UPDATE: Sep. 6, 2022, 5:00 p.m. EDT This story has been updated to include new information on Peloton availability at Amazon.
You probably know that the pricey, cult-favorite Peloton bikes skyrocketed in demand in the beginning of the pandemic. As gyms and boutique fitness studios shuttered in 2020 and folks turned to exercising from home, home gym equipment (especially connected versions like cycling bikes and smart mirrors) became indispensable. They were a way to work off stress, helped people stay active indoors, and offered an online community through app- and Zoom-based classes.
But now, over two years into the pandemic, demand for Peloton fitness equipment has slowed down significantly, and the future of the connected fitness brand is unclear. For buyers in the market to build out their home gyms, purchasing a bike from Peloton might not be top of mind any longer.
What's going on with the Peloton layoffs?
According to a report from CNBC at the end of January 2022, Peloton planned to temporarily halt production of connected bikes and treadmills due to waning demand. The company paused manufacturing for two months to recoup costs following diminishing interest in their products, which they attributed to increased price sensitivity on the part of consumers, as well as a steep hike in competitor activity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid these production issues, Peloton also announced on Feb. 8 that 2,800 workers would be laid off and that the Peloton CEO and founder, John Foley, would be stepping down.
As of Aug. 12, 2022, Peloton announced that it would once again be cutting jobs and hiking prices.
If you're still in the market for an at-home fitness bike, it's no longer Peloton or bust. There are some amazing studio-quality bikes available that will give you the same thrill and sweat as a Peloton bike. Some of them are even compatible with the Peloton app.
Is there a cheaper alternative to Peloton?
While Peloton had some significant price drops earlier this year, permanent prices on its flagship products are back up, likely due to company instability. The OG bike originally sat at $2,195, dropped down to $1,895, to $1,495, and finally down to $1,195, but now is back up at $1,445.
Similarly, the Bike+ went from $2,495, down to $1,995, and back up to $2,495 since it's 2020 release. These prices, of course, are on top of the monthly membership fee that was hiked up to $44/month as of June 1, 2022.
Peloton's connected fitness equipment was more worth it when the prices were lower earlier this year, but now that they're back up, there are way more stationary bikes on the market than just Peloton, meaning there's pretty much one for every budget.
When shopping for an indoor bike, decide what type of cycling experience you want. Are you looking for a studio-style bike with an attached screen? Do you want to be able to stream interactive workouts directly to your bike? Or are you looking for something cheaper that can use your own device for workout streaming? The driving question here is which app or site you want to get your workouts from, or if you just want a bike to pedal indoors while watching TV. Bikes without connected monitors or membership-based fitness programs tend to be hundreds of dollars cheaper than those with flashy screens.
Who is Peloton's biggest competitor?
Peloton's biggest competitors are myxfitness, the Equinox/SoulCycle at-home bike, NordicTrack and Echelon. All of these bikes feature large touchscreens and streamed live/on-demand fitness classes — so they'll all get you close to the Peloton experience. Some specifics like memberships, upfront cost, and tech specs set them apart from each other, and we'll get into that below.
Is Peloton on Amazon Prime?
Peloton recently stepped up its game to counter the competition by striking a deal to sell the Bike, Guide, and Peloton branded accessories and apparel at Amazon. The Amazon Peloton storefront is now live, and offers Prime delivery for the Peloton Guide and accessories, and scheduled Prime delivery for the bike — a huge development for Peloton delivery times, which were months-long at the height of the pandemic. The Bike+ and Tread are still only available directly from Peloton.
Is the Echelon bike as good as Peloton?
The Echelon EX5-S bike is a solid choice as a Peloton alternative. It's nearly $1,000 cheaper than the Peloton Bike+, and it features the same type of rotating screen that rolled out with the launch of the Bike+. It also has a comparable monthly membership fee to Peloton: you'll have to pay $39.99 per month to access Echelon's library of live and on-demand workouts. The membership will get you a pretty good selection of workout options, with classes ranging from HIIT bike rides to floor and mat-focused strength, yoga, and boxing classes.
What type of resistance is best?
The two main resistance types for indoor cycling bikes are friction and magnetic resistance. Bikes with friction resistance use felt pads that compress the flywheel of your bike when the resistance is adjusted. Magnetic drive cycles, on the other hand, use strong magnets on the flywheel to create the sensation of heavier or lighter resistance.
Friction bikes tend to be cheaper, but since the felt pads need to be replaced when they wear out, they'll bring a recurring cost. A cycle with a magnetic drive will be much quieter than one with a friction resistance system, and basically won't need any maintenance over its life span — but the upfront cost might be more.
What is the best alternative to Peloton?
To get a Peloton-like experience with even more added high-tech features, we recommend the NordicTrack S22i Commercial Studio Cycle. This bike is truly the most versatile: it comes with a free 30-day iFit subscription, lets you stream movies and TV to the screen, and has added incline and decline on top of resistance for an extra workout challenge. You'll also notice a 360-degree rotating screen that opens up a whole world of floor and mat workouts for those days when you need a break from riding. This feature is only available at Peloton with the Bike+, so NordicTrack is 100% on top of the trends.
If you're not already sold on a NordicTrack bike, check out our full list of the best Peloton alternatives on the market: