How to Use the Peloton App Without a Peloton Bike: My Simplified Home Workout Routine | Real Food Whole Life

How to Use the Peloton App Without a Peloton Bike: My Simplified Home Workout Routine

Disclosure: This post is not affiliated or sponsored by Peloton–I wrote it because I spent hours researching options and wanted to save you the time. The Peloton App links are not affiliate. The Amazon links are affiliate, which means if you decide to purchase via any of the links in this post I’ll receive a small kickback at no cost to you, which helps me continue to bring you quality content.

How to Use the Peloton App Without a Peloton Bike: My Simplified Home Workout Routine

My workout philosophy is simple: keep it time-efficient, effective, streamlined, and most importantly, keep it fun!

Also? Preferably done at home.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sweaty studio session, but most days my schedule simply doesn’t allow time for an hour-long class, nor the time commuting to and from a gym.

I do love a good indoor cycle class, however, so when I first heard about the Peloton Bike I was intrigued.

Here was a piece of home workout equipment that mimics a studio experience, without the commute or time commitment.

When I checked out the price of the Peloton Bike, however, I took a pause.

Currently priced (at the time of this writing) at $2,245, the bike and recurring membership fee represent a considerable investment.

To be clear, it’s not that I don’t think the bike is worth the investment–rather it’s that I couldn’t be completely sure I would be able to develop a consistent home workout habit that would justify the cost of the bike over time.

Enter the Peloton App Digital Membership.

After researching the digital membership, I realized that it is very possible to use the Peloton App with any bike.

The next challenge, then, was to find an at-home exercise bike comparable to Peloton, but for a lower cost.

After countless hours of online research, I’m excited to share that I found both a Peloton bike alternative, and a handful of relatively inexpensive accessories, that together mimic the Peloton experience all at a fraction of the cost.

What’s more, after using the system as part of my daily 20-minute home workout routine for about 9 months, I can confidently, enthusiastically recommend it.

Of course, at some point I may decide to upgrade to the real deal Peloton Bike, but for now, I’m happy with my at-home Peloton hack, and thrilled to share all the details with you.

Read on for how to use the Peloton App without a Peloton Bike.

How to Use the Peloton App Without a Peloton Bike: Recommended Spin Bike & Gear

1. The Best Spin Bike to Use with the Peloton App

 Sunny Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike (what I use)

or

Sunny Silent Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike

2. The Peloton App

Peloton App

3. Cadence Sensor (optional)

Wahoo RPM Speed and Cadence Sensor

4. Fitness Mat (optional)

Fitness Mat

5. Clip-In Petals

SPD Compatible Clip-In Petals  (optional) 

I use these clip-in SPD spin shoes along with the petals.

How to Use the Peloton App Without a Peloton Bike Step-By-Step

1. Decide on the Best Spin Bike to Use with the Peloton App

Sunny Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike

Cost: $599 (via Amazon at time of writing)

I chose the Sunny Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling bike because of the higher weighted wheel, and magnetic resistance, which requires virtually no maintenance and allows for micro-adjustable resistance.

The bike comes in one heavy box, and requires some assembly.

You can pay to have the bike pre-assembled.

We (my husband and I) were able to assemble it ourselves in under an hour.

Sunny Silent Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike

Cost: $299 (via Amazon at time of writing)

A lower cost alternative to the magnetic belt drive, the Sunny Silent Belt Drive doesn’t use magnetic resistance and has a slightly less weighted wheel so it doesn’t approximate the experience of the real Peloton quite as well.

However, at under $300, it’s a relatively affordable alternative that still works well with the Peloton App.

2. Set up a Peloton Account

Cost: $12.99 per month (via Peloton website at time of writing)

Set Up a The Peloton App Digital Membership

You can trial the Peloton App for free for 30 days before signing up for the membership.

Tip: I personally recommend creating an account on a desktop, then downloading the app and logging in from there.

I’ve found managing an account directly through a company’s website rather than through the App Store seems to work better, however you can also go straight through the App Store.

If you decide to sign up for an App Digital Membership it’s $12.99 per month, as of this writing.

That’s less than the $39 monthly Peloton Membership because there are fewer features included.

With the Digital Membership, you get access to Peloton classes (no Peloton equipment necessary).

One profile per Membership includes:

  • 20+ live classes daily and thousands on-demand

  • Curated training programs

  • One account

  • Limited workout metrics

  • Basic Leaderboard

3. Download the Peloton App to a phone or tablet.

I recommend viewing the app on a tablet if possible, just for size purposes, but a phone also works.

Once you’re ready to ride, pick a workout live or on-demand, place your phone or tablet on the bike handlebars, and start riding.

That’s it!

3. Secure the Cadence Sensor to the Petal of Your Spin Bike

Wahoo RPM Speed and Cadence Sensor

Cost: $39.99 (via Amazon at time of writing)

While a cadence sensor isn’t required, it will help you follow along with the Peloton instructor cues, and provide you with feedback related to speed and cadence.

You’ll need to install the sensor to the petal of the bike, and then you can wirelessly connect to it via the Peloton App each time you ride.

4. Get Set Up with a Fitness Mat

Fitness Mat

Cost: $29.99 (via Amazon at time of writing)

Also not required, if you want to protect the floor under the bike, a sturdy fitness mat will do the trick. 

5. Switch out the Standard Petals for Clip-In Petals

SPD Compatible Clip-In Petals 

Cost: $52 (via Amazon at time of writing)

Again, not required, but if you already have clip-in cycling shoes, you might want to switch out the Sunny petals for a clip-in compatible option.

Tip: make sure to select an option with a Thread size of 9/16″.

I use these SPD cycling shoes that work with the petals. Again, the petals and shoes are definitely not required to get started with using the bike.

How to Use the Peloton App Without a Peloton Bike: Summary

In short, I’ve found this home set-up to be incredibly effective and much more affordable than purchasing a Peloton Bike + Membership.

And as gyms have been closed over the past few months (as of updated writing) my home Peloton hack has saved my sanity–I really can’t recommend it enough!

Full disclosure: This post is in no way affiliated or sponsored by Peloton, I simply wrote it because I wanted to save you the time researching all the options and simplify your home workout.

The Peloton App links are not an affiliate–though Peloton, if you’re listening, I’m ready when you are. 🙂

All Amazon links are affiliate, which means if you decide to purchase via any of the links I’ll receive a small commission at no cost to you–we appreciate the support!

I’ll also do my best to keep this post updated with current prices and additional info.

If you have questions leave them in the comments and I’ll update the post over time.

Here’s to quick, efficient home workouts. Cheers!

 

 

36 comments to " How to Use the Peloton App Without a Peloton Bike: My Simplified Home Workout Routine "

  • Kristina Proffitt

    Thank you so much for writing this and sharing what you are doing! Loved it and appreciate it so much!!

  • Karen McHenry

    Great information, as always! Thanks Robyn!

    • Robyn Downs

      You’re so welcome Karen!

    • Chris

      Does the Sunny bike use the same dial tensions? My challenge is when the peloton instructors tell you to change resistances, how can I relate to the bike I’m using?

      • Robyn Downs

        Chris, resistance is definitely the trickiest part to figure out without the “real deal” Peloton, especially if you haven’t taken many live spin classes. I’ve found having the cadence sensor helps. Start by getting your cadence to the range the instructor indicates, then adjust the resistance as high as possible while maintaining the target cadence. If you can’t maintain the cadence you know you need to turn the resistance down, but if your find you start exceeding the cadence, turn the resistance up. This works well for me, but if you feel like you need/want the exact dial tension I’d suggest investing in the Peloton. Hope this helps!

  • How long have you owned your bike? Have you had any issues with it? I am thinking about placing an order for one this week!!

    • Robyn Downs

      Kaitlin, I’ve had it for about 6 months now and love it! Hoping on for a 20 minute ride has been so helpful in my daily routine, especially right now!

      • Thanks Robyn for the quick response! So glad you still love it. I just put my order in and it’s temporarily out of stock but hoping they re-stock soon! Thanks so much for this honest review, it really helped me make a decision and I am excited to start getting in daily rides.

      • Leslie Deamer

        How are you still liking your setup? Are you still using it regularly? Any tweaks or changes you would make? Still love the bike 6 months later? I ask because I’m considering your ad hoc approach as well. Thanks!

        • Robyn Downs

          Hi Leslie, I’ve had the bike now for close to a year and I have to say I love and use it more than ever! I actually purchased it pre-pandemic and it worked great as an at-home option to alternate with studio classes. These days I dropped all my studio membership and just do the bike and other streaming classes through Peloton and couldn’t be happier! I use it every weekday morning for a 20 minute on-demand class (I rarely join live), plus an occasional longer ride on weekends when I can’t get outside. It’s just so darn convenient to hop on, ride, hop off and get back to my day. Hands down my favorite purchase in the last year!

  • Maria D

    thank you so much for sharing! just to clarify, if we do it the way your suggesting, does this allow you to be on the leader board for live classes?

    • Robyn Downs

      Maria, great question! No, as of this writing the only way to show up on the leaderboard and compete with others in the live class is with the actual Peloton bike and membership. Hope this helps!

  • I am not understanding how any of these apps work (the one you suggest or any of them) if you aren’t going through wifi. I don’t care about heart rate, distance etc. I just want to be able to get the sensation of riding through the trails, mountains, etc. So my question is: If my bike is in no way hooked up to the app, via wires, bluetooth of any other apparatus, can I still use these apps? Thank you.

    • Robyn Downs

      Tammy, is your question about resistance on the bike? In the case of the real Peloton bike or using another type of spin bike with an app, you control the bike resistance yourself–so you manually turn the resistance knob to make it feel like you’re on a hill. The Peloton instructor will give a prompt like “turn up resistance up to 40” and you turn it up yourself.

  • Tammy

    I have heard the iPad is far better and more compatible than an Android so I ordered an iPad. Once I have my iPad and I’m on the Peloton digital app will my iPad connect with the app automatically as long as I have bluetooth on so that I can see data and what data will I be able to see on the iPad screen? I do have the Wahoo Cadence and speed devices attached to my bike but so far no heart rate monitor. Thank you

    • Robyn Downs

      Tammy, each time you start riding you’ll need to tap the bluetooth icon on the right of the screen, then tap “cadence” under selected devices. You’ll then be able to see your cadence in the upper left corner of the screen as long as you’re peddling. Right now it looks like Peloton only allows you to only select one bluetooth device at a time, so either cadence or heart rate. I do cadence so I can follow along with the instructor cues, then use my watch for heart rate. Hope this helps!

  • Nancy

    Hi I really appreciate this post! What type of cycling shoes do I need to have if I choose to clip in? Thank you!

    • Robyn Downs

      Hi Nancy, you just need a cycling shoe that has SPD compatible cleats so that they’ll work the petals, if you decide to switch out the petals that come with the bike. I have these!

  • Jade Szymanski

    Thanks for this post. It prompted me to buy a comparable bike to yours as well as the Wahoo cadence sensor to see if indoor cycling is something I would like (I bought the Peloton tread and it’s 3 months behind in delivery). My question is about the Resistance. I have a hard time understanding how to follow along with the numbers the instructors throw out (my bike has a “+” and “-“ knob like yours). How do you follow along in the classes With this type of knob? I can guess but I’m really not sure what the numbers mean in turns of difficulty.

    • Robyn Downs

      Hi Jade, resistance is definitely the trickiest part to figure out without the “real deal” Peloton, especially if you haven’t taken many live spin classes. I’ve found having the cadence sensor helps. Start by getting your cadence to the range the instructor indicates, then adjust the resistance as high as possible while maintaining the target cadence. If you can’t maintain the cadence you know you need to turn the resistance down, but if your find you start exceeding the cadence, turn the resistance up. Hope this helps!

  • Meghan Lockhart

    Hi Robyn, thanks so much for this post and all of the helpful information! I have typically been a barre studio + outdoor walk/jog type of gal but with the current covid situation I am looking into getting a bike for more in-home workouts. I am trying to get a sense for the limitations of using the Peloton app with a non-Peloton bike – 1/ I am hoping to join friends in classes on the Peloton, do I read the above correctly that I can’t actually join the leaderboard/class with them unless I am on a Peloton bike? 2/Do you think you get as good of a workout in without clip in shoes? I always have had a tough time with clips in spin classes. 3/Great to hear that you and your husband set up the bike – do you think it was relatively user friendly/failproof to do so, or does it require someone to be handy with tools? Thank you!!

    • Robyn Downs

      Hi Meghan, you are correct, without the Peloton you can’t join the leaderboard. You can still follow people and see who else is in the class live and on demand, but you can’t compete or cheer each other on. And yes, you can absolutely get a great workout without clip-ins! The petals come with the basket for your foot, so you can still get the pull-up motion and benefit with your foot. Finally, I don’t think it takes much tool experience to set up. It helps to have 2 people just to hold the parts up, but it’s pretty straightforward to set up. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Jess B.

    Thank you so much for this – it was exactly what I needed to read!

  • Casey Wilson

    Hi there!

    LOVE that you posted this because I’m about to pick up a Sunny bike that I’m buying off FB marketplace and I want to be able to follow along with the Peloton workouts.

    Are the pedals you linked to the right thread size? I can’t tell from the Amazon listing.

    • Robyn Downs

      Casey, they should be, as long as the Sunny bike is the same make and model!You can find the thread size under “product description” for the petals.

  • Val Spiller

    Robyn, good info. I bought a Keiser bike because it was used at my club before I quit! I LOVE it. Using the Peloton app for about 3 weeks and now want to join a group but, I’m thinking I will only be able to see them in the app but as you mention above, won’t be on the leaderboard etc. I added a group # to my profile. Tomorrow will be the first time trying to ride with the group and I was wondering if we will all see each other (there are 61 people in the group) or communicate. Sounds like no. I’m sure it will still be a great workout. My bike has same cadence as Peloton but the resistance only goes to 22 so, I just ballpark it at half of what the instructor is suggesting and adjust from there a little up or down. So far it’s been working. Great workout.

    • Robyn Downs

      Val, thanks for sharing what’s working for you with the Keiser bike! As of now–as far as I know–you can’t ride with a group using the Peloton app alone, though you can follow along with groups and hashtags. So you should be able to ride with the group, you’ll just not be able to see them in real time if that makes sense.

  • Raymond

    Hey Robyn!

    Just wanted to say thanks for your great write-up. I got into spinning at my gym and before I knew I’d been spinning at the gym for 1 1/2 years! Then Covid-19 hit. I also tried my neighbor’s Peloton and loved it because of the amazing studio like experience! Like you, I just could not see the high cost outlay and membership lock-in. I bought a gently used Life Fitness IC6, signed up for the Peloton app on Roku and can get the Peloton spin classes on my LCD TV. It is awesome! I will be ordering the Wahoo cadence sensor this week.

    I can spin on my own terms, own space, and stay Covid-19 safe from a gym environment.

    Apologies for the long thread, props to you Ms. Robyn!

    • Robyn Downs

      Raymond, thank you so much for your comment–super helpful for others who might be considering a similar setup. So happy you found a home workout set up that works so well for you!

  • Crash

    Hi Robyn, thanks for this great information. I’m wondering if the Sunny Magnetic also works with Zwift?

    • Robyn Downs

      Hey Crash, I’m not as familiar with Zwift, but I did a quick check of their site, and it looks like, yes, you can use most indoor bikes. From their website it looks like you’ll also need a cadence sensor–I Wahoo sensor I linked in this post appears to be compatible. So you’d need the bike and the cadence sensor in order to make it all work. Hope that helps!

  • Leila Cutshaw

    Hiya! Great article. Wanted to ask how you watch your tablet while you ride? What is your setup to put the tablet in position in front of the bike? Any recommendations would be appreciated!

    • Robyn Downs

      Hi Lelia, the Sunny bike that I used and linked has a place to hold the tablet built in between the handle bars. So I just place the tablet there and watch it during the ride just as I would with the real Peloton. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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