6 Great Spin Bikes that Cost Less Than a Peloton
Indoor bikes are a great way to stay active at home. These picks will get your heart rate pumping, and are more affordable
Image credit: Maridav/Shutterstock
For many Canadians, a spin bike has become the answer to getting a heart pump at home. It’s a great form of cardio and lower-body strengthening, and with a proper setup, it’s gentle on your body, too. “You’re not constantly banging your joints on concrete or asphalt, so you have longevity of your joints and connective tissue,” says Martha Williams, a Kingston, Ont.-based master instructor (she trains trainers!) for global fitness education and equipment brand Spinning.
She also loves the mental focus that the workout offers. “One of the beautiful things about riding inside is you can close your eyes and become completely connected,” says Williams. “You can focus on technique, how you’re breathing and your heart rate.”
That said, the price tags on some spin bikes don’t exactly conjure blissful vibes. While all the upgraded features of Peloton’s top-of-the-line model add up to a fantastic workout, there are other trusty options that cost a lot less.
What to look for
Williams recommends looking for a model that actually resembles a real bike. “If it doesn’t look like a bike, it’s not going to ride like a bike, which means the angles can be off and can lead to an overuse injury,” she explains. You’ll also want a heavy flywheel (the disc that spins when you pedal—look for about 40 to 45 pounds) and handlebars and a seat that can be adjusted forwards, backwards, up and down, she says.
Ready to ride? Here, we’ve rounded up six Peloton alternatives available in Canada.
(Related: Why You Should Buy Cycling Shoes if You Use an Exercise Bike at Home)
If you plan to use the Peloton app… check out the Schwinn IC4 or Bowflex C6
If you really love Peloton’s classes and instructors but can’t swallow the bike’s price tag, the Schwinn IC4 or Bowflex C6 are solid alternatives (they share a parent company and are the same bike, mechanically speaking). You can pop your own tablet in the holder to run Peloton classes and use the bike’s Bluetooth to display your real-time cadence in the app itself instead of checking the built-in LCD display.
Like the Peloton, the IC4 and C6 have 100 levels of magnetic resistance for a smooth ride (though, a 35 per cent resistance on either won’t be exactly the same as Peloton’s 35, but you could always stick on a conversion chart). You’ll be able to keep up during weight tracks with the included pair of three-pound dumbbells, and dual-sided pedals mean you can clip in SPD shoes or use regular runners in the toe cages.
Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike, $1,400, walmart.ca
Bowflex C6 Bike, $900, bowflex.ca
If you want all the quality without the frills… Echelon Connect
Echelon makes a range of high-end bikes, but the company also sells this Walmart-exclusive model that offers a sturdy frame and smooth ride at a more affordable price by skipping out on a few features.
With no display screen, you save by using your own device to tune into the Echelon Fit App’s classes, which are free for your first 30 days then about $40 per month. Another compromise: The Connect only comes with toe cages, so you can’t clip in with actual spin shoes unless you buy and install SPD pedals separately—something most avid cyclists swear by for a safe and efficient workout. All that said, the bike’s magnetic resistance and quiet transmission deliver a high-quality ride, as long as you can sort out a setup that works for you.
Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Bike, $700, walmart.ca
(Related: This Is the Best Fitness App for You)
If you miss your local studio… Podium by Spinco x Echelon
This brand-new bike doesn’t start shipping until spring 2021 (the exact date is still TBD), but for fans of the cross-Canada Spinco studios, it’s worth the wait to take at-home classes with their favourite instructors. All content will be filmed at the Toronto flagship and offered in conjunction with Echelon’s library for $53 per month.
The bike itself boasts a 21.5-inch HD screen that rotates 180 degrees to make it easy to follow along to the included off-bike classes such as strength-training and yoga. Its 32-level magnetic resistance, smooth belt-drive transmission and multi-plane adjustable seat and handlebars bring back that familiar studio-like feel.
Podium by Spinco x Echelon, $2000, spincopodium.com
(Related: Is Indoor Rowing the New Spinning Craze?)
If you don’t mind a few tradeoffs… DMASUN
Our most affordable full-sized pick is a top seller on Amazon with over 2,000 five-star reviews. Like the pricier models on our list, it boasts a steel frame, heavy flywheel and belt-drive transmission system, which is known to be smoother and quieter than chain transmission. But the savings means only a simple LCD display (it displays just one metric at a time, so you have to toggle through manually) and cage-only pedals (you can buy your own SPDs though).
The main difference, though, is that DMASUN uses friction-based resistance rather than magnetic. Whereas magnetic is silent, this bike’s friction system makes a very slight whirring sound as you spin, and the pads that are used to add tension may need to be replaced down the (virtual) road.
DMASUN Indoor Exercise Bike, $470, amazon.ca
(Related: 7 Best Cardio Workouts You Can Do at Home)
If you’re in a small space… XTERRA
Low on space? You can still get a good sweat in with this popular folding option. It takes only a few seconds to wheel it away into a closet, yet still feels sturdy enough when you’re in workout mode.
This upright bike requires a different posture than your typical lean-forward spin bike, and it only has eight levels of magnetic resistance (that said, for the price, magnetic resistance is a huge bonus, so you can silently cycle your way through conference calls). While the XTERRA won’t get mistaken for a Peloton dupe, it does offer an easy way to get your heartrate up wherever you can squeeze it in.
XTERRA Folding Adjustable Magnetic Upright Bike, $238, amazon.ca