Fitness + Running How Tos + DIY

Peloton Bike Alternative: My DIY Setup for Spinning at Home

Spinning at home, DIY peloton bike setup

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TL;DR – I got this spin bike for $299 and use the Peloton $13/mo app plan. The spin bike is currently $370, but there are others in the $200-350 range. We’ve all heard of Peloton bikes by now. The sleek at home spin bikes that make you feel like you’re in a live spin class. I’ve gone down the path of curiosity a few times! Could I make it work from a “price per use” perspective? Would I get super fit because I wanted to get use out of it?! But any way I calculate it, I can’t justify the huge expense of a $2,500+ spin bike. And to be clear, I’m not anti-Peloton. I think they’re an amazing company that came out with a product combo (app experience and spin bike) that no one was doing for spinning at home. If I had unlimited funds, I would probably splurge! But here’s my DIY peloton bike alternative.

Most Peloton bike reviews I’ve come across start out like this: “I got a Peloton bike last month and I LOOOVE it!” So, as a counter-balance… I got a generic spin bike a few months ago and use the Peloton app, and I LOOOOVE it!” :) And now that we’re all spending a lot more time at home because of COVID-19 and shelter in place orders. I’m pretty lucky to have snagged a spin bike in February before this all started. In this post, I’ll compare the Peloton bike pricing, list out my setup and bike add-ons. Plus, how I picked my bike, using the Peloton app, and my current schedule.

peloton alternative, at home spin bike set up home gym

Using the Peloton App

You can use the Peloton app membership without purchasing the Peloton bike. The app also has other workouts like strength, yoga, cardio, meditation, running etc.

One of the things I still don’t understand about the Peloton app is that the pricing is the exact opposite of what you would expect. If you invest in a Peloton bike, they don’t reward you with a discounted app experience. Yes, your bike is all connected and smart, but Peloton is also charging you $39/month instead of $12.99/month.

As for the Peloton app and spin classes. They do a great job. I don’t do live classes, but they’ve usually been filmed that day or previous. I just open the app, usually filter by time length I have, and then I quickly check for a style (recovery, climbing etc) and playlist to make sure it’s what I want. The instructors are very chipper and love throwing out cliche “rah rah” phrases. Which is fine to me, it makes me laugh, and occasionally roll my eyes from the comfort of my own home. But it’s a great workout and I definitely wouldn’t put in as much effort if I was watching a Netflix show or listening to a podcast. I also like that it’s a set time length with warm up and cool down, so I don’t have the issue of not being motivated to just do my own thing.

Peloton Bike vs DIY Peloton Pricing

Update: Peloton Bike Basics Package is now $1895 and the Peloton Bike+ starts at $2495. And it now looks like they’re not charging for delivery, which before was like $250 extra. So maybe it’s the COVID-19 recent news that’s changed this part. And the app is $39/mo or $468 a year.

Spreading the Cost of your Peloton over 1 year: $196.91 per month
Over 2 years: $117.96/mo
Over 3 years: $91.64
/mo

Sunny Belt Drive Spin Bike is $299. Peloton is also doing 90 days free trial. So the $12.99/mo doesn’t kick in until start of Month 4. This puts your first year app price as $116.91.

Spreading the Cost of your DIY over 1 year: $34.66 per month
Over 2 years: $23.82/mo
Over 3 years: $20.21/mo

As you can see, financially, if you can afford and justify a Peloton purchase, congrats! Enjoy your lovely bike. For the rest of, let’s get going on a DIY setup!

In the price above I’m not including any extra upgrades for either bike. Like different pedals, bike shoes, weights, mat for underneath the bike, or other tracking gear (like heart rate monitors etc).

Other Peloton Bike Alternatives Price Comparison:

Here are the most popular current alternatives to Peloton from budget to high-end studio style cycling bikes.

  • Sunny Pro Chain drive: $299
  • Sunny Belt drive with 49lb flywheel: $370 (this is the bike I bought)
  • Amazon “Prime” bike Echelon EX-Prime$500 (*Amazon now saying it’s not a partnership!)
  • Schwinn ic3 indoor cycling bike$600
  • Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX1$840 or EX3 $999
  • Sole Bike SB900$999
  • The MYX fitness system bike $1,299
  • Bowflex VeloCore bike$1,699
  • One Peloton Bike Basics: $1,895
  • Nordictrack Commercial S22i Studio cycle$1,999

Choosing your home spin bike

Finding the right budget indoor cycling bike is still key. You’ve probably tried riding an old stationary bike before at a gym. And thought “uhhhh. this is a waste of time”. Spin bikes have come a long way in the last decade though and there are some great Peloton bike alternatives. I ultimately chose the Sunny Belt drive bike. It’s a best-seller on Amazon. (Although you can go down a rabbit hole with even just the Sunny brand indoor cycling bikes available!)

So is a Peloton bike worth it? Not for me. A spin bike in general. Yes, here’s why:

CONVENIENCE. Once you get into a routine with either the Peloton or a Peloton alternative bike – the convenience factor will be the same. You don’t have to have a branded Peloton bike in your home to justify that it’s super convenient to workout at home with an indoor exercise bike. We got our spin bike before all the COVID-19 coronavirus health crisis. And I feel like now more than ever we’re super lucky to have a spin bike at our house. We got it for a few reasons.

First, it was winter time. If you live in the North, you know, it gets dark at 4pm. So it’s just not possible for us to squeeze in an outdoor workout on weekdays. Second, as parents it’s hard to find time to exercise. As a current “stay at home” mom, I have the free time some days to do a workout during naptime. But spoiler alert: I can’t leave the house! Likewise, on some weekday evenings and weekends, if I’m out of the house, he can’t leave. Third, if you’re training for a long ride, it can be hard to put in the extra training miles. Especially adding in the previous two reasons of daylight hours and being a parent. My husband was biking to work during most weekdays and doing one long weekend training ride. But he needed a few endurance and strength building workouts during the week.

The other convenience factor is that you don’t have to drive to a class and find parking. Plus get there early enough to get a bike you want, set up, get changed, do the class, drive home. Which can turn most 60 minute classes into at least 1.5 hours. For example, for barre class, I leave at 8:15 for an 8:30 class. 10 min drive, 5 min get in/set up, 60 min working out and 15 min to get out and home.

So those were our main reasons for buying a spin bike for the house. Daylight hours in winter, being a parent, and training for a century ride. Now I’d add a fourth reason in – COVID19. And being unable to attend studio workout classes – like barre or spin.

WHERE TO PUT A SPIN BIKE. This spin bike isn’t huge. But we also didn’t want it out in the open with a toddler in the house. We live in two bedroom house. There is also a third “go through” type room full of doors. It’s home office/guest room/cat room/cardboard mountain storage room in our house. That is where the spin bike lives and I’m fine with it.

QUALITY OF BIKE. When I was in the researching phase for spin bikes, I came across different reviews where people mentioned some bikes are not sturdy or stable. They generally also listed their size (weight or height). So I really searched for reviews that matched my body type and made a decision from there. I’m a smaller person and I’m not going to have the same need of a super heavy spin bike. For example: a 250 pound 6’3″ man might need to do more research on a bike. But I did need to make sure the seat could be lowered enough for someone my size! So search the reviews text for things like your height or weight and see if anyone mentions pros or cons.

My Home Spin Bike Setup:

  • Peloton Alternative: Sunny Health & Fitness 49 Lb Chromed Flywheel, Silent Belt Drive Indoor Cycle Bike with Leather Resistance Pad – $299 (update: looks like it’s currently priced at $370)
  • Roam Universal Bike Mount – $16.98 – We attached this to the spin bike to mount iPhone to watch Peloton app spin classes. My husband also uses this on his road bike for long rides. If you prefer a larger screen, you could use an iPad instead.
  • Wahoo RPM Cycling Cadence Sensor – $39.99 – This bluetooth sensor lets you see what your cadence is through the Wahoo app on your phone. It’s not required to use the spin bike and the Peloton app. But I’ve found it useful to know what my cadence is. Which means the only “missing piece” from not having a Peloton bike is knowing better resistance #s. This could be fixed with a heart rate monitor, but I’m good for now.
  • EVA Foam Mat 1/2″ Thick, 24 Sq Ft – $19.99 – We intended to put this mat under the spin bike. But we still have it on the existing rug that was in that room and it seems to be fine. I thought it might move around, but so far not.
  • Shimano Clipless Pedals – $35 – The Sunny bike comes with toe cage pedals, and I had intended to replace them. It’s not an urgent need, so I’ll probably be waiting a bit now.
  • Cycling shoes – I have cycling shoes from ten years ago that no longer fit! At some point I would like to get new ones to use on the spin bike! I’m using some low profile zero-drop running shoes instead.

My 2020 Workout Schedule Pre-Coronavirus:

  • Monday: 2 mile stroller run
  • Tuesday: 30 min Peloton ride
  • Wednesday: 20-30 min Peloton ride
  • Thursday: 2 mile stroller run
  • Friday: Rest day
  • Saturday: Barre3 class or Peloton class
  • Sunday: Run day 2-3 miles

My Workout Schedule the first 2 weeks of quarantine: Walk around the neighborhood, do yard work, bake and eat cinnamon rolls.

This last week was my first week getting back into exercising, and it’s definitely helped my moods a bit. Last week, I did 3 Peloton classes (20-30 min), and 2 Barre3 classes (30 min) freebies from YouTube. Progress!

And that’s everything I know about setting up an at home spin bike! I hope this has helped you decide on a bike. Let me know if you have any questions!

Have you thought about getting a home spin bike?

Note: Updated pricing September 2020, Peloton reduced the Basics bike and released the Peloton Bike+.