28 Products in the Health and Fitness Category Have Been Tested by Our Experts in the Last Year To assist you in making smarter purchases, PCMag has reviewed and rated hundreds of items since 1982. (Opens in a separate window) See how we test everything we review.) You’ve heard the hoopla, seen the advertisements on television and in social media, and now you’re considering joining the smart exercise bike craze. But it’s wise to weigh all of your options before spending your hard-earned money on a Peloton. We’ve assembled the best smart exercise bikes we’ve tried here to help you pick. Peloton alternatives from Echelon, MYXfitness, SoulCycle, and other businesses may better suit your demands and price.
Continue reading for our top recommendations and extra advice to help you choose.
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MYX II (Opens in a new window)
WHY WE CHOOSE IT The MYX II, also known as The Beachbody Bike, is the greatest value out of all the Peloton Bike alternatives we’ve examined. This robust smart stationary cycle has a 21.5-inch swiveling touch screen, dual-sided pedals for athletic sneakers or clip-in cycling shoes, a video camera for live lessons, and Apple Watch compatibility. Members have access to a wide selection of live courses and a comprehensive workout library that includes material from Openfit and The Beachbody Company. Additionally, this second-generation model’s new metrics sensor allows you to view cadence, speed, and distance information on the screen while cycling.
On the MYX II, there are no leaderboards; instead, the classes emphasize heart rate zone training. A color-coded graph of your heart rate is displayed on the screen as you exercise after connecting a heart rate monitor to the bike, such as the Polar OH1 or Apple Watch. You can vary your intensity in accordance with the heart rate zone the teacher instructs you to be in. Boredom is reduced and you’re more inspired to give it your all as you observe your heart rate fluctuate while attempting to stay in the proper range.
The workouts go quickly thanks to the platform’s top-notch teachers, great music, and emphasis on heart rate zone training. Barre, bootcamp, cardio, core, cycling, HIIT, meditation, pilates, strength, stretching, yoga, and other alternatives are available for its class schedule.
WHO IS IT FOR? If you’re on a tight budget, the MYX II smart stationary bike is the finest economical Peloton substitute. It isn’t inexpensive, but by combining solid technology, a simple user interface, and a large selection of workouts, it provides greater value than the competitors.
The MYX II is the greatest bike for people who only want to compete against themselves because it lacks leaderboards. It provides lots of variation for everyone, from novices to experienced gym rats, with hundreds of on-demand workouts and new sessions every week, including goal-based workout series and nutrition programs to help you level up your fitness.
Review of MYX II: Best for Whole-Body Cardio
CHELON CONNECT EX5S BIKE
WHY WE CHOOSE IT Although the Echelon Connect EX-5S Bike may not be as well-known as the Peloton Bike, it’s a great substitute that can help you save money on membership costs.
The EX-5S features a sturdy construction, a 21.5-inch HD touch screen, 32 degrees of magnetic resistance that are manually adjusted with a knob, and dual-sided pedals that can be used with SPD cleats or standard sports sneakers. Due to audio and user interface problems we encountered during testing, the more recent Echelon EX-8S bike was excluded from this list; however, we intend to reevaluate our ranking after the firm releases the promised upgrades later this year.
With competitive leaderboards, frequent live classes, and a sizable library of on-demand exercises to help you reach your fitness goals, Echelon provides a metrics-driven experience akin to Peloton’s. Along with floor-based workouts and wellness programs like boxing, HIIT, meditation, pilates, weight training, yoga, and more, Echelon’s membership also includes cycling.
WHO IS IT FOR? If you’re looking for a Peloton-like experience with a focus on analytics and competition for less money, the Echelon EX-5S is a strong pick. The cost of smart workout equipment varies constantly, but as of the time of this writing, the EX-5S and the original Peloton Bike are almost identical in price. However, a Premier class membership with Echelon is more reasonably priced at $34.98, $399.99 annually ($33.33), or $699 every two years ($29.16). In contrast, the All-Access class subscription that comes with Peloton’s bikes costs $44 per month.
Review of the Best Automatic Incline and Resistance on the Echelon Connect EX5S Bicycle
WHY WE Chose PELOTON BIKE There is a good reason why Peloton has accumulated millions of consumers and a large number of copies. You get an experience with Peloton rather than just an exercise. Workout boredom is banished, a feeling of community is fostered, and you are motivated to continue using the company’s products thanks to its metrics-focused classes, competitive leaderboards, inspirational teachers, handpicked playlists, and engaging social features. Additionally, the business is reaching out to a new market by offering gamers its new Lanebreak feature, which is compatible with both the Bike and the original Bike.
The Bike improves on its predecessor with a new computerized Auto Follow resistance system that adapts automatically to mimic your instructor’s signals during on-demand sessions so you can concentrate on your output and moving up the leaderboard rather than fiddling with a knob. This function makes it possible to enjoy at-home cycling in a way that is more immersive than ever, leaving you drenched in perspiration and occasionally in tears. The Bike is one of the best pieces of smart home fitness equipment available thanks to this, a 23.8-inch rotating touch screen, Apple GymKit integration, and effortless Apple Watch pairing.
WHO IS IT FOR? The stationary cycles from Peloton are perfect if you like group exercise classes and are motivated by metrics and competition. With options for all skill levels and a varied instructor roster, Peloton’s All-Access class subscription offers a wide range of class genres, from strength training to yoga.
If you can afford it, we advise the Bike over the original Peloton Bike if you must choose between the two. If you don’t have enough space for a workout mat behind the bike, the rotating screen is crucial for floor-based workouts. The Auto Follow feature and updated sound system also considerably improve the experience.
Review of Peloton Bike The First Peloton Bicycle
For a more comprehensive workout, the Bowflex VeloCore has a side-to-side tilt feature (Credit: Angela Moscaritolo) Companies like Bowflex, Echelon, and NordicTrack’s sibling brand Proform produce sub-$1,000 devices that connect through Bluetooth to your own smartphone or tablet if you’re looking for more economical options. Although these solutions are suitable for those on a tight budget, those with built-in screens and speaker systems provide a more immersive audiovisual experience. If you don’t find anything here that fits within your budget, keep an eye out for future tests and reviews of several of these more affordable models.
Make careful to include for a monthly membership fee in your calculations when setting a budget for a smart exercise bike. To access a library of lessons, they are all required to pay a membership, which normally costs between $29 and $39 per month. In order to keep everyone’s statistics distinct, subscriptions typically also include performance tracking tools and the option to set up numerous user profiles per household.
SoulCycle At-Home Bike (Ana Moscaritolo is credited.) Thankfully, most businesses provide financing alternatives to make the price more affordable. For instance, you may pay off a Peloton Bike over a 43-month period for as little as $47 per month.
To help you understand what to expect, we break down the costs as well as the delivery and assembly procedures in each of our evaluations.
WHICH EXERCISE BIKE IS BEST FOR USAGE AT HOME? Because Peloton is the most well-known brand, you could assume it is the greatest smart stationary bike. The option that gets you to get back on day after day is actually the finest one. Fortunately, there is a wide range of class styles among our top picks.
The Echelon standings (Ana Moscaritolo is credited.) Although Echelon provides a comparable experience, its community is smaller and its classes don’t nearly have the same level of production value as Peloton. With wardrobe changes and a live DJ, Peloton may make you feel like you’re watching a TV program.
NordicTrack S22i (Credit: Angela Moscaritolo) The outdoor-focused content of the iFit app, which is supported by NordicTrack, ProForm, Freemotion, and Matrix equipment, sets it apart. You have access to a collection of more than 17,000 instructor-led exercises that were shot in 40 nations and on all seven continents.
Echelon EX5S (Credit: Angela Moscaritolo) The Auto Follow feature of the Peloton Bike , which automatically adjusts your resistance to match the instructor’s signals, is one of its key advantages over the Peloton Bike. A resistance knob is also present on the Bike , but since Auto Follow is turned on, you are not need to manually adjust it. The Bike will automatically change the resistance to 50, which is in the middle of the prescribed range, if the instructor instructs you, for example, to tune it between 45 and 55.
0 When fully inclined, the S22i (Ana Moscaritolo is credited.) Stationary bikes with iFit connectivity can also automatically adjust your resistance. With the capability to automatically incline and decline to follow the trainer’s signals or the terrain during outdoor workouts, the NordicTrack S22i takes a step further.
DO CYCLING SHOES WITH CLIP-INS MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Whether or not you want to use clip-in cycling shoes is one of the things to think about while weighing your alternatives for a smart stationary bike. Every option has advantages and disadvantages.
Cycling shoes with clip-ins make it easier to pull the pedals rather to just pushing them, which speeds up and improves your riding efficiency. However, cycling shoes are pricey, and being proficient at clipping in and out takes some time.
Peloton bicycle, img7 (Zlata Ivleva credit) Clip-in cycling shoes are necessary to use the stock pedals that come with Peloton and SoulCycle bikes. The Peloton Bike and Bike ‘s pedals are the most restrictive because they can only be used with Delta cleats. The At-Home Bike from SoulCycle has dual-sided pedals that can accommodate SPD or Delta cleats.
The dual-sided pedals on the VeloCore (Credit: Angela Moscaritolo) The Bowflex VeloCore, Echelon EX5S, and MYX II cycles all have dual-sided pedals that may be used with either conventional sports shoes or SPD cleats as a third alternative. These pedals provide the best of both worlds, making them the most practical.
The good news is that you can typically change the pedals on your bike for a different set if you wish to. The S22i can eventually swap out its original pedals with a pair of clip-in pedals since it is compatible with all common road bike pedals. Additionally, attach toe cages to your Peloton Bike (Opens in a new window) pedals are feasible.
IS BIKE SEAT PAIN RELIEVABLE? Whether they are clever or not, stationary bikes can all be a real pain in the butt, especially for new riders. No matter the brand, the most frequent issue I hear regarding stationary cycles is seat discomfort.
Photo 11: MYX II (Credit: Ali Jaber) One reader who has an S22i told me they can only ride for 10 to 15 minutes at a time due to the seat’s discomfort and that they intend to replace it with another one. My hairstylist has a Peloton, but at first she could hardly use it more than once a week due to how uncomfortable the seat was.
Seats on stationary bikes were first uncomfortable for me as well, but I eventually grew accustomed to them. Padded cycling shorts and bike seat coverings, which are commonly available in bike shops and online starting at roughly $20, can help if you’re in a lot of pain. You can always replace the seat with one that is more comfy if that doesn’t work.
How to experience a Peloton-like experience on a budget If you can’t afford an expensive smart stationary bike with a built-in screen, you can have a comparable experience for a lot less money by using workout streaming services like Peloton Digital (Opens in a new window) and Apple Fitness Plus. Both of these programs can be used without having to purchase one of the company’s equipment.
Peloton training methods (
2) (Ana Moscaritolo is credited.) Many individuals already utilize Peloton’s digital subscription in conjunction with straightforward, unconnected stationary bikes as a less expensive option than purchasing a Peloton Bike. You can accomplish the same thing with Fitness for even less money if you already have the required Apple hardware.
Both are excellent choices, especially if you have the ability to install a TV on the wall in front of your equipment so that you can stream classes there. Just keep in mind that if you choose this course of action, you won’t be able to join in the Peloton leaderboard or monitor real-time metrics like your cadence, resistance, and output on the screen of your device.
Check out our list of the top smart home gym equipment for more linked workout alternatives. See our comprehensive guide to health and fitness tech for more ways to use technology to enhance your body and mind.