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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!!

Sully
Guest

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

Lindsey
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest
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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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

Gil
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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

CJ Simmons
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest
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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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
Guest

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