this thing's incredible

This $170 Bike Stand Is an Affordable Alternative to Peloton

Photo: Kelsey Mulvey

After all this time in quarantine, I’m craving the small, overlooked aspects of my normal routine. You know, those daily tasks we took for granted before we were required to stay at home for weeks. (Or is it months? Years? Who knows, time is a construct.)

The one thing I miss the most is spin class. Between attending my favorite throwback ride every week to hogging the stationary bike at my co-working space, spin was a huge part of my life — and something I never thought would vanish overnight. When the shelter-in-place order went into effect, I knew I had to find an at-home alternative.

Every option I could think of fell short. A stationary bike might be the obvious answer, but I can’t justify the lofty price. Peloton is the gold standard of at-home cycling, but the bike alone costs $2,245. Plus, it takes up a lot of space in a relatively small city apartment. I could ride my boyfriend’s bike outside, but I have no city cycling skills to speak of. It’s in everyone’s best interest that I stay off the streets.

My luck changed when I found Sportneer’s Fluid Bike Trainer Stand, which can turn any traditional bike into a stationary bike. The kit includes a stand, complete with a dual-locking system that screws into a bike’s rear axle, and a little riser that sits under the front wheel to eliminate wobbling. All we had to do was attach the stand to my boyfriend’s bike and adjust the seat to my height.

With this setup, I can get pretty close to the spin experience, streaming a class from my laptop and following along. Without a resistance knob or clip-in pedals, it’s not quite the same, but I still get a pretty good workout by adjusting the gears when the instructor calls for a hill or flat road. And when I’m really missing my throwback class, I put on an oldies playlist and try to pedal to the beat.

For under $200, I’ve created my own (sort of) Peloton class. And as I wait for the real classes to return, at least I can feel like I have a bit of my normal life back in the meantime.

An important accessory

$13

For a fuller Peloton-like experience, I added this bike tablet holder to my setup. It has two parts: an ABS plastic screen holder that can be adjusted to fit a tablet or a phone, plus a swivel mount. Snap the two pieces together and attach the mount to your handlebars, and you’re ready to stream spinning classes (or, more realistically, Bridgerton).

A few similar stands with built-in resistance

This stand has 4.6 stars with nearly 300 reviews. Unlike the Sportneer, it also has a flywheel with six resistance settings.

A less-expensive option with eight levels of resistance.

An even-less-expensive option with five levels of resistance.

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This $170 Bike Stand Is an Affordable Alternative to Peloton