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January 2, 2021

Peloton Versus Echelon: Why We're Having The Wrong Debate

As the COVID pandemic forces workouts out of spin studios and into the self-isolation of basements everywhere, there is a colourful debate raging among fitness fanatics: Peloton or Echelon (or other indoor spin bike)? But here's what we can't figure out: Why not simply purchase a real bike?

It's hard to overstate the benefits of investing in a bike (road, mountain, gravel, or other). Here are our top seven reasons to purchase a real bike over a stationary spin bike:

  1. First and foremost, you can ride a real bike outdoors – and that's just more fun (think steep uphills, daring downhills, gravel roads, and more – all in a single workout).
  2. Second, this natural variability outdoors (which is what a typical spin class endeavours to simulate) offers all the fitness benefits of a spin bike plus it can be used for challenges far more grueling than a typical spin class.
  3. Third, forget those steep subscription costs. Unlike most spin bikes, you won't be stuck with inescapable monthly fees (these can range from a whopping $400-600 every year).
  4. Fourth, a real bike offers cyclists a green mode of transportation that can enhance their spatial awareness and navigation skills (if you ever want to know how to get anywhere, ask a cyclist).
  5. Fifth, whether racing or cruising the local bike routes, leisure cycling grows social networks (there are thousands of cycling clubs in North America alone).
  6. Sixth, Peloton (and other stationary bike) owners argue that more than one person can get their spin on with the purchase of a single bike, but any cyclist would tell you that proper individual fit is paramount – to avoid injury, optimize performance, and (ultimately) enable a more pleasant experience, which increases the likelihood that riders will stick to cycling in the longer-term.
  7. Last but not least, a real bike is versatile: When it's time to confront Ol' Man Winter, you can ride it indoors, too, or pack it to go on a sunny winter getaway, which is a huge benefit for those of us with frigid seasons.

Indoor bike, Peloton

An outdoor cyclist would tell you that the most daunting day of the year is when you decide to transition your bike indoors. There are, however, various options that enable cyclists to set up their bike indoors. These options range from basic rollers (which can be yours for a couple hundred dollars) to more advanced direct drive smart trainers that deliver a high quality, more realistic riding experience than their clunky spin doppelgangers.

Lacking motivation to go hard and crush your 2021 fitness goals? Desperate for human connection, or a boot camp vibe to unleash a rush of endorphins?

Equipped with a bike and indoor trainer, riders have access to affordable cycling apps (e.g., Zwift, Rouvy, and TrainerRoad, which cost approximately $15-20/month) that are loaded with features. These apps simulate cycling routes in virtually every corner of the planet (think Tuscany, Tour de France climbs, and any other bucket list destination), leverage gamification-style e-racing to motivate cyclists via friendly (albeit sweaty) competition, provide data-filled structured training options, and even offer group workout rides (across varying fitness levels) that are scheduled throughout the day.

It's easy to be lured in by a shiny, one-stop package, but over a year, a real bike paired with a trainer could be yours at a comparable cost and it offers far more flexibility.

So, before you pick a side in the heated fitness platform debate (Peloton versus Echelon?), let's start a new debate: Spinning versus cycling?

Full Disclosure: We're cyclists – not marketers – and we are not affiliated with any of the brands or products mentioned in this article. 

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