Ever since the advent of the SoulCycle, spin and indoor cycling classes have increased in popularity.
The cultish nature of the welcoming atmosphere, leaderboards, and training-friendly competition has drawn massive crowds, and since the Peloton Bike arrived, competition from all parts of the industry have continued to pop up to allow this enjoyable studio experience to be used in your house.
For a while, the Peloton Bike had the field to itself. These days, however, there are several competitors, with some of them introducing much more affordable ways to receive this streaming studio experience at home.
Top 5 Competitors to Peloton
- Echelon EX5s ($1,040)
- NordicTrack S22i ($1,999)
- Bowflex C6 Bike ($949)
- ProForm SMART Power Exercise Bike ($899)
- Horizon Fitness IC7.9 ($700)
On Demand Workouts vs. Live Classes
First things first. When it comes to interactive training, what is the big deal about it? It is actually very simple. Depending on what your personal motivations, interests, and fitness level are, it may be second nature to get up and onto your bike, or it might be a big struggle for you.
A good way to overcome this is to have built-in programming since it provides riders with a sort of guide on how strenuous and how long your workout needs to be.
For some people, that is enough of a motivation. However, it is not for everybody.
It can be thought of in the same way that numerous people view going to a gym. For some people, it is enough of a motivator to have a membership to get off the couch and out the door for as many days per week that they are able to. For other people, it is making the additional investment into a personal trainer that will do it.
If you are spending a certain amount of money per day, week, or month for a personal trainer, your only choice is dragging yourself to the gym and being pushed by a professional through your workout you will burn the calories that you need to, or build the definition and muscle you have been dreaming of.
Streaming training bikes (the NordicTrack S22i, Echelon, Peloton, and other competitors discussed below) are basically the equivalent of hiring your own personal trainer. You pay a premium to not only have a well-constructed spin bicycle but for monthly access as well to a wide range of training classes featuring first-rate instructions.
During these live sessions (depending on which bike you have) instructors can view your training data and provide you with encouragement while they are pushing you through the class.
This is an experience that you were not able to get in the comforts of your own home in the past.
Factors Worth Considering in an Alternative to the Peloton
It is a different beast trying to make overall comparisons of spin bikes. At the mechanical level, the bikes are very similar to each other. All of them run a magnetic resistance system that manually adjusts.
All of them are very sturdy, and from a comfort, adjustability, and ergonomics standpoint, they are all very close to the point that it isn’t necessary to break them down any further.
Where the bikes do differ is in how they deliver their programs (streaming to your TV or tablet versus on the bike), the number of classes (on-demand or live), that you will have access to, the length of the warranties, and how much the bikes cost 9for the monthly streaming service as well as the bike).
In the options discussed below, you will see that in some cases you will be about on par with the Peloton, but if you are willing to sacrifice a couple of the less essential features then you can save quite a bit of money.
Top 5 Alternatives to Peloton
1. Echelon Smart Connect EX5s Bike
The Echelon brand decided it was better off leaving hard tech out of its equation. It kind of makes sense when you consider all of the millions of tablets and iPads that are found in households all over the world.
The sturdy bike does the job fine, and there is a monthly subscription available that allows riders to participate in an unlimited number of on-demand spin classes similar to what the competition offers. So what is the difference?
The bike costs just over $1000, so you still save quite a bit of money even when you factor in the $480 in monthly memberships.
2. NordicTrack Commercial S22i
This was one of Peloton’s first real competitors. At the spec-to-spec level, it closely aligns with the setup of the Peloton Bike.
It has the same 22-inch screen, but instead of streaming classes from Peloton, you will be given iFit access (comes with a 1-year subscription), which provides thousands of different on-demand spin classes from a number of different instructors and a range of formats.
You also can follow the “Around The World” classes that take you through real-world HD-recorded circuits located all over the world. You are not given the same direct live classes that you get from Peloton.
However, you can track your progress compared to other iFit users and participate in leaderboards.
3. Bowflex C6 Bike
Following the same model as the Horizon, you are provided with a solidly-built indoor bike that is able to link with your chosen fitness app (which also includes the Peloton app, although with limited functionality).
Bowflex also is working on several services and apps that will go with the bike, including their own “Around the World” version that you see with the higher-spec NordicTrack.
For now, though, the Bowflex C6 Bike offers a very affordable riding experience, that can also be used with a number of different of fitness apps.
4. ProForm – SMART Power Exercise Bike
This exercise bike comes with an inertia-enhanced flywheel that features quiet magnetic resistance to provide a smooth ride that will not disturb others in your household. It comes with 22 resistance levels and a fully adjustable seat to allow you to find the right workout intensity and posture.
The bike gives you a one-year iFit memberships that provide interactive training sessions to control your resistance and speed. An HD color 10-inch touchscreen plays the workout sessions.
5. Horizon Fitness IC7.9
Horizon’s entrance into this space has brought the industry a new agnostic software approach. Instead of saying you need subscription Z with bike X, this bike has been designed to be used with various fitness streaming apps, which include the Peloton app. Just place your tablet inside of the hold, connect it with your bike, logs into the app you want to use, and you are all set.
You will not have access to the type of competition and leaderboards that you get from NordicTrack bike, Peloton, or Echelon, but otherwise, you will have a closely matched experience when it comes to a well-engineered and sturdy bike for just a fraction of the competition’s cost.
We are a big fan of this bike.