The single most significant barrier to getting-or staying-in shape these days is our motivation.
We all have the best of intentions, particularly around times like the New Year, when the resolutions come thick and fast. But the sad truth of the matter is that most of us soon stop strapping on the running shoes and slip back into our old habits.
One major factor in our lack of willpower is convenience.
We have busy schedules, and getting to a gym in and of itself can feel like a chore. And, sure, you don’t need a gym to get fit, but who wants to go for a nice healthy bike ride amid a torrential downpour?
These are just some of the reasons the Peloton indoor exercise has become so popular. As a high-quality piece of indoor exercise equipment that you can have in your home, it removes all of the inconvenience of keeping fit. That being said, it is an expensive piece of kit.
The basic bike itself with no extras costs over $2,000, and then you have a monthly subscription fee to worry about. It may be worth it for some, but most of us don’t have that kind of money.
Fortunately, there are plenty of Peloton bike alternatives that are, for the most part, cheaper, and we’re going to look at some of them here!
The Best Peloton Bike Alternatives
- Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX5S
- Proform Smart Power 10.0
- Nordictrack S22i
What's So Special About The Peloton?
The Peloton is right there on the crest of a new wave of interactive training tools that is sweeping across the market.
Interactive training has been around for a while, of course, with mobile phone apps and gaming consoles taking advantage of the growing interest. Peloton took things to a new level with their indoor exercise bike, however.
It’s typically easier to motivate yourself to push through the physical and mental barriers you encounter while exercising if you are training with an instructor, particularly as part of a group.
But, as we mentioned above, getting to a class or gym isn’t always practical. Peloton looked to get around that by bringing the class to you.
By combining a high-quality indoor exercise bike with a large touchscreen and a WiFi connection, Peloton created a product that brings the cycling class to your living room.
There are live and on-demand sessions, and you have the added motivation of other Peloton users for inspiration and competition.
But, as we said, it’s an expensive product, and there are cheaper options available. So, now that we’ve covered why you’d want this kind of product, let’s look at those other options
Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX5S
Proudly proclaiming “Never Ride Alone,” Echelon aims to make some serious waves with the EX5S.
This bike sports a 21.5″ touchscreen, up to fourteen daily live-broadcasts, and retails for around $500 less than the Peloton.
Though the monthly subscription is the same as Pelotons.
The built-in touchscreen marks a change in direction from earlier Echelon bike models, where users would have to use their own portable devices.
The screen can be swiveled and tilted for maximum viewing comfort, as well as easy viewing while off the bike.
In terms of training programs, there is already a substantial catalogue to choose from. You will never be short of options when it comes to finding a workout.
Echelon is also guaranteeing fourteen live training classes a day as part of the subscription. If live classes aren’t for you, there are over a thousand on-demand workouts to get you moving.
There is also scoreboard functionality, allowing you to engage in a bit of friendly competition with friends and family, or even strangers.
Additionally, several classes do not require the bike, which, thanks to the flexible screen, are easy to follow along with. This gives the EX5S an extra dimension, making it more of a multi-purpose exercise tool, rather than just an exercise bike.
In terms of build quality, the EX5S doesn’t disappoint. It has a very well-padded seat-something that is often neglected on indoor exercise bikes-and a very slick looking design.
This Echelon bike may be cheaper than the Peloton, but it certainly doesn’t feel cheap.
The difficulty is ramped using magnetic resistance, as you would expect on an exercise bike in this price range.
This ensures a much smoother and quieter experience over the less expensive pressure pad systems.
It’s not all roses, of course. With any drop in price, there will be compromises.
The EX5S lacks an incline/decline feature, something that you will find on other bikes on this list. It also lacks any built-in exercise programs, meaning you are stuck with the live training programs if you want to follow any kind of instruction.
That being said, the negatives are far from enough to outweigh the positives.
While the Echelon EX5S doesn’t match every feature its more expensive rivals have, it has plenty of features to get you sweating from the comfort of your own home.
Proform Smart Power 10.0
The Smart Power 10.0 brings the world of interactive training bikes down another rung in the cost department.
Clocking in at around $1,000, the Smart Power 10.0 is over $600 cheaper than the Echelon EX5S, and less than half the price of the most basic Peloton offering.
This bike is the only indoor cycle in Proform’s Studio Series, so they are not hedging their bets on this market.
It is a more compact cycle compared to the other bikes on this list, but it also packs one of the heaviest flywheels, so don’t think that the smaller size means less resistance.
The screen on the Smart Power 10.0 is 10 inches, making less than half the size of the Peloton and EX5S screens.
Still, it does feature Bluetooth connectivity and built-in work out programs. You can also make use of iFit to gain access to over 12,000 workouts, from studio classes to cycling trails.
The cost of iFit is comparable to the Peloton subscription; however, you do get one year free when you buy the bike, which is a nice touch.
Resistance is once again magnetic, which is less common at this price point, though there is no incline or decline feature.
It’s not quite as elegant as its more expensive rivals, but in terms of functionality, it is a strong contender.
As a small bonus, the Proform Smart Power 10.0 comes with two 1kg dumbells. So you can ensure you get a complete workout without having to spend more money on additional equipment.
There are, of course, cross-training workouts available that take advantage of the dumbbells.
Bringing that pricepoint back up, the Nordictrack is much closer to the Peloton in terms of cost.
At around $2,000, you are paying more or less the same as the base-level Peloton, with iFit subscriptions coming to roughly the same price as a Peloton’s service.
Although, as with the Proform Smart Power 10.0, you get a year’s free subscription with your bike.
As you’d expect with the hefty price tag, the quality of the features jumps back up.
The screen included with the S22i is 22″, which, given how close you are to it when cycling, is plenty of visual real estate. That being said, the screen features an HDMI out so that you can connect it to an external TV if you’re not feeling the built-in one.
Once again, this bike features magnetic resistance for smoother, quieter use.
The amount of resistance can be easily adjusted at the press of a button. And, unlike the previous two alternatives, the S22i does feature an incline/decline function.
The bike itself is stylish looking, and a little on the smaller side when it comes to form factor.
It comes with two dumbbells for cross-training, and even has a handy location for them just in front of the handlebars, making them easy to get to when you need them. No need to climb off your bike mid-ride if you decide you need a little extra kick to your workout.
The iFit software allows you to cycle around the world using Google Maps, and if you have an account, it will track your stats so you can compete with your past self.
Because what better motivation is there than to beat your own best?
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. The S22i is up there with the Peloton in both cost and features.
If the price tag on the Peloton is just too steep, the Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX5S and the Proform Smart Power 10.0 are extremely compelling alternatives.
The Smart Power 10.0, in particular, is a great budget option in the interactive exercise bike market.
If, on the other hand, you want or need those additional features, the Nordictrack S22i matches the Peloton blow for blow.
However, you will be paying a similar price to the Peloton, so really the choice between the two comes down preference.
In the end, any of these bikes would be an excellent addition to your workout routine.
And, if you don’t have a workout routine, they’d be an excellent way to get started on one.
If you have any questions, please drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.