Are you considering getting your significant other a Peloton exercise bike for Valentine’s Day?  What a great idea!  While prices are down for first-generation Pelotons, there are still other options to consider.

And if you are reading my blog, you are probably looking for a cheaper alternative to the Peloton. I get it – you may not be able to afford to buy a Peloton bike and/or want to pay its $39 monthly fee.  I didn’t want to, that is for sure.  That is where the genius of their Peloton App comes into play.   For only $24 per month (the new 2024 price for unlimited classes), you can access all of the same live and on-demand classes on your own bike.  Brilliant.  There are a bunch of other bikes out there that can be paired with the Peloton App.  I tried a bunch before I bought my Sunny and here is what I found.

Cheaper Alternatives to the Peloton Bike

Normally I would suggest to try before you buy but we are in the midst of global pandemic and going to your local sporting goods store, a spin studio or your local gym may not be an option or desirable.   Some bikes feel better for people of different shapes and sizes.  My point here is that everyone has different tastes. 

Sunny Bike B1509:   There are many models of Sunny bikes out there but this one caught my eye.   This was my OG of bikes.   I consider it a “starter” bike – that I upgraded after 525 sweat-inducing rides.  Was I happy with it?   Absolutely!!!   I used it for over two years and even got a shoutout for my  400th ride. It is a very sturdy exercise bike, versatile for both my husband and me, and held up very well.  In fact, I gave it to a friend, she used it for another 150 rides and then decided to get the Peloton itself (after she proved to herself that she would stick with it). 

The Sunny has “dual access” pedals meaning that you do not need to buy 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.   This one had everything I needed, was within our budget and I haven’t been disappointed.  If I had to do it all over again I may have purchased the Sunny 1805 with built-in tablet holder.

Sunny Bike B1509 (check it out)

The Sunny spin bike is the best Peloton exercise bike alternative. Save money on this exercise bike.Here is the Sunny 1805

Sunny 1805

Keiser M3i.

I eventually upgraded to the Keiser M3i.  It’s a higher-end commercial spin bike – the type of bike you can find at many local gyms.   While much more expensive than the Sunny, you are paying for a super quality bike and not for all the gadgetry that comes with a Peloton bike (like the built-in monitor).  It is whisper quiet and unlike many bikes, the handlebars adjust not only up and down but also forward and back. It has a lever for adjusting magnetic resistance from 1-24 and an onboard display to show you cadence, watts, resistance, HR, etc.   I find the Keiser’s 1-24 slightly frustrating as it is not compatible with the 1-100 of the Peloton, although a reference chart is available.  I used the chart for a while and then discovered something even better with mPaceLine.

Peloton Resistance vs Keiser Gear Reference chart

Like the Sunny, you do not need to plug it in and there are no built-in screens to upgrade in the future when the tech is stale. With the mPaceLine app I can monitor Watts, Cadence, Resistance, HR, and Distance.

Keiser M3iKeiser M3i commercial spin bike

Schwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus with Carbon Blue.

The Schwinn is also an impressive bike that I think is the closest to the Keiser M3i experience but at a slightly higher price point.  The only differences that I could find when comparing to the Keiser was that:

  • At 106 pounds, it is much heavier;
  • It feels more like a “real bike” and is a bit louder; and
  • You need to buy the on-board computer separately.

Schwinn AC FitnessSchwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus with Carbon Blue

beth jane still spinning

Life Fitness LifeCycle IC3.

The LifeCycle IC3 is a beauty. I found it very similar to both the Keiser and the Schwinn – meaning, it is solid, has adjustable handlebars, a resistance knob with an on-board computer, and overall a smooth ride.  Like the Keiser, the flywheel is also placed in the back.  Unlike the Keiser and much more like the Peloton, resistance is managed by a knob and the on-board computer displays a resistance range from 1-100.  Maybe I’ll go with this one next.

Life Fitness LifeCycle IC3


As I explained in my earlier Peloton Alternative post if you have a bike like mine that doesn’t have an on-board computer (most inexpensive models don’t) and you want to see your cadence, heart rate, speed, calories, miles, etc., its super easy to accomplish by adding a few simple add-ons.  I’ve more or less restated the information here so you do not need to go back and forth.

Other Ideas for Your Loved One on Valentine’s Day

Wahoo Cadence and Speed Sensors

I attached both the Wahoo cadence and speed sensors to my Sunny bike to display cadence and speed. See my full post for photos. The cadence sensor is a must-have.

Sunny now produces a bike with a built-in cadence sensor – the Sunny Synergy B1879.   I’ve learned that the very basic onboard computer on the Synergy cycles through speed, distance, time, cadence (RPM), pulse, and calories-burned every 6 seconds which would drive me bonkers.

wahoo speed cadence

Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor 

I use the  Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor to track HR and calories burned during a workout

Wahoo speed and cadence

Max Miles Phone Holder

I use this Max Miles Phone Holder so that I can see my Wahoo app and my cadence, speed, etc.  I connect it to the handlebars but as I mentioned at Step 4, you no longer need this if you mirror the classes or view the classes on your tablet because the Wahoo cadence and heart rate numbers can now be displayed directly on the app.  If you stream via  AppleTV like me,  you still need the phone holder.  I prefer streaming because when I mirror I have all sorts of issues – blurriness, freezing, stuttering, etc.

max miles phone holder


I recommend  inexpensive weights like these for the arm routines during the spin classes.



Bike Mat.

I use this bike mat to protect the floor and so that the bike doesn’t move.Velotas

Seat Cushion or New Seat 

My bum hurt so I bought this seat cushion (actually 2, him and hers for hygiene reasons.  I have friends that bought a whole new seat like this one.

Ear buds.

These ear buds work great if they cannot turn up your TV or iPad too loud.


A simple cart for my dumbbells, iPad and towel will be appreciated.

Size Matters – Consider Amazon Home Assembly

If following instructions while lugging around 100 pound fly wheels is not your strong suit, consider Amazon Home Assembly.  Here is a picture of the size of the box.

Amazon Home Assembly

If you can’t afford to get your significant other a bike for Valentine’s Day, consider getting them a Kindle subscription instead…

Here are some popular books about indoor cycling:

  1. Ride Inside by Joe Friel

2.  Spin Perfect by Tony Tempest

3. The Indoor Cycling Instructor Handbook by Angela Reed-Fox

Happy Spinning! And Happy Valentine’s Day!


Peloton App without bike

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 and affiliated sites.  


5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Erin Gomez
June 4, 2020 8:42 am

Can you only do the leaderboard with the bike? I purchased a Sunny bike and use the Peloton app.

Pin It
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x