The Peloton experience is one that has become a near benchmark in the work of at-home fitness and indoor cycling. But in the decade since Peloton took the workout world by storm, things have evolved. Brands have caught up to the connectivity experience and even enhanced training environments with improved hardware and other factors. Even Peloton itself has gone through some changes, forgoing its direct-to-consumer model and now offering the (still pretty good) equipment on other platforms.
It used to be that indoor bikes were designed to mirror outdoor cycling as closely as possible, but Peloton changed that. Indoor cycling has emerged as its own force, fully capable of delivering for a growing contingent of riders that see an indoor bike as something closer to a home gym than a way to get around town.
Perhaps you’re already an avid cyclist looking to stay in shape through the off-season or a novice rider hoping to log a few miles before taking a more public plunge into the world of interactive classes and leaderboards. Wherever you fall on the indoor bike spectrum, rest assured there’s now an option that’s ideal for you.
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How to Choose an Indoor Bike
The bikes highlighted below span the indoor bike space from the most basic to the highest touch, the most realistic to the most futuristic. As a rider, knowing where you land in these areas will help you find the right fit for you.
If you’re looking for a home gym experience that will guide you through your workouts, bikes with robust apps and built-in screens are key. If you’re an avid rider looking for a way to augment or replace rides outside, consider the bike’s resistance range and type, as well as the equipment’s overall design. You can also opt for an indoor bike trainer, creating a perfect setup that utilizes your trusty outdoor ride without the need for preferable outdoor riding conditions.
Digital compatibility is also an important feature for indoor riders to consider. Many of today’s options offer syncing features to your favorite training apps or come equipped with virtual workouts and programs at the ready. Some models go beyond the saddle, offering accessories like dumbbells and rotating displays for added training possibilities as well.
Why Choose a Non-Peloton Indoor Bike
Peloton has almost become synonymous with indoor cycling. The innovation, the classes, the leaderboards. It's no wonder this cycling colossus has a white-knuckle grip on recognition. But the world of at-home bike options has expanded, leaving room for new brands – and household names looking to differentiate – to offer cycling enthusiasts a bevy of unique experiences.
Driven by improvements in technology and design, as well as a surge in adaptive classes hosted on platforms like Zwift, Peloton has serious contenders seeking to evolve or innovate on what a ride on a stationary bike can deliver.
Gear Patrol has covered Peloton extensively, in everything from comparison pieces to news about its expanding lineup of equipment. But what else is out there, and how does it compare? After researching different bikes from across the industry, we've landed on the following picks.
How We Tested
As a consumer, you don’t often get the opportunity to try before you buy. And in the world of expensive at-home gym equipment, getting it right the first time can save you a lot of time, money and aggravation. That’s why we did our best to replicate the experience of the typical end-user: Bikes were shipped and assembled, instructional booklets were scanned for pertinent information and riding commenced.
Testing was carried out over the course of multiple weeks, occasionally falling victim to the common culprits of a busy modern life. Still, however, we made note of all the benefits across a number of the selected picks, with everything from footprint size, app compatibility, similarities to on-road cycling and more taken into account.