If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide for how to use the Peloton App without a Peloton bike, you’re in the right place! Read on for the DIY Peloton bike essentials, including the best cycling bike to use with the Peloton App, the best cadence sensor, and an easy tutorial for setting it all up.
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 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.
Updated November, 2020.
How to Use the Peloton App Without a Peloton Bike: The Best Spin Bike, Cadence Sensor, Clip-In Petals & Gear
1. The Best Spin Bike to Use with the Peloton App
Sunny Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike (what I use)
2. The Peloton App
3. Cadence Sensor (optional)
4. Fitness Mat (optional)
5. Clip-In Petals
SPD Compatible Clip-In Petals (optional)
I use these clip-in SPD spin shoes along with the petals.
A Step-By-Step Guide to DIY a Peloton Bike
1. Decide on the Best Spin Bike to Use with the Peloton App
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.
Note: It’s a pretty heavy box, so if you have stairs you might need two people to carry it.
Otherwise, I think one person can assemble it alone, though it will likely take a bit longer and more effort.
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
Limited workout metrics
Note that the app has additional class options beyond cycling included in the monthly fee, which I use frequently. Check out my 12-month Peloton App review at the end of this post for more my experience with the App.
3. Download the Peloton App to a iOS phone or tablet.
I recommend viewing the app on a tablet if possible, just for size purposes, but a phone also works.
As of this writing, the cadence sensor seems to work best on iPhones and iPads.
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.
Note, the Sunny Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike comes with a tablet holder built into the handle bars, so no need to purchase a separate holder.
3. Secure the Cadence Sensor to the Petal of Your Spin Bike
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.
If you have questions about syncing the cadence sensor with the Peloton App, or about how App features differ from the full Peloton experience, check out the FAQs at the end of this post.
4. Get Set Up with a 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
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.
In short, I’ve found this home set-up to be incredibly effective and much more affordable than purchasing a Peloton Bike + Membership.
As I work from home, this DIY 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!
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!
My 12-Month Peloton App Review & Using the App with My Own DIY Cycling Bike
UPDATE: I’ve now been using the Peloton App and with my own cycling bike for over a year, and wanted to give you an honest review of the experience.
First, here’s what I’ve loved about the Peloton App and using your own bike:
- The cost per month! All told, averaging the cost of the spin bike, cadence sensor, app subscription, and clip in petals, the total setup comes out to about $70 a month for the first year. Going forward, the cost is essentially only the membership, which is $12.99 a month. I’ve personally found this to be an amazing value for the cost per month.
- Ease of use. Because the bike is in my house, I can jump on it anytime I have a few spare minutes. With all that’s happened in the past year, including having my daughter home for virtual school, I’ve found this setup to be invaluable. The ease of use has allowed me to use the bike consistently for over a year now, and I have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
- Variety of instructors, class types, and class lengths. I’ve really loved the variety within the app, including how many different class styles there are. Personally I’ve found most consistency with 20 and 30 minute rides, which I typically do about 5 per week.
- Other fitness offerings within the app. While I still use the Peloton app mostly for cycling, I’ve been having fun trying the multiple other offerings, including strength and yoga classes.
The downside of using the Peloton App with your own cycling bike:
- No access to the leaderboard. While you can use the cadence sensor to follow along with instructor prompts and to track your own progress, the biggest downside of not investing in the full Peloton experience is a lack of access to the leaderboard. Meaning, you can’t “compete” directly with others in live classes, and you can’t see your combined output of cadence + resistance. This personally doesn’t bother me, but if competing with others in live classes or seeing your output (as a combo of cadence + resistance) in real time, and over time, is a big motivator to you, you might want to consider investing in the “real” thing.
- Less access to the rider community. While you can still ride with friends using the app, give out “high fives,” and follow hashtags, there is slightly less community access with the app, for example with competing, as described above. However, you can still follow friends, and can “see” them in the app during both live and streaming rides. On that note, I’m realfoodwholeli on the Peloton app, and I use the hashtag #feelgoodeffect if you want to follow along!
Overall, I’m super happy with my purchase, and I really do think it’s the best purchase I’ve made in years. Especially in the times that we’re living in, when we can’t always get to the gym, having a home setup has been a game changer and sanity saver. So far I plan to stick with my cycle bike + cadence sensor + Peloton app setup, and don’t plan to upgrade to the “real” thing anytime soon, but if that changes I will add that to this review as well!
If you have a question, check out the comments below for a very comprehensive Q&A. Feel free to ask any questions you might still have and I’ll do my best to respond as soon as I can. Here’s to feeling good!