Peloton Spin Bike Alternatives – How to Setup Your Indoor Bike for Group Spinning Classes or Virtual Group Rides on a Budget
For many people, and for various reasons, getting to a spin club for daily workout sessions isn’t an option. If you fall into this camp, and are either bored with your current at home indoor spin bike or are reluctant to buy a spin bike because you are worried about being bored, then Groom+Style have some indoor spin bike alternatives for you.
Nowadays it is possible to take part in live group training sessions, or recorded sessions run by an instructor, or even take part in virtual group rides via an indoor trainer, without spending a fortune.
The Peloton Bike and Instructor Led Classes Are Great but on the Expensive Side
The first and most popular option for instructor led spin classes at home, is the Peloton bike and system, which allows you to check-in to any of thousands of spin sessions, led by qualified instructors. It’s a great program, no doubt, but the Peloton bike and subscription are expensive when you consider you’re doing it at home. At $2,000, the bike itself isn’t cheap, then there’s the $250 delivery charge, and $39 a month subscription. If you have the money, motivation, want to take part in instructor led spin classes in the comfort of your own home, and interested in saving time then this is the option for you.
Peloton Spin Bike Class Alternatives Without the Cost
What other options do you have if you can’t afford the Peloton setup but still want to take part in the classes? Are there any apps and services you can use to turn a regular old spin bike into one which mimics the Peloton setup? The answer is yes, and setup is relatively easy. You choose your indoor spin bike (maybe a budget version like the Sunny SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike), attach the Wahoo Cadence Sensor (as described below), load the Wahoo app onto your desired device, download and subscribe to the Peloton app and you are good to go for hours of sweat and fun.
Wahoo Cadence Sensor Setup on Your Indoor Spin Bike
One of the things you’ll hear Peloton and other instructors talk about during classes is cadence (otherwise known as pedalling rate) which is the number of revolutions of the crank per minute (RPMs). If you’re using a Peloton bike, then you’ll have no problem following along, but for everyone else, finding the right cadence can be tricky. That’s where the Wahoo sensor comes in.
The Wahoo RPM & Cadence Sensor does exactly that; it measures your cadence. Cadence is important when following along with instructors who specifically ask you to reach a certain number. It means you’re experiencing the workout as intended, and that you’re not over or under-doing it. Note: you only need to buy the Wahoo Cadence Sensor, not the Speed Sensor.
Setting up the Wahoo Sensor is easy, too. All you need is the sensor, a bike and an iPhone or Android phone with bluetooth connectivity. You can set it up in five easy steps:
- Check that batteries on the sensor are working by looking for a blue flashing light
- Using the cable ties, attach the sensor to the inside of the pedal arm on your bike
- Download the free Wahoo sensor app and update the firmware if necessary
- Open the app once your session starts
- Match your cadence with what the instructor says
If you need visual instruction, then check out this video on how to attach the sensor.
Note 1: You can’t have the Wahoo app and the Peloton app open at the same time on your phone. You’ll either need a separate tablet or a laptop to run the Peloton app on while you cycle.
Note 2: The Peloton instructors might also mention a specific resistance level which is something only those people with a peloton bike will be able to set exactly. This should not be a major problem if you are using a modified spin bike – all you have to do is perform a rough conversion. For example, if the Peloton instructor mentions a resistance of 50 then set the resistance on you bike to 50% effort (halfway between spinning with no resistance and not being able to move the wheels).
What Alternatives Are There for Virtual “Outside” Group Rides?
Zwift is a popular solution which lets you ride virtually with a group on your choice of outdoor rides. You are able to choose a route that suits your mood and experience level, and ride with or compete against others.
Getting everything set up is pretty straightforward. Here’s a summary of what you’ll need.
Your choice of either a:
The Zwift Subscription (follow the link above).
An iPhone or iPad or laptop to run the Zwift Application. The better the graphics card on your computer the better the experience you will have.
Get all of that in order and you’ll save money and still have plenty of choice and high-quality instruction.
A Side Note on Indoor Trainers vs Spin Bikes
An indoor trainer is an great alternative to an indoor spin bike which effectively lets you continue to use your existing racing bike indoors. Indoor trainers are a cost effective alternative to indoor spin bikes which are portable, lightweight and take up a minimum amount of space. The key drawback of the indoor trainer is that you of course need to have an outdoor road bike to use on the indoor trainer and your road bike will then continue to require regular maintenance if you decide to use it this way.
If you were going to consider an indoor trainer Groom+Style would recommend a high quality one like the Wahoo KICKR Indoor Bike Trainer which has a realistic road feel and can be used in conjunction with group ride applications like Zwift (read more above). You could go for a slightly cheaper indoor trainer like the Soozier Magnetic indoor Bike Trainer but the feedback would be inferior.