Peloton just lowered the price of its basic bike. While that is great news for anyone who has been thinking about buying one, the Peloton bike is still a very expensive piece of equipment. Read on to find out how we hacked our non-Peloton bike to get a Peloton experience for thousands of dollars less.
Why we wanted to buy a bike in the first place
My husband Jeff has always enjoyed running, but after spending ten years on his feet as a professional baseball coach, he developed a heel spur. Running, for the most part, is just too painful for him these days.
He needed something else to raise his heart rate and get those endorphins going. So last year during Spring Training, he started working out on the Peloton bike at the baseball complex. He loved the instructors, the intensity of the workouts, and the competitive nature of the leaderboard.
When Jeff came home last offseason, he started looking into the possibility of getting one for our home.
We knew they were expensive, but…yikes.
Why we decided to go with a non-Peloton bike
I told him if this was the form of exercise he enjoyed and would actually DO, it was worth figuring out the monthly payment. While he didn’t disagree, he went into investigative mode and explored our options.
He broke down all the costs involved, made a pros and cons list, and finally made a decision. We would get a Sunny Health bike, fit it with a Wahoo cadence sensor, and buy an iPad for the screen.
(Update: We have both realized our Apple Watches connect better with our phones, so we are using those over the iPad most of the time. Using the phone allows us to connect both the Wahoo cadence sensor and Apple Watch heart rate so they appear on the screen at the same time. You can do this with the iPad too, but the heart rate isn’t as consistent.)
I was a little skeptical, especially since I knew we would be losing a couple of the Peloton features you can only get with their bike, most notably the competitive draw of the leaderboard. But Jeff was confident he didn’t need that to get the most out of the workouts.
We happened to make our decision about the Sunny Health bike at exactly the right time because it was on sale for Black Friday (if you read all of this and decide to go the route we went, maybe bookmark the bike and come back during that Black Friday window to see if you can get a better deal).
How it has worked out for us so far
We’ve had the bike set up for less than a year now and we LOVE it. We ended up adding new pedals a few months ago because we remembered we actually had clip-in bike shoes from our outdoor bikes. Clipping in helps you use all the muscles in your legs and pull even more strength in your workout.
Overall, we are very happy with our decision to go this route, and over time we have been able to adapt this inexpensive bike in a way that allows us to get the Peloton experience without the Peloton price tag.
I can say personally, that the Sunny Health bike is the most comfortable spin bike I’ve ever used. I used to take spin classes at the gym and would have to endure a couple weeks of soreness before my body would get used to the bike seat. I’ve never had soreness with this bike seat!
It is also really well made, completely sturdy, and completely adjustable. Even our kids get on and do rides sometimes.
Differences between a Peloton bike and a non-Peloton bike
Things you can only get through a Peloton bike:
- Access to the leaderboards (actively racing other Peloton members)
- Resistance numbers (when the Instructor tells you to go to a specific resistance range, you have to go by feel which is confusing at first but gets easier over time)
- Output measurement (resistance + cadence = output. Since you don’t have a resistance measurement through the app, there is also no output measurement. The only thing this affects is the ability to set personal records or PR)
How to hack your bike to measure cadence for Peloton classes:
- Buy the Wahoo cadence sensor and attach it to your bike
- Once you’ve started a cycling workout, tap the screen and then tap the icon on the right side of your screen (the one in the middle). This will put the cadence directly onto the screen.
- The other option is to open the Wahoo app on your phone and attach it to a phone mount on your bike (see photo below).
- (Update: Lately, we have both decided that the connection works best when we use our phone for the screen instead of the iPad. To do this, make sure you have the Peloton app connected to your Apple Watch. When you begin your workout, have the screen going up and down, tap on the icon on the lower right side of the screen, this will open up the option to connect both the cadence sensor AND your heart rate from your watch. Both will appear on the screen throughout the workout.)
Like I said, I think Jeff would have preferred the ability to have access to the leaderboard, but at the end of the day, we couldn’t justify spending an extra $3000 just for that.
Otherwise, the only thing that would be nice to have is the resistance number. BUT after taking a few classes, you can get a feel for what the different resistance ranges are and how you can best adjust during a ride.
One thing I love about not having the Peloton bike is that our monthly app cost is only $12.99/month. (As opposed to the required $39/month when you use their bike or tread). We use the app every day whether we’re on the bike or not.
I use it for runs, walks, yoga, stretching, meditation, strength workouts. The instructors are incredible, and I would invite you to read my recent post if you want to know more about why I love using the Peloton app.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, we got the bike around the same time as we rescued a pair of kittens. Hence, the bite and scratch marks on the mat.
Full Price Breakdown
Below is a full price breakdown based on what we did to set up our bike.
Please note that prices fluctuate.
- The Peloton basic bike price just went down $350.
- The Sunny Health bike fluctuates between $389 and $599. (That’s why I recommend keeping an eye on the price, especially around Black Friday.)
- iPad costs fluctuate of course. (While you could get by with just using a phone as your screen, you wouldn’t be able to see the wahoo cadence numbers at the same time.)
What you need to buy to set up a bike the way we did:
- Sunny Health Bike
- Peloton Digital Membership
- Wahoo Cadence Sensor
- iPad (optional)
- Clip-in Pedals (optional)
- Cycling Shoes (optional)
- Phone mount (optional)
If you have any questions, we would love to help answer them. We love Peloton as a brand, and we love their instructors. If we had the ability to buy all their stuff, we would! But if you’re a little tight on funds like we are, we hope this is a helpful option to consider. Good luck!