sunny health and fitness indoor bike SF-B1516

The Peloton bike is a great value – when you compare it to spin classes in the city. But if you simply look at it as an exercise bike with some fun content to prevent boredom, you realize that $2500 upfront plus $38 per month ongoing, is A LOT OF MONEY.

If you’re on a budget, you probably need an alternative to the Peloton bike. But you don’t want to miss out on the classes. (Heck, the interactive classes from Peloton are the big reason why everyone loves the bike!)

Well, you’re not alone. Everyone is wondering, can you use the Peloton app without the bike?

The answer is yes, you can. You can take a regular stationary bike and a few gadgets, and connect to the Peloton app. Here’s how.

How to Set Up an Indoor Bike with On-Demand Cycling Classes

Instructions on how to set up an indoor bike and connect to the Peloton app.

Start with a low-priced bike.

Sunny Heath & Fitness brand indoor bikes are easy to find on and generally have good reviews. But, the cheaper models also have enough negative reviews that I caution you about the potential for one to break and not be fixable.

Fortunately, they make a nicer bike. So you can save money and still get a pretty good quality bike – model number SF-B1516.

sunny health and fitness exercise bike SF-B1516

It’s their “commercial grade” machine, so it should be sturdy. It’s not as sleek or svelte as the Peloton, but that’s not what we’re looking for.

You can buy this bike, right now, for $500 on Amazon. And it even has free shipping through Amazon Prime.

[I would highly suggest placing the bike on an exercise mat, which helps to protect your floor, soak up sweat, and keep the noise down. SuperMats makes a nice mat for under $40.]

Connect a screen.

If you already have an Apple iPad or similar tablet, you’re in luck. All you’ll need to purchase is a tablet holder for the bike’s handlebars. (The AboveTEK one is popular and highly-rated – grab it for $21 on Amazon.)

Note: There is another fairly nice Sunny Health & Fitness bike – the B1805 – that comes with an integrated tablet holder in the handlebar. Unfortunately, it’s more expensive (about $600) and last I checked, wasn’t in stock.

If you need a tablet, you can get a basic Apple iPad for ~ $300. Or save some money by choosing a Samsung Galaxy tablet (which runs the Android OS); you can get the Samsung SM-T580 with a price tag closer to $200.

Bonus points: You can use either of these tablets for many things, unlike the Peloton’s screen which is permanently attached to the bike and serves no other function.

Alternatively, you could use your TV!

If you don’t already have a tablet computer and don’t really need one, use your TV instead! (Or use this as an excuse to upgrade!)

If you have a “smart TV” or a Roku, you’re ready to go. Just use the app on your phone to broadcast to the TV.

Then there’s no need for a tablet or the tablet handlebar mount.

And you might really like this idea, because think about it. The Peloton uses a nice 21.5″ screen. Your tablet probably only has a 10″ screen, which is tiny by comparison.

Remember, the Peloton is an experience, and a lot of that experience comes to you via the screen!

Add sound

The Peloton’s screen includes built-in speakers. To replicate that, you’ll probably want to add a Bluetooth speaker to your bike. (That, or Bluetooth headphones.)

Naturally, they make speakers that are designed to mount onto bicycle handlebars. A very nice one, SCOSCHE BMBTCAN BoomBars, is just $20. It’s small so it doesn’t take up much space on your handlebar.

Count your cadence.

One last addition you’ll need to get as close to the Peloton experience as possible is a cadence sensor. Cadence sensors are common, but you need one that will pair to the Peloton app.

For that, I recommend the Wahoo Fitness cadence sensor. It costs about $40 on Amazon. It offers both Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity.

The Peloton app supports this device. When connected, the app will display a live readout of your cadence!

(You can count your cadence manually, but it’s not practical when you need to be paying attention to the instructor. So this helps with that.)

Subscribe to Peloton Digital (the Peloton app)

And finally, subscribe to the Peloton app for $19.49 per month. This is how you get all the live classes!

Right there, that’s less than the monthly membership subscription if you had a Peloton bike. So your ongoing payments will be lower, too.

[Download links: Apple link & Android link]

Once you have subscribed, download the Peloton app onto your phone or tablet. Then sign in and get started! Choose a class, live or on demand. Ride!

If you choose a live class, you can check-in and see other riders using the app. Give each other high fives.

peloton bike vs sunny exercise bike

The Price

With this setup, your grand total in the first month comes to $901 (plus tax).

Then, it’s only $20 each additional month.

This is half the price of a Peloton bike!

You save $1350. That’s enough money to buy a decent road bike for riding outside, if you get the urge!

Or buy a fancy adjustable dumbbell kit for your home gym.

You could add some comfortable clothing and shoes to your wardrobe. And some nice pedals.

Worth it?

In the end, yes, you save money. A lot of money.

Your bike might not be quite as nice, but you’re really only missing out on a couple of the interactive features. That leads to two downsides:

  • You have to guess at the proper resistance level for the intended workout.
  • You don’t show up on the leaderboard.

You decide if it’s a worthy trade-off.

Ready to save some money? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

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