If you are in the market for a new exercise bike, two of the biggest players in the game are Peloton and Schwinn. Spin bikes have become highly sought after, as more and more people are hopping on the spinning bandwagon after trying a class and realizing how fantastic the workout it is. While Schwinn and Peloton aren’t apples-to-apples competitors, we thought we would look at the two ends of the price spectrum in the category with the intent of giving you a better gauge of what to expect if you’re on a budget versus what features come with a more premium offering.
|Footprint||4′ long by 2′ wide||3’9″ long by 1’11” wide|
|Weight||135 lbs.||100 lbs.|
|Frame||Welded Steel||Welded Steel|
|Resistance||Magnetic flywheel resistance system||Mechanical drag resistance system|
|Console Features||21.5 Full HD Multitouch
|LCD Multifunction Display
Multimedia Device Holder
Now that you have the basics, here is a closer look at what these differences (and similarities) mean for your actual riding/training experience.
To put it simply, the footprint is how much space your bike will take up in a room, and for the most part this shape and style of indoor cycling bike is pretty consistent from brand to brand. Both models come in right around the 4 feet by 2 feet mark.
With a 35-pound gap between the Schwinn and the Peloton, you’re probably thinking this is pretty trivial, right? Not so. Frame/bike weight plays a substantial role in riding stability—as you pedal away harder and harder, the bike is going to want to move with your motions, and the heavier the bike, the more inherently stable it will be. If you weigh less than somewhere around 200 pounds, you won’t really notice a difference, but if you’re presently a little heavier you might find the added heft and rigidity an asset. That said, if you’re going to be moving your bike to a different location when you use it, the Schwinn will be slightly easier to maneuver.
The frame on both of these bikes is made of high-strength steel, so as far as that goes, you shouldn’t have any issues. Both should hold up just fine and allow you to get a great workout in for years to come.
Finally a category where we have a distinct difference to discuss! The two bikes use very different resistance systems to make your riding experience easier or more challenging (depending on settings). In the case of the Schwinn, a felt pad creates physical drag on the heavyweight flywheel to add resistance to your ride. Controlled in the same fashion, the Peloton uses magnets that it moves closer to or further from the flywheel to add more resistance. Over the long run, the felt pad becomes a wearable item over time (we’re talking years), but from a functional standpoint the effect is quite similar. Both systems use a control knob that allows for precise adjustment of resistance while riding.
One thing you will notice as a difference between these two is noise. While it’s definitely not significant, there will be a small amount more noise from the Schwinn on account of the physical contact of parts used to create drag. Because the magnets and flywheel of the Peloton are not contacting one another, the ride will be pretty close to silent.
Back to being inherently similar, both of these bikes use a belt drive system connecting the pedals to the flywheel, creating a smooth ride all while limiting noise (compared to the chain drive found on actual bicycles).
What really sets these two bikes apart is the console. With the Schwinn, you get the fairly typical LCD console that comes with the normal outputs including heart rate, distance, time, calories, RPM’s, and so forth.
With the Peloton bike however, you get full workouts streamed right in front of you. This bike comes with full WiFi connectivity, so you are able to take part in live spin classes 24/7 that are recorded and broadcast from Peloton studios in New York. This is precisely the selling feature that has garnered Peloton significant attention in the market, and the brand has developed quite the cult following on account of it. This said, there is a fee for this service, so not only does the Peloton cost more to get into your home, but it also commits you to a $39/month membership fee to use it to its full potential. Some people are greatly put off by this, so it could cause them to lean away from this bike entirely.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when looking at which exercise bike is right for you, but hopefully this handy guide helps clear the air in regards to what value you get at either end of the exercise bike pricing spectrum.