Peloton Alternative – Why I Chose a Schwinn IC3 Instead of Peloton for Indoor Cycling

Peloton alternative

I’m excited to talk to you about the reasons I chose the Schwinn IC3 as a Peloton alternative for my indoor cycling bike. I’ll talk about the features as well as the exact reasons I made my decision!

I have been a certified indoor cycling instructor for over five years. I first became interested in indoor cycling as a safer cardio option for my prolapse. I fell in love with it for the energy, music and endorphins I got after a class! It seemed like the perfect balance to my Pilates and physical therapy backgrounds.

While I haven’t taught classes in a while, I loved popping into them when I had the time. Then COVID hit and my cardio options dwindled significantly. I couldn’t use the gym or attend indoor cycling classes. With my surgical history running is possible but just not my favorite. While I love walking, the cold winters in Denver limit my time outside significantly. That left me desperate for a cardio option at home.

Considering the low ceilings in our basement and the small space we had to work with, I knew an indoor cycling bike would be our best option!

The next question was what brand to buy.

The first thing I want to make clear is that I think Peloton makes a great bike. They have obviously done something very right as a company and they have a tremendously successful business and a raving fan base. I am not here to say anything bad about their bike or products or quality.

I simply want to tell you why it wasn’t the right purchase for me and to give you a Peloton alternative if you want to save money!

Here are the basic reasons I knew I wanted a Peloton alternative:

  • The cost. Pelotons currently cost $1895 for the lowest model. While it may be worth it depending on your needs and goals, it was a major barrier for me.
  • The membership. You are required to pay $39/month for the membership and app IN ADDITION to the bike cost.
  • The screen for live classes. I get into this below in the community discussion, but the screen is something you have to decide if you want with an indoor cycling bike. Most of them will include bluetooth and will hook into the manufacturer’s class programming. It’s super cool and motivating. It’s also an extra I just knew I didn’t need because I didn’t think I would use it to it’s optimal capacity. Having a bike with no screen was all I needed to start. Then I could upgrade to a screen later on if I chose.
  • The community. This is something extremely unique to Peloton and will either be a reason you totally want a Peloton or you want a Peloton alternative. I know myself and I knew I wouldn’t take advantage of all the things you get from the Peloton app. I don’t care about leader boards and high fiving people across the globe. I didn’t need live classes and hundreds of instructors to chose from. With my kiddos at home and running a full-time business at crazy hours I knew I would be lucky to squeeze in 20-30 minute rides when I could break away. I would most likely be listening to my own playlist or wrangling kids from the bike seat. I just wouldn’t get my money’s worth.
  • The app. You can use the Peloton app on your own with any bike or equipment for only $12.99/month. So I can access all the Peloton workouts and instructors with my own indoor cycling bike for almost $30 less per month than the required purchase with the Peloton bike.
  • The extras. I have a specific type of bike shoes with SPD clips. The Peloton bike doesn’t come with SPD clips. In fact, you have to purchase Peloton bike shoes separately in order to fit with the Peloton bike clips. You can buy clips for the Peloton bike to fit SPD clips or regular tennis shoes but, again, it’s an extra cost.
  • I considered a used Peloton bike but they were very hard to find.
  • I can always upgrade after I see how much I really use my bike. My Schwinn IC3 has good resale value and I can get a Peloton later if I find I’m using it a lot and wanting longer classes.

So for those reasons I was looking for a Peloton alternative and I found my perfect bike in the Schwinn IC3!

  • The cost was $699 with free shipping from Amazon. I got it delivered within a week. That was hard to beat compared to the more expensive Peloton.
  • I was actually trained on the Schwinn indoor cycling bike and I know it’s high quality. It’s a workhorse of a bike, has high quality parts and will last.
  • Parts are easy to replace. This is important when you start looking at very low cost bikes on Amazon and other sellers. They don’t have warranties and it’s hard to find customer service or help if you need it.
  • It has four way adjustment on the seat (up and down and front and back) and four way adjustment on the handlebars. You’d be amazed how many bikes don’t have those adjustments. With me being 5’3″ and my husband being 6’5″ it was imperative we could each fit comfortably on the bike.
  • The Schwinn IC3 has a 40lb flywheel. It’s ok if you don’t know what that means. Just know it’s a good thing 😀.
  • It has a quiet belt drive and if it starts to get a little loud we just spray silicone and it is silent again. The Schwinn IC4 is an upgrade and includes magnetic resistance which is more quiet. It also has a screen and bluetooth and connects to Peloton, Zwift and other fitness apps directly (instead of having to watch from your phone or iPad). It only costs $1149 so if you want those options it still will save you $800 compared to the Peloton.

I hope that helps you decide what indoor cycling bike is right for you! You can watch my review of my Schwinn IC3 and Peloton alternative below for some additional information.

Have fun riding!



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3 thoughts on “Peloton Alternative – Why I Chose a Schwinn IC3 Instead of Peloton for Indoor Cycling”

  1. Thank you for the info. I’m an acupuncturist in MN and found you on YouTube. I refer many patients to your videos. And NOW I am getting a Schwinn IC3 because I found your endorsement when looking for a Peloton alternative. 🙂

  2. Hi! This might be a silly question, but when you say you spray silicone to make it quiet again, do you mean you just spray it directly on the flywheel?


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