How We Got The Peloton Experience for Less

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About 3 months ago, we finally decided not to get a Peloton bike. Ever thought about splurging on one? I’ll be honest, we did too. A lot. Read on to learn how we created the Peloton experience for less!

indoor spin bike

The Research:

Rob and I talked and talked about the prospect of getting a Peloton. Would we use it? Would it be as great as everyone says? Is it worth the money? We researched our little hearts out online, and when the opportunity presented itself to visit one of their stores in Dallas last year, we couldn’t help but take a peek inside. It was impressive, to say the least. After a brief orientation, I 100% understand the hype surrounding not only the Peloton bike but the community as well. After all, that’s the thing that draws you in and keeps you coming back for more. You feel like you’re part of the family. I know this because though Rob and I decided not to immediately opt for the bike, we are still very happily part of the Peloton community.

The Trial Run:

During our research, we discovered the Peloton Digital app! They were offering a free trial (which you can get here), and we instantly fell in love. It offers both live and thousands of on-demand classes. Plus, it’s not just indoor cycling! There’s treadmill workouts, outdoor workouts, yoga, guided meditations, stretching, boot camp-style workouts, dance cardio, and so much more. There are also programs to help you focus on specific goals like strengthening your core or even running a marathon!

Initially, we got the app along with a cheap indoor cycling bike as a make-shift Peloton “situation”. We wanted to see if a bike was something we would even use. Rob and I both really enjoyed it, but eventually, it broke. (You get what you pay for.) BUT our trial run did accomplish the goal of seeing if we would actually use the app.

Personally, I am a big fan of at-home workouts. My homebody mentality is that I spend way too many hours at work just to pay to go somewhere else that isn’t my house in order to work out. The problem is, I get bored easily, I have to mix it up. The Peloton Digital app is something I fall in love with more and more as time goes on. They constantly add new content, challenges, and types of workouts. I never get bored with it like I have with other fitness apps in the past.

The other thing I wasn’t expecting to love about it is the flexibility it provides both at home and when we travel. In a hotel, I can choose a workout from the app based on what equipment is available at the gym! If there is no gym, I can pick something to do in the room!

Once we were without a bike, we missed having one around. This prompted another look at the Peloton bike. We loved everything about it… except the price tag. It was the only thing holding us back. Especially the monthly membership. It was over 3x as much as our monthly subscription to the Peloton Digital app! (Details below)

Thankfully, our solution came up at our neighborhood Christmas party of all places. We were raving about the app to one of our close neighbors, and she told us about an alternative indoor cycling bike she had been looking at. After the party, we went home, did some more research, and ended up purchasing it less than 2 weeks later!

The Purchase:

The bike she told us about (and ended up with) is the Schwinn IC4! We already knew we liked Schwinn bikes because that’s what we used to ride when we had an actual gym membership and took spin classes. We ordered ours directly from the Schwinn website, although you can get it at this retailer too if you can find it in stock. The process was easy, and we had no problems with the checkout process. Once we ordered the bike, it took a few weeks to be delivered, but when it arrived, it was only about 40 minutes from being in the box to hopping on for our first ride! Rob put it together himself with just one other person, and he said the directions were simple to understand.

The Breakdown:

After all of our research, we had a lot of information we had to sift through. So let me breakdown what we found (what you’re probably here for in the first place). I’ll be covering cost, features, pros, and cons. (All prices are current as of 4/9/2020.)

Let’s start with the Peloton bike. The company offers packages ranging in price from $2445 (just the bike, warranty, and delivery) to $2694, and each package includes a spectrum of different accessories. For the sake of our comparison, I’m going to choose the package that Rob and I would have purchased if we went the Peloton route. Unfortunately, because it is the only package that includes two pairs of shoes, we would have chosen the most expensive one.

“The Family Package” includes the bike itself, a 1-year limited warranty, delivery, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 set of weights, 2 pairs of headphones, 2 heart rate monitors, a mat to place the bike on, and 2 water bottles. Like I mentioned earlier, the price for all that is $2694. You also have to purchase a monthly subscription at $39 which includes unlimited profiles and access to all the live and on-demand classes. That brings your initial cost to $2733.

The Schwinn IC4 is $799, and you can add on home assembly for $129 (but we did not do this). The purchase of the bike includes a set of weights, a heart rate monitor, a 1-year warranty for labor, a 10-year warranty for the frame, and a 3-year warranty for mechanical and electrical problems. You can also pay to extend the labor warranty to 5 years for $109, but we did not opt for this either.

Because the IC4 does not have a monitor like the Peloton, you have the option of using your phone or tablet as a monitor. I have a 7th-generation iPad, so I decided to use that as my monitor. It was $430, so we’ll add that to the total so far. I also use my 1st-generation AirPods which retail for $159. We also bought a mat from Amazon for $38.98.

The IC4 offers the option to clip in your shoes as well, so if you do not have cycling shoes, it’s not a big deal. You can use the cages included on the pedals. As of now, we have not invested in cycling shoes, so I’m not going to include it (although we are talking about it). Lastly, the Peloton Digital app subscription which costs $12.99 per month, and you can create multiple profiles with one subscription.

That brings our initial cost to $1439.97. Even if you wanted to include Rob’s iPad ($430), AirPods ($159), and cycling shoes for the both of us (the ones we’re looking at are about $130 each), the total still comes out less than the Peloton package at $2288.97.

The cost of each bike at one year shows even more savings. At 1 year, the Peloton costs $3162 (initial cost, plus 11 months of the subscription). The IC4 + Peloton Digital app however, will cost us $1582.86. That’s still less than the initial cost of the Peloton package!If you’re more of a visual person, you can check out the graphic below. It includes all the same info you just read, but it’s a little easier to digest.

The Rationale:

Ultimately, the cost was the determining factor for us. I think we loved the idea of having a Peloton bike more than we would have enjoyed actually having (and paying for) it. I also don’t think the Peloton package we would have purchased was worth it. It comes with a lot of things I personally wouldn’t have used. For example, the HR monitor or the earphones (since I have my own of each already). Even if we had downgraded to the package below, it wasn’t cost-effective when it came to purchasing cycling shoes which are not optional for the Peloton bike.

All this isn’t to say that the Peloton bike is bad or not worth it. It’s great that it’s all integrated and user friendly. I just can’t say I wouldn’t have felt the tiniest bit of buyer’s remorse. Obviously we love the brand and the community, but we just couldn’t justify paying almost twice as much for a very similar experience.

The Verdict:

About 3 months after purchasing, we are still loving our Schwinn IC4 + Peloton app combo. Rob uses it 4-5 times per week, and I use it 3-4 times per week. The IC4 is the same type of bike as the Peloton (magnetic resistance), so it has the same smooth, quiet ride. Honestly, it almost looks like a Peloton! It connects seamlessly with the Peloton Digital app, so we are able to participate in live and on-demand classes with our iPad. We have a few sets of neighbors who have purchased the IC4 (including the ones who initially told us about it). So far, they have all enjoyed their experiences with the bike as well.

All in all, I am so happy with our decision to go the route that we did. We have already benefitted from the bike so much, and I anticipate we’ll continue to do so! If you have any questions about how we got the Peloton experience for less, please don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below!


Heads up- this post contains affiliate links that help provide me with a teeny tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Anything earned is poured back into resources that help me create more content for YOU! Thank you for your support!

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