Peloton classes are among the best instructor-led experiences you can stream, and this article will show you how to save over $1000 with this DIY Peloton hack.
Their premium quality experience comes with a price tag that is too steep for many people who’d like to work out in the Peloton world.
But you can create your own Peloton experience at a fraction of the normal Peloton price with just a little creativity & some smart shopping.
Current Peloton cost
Peloton’s cheapest bare-bones bike package is currently $2,245**.
** – December 2021 update: Peloton just cut the price of their bike & their packages by a few hundred dollars. The Works package I reference in this article fell from $2494 to $1745…down about 550 bucks.
They also added a couple of new lower-priced packages as well. This move is no doubt driven by the fact that the Peloton company lost a lot of money in 2021.
[My take: I don’t know if this sudden price drop of theirs is permanent or just a temporary thing; they’re not saying. So I’m leaving their standard pricing that’s used in my article’s calculations for now.]
You’ll still need to purchase several accessories, whether from them or from elsewhere.
Their standard Works Package – which includes the necessary items:
- bike mat
- indoor cycling shoes
- headphones, and
- heart monitor
Additionally, you’ll need to sign onto their monthly membership which streams to your Peloton bike screen. That subscription runs about $40/month.
Combining the Peloton bike, accessories, and Peloton subscription stream this comes out to:
$2,494 + $480 = $2,974.
So, Peloton’s first year price tag is just a little under $3000.
Peloton alternative that saves you $1,500?
How would you like to enjoy the full Peloton experience, complete with their world-class instructors & workouts – for over $1,500 less than Peloton’s going rate?
With a little creativity you can.
This do-it-yourself Peloton hack will save you well over a $1,000 dollars, maybe close to $2,000. That’s up to you.
As you’ll see, you’ll be the one determining how much you spend creating your own Peloton setup.
So let’s get to it.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.
DIY Peloton 101: The 3 pieces
There are 3 things to take care of while building your money-saving, budget-friendly Peloton hack:
- the monthly subscription
- the accessories similar to what Peloton uses
- and of course, the bike
I’ll go through them one at a time and you can pick & choose what works best for you & your bank account.
#1 – The Peloton monthly subscription
The first place we’re going to shave a little off the full cost of Peloton is with our monthly subscription.
As mentioned earlier, the cost of the Peloton subscription streaming to your Peloton bike would be about $480/year, @ $40 x 12 months.
Use the Peloton Digital subscription instead
Peloton has an app that works for both iOS and Android devices.
It used to be known as just the Peloton app but they renamed it Peloton Digital.
Anywho, we’re not going to be buying one of Peloton’s $2000+ bikes; you might’ve figured that out by now.
You can use the Peloton app without a Peloton bike.
So that means we don’t need to pay for their bikes’ streaming service either.
Peloton Digital has thousands of live & recorded classes
The new & improved Peloton Digital app has both live & pre-recorded classes.
It has workouts galore of all kinds – thousands of ‘em – with wide selections of exercise type, workout duration, & skill level.
Compared to their main stream-to-your-Peloton bike subscription, it’s 50% cheaper too:
Peloton Digital subscription:
$12.99/month x 12 months = $156/year.
The regular Peloton bike subscription:
$39/month x 12 months = $468/year
Subscription cost savings: $312
Peloton instructors give shoutouts to Digital subscribers too
One of the fun (& gratifying) things about Peloton’s live classes is that the instructors will give shoutouts to certain participants during the class.
This VIP student recognition isn’t reserved for only the Peloton bike owners. The Peloton Digital subscribers can get some Peloton love as well.
Usually this is due to the subscribing bike rider hitting a workout milestone of some kind or another.
Here’s Peloton’s guide to getting one of their coveted shoutouts during a class.
More info on Peloton Digital
So we’ve saved a little over 230 bucks so far, and haven’t even broken a sweat.
You simply sign up for the subscription and you’re good to go.
#2 – Get a decent cheap indoor cycling bike
Next task on our Peloton Alternative to-do list is buying an affordable – if not downright cheap – indoor bike trainer.
Here’s where we’re going to save a boatload of money.
If we’re on a tight budget we’re probably don’t feel like dropping $2,300 – $2,700 for one of Peloton’s bikes.
Instead our focus is on picking a winner from the swarm of cheap Spin® copycat bikes that are available.
(Quick noteFYI: Spin® is a registered trademark and refers specifically to bikes made by Madd Dogg Athletics – the originators of the term Spin Bike. Legally, if they didn’t make it it’s not a Spin bike: it’s an indoor cycle, indoor cycling trainer, etc.)
I have a short list of 4 potential candidates worth considering, all made by Sunny Health & Fitness.
But if you don’t want to skimp on the bike
For those of you who would prefer to build your Peloton alternative around a high-quality indoor cycle, my fave hands down is the Keiser M3i.
I wrote a detailed product evaluation of it in my article found here on magnetic resistance bikes.
It matches up with the quality of Peloton bikes very well, and has optional software that can smoothly interface with the Peloton app.
And if you want to take a peek at it, here is its Amazon page.
It’s always Sunny in Spin-a-delphia
OK, back to the inexpensive models.
One of them is under $300, and two are under $400.
I also included a heavy-duty indoor cycle with a higher (300 lb.) weight capacity that’s currently going for around $600.
I chose these after trying out over a dozen or so cheap indoor cycling bikes, in addition to another handful of junky ones I checked out that I didn’t bother climbing on.
I’ve also vetted as much of their owners’ feedback as I could find online.
All 5 of these are generally well-regarded by their owners.
They’re listed from the cheapest indoor bike to the most expensive, 300 lb. high-capacity model:
Sunny Pro Indoor Cycling Bike SF-B901B 4.1 ⭐
Sunny SF-B1509C Indoor Cycling Bike 3.8 ⭐
Sunny SF-B1002 Indoor Cycle Bike 4.1 ⭐
Sunny High Weight Capacity SF-B1805 4.5 ⭐
- 40 lb. flywheel
- Belt drive (not chain)
- Adjustable felt pad resistance
- Rider inseam range: 28.5” – 41”
- 40 lb. flywheel
- Accommodates SPD cleats
- Adjustable leather brake pad resistance
- Rider inseam adjustment range: 28” – 39”
- 49 lb. flywheel
- Quiet belt driven transmission
- Adjustable brake resistance
- Inseam adjustment range: 29” – 40”
- High Capacity – Max user weight – 300 lb.
- 44 lb. flywheel
- Fully customizable 4-way seat & handlebar adjustments
- Steel-toe caged pedals
- Inseam adjustment range: 28” – 38”
A brief note on resistance level adjustments
Since these bikes aren’t Peloton bikes, their resistance level adjustment won’t match the ones the Peloton instructor is referring to when she/he tells you to change your resistance one way or another.
The only way to get a feel for it is to take a lot of classes and pay close attention to how the instructors are pedaling.
You’ll quickly learn how to set your resistance so that your pedaling cadence & theirs are similar.
Cost savings vs. the Peloton bike
Here I’ll compare the least & most expensive of our affordable indoor cycling bikes for sale vs. the cost of the Peloton. I’ll round them up to the nearest hundred.
Peloton’s Basics Package bike:
Sunny SF-B901B & SF-B1805 Indoor Cycles:
$300 & $600, respectively
Bike cost savings:
SF-B901B $300 – $2,245 = $1,945 saved
SF-B1805 $600 – $2,245 = $1,645 saved
Now add to that the $312 in cost savings from using the Peloton Digital app subscription instead of the Peloton bike subscription.
Our budget-conscious Peloton Alternative Plan has saved us between $1,957 and $2,257.
That has to make the frugal among us feel pretty good.
We’re going to give some of it back in section #3 coming up.
That’s when we add the accessories needed to get us closer to the real Peloton experience.
Some of the things we’ll be adding come with the Peloton bike, and some of them come when you buy their standard Works Package.
Before we do that though, we need to talk a little warranty.
Manufacturer’s warranties & extended warranties
Some of you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty for your cheap indoor cycle.
Peloton has a 1-year warranty for parts, and 5 years for the frame.
The 4 Sunny indoor cycles come with a 6-month warranty on parts, and 3 years for the frame.
If you purchase your Sunny bike on Amazon, you have the option of signing up for extended warranty protection.
This is provided by a company called Asurion, and you can read about their coverage here.
Currently, their 2-year warranty extension costs about 25 bucks.
#3 – Accessories like Peloton uses
OK, onto the last piece of the Peloton puzzle – getting the accessories that are similar to the ones used in the Peloton classes.
These are the little things that can gel this into a full Peloton experience.
We have the bike and the subscription to the classes, which is awesome.
Peloton has some features that are more than just their bike & their workouts, so we’re not there yet.
But with a few inexpensive add-ons we can copy what Peloton has, and that can make our workout experience closely resemble Peloton studio quality and deep vibe.
And that can really light a motivating fire in our workout attitudes, and our bodies & minds will benefit greatly.
Cadence & Speed Sensor
Peloton instructors (& other indoor cycling classes) refer to cadence often, and you’ll need to track yours if you want to follow along.
The sensor attaches to your bike and keeps a variety of stats for you, and here are a couple of cadence & speed sensors you can check out.
You can display the stats on your phone or tablet via Bluetooth and a (free) compatible fitness app.
Down below I’ve also provided iOS & Android links to two such apps, Wahoo Fitness & Strava.
They’re both free from the Apple & Google app stores.
Heart rate monitor
Peloton includes one of these when you buy their bike with the standard Works Package.
More importantly than that, if you’re doing any kind of moderate to intense cardio, knowing how your heart beats during varying levels of activity is a very useful tool.
Reason I ask is, most cheap indoor cycling bikes don’t come with a tablet holder.
As an example, only one of the 4 Sunny indoor cycles have a tablet holder, the high capacity SF-1805.
Here are 2 different types of inexpensive tablet holders designed specifically for fitness equipment, like our affordable indoor cycle.
And in a similar vein…
If you’re planning to stream Peloton Digital to your phone, here are 2 phone mounts designed for bikes.
Peloton includes a bike mat in their Works Package.
Good idea, considering how much indoor cycling classes can make you sweat.
And a good exercise equipment mat also provides a protective layer between your floor and the weight of you & your bike.
Plus depending on the type of your floor, a mat or other fitness flooring material can help stabilize your riding time.
What you want to avoid in choosing a mat are the thicker, squishier ones.
We don’t need padding, we need just a firm, thin layer of protection.
One other note: I read the following recommendation in the Peloton Guide if you’re planning on placing your bike on thick carpet.
If your carpet’s thick, spongy, or uneven…
The thin heavy duty equipment mat I provide here might not be enough to stabilize your bike if your carpet has a lot of padding.
If it doesn’t quite do the job, the Peloton Guide suggestion is to then go get a 1/4″ piece of plywood cut at Home Depot or wherever.
Size it 6′ x 3′, and set your bike and your mat on that.
That ought to eliminate any wobbling from uneven carpet.
Below is the heavy duty bike mat I mentioned, along with some inexpensive interlocking tiles used for fitness equipment.
The tiles work great for concrete (so does the mat), and are in my home gym on a hardwood floor.
My dumbbell rack, bench, & Xiser Mini StairMaster all live on it, along with a few other things like yoga mats & jump ropes.
Many Peloton (& Spin® bike) classes utilize dumbbells, and Peloton’s bikes ship with a holder for 2 dumbbells.
Their standard Works Package includes those 2 dumbbells.
If you haven’t used dumbbells in an indoor cycling class before, I assure you – you only need very light weights.
For any lifters out there, don’t use your strength training poundages as a guide.
A small cheap dumbbell set of 2,3, & 5-pounders is perfect for Peloton classes.
(As an example – I routinely press multiple reps & sets with 70 lb. dumbbells, and do the same with 35 lb. dumbbells for bicep curls.
Back when I attended Spin® classes, I used to get totally spent using a 2 lb. set.)
Something like this neoprene-covered set will work great in a Peloton workout and the dumbbells will be able to handle your sweat without rusting.
Here’s a cheap shelf on wheels if you want to keep your weights handy & near your bike during class.
Headphones or Speakers
The loud music in an indoor cycling class is a big part of creating the great energy & vibe perfect for an intense cardio workout.
It’s a big help to boost your attitude, motivation, & effort.
The speakers that come on a Peloton bike are typical of speakers found in other pieces of cardio equipment – they’re small & pretty mediocre.
Blasting the music on inferior speakers isn’t going to cut it for most people.
That’s why many indoor cycling trainees stream their fitness classes to a Bluetooth speaker or to their Bluetooth headphones.
You can certainly get wired headphones to work, but many indoor cyclists think they get in the way at times, and prefer to go the wireless route.
Here are a few popular choices of headphones designed for sports – both are waterproof – and a couple of well-rated Bluetooth speakers as well.
Do you want to stream Peloton to your big TV?
You can kick the Peloton experience up a notch by getting your Peloton Digital app to stream onto a big screen TV of yours.
If your TV isn’t a smart TV with Bluetooth capability, you can try using a long HDMI cable between your device and your TV.
Apple TV streams apps really well too, if you’ve got one of those.
Big Peloton sounds, great Peloton visuals
Kicking up the sound quality is a major boost, and watching the workouts on a big screen is cool too.
If you go big screen, you can dim your lights to simulate those upscale Peloton studios.
In any event, you’ve now created a sweet Peloton experience within your budget.
Last things on Peloton’s Work Package to get
These items I’ll list here are non-essentials.
You already have everything you need to to go Full Peloton.
I’m including them because Peloton includes them as part of their Works Package.
And at the end of the article I’m going to show a total cost savings for our Peloton hack as compared to that Peloton’s Work Package.
Indoor cycling shoes
Many avid indoor cyclists insist on wearing legit biking shoes for their indoor cycling workouts.
So here are two popular & well-regarded pairs of cycling shoes, one each for women & for men.
Many committed outdoor cyclists will also train indoors on a bike.
I’ve noticed that many of them who buy cheap indoor cycling trainers to serve that purpose then swap out the cheap bike’s pedals for real cycling pedals.
This way they can wear their cycling shoes and maintain the same feeling as if they were outside on their tour bike.
I’ve also read several accounts of Sunny indoor cycle owners who’ve done the same thing.
So I thought I’d include a top-rated pair of clip-less pedals that come with cleats you attach to the bottom of your cycling shoes.
This system really secures your feet to your bike, which is great for indoor cycling classes.
By going clip-less you save having to deal with the extra hardware that the hardcore outdoor cyclists use.
Not part of the Peloton Works Package, butt…
…it might make things more comfy for you.
Especially if you’re spending hours per week inside Peloton Digital.
Fact: Indoor cycles – regardless of price – are not known for having the most comfortable seats.
Butts get sore; sad truth I know.
Fact: Cheap indoor cycling bikes have seats that are even more uncomfortable than their higher-quality counterparts.
For some people the tush discomfort level becomes a distraction which can cut short their workout.
That’s no good.
Some people swap out the cheap bike seat for a higher-end model.
A cheaper solution: Before spending money on a new seat however, a much cheaper idea that’s worked for many riders is to simply add a padded seat cover.
There, that was easy…
So if/when your bike’s seat becomes a pain in the rear, here’s an inexpensive & cushy option.
Total Peloton Alternative project cost savings
Before I ride off into the sunset here, I want to look at the cost savings that this Peloton hack provides.
I’ll compare the cost of the Peloton Works Package to our own version of the Works Package.
The Peloton Works Package includes:
- a bike
- a pair of shoes
- a pair of dumbbells
- a pair of headphones
- a heart rate monitor
- & a bike mat
This Peloton package costs $2,494.
I’ll build two packages similar to Peloton’s – bike, shoes, & so on down that list of 6 items.
With my first package I’ll use all of the lowest priced products I’ve listed in this article.
And for package #2 I’ll include all of the most expensive products mentioned here.
To be on par with the Peloton package, I also have to include the Cadence & Speed Sensor, the tablet holder, & the clip-less bike pedals – since they’re all part of the Peloton bike.
Peloton Alternative Package #1
Savings vs. the Peloton Works Package: $1,909
Peloton Alternative Package #2
Savings vs. the Peloton Works Package: $1,431
There it is, an alternative to Peloton that is still Peloton but saved us well over a thousand dollars in both scenarios…awesome.
Well, that was fun.
We got ourselves a sweet Peloton experience all set up for our indoor cycling workouts, and we saved a boatload of money too.
I hope this information was useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey. Let’s go.