Indoor exercise bikes aren’t new. They’re just surging in popularity — partly because they’re smarter and internet-connected now, and because of viral ads plastered all over Instagram from companies such as Peloton. Not to mention that many people have been taking live classes online because of the pandemic.
with a large screen attached to the front, providing access to a $39-per-month subscription service with thousands of live and on-demand cycling classes. By the end of 2020, Peloton sales had surged by 172% with predictions that demand would increase well into 2021.
Many people want a smart exercise bike to help them sweat it out in the morning before work. While they may love the idea of the Peloton experience, it’s hard to stomach that hefty up-front cost, the price of the monthly subscription service, and the other limitations we described. You read that right — you have to purchase
Peloton’s all-access membership
separate from the bike itself. Luckily, there are other options available, and they’re just as effective as the Peloton.
NordicTrack’s smart bike is pretty fancy.
It has a 14-inch HD touchscreen with iFit on-demand and live studio workouts and trainers who can control your machine’s decline, incline, and resistance in real-time. The bike itself features a mechanical shaft to simulate the inclines and declines of actual bike riding. The first year of iFit is free. After that, it costs $39 a month or $33 if prepaid annually. However, It’s not required.
Automatic trainer control
Robust library of workout options included with iFit
Live workouts offered
Family membership options
Large 14-inch HD touchscreen
One year free iFit membership
Price tag is only slightly lower than a Peloton
After one year free, iFit costs $39 a month to continue
No pre-programmed workout options (iFit required to access workouts)
Myx Fitness is a newer bike company.
Some say the Myx II is a true Peloton clone, as it features a 21.5-inch screen and original, in-house fitness programming. The Myx II costs just $1,399 (with a monthly membership fee of $29), which means it’s not only comparable to Peloton but also cheaper. It also has reversible pedals (toe-cages on one side with shoe clips on the other), handlebar height and depth adjusters, and a monitor that can tilt and pivot. NordicTrack’s S15i does too — but it costs $200 more and has a smaller screen.
Customized heart rate training
Family membership options
Monthly MYX membership is cheaper than some others
Vast library of workouts included in MYX
Cheaper than a Peloton
At $1,699, the VeloCore indoor cycling bike is a true Peloton alternative — especially if you get the model with the 22-inch screen, which brings your cost up to $2,199. If you’re interested in buying a competitor to Peloton and don’t care about saving money, VeloCore is the bike for you.
What’s also interesting about the VeloCore is that it actually lets you lean side to side. The bike chassis can swing left and right, so if you hold that lean during a workout, you will really feel it in your arms and abs. The bike itself has magnetic resistance and looks very premium, with pedals supporting regular and clip-in shoes.
It also runs Bowflex’s JRNY software and service, offering trainer-led and recorded virtual coach classes. There are scenic virtual ride and streaming radio stations, too, plus the ability to sign into streaming services like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. JRNY even supports syncing ride data with other apps, like Peloton.
The service is free for one year and then costs $20 a month or $149 annually. However, you can use the bike without it.
Includes a leaning mode option
Large HD touchscreen up to 22″
Extensive library of workouts included in the JRNY membership
100 resistance levels
No live classes
Not much cheaper than the Peloton, especially with the 22″ screen
No pre-programmed workouts without the JRNY membership
Next up is the Studio Bike Pro from ProForm. It’s also the cheapest option. Let us explain.
Pay $39 a month for an iFit subscription for three years, and the bike is yours for free. That brings your total cost to about $1,400. The bike itself comes with a 10-inch screen and offers access to live workouts where trainers can also control your resistance, but not your incline. The seat and handlebars are all adjustable, too.
Honestly, this is probably one of the best values you can get for a Peloton-like cyclist experience.
iFit Coach Plus coaches offer exercise, nutrition, and sleep expertise
Lifetime frame warranty and three-year parts warranty
Live resistance control
22 resistance levels
Smaller touchscreen console than some others
Handlebars are not padded and only move up and down
Additional fee for iFit Coach Plus after the first year
We’re straying a bit away from the Peloton at this point, but hear us out: The Echelon Smart Connect EX3 is roughly $695 cheaper than the Peloton, and it still offers interactive workouts with certified trainers via your own mobile device and the Echelon app.
The fitness app serves up both live and on-demand classes for $40 a month or as low as $29.16 a month if you choose a two-year plan. There’s no screen attached to the bike’s front, but there is a handy little spot on the handlebars for you to slide in a phone or a tablet.
Live and on-demand classes offered with Echelon United membership
Great for riders on a budget
Compact and great for smaller spaces
OK, so this stationary bike from Sole is a little different but is the most inexpensive option on our list at $599.99. The Sole SB700 is not a smart bike and has no app. It has a 300lb weight capacity and features a backlit-LCD display that shows your time, distance, speed, kCal, heart rate monitor, and more. It also has a media device holder in case you want to use your own tablet or phone to stream classes from Peloton’s app or iFit.
And it has an adjustable seat, pedals, handlebars, and toe caps to make it a comfortable ride for anyone. So, while Sole lacks a fancy touchscreen, you can still get fit with it and track certain metrics, all while saving cash.
Good for riders seeking a more straightforward experience with some metric-tracking
Great for riders seeking a budget-friendly option
Compact and great for small spaces
No pre-programmed workouts
Not compatible with live training sessions
Lacks the robust features smart bikes include
Peloton vs. Peloton alternatives: Which to buy?
Here’s your decision tree, laid out in a handy chart:
|NordicTrack S15i||Myx II||Bowflex VeloCore||ProForm Studio Bike||Echelon EX-3||Sole SB700||Peloton Bike|
|Subscription requirement||Optional||Required||Optional||Required for 3 years||Required||N/A||Required|
|Screen size (inches)||14-inch||21.5-inch||22-inch or 16-inch||10-inch||N/A||N/A||21.5-inch|
How did we choose these Peloton alternatives?
We put hours of research into compiling this buyer’s guide. We’ve also owned and used the Peloton Bike, and we’ve also owned and used alternative indoor exercise bikes with the various cycling accessories we mentioned. We even poured over bike reviews at CNET, our sister site, and scoured online retailers to find the best deals and learn more about what consumers had to say. While, in the end, any “best list” is subjective, we can confidently say our picks are among the top-rated options available, covering a range of prices, needs, and wants.
Best Peloton alternative FAQ
What’s the best indoor bike without a screen?
So, let’s discuss the Peloton Digital app. If you want to take classes from actual Peloton instructors with real-time shoutouts while using your own traditional indoor exercise bike, just use Peloton’s mobile app. The all-access membership costs $20 a month, comes with a 14-day trial, and can be used with any indoor exercise bike.
It’s not much more expensive than a gym membership, and it offers both live and on-demand classes. However, it lacks the leaderboard and on-screen stats like cadence, resistance, output, fitness trackers, and other metrics calculated by the Peloton bike itself. The app includes more than just cycling classes, with class types ranging from low-impact yoga and meditation to high-impact bootcamps and strength training. Of course, if you want to try the Peloton bike itself, the company offers a 30-day home trial with the option of a full refund if it doesn’t meet your needs.
Let’s also not forget YouTube, which is home to countless cycling videos. The point is, you don’t need Peloton’s fancy bike and 22-inch screen to burn calories. With any indoor exercise bike and a mobile device, you can get a similar experience and save yourself thousands.
Should you buy any cycling accessories?
To get the full Peloton indoor cycling experience in your home gym, but again without breaking the bank, you might want to consider investing in some exercise accessories. For instance, you should get a bike mat, such as this one from SuperMats. You can also pick up a media device holder (if your bike doesn’t have one) like this expanding tablet mount. You might want to also consider a cadence sensor — we recommend Wahoo’s — and perhaps a pair of dedicated cycling shoes.
What should I look for in a spin bike?
This answer will vary depending on the person and their needs and wants in a spin bike. First, budget is an important factor and can help you quickly narrow down the options. Then, look for the features you’re seeking. Things to look for include heavier flywheels, magnetic brakes, and belt drives.
But also consider additional bells and whistles that may make your biking experience more successful, like touchscreens, handlebar adjustments, large workout libraries, and other options.
Can I use the Peloton app with other bikes?
Yes. Peloton’s app is available to purchase even without a Peloton bike and can be used with other bikes. However, if you want to use the screen and features of another bike you will need to make sure it is compatible with other apps, like Peloton’s.
Can I watch Netflix or other streaming services on Peloton?
Currently, Peloton does not offer third-party streaming services like Netflix.
Do spin bikes need maintenance?
Yes. In fact, regular maintenance is essential to making your bike last as long as possible. We recommend following the manufacturers’ maintenance recommendations for whichever spin bike you purchase.
Do I need to buy bike accessories separately?
There may be some accessories you decide to purchase that are not included in your bike purchase, like fitness trackers. Like most of those we mentioned in our top six, some bikes include some accessories with the purchase of the bike. Things like mats, tablet mounts, trackers and sports watches can be good accessories to have.
Are there alternatives worth considering?
Here are a few more top-rated bikes: