Making my Budget Peloton

If you’re a podcast listener or friend of the pod, you’ve likely heard the advertisements for Peloton – the high-end, at-home bike trainer designed to give you a spinning class experience from your home. But at $2,000 for their bikes, it’s a high ask to get the equipment needed for the full Peloton experience.

So I went in search of a budget-friendlier route. Here’s some notes about my setup.1

I love bicycling, and have racked up plenty of miles with my Trek. But Nebraska winters can be brutal (have I mentioned lately I miss California?) and, with a young kid in the house, it can be hard to find time to get out and ride. So a stationary bike was a perfect solution for me.

My bike setup.

The bike. Sunny Health makes great indoor spinning bikes, and I went with this $264 one. It’s heavy and takes a bit of work if you’re, say, carrying it to your basement. But it’s not difficult put together (so, skip the Amazon professional installation) and it does the job wonderfully. It’s sturdy (a good thing, because you’ll really be cranking the pedals) as well as quiet. You won’t have to worry about waking your kids while they’re asleep and you’re pedaling your ass off.

The cadence. Next, pick up a Wahoo wireless RPM cadence monitor and attach it to your crank shaft. You’ll need this to monitor your cadence during rides, which is important for keeping pace with the instructor. I typically sync this data to Strava.

The trainers. Finally, subscribe to the Peloton app – anyone can buy and use the app, you don’t need their equipment for it. And their instructors are great – you can filter classes by instructors, length, type of workout, and so on to really nail down what you’re after. I have an iPad mount attached to the handlebars to hold my iPad with the app while I ride, as well as a mount for my phone to monitor cadence. There’s a free two-week trial if you want to test it out.

All in all, it’s a fraction of the cost of a Peloton setup. The integration won’t be as fully-featured – you won’t, for example, be able to monitor distance – but all the data you capture can sync to Apple Health without a hitch.

Some tips

  1. Of course, the budget-friendliness of this setup also means I already have the additional equipment needed. In this case: an iPhone, an iPad, and an Apple Watch. Don’t follow this guide if you need to buy Apple devices to make it work; just go buy the Peloton. 

08 February 2019 · @jaheppler