If you have your own indoor cycling bike, or looking to buy one and have the App on your device you will have all you need to be able to follow the classes to get a good workout. Along with some dedication and motivation.
It’s easy to follow the instructors and get a great many of the fitness benefits.
But, depending on the bike you have you won’t have the metrics to make following along with the instructor easier and miss out on some motivation or have them recorded on the App. This lack does vary by model what is included and as a general rule the more you pay the more you get in terms of metrics and integration with the indoor cycling bike.
First up is a list of the items you may want to add to improve the experience. Following is a selection of indoor cycling bikes detailing what they already have and what you might add to get more from Peloton Digital.
There are a few things you may want to help with your set up before getting into the extras for the better Peloton experience.
Extras To Help With Indoor Cycling
Here are items to help with your set up before getting into the extras for the better Peloton experience.
An exercise mat to put the bike on – this can help protect your floor from the bike and sweat as well as reduce any vibration overall.
Towel – if you are like me you will sweat a lot and a good towel can help to mop the sweat as you go. There are some intense workouts and I do sweat a lot. It helps me stay cooler and the bike a little drier too. It’s good to wipe down the bike with a damp cloth to keep it free of the corrosive effect of sweat.
Water bottle Most indoor bikes come with a holder but no bottle. If you are going to sweat a lot you might want water close at hand to refresh yourself.
That’s it. As long as you can see the App you are good to go.
If you want to see how it works out then that is all you may need. (And you can do it without the towel, mat and water if you want.)
Then after a few weeks or months you can move on to adding sensors for better metrics, tablet holders, shoes, pedals and dumbbells to get a fuller experience.
Extras For A Better Peloton Digital Experience
What you exactly need will depend on the bike you have or choose and what you feel will help you get the best out of the classes. Some bikes have no accessories not even a console and others have most of the extras.
I’ve added indicative costs as a guide to help with estimating costs but prices do change.
Cadence Sensor This measures how fast you are pedaling also known as RPM (revolutions per minute). This is shouted out by the instructor for you to follow.
You can watch the instructor and get into the same pedaling rhythm to keep your cadence at the right level and this is what many people can do effortlessly (maybe after a little practice. But if you aren’t good with rhythm (or have very little like me) and/or like to see the effort then a cadence sensor is handy investment.
Connecting a cadence sensor to Peloton App is straightforward. Instructions can be found here
The most popular is the Wahoo cadence sensor. It gets a strong connection with the App and provides reliable data. It is fitted to the crank (the shaft that attaches the pedal to the bike) and when the App will finds it you can see it on the screen. Cost around $40.
Heart rate monitor This is helpful when you are using heart rate zones to monitor effort and to ensure you’re working hard enough or not too hard. The most reliable for detecting is the chest strap like the Polar H10 ($74) or Wahoo tickr ($50) and works with the App. But not everyone is a fan of the chest straps. I like them and they seem more accurate.
A good alternative is an arm band like the Scosche Rhythm ($80) to get the metrics on screen.
It is possible for some Garmin straps to work too (if you have one from running or cycling) so worth checking.
If you have a strap that isn’t compatible you could always hang the watch monitor on the handlebars instead to see how your heart rate is tracking.
SPD Pedals. Though you don’t need these and the toe cages can give you a good experience these will give you a better connection with the bike for the pushing and pulling as you cycle helping with your cadence and form. Most indoor cycling bikes use standard 9/16 thread as with outdoor bikes. It’s easy to find them. (Cost $45)
If you are sharing the bike with someone who won’t have the spinning or indoor cycling shoes then it is possible to buy dual sided pedals – SPD compatible on one side and baskets on the other- (Cost $50). Some bikes come with this arrangement as standard.
Fixing them the bike is by simply unscrewing the current pedals and screwing on the replacement ones. Then you are good to go once you have …
Cycling shoes If you’ve gone for the pedals then you do need the shoes that have the fitting for the cleats to clip into the pedal. Look for ones that a well ventilated and the cleat doesn’t stick out so you’re not damaging the floor when you walk in them ($45 to $90 plus). Also check the size guides carefully as the sizes can be smaller than on other shoes. You may need to buy the cleats separately ($13)
Tablet mount Depending on how you are using the App. You might want a mount on your bike to make it easier to follow along to the classes. It is more convenient having it on the handlebars than having it at a shelf to the side of you or out of reach in front of you.($23)
But if you use it on your TV with fire TV or casting from your device you can have a much better picture of what’s going on without have anything mounted on your bike. It helps to keep down clutter on handlebars too.
Dumbbells – The arm rides and some warm downs have dumbbells as part of the workout routine. They are the lighter ones of 2 ($11),3 ($13) or 5lbs ($18). A set of all three is $29.
You may want to have a shelf or a set of stackable baskets that you can put them in so they are near to hand. ($20-$50) Some people use garage hooks they tie to their bike or shopping bags hung over the handlebars.
It saves you having to get off the bike or bending down for them and upset your concentration. They aren’t necessary but can make keeping up easier.
Resistance Measure It would be great if someone had worked out to do this for the exercise bikes that don’t have this is standard. But, for now, it isn’t possible. So, if the bike doesn’t include resistance metrics you have to estimate by feel as to how many turns equates to resistance level the instructor has called out from 1 to 100.
Speed sensor You can buy a speed sensor for determining distance as well as speed but it isn’t really needed for using the Peloton App. You may need to get out the tape measure and do some calculations to determine a fair distance otherwise you may find it is saying the equivalent distance and speed has been over estimated. Wahoo make an easy to attach sensor that can fit on the flywheel hub.
Indoor Cycling Bikes and What Is Needed
Here is a list of top indoor bikes to use with the Peloton Digital App and what to add to them taking into account the features they come with.
Keiser M3i Indoor Cycling Bike
The Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle is a premium exercise bike. It has the price to match it too. It is the same commercial grade bike used in many gyms across the country.
It has many of the items you need. The console measures cadence, power, resistance levels and heart rate with bluetooth to upload and monitor on its’ own App and others (not Peloton).
It includes dual pedals that SPD compatible on one side and cages on the other. There is a tablet holder on the handlebars.
To see your heart rate you are required to purchase a strap. The recommended one is an noncoded Polar chest strap.
Resistance and power are not in the same increments as Peloton so a conversion chart is needed which you can come up with yourself or a quicker and easier way is to use the one that other users have come up with and can be found in the Facebook Group Peloton Digital App Users.
Keiser M3i own App doesn’t work with the Peloton App. You can buy the convertor which will allow you to see cadence on the screen but that signal has the habit of dropping out. The M3i convertor allows the bike to work with a number of different Apps in addition to Peloton including Zwift.
You can buy a dumbbell holder for this bike to hold up to 5lb weights. It is attached to the front of the bike making it easier to get them then the other designs where they are behind the seat.
When running both the Keiser M Series App and the Peloton App you may need two device holders as the Keiser App won’t run properly in the background. If you want the data and record your workout you need that App to be on the screen on one device and Peloton on another device to follow the class. As an alternative, it is possible to run the Peloton App in the background and cast that to a TV.
Keiser does run deals from time to time where extras are included in the price.
In summary the costs are:
Heart rate strap $74
Dumbbells $11 (2 lbs pair) – $29 (Set 2,3,5 lbs)
Dumbbell holder $30
Cycling Shoes $45-$90
Cadence Sensor $40 (in place of the M Series convertor)
Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike
The Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycle comes with a monitor that tracks cadence, speed, distance, calories and heart rate. It has dual sided pedals with toe cages on one side and SPD compatible fittings on the other. SPD
Cleats are included.
The console doesn’t include bluetooth so won’t work with any App.
It does have a tablet mount.
It does not have a measure for resistance so this needs to be worked out by feel and experience. It’s not ideal but doesn’t take too long to come up with how many turns equates to the Peloton levels.
To monitor the heart rate you do need heart rate strap and an uncoded Polar heart rate strap is recommended.
Although the console measures RPM there is a slight issue with it. It shows the average at the top with bands of light but not values and this is not really what is needed to match tempo.
The RPM is displayed in numbers on the console but the display is shared with speed and only shows for 4 seconds out of every 8 seconds. This can be annoying to not have the feedback you want for half the time you are cycling, so you may want to get the cadence sensor
Summary of items
Dumbbells $11 (2 lbs pair) – $29 (Set 2,3,5 lbs)
Shelves for dumbbells $20-$50
SPD Shoes $45-$90+
Cadence Sensor $40 (if you want to see on App or part-time display is frustrating)
Heart Rate Strap $74
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1002 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1002 doesn’t have any of the extras you have with the other indoor bikes. It doesn’t even include a monitor.
It is a more affordable option and is a great starter bike.
So, if you want to have an enhanced experience there are number of items to add to it. It is an affordable bike and well rated by customers.
Many of Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycles are a good place to get started as they tend to be well made and reliable.
And as with the other bikes you can add the extras as you go.
It comes with toe cage pedals only which you can get a good grip on the pedals. If you want to change them for clip-in (SPD etc) you can change them for any standard fit bike pedals as the bike pedals have the standard 9/16 thread. It is possible to buy double sided pedals so if others use the bike they don’t have to have spinning shoes.
For the metrics you can fit a cadence sensor (Wahoo) and depending on your preference a chest strap or arm band for monitoring your heart rate.
Light dumbbells could be bought if you want to follow along to classes that use them and you’ll need some where to put them.
There is no tablet holder included with the bike so if you’re not using a TV for watching you may want a mount – it makes it easier to see and control (I find anyway).
Summary of items
Tablet mount $23
Cadence Sensor $40
Heart Rate Strap $50 (Wahoo tickr)- $80 (Scosche Rhythm)
SPD Shoes $45-$90+
Hopefully this post is of help. If you have a bike you’d like me to analyse please let me know in the comments below. I’ll be adding more bikes to my list as I check them out.