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The best Peloton alternatives to buy following the Peloton turmoil


UPDATE: Feb. 9, 2022, 11:40 a.m. EST This story has been updated to include information on the recent layoffs at Peloton as well as the CEO’s resignation.

You probably know that the pricey, cult-favorite Peloton bikes skyrocketed in demand in the beginning of the pandemic. As gyms and boutique fitness studios shuttered in 2020 and folks turned to exercising from home, home cardio equipment, especially cycling bikes, became indispensable. They were a way to work off stress, helped people stay active indoors, and offered an online community through app- and Zoom-based classes.

But now, two years into the pandemic, demand for Peloton fitness equipment has slowed down significantly, and the future of the connected fitness brand is unclear. For buyers in the market to build out their home gyms, purchasing a bike from Peloton might not be top of mind any longer.

What’s going on with the Peloton layoffs?

According to a report from CNBC at the end of January 2022, Peloton plans to temporarily halt production of their connected bikes and treadmills due to waning demand. The company will pause manufacturing for two months to recoup costs following diminishing interest in their products, which they attribute to increased price sensitivity on the part of consumers, as well as a steep hike in competitor activity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid these production issues, Peloton also announced on Feb. 8 that 2,800 workers would be laid off and that the Peloton CEO and founder, John Foley, would be stepping down.

If you’re still in the market for an at-home fitness bike, it’s no longer Peloton or bust. There are some amazing studio-quality bikes available that will give you the same thrill and sweat as a Peloton bike. Some of them are even compatible with the Peloton app.

Is there a cheaper alternative to Peloton?

There are way more stationary bikes on the market than just Peloton, meaning there’s pretty much one for every budget. First, you have to decide what type of cycling experience you want. Are you looking for a studio-style bike with an attached screen? Do you want to be able to stream interactive workouts directly to your bike? Or are you looking for something cheaper that can use your own device for workout streaming? The driving question here is which app or site you want to get your workouts from, or if you just want a bike to pedal indoors while watching TV. Bikes without connected monitors tend to be hundreds of dollars cheaper than those with flashy screens.

Who is Peloton’s biggest competitor?

Peloton’s biggest competitors are myxfitness, the Equinox/SoulCycle at-home bike, NordicTrack and Echelon. All of these bikes feature large touchscreens and streamed live/on-demand fitness classes — so they’ll all get you close to the Peloton experience. Some specifics like memberships, upfront cost, and tech specs set them apart from each other, and we’ll get into that below.

Is the Echelon bike as good as Peloton?

The Echelon bike is a solid choice as a Peloton alternative. It’s about $900 cheaper than the no-longer-available Peloton Bike+, and it features the same type of rotating screen that rolled out with the launch of the Bike+. It also has a comparable monthly membership fee to Peloton: you’ll have to pay $39.99 per month to access Echelon’s library of live and on-demand workouts. The membership will get you a pretty good selection of workout options, with classes ranging from HIIT bike rides to floor and mat focused strength, yoga, and boxing classes.

What type of resistance is best?

The two main resistance types for indoor cycling bikes are friction and magnetic resistance. Bikes with friction resistance use felt pads that compress the flywheel of your bike when the resistance is adjusted. Magnetic drive cycles, on the other hand, use strong magnets on the flywheel to create the sensation of heavier or lighter resistance.

Friction bikes tend to be cheaper, but since the felt pads need to be replaced when they wear out, they’ll bring a recurring cost. A cycle with a magnetic drive will be much quieter than one with a friction resistance system, and basically won’t need any maintenance over its life span — but the upfront cost might be more.

What should I look for in a spin bike?

Some of the most important things to look for in a stationary bike are the type of resistance, flywheel weight, adjustability, and pedal type. Decide between magnetic resistance or friction resistance according to your budget and desired upkeep on your bike.

You’ll also want make sure the bike you purchase is suited to your height and weight for the most comfortable ride. Remember that the heavier the user, the heavier flywheel weight you’ll want for maximum stability.

And just a note about how some reviewers of these bikes complain about the seat not being comfortable: That’s a pretty common complaint about Peloton bike seats as well. They are, after all, bike seats.

What is the best alternative to Peloton?

To get a Peloton-like experience with even more added high-tech features, we recommend the NordicTrack S22i Commercial Studio Cycle. This bike is truly the most versatile: it comes with a free 30 day iFit subscription, lets you stream movies and TV to the screen, and has added incline and decline on top of resistance for an extra workout challenge. You’ll also notice a 360-degree rotating screen that opens up a whole world of floor and mat workouts for those days when you need a break from riding. This feature was only just released at Peloton with the launch of the Bike+, so NordicTrack is 100% on top of the trends.

If you’re not already sold on a NordicTrack bike, check out our full list of the best Peloton alternatives on the market:

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