The main reason to shell out the cost of a stationary bike, particularly a connected one, is the convenience it offers.
Aside from these differentiators, the S22i is every inch a Peloton competitor, down to its magnetic resistance, 22" touchscreen, and selection of personality-focused fitness instructors. Even before Peloton came along, there were many apps around that allowed users to track both their cycling and general exercise progress. This bike's simple LCD readout provides the rider with all of their vital stats.
You could buy the same gear piecemeal for the same or less. Bikes from Bowflex and SoulCycle let you watch Netflix and other video streaming services while you ride, a feature not available on Peloton. When budgeting for a smart exercise bike, be sure to factor a monthly membership fee into your calculations. Finally, some companies charge as much as $200 for delivery and assembly/installation.
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. If that doesn't do the trick, you can always swap out the seat with a more comfortable one. These types of pedals are less intimidating for newbies, don't require you to purchase expensive clip-in shoes, and allow anyone with a pair of workout sneakers to use the bike. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). Using these, I was able to assemble the bike in about 45 minutes, with only a few head-scratching moments along the way. It has Velcro straps, but there's no place to adequately secure the cord.
Echelon, MYXfitness, SoulCycle, and several other companies offer compelling Peloton alternatives that might better fit your needs and budget, and we've gathered the top smart exercise bikes we've tested here to help you decide. The display of third-party trademarks and trade names on this site does not necessarily indicate any affiliation or the endorsement of PCMag. Excellent classes, instructors, and playlists, Equinox+ membership offers floor-based workouts. Dumb design.
Echelon's newer EX5s ($1,600) comes mighty close to matching the actual Peloton hardware, thanks to its massive 22-inch screen.
That guide also covers using the control panel, which is barely mentioned in the print version.
It all comes down to interactivity. I earned a BS in journalism from West Virginia University, and started my career writing for newspapers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. This is largely a matter of personal preference, but I liked the prerecorded Myx workouts I tried: It felt like I was one-on-one with a personal trainer instead of being just a random person in a big group. Much as I admire the sturdy design of the Stryde bike and versatility of its tablet, I don't think it's a good fit for all riders.
This fosters a sense of community, making it feel like you're not working out alone. Russell Holly is a Managing Editor on the Commerce team at CNET.
What is the best Peloton alternative? The fully-featured package also includes dumbbells for weight training classes, and support for other exercise types like yoga and mindfulness sessions via the included 22" pivoting touchscreen.
For more affordable alternatives, companies such as Bowflex, Echelon, and NordicTrack's sister brand Proform make sub-$1,000 models that work with your own smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. All rights reserved. Of course, that's also a big reason the bike is so expensive; many indoor spin bike competitors come with a smaller screen or none at all. If the goal of purchasing a piece of home-fitness equipment is to avoid pricey gym or class memberships, some of these bikes may leave you scratching your head.
The big advantage of the Peloton Bike+ compared with the original Peloton Bike is its Auto Follow feature, which automatically adjusts your resistance to match the instructor's cues.
And as much as you might dislike the idea of yet another monthly subscription, even $40 is less than what you'd typically pay for just two or three drop-in cardio workout classes at your favorite indoor cycle studio (and it's worth it if you find a particular Peloton instructor particularly motivating).
Both are solid options, especially if you can mount a TV on the wall in front of your equipment to stream classes on. One of the things to consider when mulling your smart stationary bike options is whether or not you want to wear clip-in cycling shoes. The leaderboard, which ranks class participants by their total output, is a key part of the experience. Maybe you don't like the cult-like reverence some people ascribe to Peloton and its trainers, or you can't stomach the nearly $40 per month subscription cost, or maybe you don't care about cost and just want to know if there might be a better option out there for your particular fitness goals. They all require a subscription, typically priced from $29 to $39 a month, to access a library of classes. Your subscription has been confirmed.
Likewise, the built-in fan is noisy to the point of distraction, even on the lowest speed. But cycling shoes are expensive, and learning to clip in and out takes some practice. It also includes a massive 48lb flywheel with magnetic braking for powerful momentum and quick stops. Two things I particularly like: the virtual rides (in which you follow your instructor on gorgeous real-world trails) and the "live" resistance control, meaning the instructor changes your bike's resistance settings during your class or ride. However, if your main goal is to get the most bang for your buck, you'll want to consider something like the ProForm Studio Bike Pro.
This means it's entirely up to you whether you want to stick to cycling for its cardio benefits, or you'd like to expand your fitness journey to include weight training and resistive exercises as well. If you don't feel strongly about live classes and leaderboards, the VeloCore is definitely an appealing Peloton alternative.
So if you wanted to find, say, a yoga class, you'd have to scroll-scroll-scroll down the list until you eventually found the yoga section. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Peloton Digital costs $12.99 per month and gives you access to the company's full library of live and on-demand workouts, including Barre, bootcamp, cycling, HIIT, meditation, outdoor running, running, strength training, stretching, and yoga. Apple Fitness+ costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year, and offers a range of floor- and machine-based classes, including core, cycling, dance, HIIT, mindful cooldown, rowing, strength, treadmill, and yoga.
I unbox, set up, test, and review a wide range of consumer tech products from my home in Florida, often with the help of my pitbull Bradley. With upgraded hardware and new content from The Beachbody Company, the MYX II smart stationary bike is the best affordable Peloton alternative. One reader I was corresponding with who owns the S22i said they find the seat so uncomfortable they can only ride for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, and plan to swap it out for a different one.
For more connected fitness options, check out our roundup of the best smart home gym equipment. This last represents a huge advantage over Peloton, as it allows you to point the screen in different directions for off-bike classes. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. Peloton's cycle is, without question, the Bentley of home exercise bikes -- a sturdy and beautiful machine that feels every inch like a premium product.
That means instructors don't throw out numbers ("Speed up to 22!") Subscriptions also usually include performance tracking features and the ability to set up multiple user profiles per household so everyone's stats are kept separate. You might assume Peloton is the best smart stationary bike because it's the most popular.
But if you decide not to pay for a membership and fitness app, some bikes will no longer collect or display data, such as speed and distance, about your rides, which is one of the reasons someone might choose an indoor bike over a road bike. Friction-based resistance more closely mirrors real world cycling. This version of Android doesn't support Google Play Services, meaning there are certain apps -- HBO Max and Zwift, to name just two -- that won't run, period. Keep reading for additional insights and tips to help you narrow down your options. This is on top of the cycling, yoga, functional training, and other fitness classes available across the Connect Bike, Echelon mobile app, and other Echelon-branded equipment. 2022 ZDNET, A RED VENTURES COMPANY. Recreate the Experience Without an Official Bike.
The VeloCore also comes with free weights designed to be stored on the bike itself and used with the numerous non-cycling classes supported by its companion JRNY app. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article.
If you can afford it, the Peloton Bike brings a high-tech spin class right to your home with sleek hardware, streaming live classes, and integration with your favorite fitness apps.
Pulse readings come from an included rechargeable forearm monitor. Smart or not, all stationary bikes can be a literal pain in the butt, especially for beginners.
From casual exercisers to budding Tour-de-France participants, these models will fulfill every need without tapping the obvious choice in this product category.
Instead, it runs stock Android, so it's like having an oversized tablet at your fingertips, one capable of running not just Stryde's own app, but also a browser, Netflix and so on. Check out my full review for more details. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services were assessing. Speaking of which, you'd have to find those elsewhere, as Stryde's membership plan currently includes cycling classes only. At $1,699, the VeloCore indoor cycling bike barely qualifies as an "affordable Peloton bike alternative" -- and if you opt for the model with the 22-inch screen, now you're up to $2,199. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay.
Note that these prices are accurate at the time of this writing and subject to change.
There are plenty of indoor cycling bike options that will let you pedal away at a much lower cost.
All of these are offered via the companion iFIT workout platform, which includes both live and on-demand routines for on the bike and off. As noted, Peloton charges $39 per month; Myx Fitness runs a little cheaper at $29, while Echelon's plans range from $20 to $40. If you buy a NordicTrack cycle, you get your first year of the iFit service free and after that, it costs $39 a month. To look at the Stryde bike is to see a Peloton alternative with a similarly dazzling 21.5-inch screen but lower price tag: $1,595, plus a completely optional $30 monthly subscription. But Bowflex really should include a printed version of the more complete manual that's available online. When not writing for CNET you can find him riding a bike, running around in Jedi robes, or contributing to WOSU public radio's Tech Tuesday segment. NordicTrack's iFit platform stands out for its vast library of outdoor content. If you're experiencing a lot of discomfort, padded cycling shorts and bike seat covers, which are widely available in bike stores and online from around $20, can help. Another disappointment: The screen doesn't rotate, so you can't easily use it for off-bike classes. After that, it would cost you $39 a month or $33 if prepaid annually. On Peloton, classes can sometimes feel like watching a TV show, complete with costume changes and a live DJ.
Without a membership, you can typically still use a smart exercise bike in manual mode, but it doesn't make sense to pay extra for a machine with smart functionality if you don't plan to use it.
Although I didn't love having to purchase (and use) special clip-in cycle shoes, I did enjoy the overall Peloton experience. The good news is that if you want to swap out your bike's pedals for a different pair, you usually can.
Below, I've rounded up a variety of stationary bike models that stand as good Peloton alternatives, including one that's "free" (sort of).
Features: 21.5-inch touchscreen | Openfit platform | 350-pound weight capacity. Of course, this does come with some slight concessions, the most important one being the downsizing of its included touchscreen display from the 21" range to just 10". With the integrated Google Maps support, users can take these virtual rides on a variety of locales around the globe. There are pros and cons to both choices. Although the bike can track your heart rate (courtesy of an included Polar armband monitor or syncing with your Apple Watch), it doesn't collect or display cycling data such as speed, distance or resistance.
Virtual trail rides are now available as well, along with Myx Media content such as news and coach diaries.
If you'd rather stick to a more traditional stationary bike experience, the VeloCore can also be locked in an upright position and fulfill its role just as well as the Peloton Bike thanks to its wide range of seat adjustability and 100 levels of magnetic resistance. Of course. Echelon offers a similar experience, but its community isn't as large and its classes don't have quite the same production value as Peloton. (, Read Great Stories Offline on Your Favorite, PC Magazine Digital Edition (Opens in a new window), How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone or iPad, How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill, How to Convert YouTube Videos to MP3 Files, How to Record the Screen on Your Windows PC or Mac, Read Our Echelon Connect EX5S Bike Review, Read Our NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle Review, ultimate guide to health and fitness tech, Peloton Too Pricey? While there are many competing products out there matching Peloton's hardware, the MYXII is also designed to provide a direct alternative to the company's apps and classes as well. It couples this with auto-adjusting resistance levels to simulate the feel of pumping your legs to climb a tough hill, or taking it easy while sailing down a steep street.
Users can track their progress through the bike's built-in hardware and the included Bluetooth HR armband, which allows for heart rate monitoring and fitness tracking both on the VeloCore and off. You have to keep that subscription for three years, but that brings your total out-of-pocket cost to right around $1,400. The bike itself is as solid as they come, with reversible pedals (toe cages on one side, shoe clips on the other), handlebar height and depth adjusters and a monitor that can tilt and pivot.
ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice.
For the moment, the bikes can pair only with the Echelon app.
My hairstylist owns a Peloton and could barely use it more than once a week at first because she found the seat so uncomfortable.
There are plenty of great Peloton alternatives out there that cost less and sometimes even have additional features. That said, there are a few notable differences, including the MYXII's use of friction-based resistance rather than magnetic, its slightly wider rider height and weight ranges, and its handlebar and seat adjustments. Although its entry price is just a bit higher than the Peloton Bike, it's worth noting that the cost includes the first year of the JRNY companion platform, saving the user about $240 from the one-year cost, and dropping the VeloCore's total cost of ownership to nearly the same as Peloton's entry point, with the added benefit of Leaning Mode. It sounds almost too good to be true, but ProForm's deal is real -- and awesome: Pay $39 a month for an iFit subscription and the bike is yours for free. The stock pedals that come with Peloton and SoulCycle bikes require clip-in cycling shoes. I'm PCMag's expert on fitness and smart home technology, and I've written more than 6,000 articles and reviews in the 10-plus years I've been here. Allows for live, trainer-controlled automatic incline, decline, and resistance adjustments, Excellent classes, series, and instructors, Wide variety of studio and outdoor workouts for all fitness levels, Connects to Bluetooth headphones and heart rate monitors, Automatic trainer control feature didn't always work in testing. Peloton is one of the biggest names in indoor cycling -- as one can expect, given the price. Weight training, bodyweight exercises, and other strengthening exercises can all be great companion activities for those seeking a whole body workout. Resistance systems vary from bike to bike, but all are typically smooth and silent. Let's take a look at the best indoor exercise bike options and see which is the right one to get your heart rate up and your legs pumping. Peloton is one of those brand names that come to define a particular product category. Speaking of classes, iFit here is the same as iFit above. ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping.
While trainer-led workouts have their perks, sometimes you just want to zone out and ride. Unlike virtually every other bike with an integrated display, this one doesn't lock you into a custom ecosystem.