Are you considering getting your significant other a Peloton for Valentine’s Day?  Before you buy, consider the backlash around Peloton’s  Christmas commercial that went viral. Check out these articles – the general theme (in addition to the concern about the general welfare of the Peloton recipient), was that you should never, ever get your husband, wife, etc. a piece of exercise equipment for Christmas.  Look, I wouldn’t mind but I think I am in the minority here.

  • HuffPost:  People Are Very Concerned For The Woman In Peloton’s Holiday Ad
  • Variety: Social-Media’s Latest Exercise: Getting Worked Up Over a Peloton Ad
  • Vox:  Peloton’s terrifying new ad is the best horror movie in recent memory

Still reading?  If so, you are a brave soul.  If you are here, you are probably looking for a cheaper alternative to the Peloton. I get it – not everyone can afford to buy a Peloton bike and then pay its $39 monthly fee.  I can’t.   That is where the genius of their Peloton App comes into play.   For only $12.99 per month, you can access all of the same live and on-demand classes on your own bike.  Brilliant.

There are many other types of 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

Try before you buy.  I suggest going to your local sporting goods store, a spin studio or your local gym and giving them a spin. Everyone has different tastes.    Some feel better for different shapes and sizes.  Some like the handlebars to move forward and backward.

Sunny Bike B1509:   There are many models of Sunny bikes out there but this one caught my eye.    I consider it a “starter” bike – will I upgrade in the future – probably.  Am I happy with it now – absolutely.  I’ve used it for over two years now and just logged my 400th ride. It is a very sturdy exercise bike, versatile for both my husband and me, and has held up very well.

It also “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 bike alternative. Save money on this exercise bike.Here is the Sunny 1805

Sunny 1805

Keiser M3i.

If I ever do upgrade, it will be the Keiser M3i.  It’s a higher-end commercial 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 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.

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. You can also connect to the Keiser companion app to keep track of Watts, Cadence, Resistance, HR and Distance.

Keiser M3iKeiser M3i

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 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;
  • You need to buy the on-board computer separately; and
  • It feels more like a “real bike” and is a bit louder.

Schwinn AC FitnessSchwinn AC Fitness Performance Plus with Carbon Blue

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 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.

Step-by-step guide for getting the Peloton experience with your own exercise bike

Step 1. The Peloton  App

The first step is to download the Peloton App for $12.99/mo. It is wonderful and there are over 10,000 on-demand Peloton classes to choose from. I stream the classes from my iPad via Apple TV  to my 65” flat screen TV.  Alternatively, you can buy yourself a tablet holder and attach your iPad to your handlebars or simply purchase a bike that already has a built in tablet holder like this  Sunny 1805.  Plenty of options.

Step 2.  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.

wahoo speed cadence

Step 3.  Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor 

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

Step 4.  Wahoo Fitness App

I use the free Wahoo Fitness App to display my cadence, speed, calories, distance and HR.  It wirelessly connects to, and displays, my cadence, speed, heart rate, calories burned, workout distance and workout time.

Now, if you are mirroring to your TV or using just a tablet to view the classes, you can display your cadence and heart rate directly on top of the class instead of the Wahoo App.  However, if you are streaming from the tablet to a TV like me the cadence and heart rate do not display on the TV. 

Wahoo speed and cadence

Step 5.  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

Step 6.  Dumbbells.

I recommend buying some inexpensive weights for the arm routines during the spin classes.


Step 7.  Extras

I also recommend some additional items, although they are not absolutely required for you to enjoy the Peloton App on your own bike.

Bike Mat. I use this bike mat for under the bike to protect the floor.Velotas

Seat Cushion. 

My butt hurt so I bought this seat cushion (actually 2, him and hers).

Ear buds.

These are great if you cannot turn up your TV or iPad too loud.


I bought a simple cart for my dumbbells, iPad and towel.

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 that one of my readers recently sent me:

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…

Happy Spinning!


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.  


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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.

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