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The best Peloton alternatives for 2021

Best peloton alternatives
(Image credit: NordicTrack)

Peloton is one of the best exercise bikes, but because of its popularity, there’s a long wait between the time you order one and the time it arrives at your door. If you want something sooner — or maybe you think it’s too cultish — then one of the best Peloton alternatives are worth a try.

Like the Peloton, these exercise bikes also come with subscriptions to virtual training sessions, as well as some features that Peloton bikes don’t offer. So clip in and check out our picks for the best Peloton alternatives.

What are the best Peloton alternatives?

You can buy one of the best exercise bikes for less than $200, and you probably already have a tablet — so you might be wondering why people are willing to spend upwards of $2,000 on a fancy, high-end fitness bike like the Peloton Bike just because it combines the two. The real selling point of Peloton is its expansive fitness classes, instructors who will motivate you, and leaderboards to see how you stack up against the competition.

Our best Peloton alternatives all have some combination of those features. While they may not all fully replicate the Peloton experience, they come close.

If you can’t find a Peloton bike, we think the best Peloton alternative is the Bowflex Velocore. While it’s just as expensive as the Peloton, it has a unique Lean Mode, which tilts the bike left and right as you go through turns, giving you a real-road type feel. While it lacks live classes, its  monthly $19.99 subscription does get you a ton of content, and you can even use other apps on its spacious display — including Peloton’s app.

If you’re looking to save a bit more, the best Peloton alternative for those on a budget — and we use the term “budget” loosely — is the Myx fitness bike. Like the Peloton Plus, the Myx has a swiveling screen and can be used for more than just cycling. It’s half as expensive as the Peloton, and its subscription ($29.99/month) is lower than Peloton’s, even if it doesn’t include live workouts.

Read on for the best Peloton alternatives.

The best Peloton alternatives you can buy today

Best Peloton alternativesTop Pick

(Image credit: Bowflex Velocore)

1. Bowflex VeloCore

Price: $1,699/$2,199 | Screen size: 16"/22" | Subscription: $19.99/month (2-month trial)

Lean mode engages your core
Works with other apps, including Peloton
Can use the screen without a subscription
Expensive
No live classes with JRNY subscription

The Bowflex VeloCore is a Peloton competitor — and more. Although it's not exactly a cheaper alternative — the 22-inch version costs $2,199, so it's more expensive than the Bike — it has features you won't find in either Peloton option (or in any other fitness bike).

The VeloCore's biggest selling point is its unique Lean Mode: When the bike is unlocked, it sways from side to side to mimic a more natural riding experience. This makes for a better workout — since balancing requires you to engage your core — and a more immersive experience, especially if you're doing a scenic ride. The VeloCore is heavier and has a larger footprint than both Peloton bikes; this means it can accommodate heavier riders (up to 325 pounds), but it may not be the right bike if you have limited space.

Bowflex offers original streaming content through its subscription service, JRNY, which costs $19.99/month after a two-month free trial. All content, which includes trainer-led workouts and scenic rides, is on-demand; there are no live classes or leaderboards. In addition to Bowflex's content, the JRNY subscription also lets you connect to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. If you don't find the content to your liking, no sweat — the JRNY subscription is not required and the VeloCore is compatible with other fitness apps (including Peloton's app).

Best Peloton alternatives

(Image credit: MYX Fitness)

2. MYX/MYX Plus

Price: $1,299/$1,499 | Screen size: 21.5" | Subscription: $29/month

Less expensive
Swiveling touchscreen
Straightforward workouts
Less premium feel
Basic workouts may be less inspiring

If you're looking for more than just a bike, the MYX fitness bike is a "total fitness system," like the Peloton Bike+ — but for half the price. The MYX has a 21.5-inch touchscreen that swivels and tilts just like the Bike+'s screen, but the MYX costs $1,299 ($1,499 if you want the full swath of accessories, like bike/workout mats and weights).

You will need to subscribe to MYX's streaming on-demand service, but at $29/month, it’s even cheaper than Peloton. The MYX subscription features on-demand workout videos and integrates with Apple Health. There are no live workouts or leaderboards, and the content feels more like you're following a YouTube video than joining a community — which isn't a bad thing, but some people need the extra push that competition or a sense of community gives.

The MYX fitness bike is a budget-friendly option for people who want some, but not all, of the Peloton experience. It's still a dedicated workout machine that keeps excuses to a minimum (it's much easier to not work out if you need to… first find your iPad and charge it), but you won't feel like you're joining a cult.

Best Peloton alternatives

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

3. NordicTrack Commercial S15i/S22i Studio Cycle

Price: $1,599/$1,999 | Screen size: 14"/22" | Subscription: $180/year (individual plan), $39/month or $396/year (family plan) (1-year trial)

360-degree rotating screen
Trainer-led resistance feature
Incline adjustment
Heavy
Can't use screen without subscription

NordicTrack's Commercial Studio Cycle seems like it's priced close to Peloton — the S22i, which has a 22-inch screen, costs $1,999. But the price is better than it seems, because the Studio Cycle has a 360-degree rotating screen and a trainer-led resistance feature — two of the Peloton Bike+'s big selling points.

The Studio Cycle's price also includes a one-year subscription to NordicTrack's on-demand content service, iFit. iFit has on-demand trainer-led workouts, global/scenic workouts using Google Maps, and live workouts with leaderboards. Once the first year is up you will need to keep subscribing to the service if you want to use the screen; the most expensive subscription option is the monthly family plan, which is $39/month (the same as Peloton's). If you're the only one using the bike, however, you can save money with the individual plan, which is $180/year.

The Studio Cycle also has a feature neither Peloton has: Incline adjustment. The bike's incline can be adjusted between -10 and 20 percent while you're working out, which adds an extra dimension to your workout and makes for a more interesting experience. This bike does weigh more than 200 pounds — it's one of the heaviest exercise bikes — and has a larger footprint than Peloton. As a result, it can accommodate riders who weigh as much as 350 pounds.

Best Peloton alternatives

(Image credit: SoulCycle)

4. SoulCycle at-home bike

Price: $2,500 | Screen size: 21.5" | Subscription: $40/month or included with Equinox membership

SoulCycle and Equinox classes
Subscription included with Equinox membership
No assembly
Very expensive
No toe cages (requires clip-in cycling shoes)

If there's any boutique workout that might be able to challenge Peloton's cult following, it's SoulCycle. Peloton's content is excellent, but the classes hit somewhere between "boutique studio" and a more general experience. SoulCycle, on the other hand, is a very specific cardio-dance (but on a bike) type of workout. Neither is objectively better, but they are very different — and if you're a SoulCycle addict and you know that's the type of motivation you need, the SoulCycle bike might be a better option.

That said, it's not cheap: The SoulCycle at-home bike is $2,500 — more expensive than either  of Peloton's bikes. It has a 21.5-inch screen which does not rotate, and it doesn't have features like instructor-controlled resistance. It does have a sturdy, lightweight frame that can accommodate riders who weigh up to 350 pounds (but it only weighs about 5 - 10 pounds more than the Peloton bikes).

The SoulCycle is  all about the classes and content, and the SoulCycle at-home bike does require a subscription to Equinox+ ($40/month), unless you already have an Equinox gym membership, in which case it's free. Post-pandemic, the SoulCycle bike might end up being a little cheaper for anyone who knows they'll be keeping their actual gym membership. Both platforms have live and on-demand classes; Peloton has a slight advantage because it has a large library, but that advantage is not as significant when there are live classes in the mix. The SoulCycle at-home bike also has a free ride option that connects with Netflix and Disney+, because sometimes people just want to ride casually and watch murder documentaries and Peloton doesn't seem to get that.

Best Peloton alternatives

(Image credit: Echelon)

5. Echelon Connect EX-5

Price: $1,239.98 | Screen size: N/A | Subscription: $39.99/month or $399.99/year (30-day trial)

 Less expensive
Dedicated tablet mount (flips 180 degrees)
Pedals have clip-in side and toe-cage side
No screen
Requires subscription for all metrics, including heart rate monitoring

The Echelon Connect EX-5 doesn't come with a screen, but it has a dedicated tablet mount (which rotates 180 degrees for off-bike workouts), as well as a much lower starting price of $1,239.98 (though this does not include delivery).

The Connect EX-5 is more than just a bike with a tablet mount, though. It also has built-in Bluetooth to connect to your tablet; combine this with Echelon's FitPass subscription, which costs $39.99/month, and you can see your workout stats and metrics. Echelon's FitPass has both live and on-demand streaming workouts, as well as leaderboards so you can compete against your friends. It's not quite the fully integrated system that a bike with a built-in screen has, but it's pretty close.

If you want a built-in display, the Echelon EX-5s has an attached 22-inch touchscreen and still undercuts Peloton at $1,639.98.

What to look for when choosing the best Peloton alternative

Resistance: Type and adjustment

The main part of an indoor exercise bike is its flywheel: The heavy disk that spins, creating resistance for your workout. A heavier flywheel requires more power to start moving (and has more momentum when you're already moving) and feels more like you're actually riding a bike outside, on the road. A lighter flywheel requires less power and starts and stops quickly, but may not be able to give you the same satisfying grounded experience you'll get from a heavier flywheel. Flywheel weight doesn't necessarily correlate to resistance generated, however — the type of resistance and number of resistance levels is what will actually affect your  workout.

peloton

(Image credit: Peloton)

There are two main types of resistance on connected exercise bikes: Magnetic and friction. Magnetic resistance uses magnets to create a magnetic field, the strength of which determines resistance. Friction resistance uses wool pads to physically press on the flywheel to increase (or decrease) resistance. Magnetic resistance has several advantages —it's quieter and adjusting between levels is smoother, and it requires almost no maintenance since no parts are actually touching. Friction resistance isn't loud when properly maintained, but without regular maintenance the wool pads will start to squeak, and also need to be replaced periodically as they wear down. Higher-end bikes tend to use magnetic resistance; budget picks cut costs with friction. The Peloton Bike and Bike+, Bowflex VeloCore, NordicTrack S22i, SoulCycle at-home bike, and Echelon Connect EX-5 all have magnetic resistance; the MYX Fitness bike uses friction.

The number of resistance levels and how resistance is controlled are also important. Most indoor spin bikes feature a manual knob that you twist to increase or decrease resistance, but some have digital controls. The NordicTrack S22i has 24 levels of digitally-controlled resistance, which can be useful because it allows you to select the exact level of resistance needed. The S22i also has resistance adjustment buttons built into the bike's handlebars, so you don't have to lean down to adjust. You don't always need to be able to select a specific resistance level — if you prefer workouts like SoulCycle, where it's all about feeling, you may want a bike with a manual knob and more nuanced resistance; the Bowflex VeloCore, like the Peloton Bike, has 100 levels of resistance.

Subscription costs

The hardware is only half the equation — if you want the full fitness experience, you'll have to pay extra. The good news is that subscribing usually includes more than just stats and metrics — with a subscription, you can use your bike's screen to watch custom content, including on- and off-bike workouts, scenic rides through different cities (or exploration through Google Maps), and on some bikes you can even watch your favorite streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. The bad news is that if you choose not to subscribe, you may not be able to use the screen at all — or, in the case of the Echelon Connect EX-5, you may not be able to see any of your stats or metrics while you're working out.

NordicTrack definitely offers the most bang for your buck here: Each bike comes with a one-year subscription to iFit, after which a subscription costs between $15 and $39/month — NordicTrack is also the only company that offers a cheaper single-person plan in addition to a multi-user family plan. But Bowflex offers the most flexibility: With a $20 subscription to JRNY, you can use the VeloCore's screen to watch streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+) and connect to other apps (including Peloton and Zwift), and if you choose not to subscribe, Bowflex offers a handful of free workouts so you can use the screen in a limited capacity.

Delivery costs

Other hidden costs include delivery — Peloton, Bowflex, SoulCycle, and MYX offer free shipping; while NordicTrack and Echelon charge an extra $199.

Accessories

Accessories, such as hand weights and dumbbells, compatible heart rate monitors and fitness trackers, and bike and exercise mats, are often sold separately. Some bikes (Peloton and SoulCycle) come with clip-in pedals you'll need to either buy special shoes, which cost about $100-$140 a pair. Check out our picks for the best shoes for Peloton and indoor cycling.