Episode 23: DIY Peloton: How To Build Your Own Smart Bike For Less (Under $400!)
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On this episode of the personal finance podcast, we're going to talk about how you can make a DIY peloton and how you can build your own smart bike for less. What's up everybody, and welcome to the personal finance podcast. I'm your host Andrew founder of dollar after dollar.com and today we're gonna be talking about one of my most popular articles ever on Dollar After Dollar and it's an article that shows you how to build your own peloton how to do a DIY peloton or how to build your own smart bike and what's the reason I wrote this article. What's the reason for even considering this this instead of spending money on something like a peloton, well, what it really comes down to and you're going to see the massive difference between the price of what I built which has the same qualities as something like a peloton. But the real reason is, if a name brand doesn't bring you value, if the name brand of something, any item that you have doesn't bring you value, then what you really want to do especially if it's this expensive, is you want to find ways to hack it because there's so many life hacks out there that people just don't know about. And a lot of people who have bought a peloton bike after I told them what I did and how much I actually paid for the peloton bike and they've seen my peloton bike in quotations peloton is not a peloton bike they've said I cannot believe I spent this money much money on a peloton when I could have just done what you did and pretty much got the same exact benefit from it. A lot of people right now as I'm recording this are starting to build home gyms and a lot of people are still aren't going to the gym they want to work out at home. They want to have an option to be able to work at home, but they don't want to spend the high massive price on a peloton because this is going to save you thousands of dollars literally if you just build this instead of buying a peloton or any other competitors out there. I don't want to single out peloton but peloton right now their stock price has hit massive highs and it's a massive amount of money to pay for a workout machine. And I started this project because you know I started always seeing the peloton commercials on TV and I thought it looked really cool to be able to work out from your home and have these instructors inside of your house and it kind of give you that spin class feel that boutique spin class feel like you're in one of those fancy new york boutique spin classes or something like that, but I thought it could be extremely motivating. I like to lift weights I don't like to do a lot of cardio. So I wanted to find a way to be able to do this without paying the high price tag but as I was looking around I considered well maybe I should get a peloton. So I whipped out my phone went over to peloton website. They have bikes in the middle of fancy houses that people are riding their peloton as it looks like they're floating over the water on their balcony and it's working peloton, like I said has hit all time highs on their stock prices. So as I was considering buying one, I went over to their website and guess how much a peloton is just for the base 20 $200 for a spin bike. So just to put this into perspective on why you would want to do something like this, why you would want to shift your thinking from buying something this expensive and less than namebrand truly brings you value. If this brings you value and you're going to use the thing every single day for years, this is going to be your gym membership, more power to you because you're building health, which is just as important as building wealth for your family. more power to you. If you want to spend that money that brings you true value, do it but it wasn't gonna bring me true value. So what I set out to do was find a way to get the peloton experience without having to pay the peloton price tag. And that was the biggest thing for me because I wanted the experience the experience I knew I would get value out of because it would be motivating enough for me to do cardio a couple times a week on a spin bike. But what I didn't want to do was pay that price tag and the reason why is 20 $200 over the course of 30 years if you don't put another dollar into 22 say you say you invested 20 $200 into a brokerage account. If you never put another dollar into that brokerage account, you would have over $22,002 and 30 years and the way my mindset is, is a peloton worth $22,000 to me. Absolutely not. It absolutely is not worth $22,000 to me. So the first thing I did was I started to hunt for competitor bikes. And I was looking for bikes with other competitors that had the same thing. So it was a it was a smart bike that linked up to a screen on the bike that allowed you to be able to do their workouts, their boutique workouts on the screen where you could just do it from the comfort of your home but every smart bike manufacturer that I found was between 1500 to $3,000. Now the 1500 dollar one I did consider but it had bad reviews so the lower priced options all have bad reviews. So really peloton is the best value out of all these Other options because you get so much benefit out of it if you're on actually buy a smart bike at 20 $200 because they're adding so much benefit to their smart bike. But let me tell you friends, there's a better way and I decided to build my own peloton bike, and I did it for under $400. So you're going to save 1800 dollars. If you do this peloton hack, instead of doing it the way that peloton wants you to do, which is to buy their bike and do a bunch of other things. But not only that, you're also going to save money on the app as well. And I'm gonna show you exactly how I did this. So let's get into how I built my DIY peloton bike. So the very first thing that you need when you want to build your own DIY peloton bike is well, the bike. And the beautiful thing is, there's a number of really good spin bikes that are on Amazon. So I got all of these items on Amazon with the exception of the peloton app, which I'm going to talk about in a little bit. But all these items I got were on Amazon. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to link all the items in the show notes, these are affiliate links, but I'm gonna link all the items in the show notes. So if you're interested in seeing how much they cost, or what the price is right, now, the time that you're listening to this episode, then feel free to do so because these prices are fluctuating. And sometimes they're out of stock depending on what's going on. But what I'm going to do is take you through exactly what I paid and how much each thing costs. In addition, what I'm going to do is tell you how I set it up, and how long it takes to put together and things like that. So one of my biggest considerations, obviously with a spin bike, and there's a bunch of spin bikes on Amazon that you can get a bunch of really good ones, but what I really wanted was a really strong sturdy spin bike because I'm six foot four 230 pounds. And so the bike needed to maintain my build, especially during heavy hit or Tabata workouts, I wanted to make sure that the bike could actually handle my build. And I also wanted to make sure that the handlebars and the seats were adjustable. Because of my height. Once again, if my wife wanted to get on there and use it, we could adjust the handlebars and seats. So I actually found the perfect spin bike for this that everything that fit my checklist. Now I actually looked for a long time and I actually own another website that reviews spin bikes. So this process was a little easier for me because I had a lot of knowledge about spin bikes after writing a bunch of articles about them. So the spin bike I went with was by sunny health and fitness if you never heard of sunny health and fitness, they're primarily on Amazon. And they have a lot of really awesome budget friendly, high quality for the most part fitness items. So I went with the Sonny health and fitness, it's called the s, f b dash 1002. So don't worry about like writing these down or anything, they're gonna be in the show notes so you can look at them. But this spin bike is fantastic for the money. In fact, a lot of spin bike boutiques actually use this exact spin bike in their spin bike boutique because it has a lot of the qualities that you want and a lot of great build qualities that you want in a spin bike and allows you to be able to do everything that you need to from a peloton standpoint, and it compares to a lot of more expensive spin bikes in terms of what the quality is and what the features are on the bike. And so how much does this baby cost? How much does this bike cost? Well, what I got it for was during a special so I got it for $329 the peloton bike is $2,200 I got my bike for $329 now the price changes and fluctuates here and there and they also will send out coupons and things like that. But you can look and see what it is actively right now. I've never seen it go over $400 as I'm recording this, it's always somewhere below $400. And the first thing I wanted was a flywheel so I wanted a 49 pound flywheel or grater and this thing has a 49 pound flywheel. What's the flywheel? It's the spinning wheel in the front of the bike. The reason why you want a heavy one is because it allows you to pedal easier, it allows you a more smooth transition when you're changing speeds and changing gears and doing different things. That is the key to making sure that you have a quality bike. Anything above a 40 pound flywheel is great, but having a 49 pound flywheel is awesome because it's the same thing that they have in studio bike sessions. And so typically a lot of bikes that have a 49 pound flywheel command a much higher price. And the second thing you will look at is the drive of the bike. So there's chain driven bikes, which have literally a chain like like how your bicycle would would work. And then there's a belt drive bike. And so what you want to go with is the belt drive bike because it is leather. And what that means is just quieter. It's an extremely quiet option. Now if you don't need to be quiet and you don't care that your spin bike makes noise, you can go with a chain driving because it's always cheaper. And you could probably get around $300 for the change ribbon. But me with young kids, the last thing I wanted to do was interrupt everybody in the house by using my spin bike and that means I just wouldn't use it anymore. So that's why I went with this option. And then like I said before I wanted adjustable handlebars in a strong frame. The adjustable handlebars are just so my wife and I can both use it. And a strong frame is because I weigh 230 pounds. So those are all the pieces that I wanted, and to ensure that there was enough resistance And things like that as well. So the pros of this bike are that it has adjustable leather pad resistance. It has a 49 pound flywheel, it's got a really sturdy frame, and it's super quiet. And those are the big things for me. Now one thing I will add that is a downside is the seat. So if you're not used to having like a racing bike, or a racing bike seat or a spin bike seat, then the seats a little bit uncomfortable, but what you can do is you can get a gel cover for the seat and I'll link the gel cover that we use in the show notes here. But you can get a gel cover for the seat and it works fantastic and it's extremely comfortable. So now let's get into how I actually streamed the workouts on this bike. So the next step is to figure out how I can actually stream peloton workouts on to this bike, obviously the bike doesn't have a screen or anything like that. So this is where you have to get a little bit creative. Now here's a really cool thing. The peloton app is cheaper for someone who doesn't have the bike. That is for someone who does have the bike and I don't know if they changed this recently or not. But it used to be you had to pay $40 if you had the bike to have the peloton app, and you only have to pay 1299 a month if you don't have the bike. So there is a significant savings alone. Right there. It's still crazy to me. But the cool thing about the peloton app is it doesn't only have just spin bike workouts, there's running workouts, there's outdoor workouts, there's stretching workouts, there's boot camps, there's cardio, there's all kinds of different things that you can do on there for 1299 a month and I think that's pretty cheap for someone looking to just get workouts and especially if you're working at home and you need new ideas. This is one of the best ways to do it. And it's extremely motivating all the instructors push you it's really awesome and I actually had low expectations for the peloton app. And this is not sponsored by the peloton app or anything like that. I just really love it like I think it's awesome. And the workouts that are in there are really fun to do. Having the peloton app is imperative. And one of the cool things about it though, is that you can feed in like a heart rate monitor or a cadence sensor right into the peloton app. So all your tracking and all your data is going to be right on top of the app. And it's fantastic because it's just like having a bike if you have that data to feed right into the app. It's unbelievable. And the other cool thing that the app does is it can tell you you know how many calories you burned and things like that based on the ride that you're doing. As long as you follow along with their intensity and their speeds, then they have pretty accurate depictions of how much how many calories you've burned, because I track it that the same time with my Apple Watch. And they're pretty close to the same. Now the Apple Watch obviously isn't perfect either. But both of them are pretty close. So it's pretty awesome to be able to know that the app can also track how many calories you burn and the timing and things like that as well. So here's the next key and what I did. So what you do to stream the peloton app is you get a tablet mount or a phone mount. Now I bought this mount for my iPad, you can you don't have to use an iPad, you can use your phone Either one works, but the iPad is just a bigger screen, I already had an iPad, this is not a requirement to go out and buy an iPad who have a phone everybody has a smartphone. So what you can do if you don't have an iPad or any other tablet is use the same attachment onto your handlebar. So what I did was I got a mount on Amazon, it's $12 and I attached it to the handlebars, okay, and this mount holds the iPad there perfectly. And if you want to see a picture of this, because I have a picture of every piece of the bike, I'll link the article that I originally wrote this in, in the show notes as well so you can see pictures of exactly what the bike looks like. But the tablet is held right in front just like a peloton is and I stream all the peloton workouts anyone that I want, right on the tablet. Now I also use my phone like if I leave my iPad at the office or something like that, also use my phone. So Either one works great. Or if you have something like an apple tv or a Roku, and you're working out in front of the TV, then you can just use that as well. So you don't have to have either one if you have a smart TV or capabilities to turn your TV into a Smart TV. So all of these work well. And the tablet mount I bought is extremely sturdy, it gets the job done. It's awesome to use. I've had it for a couple of years now and it still hasn't given me any issues at all. And then the next thing I got was called a cadence sensor Well, so what the cadence sensor is, is you're going to hear the instructors talk a lot about cadence or your rotations per minute or anything like that. So if you pedal 90 times a minute, your cadence is 90 and a lot of the workouts use your cadence as a as a gauge to see how intense you're going at that time. They don't tell you to pedal 90 times a minute because you don't really know what that is. So you can attach a cadence sensor to this bike. So I picked up one on Amazon it's called the wahoo cadence sensor. And right now I think it's 60 bucks somewhere around there. But I thought I found it really beneficial. Now this is not required if you just want to pedal really hard all the time that you could do that. But for 60 bucks, it's worth it because you can follow along exactly what the workouts and it's Bluetooth enabled. So we can link directly to your app. And so you're literally seeing your cadence as you're biking with this thing. So it's really really cool to have it. And then another thing you want is to get either a heart rate monitor so I use my Apple Watch for a heart rate monitor. I'm not big on really caring about my heart rate unless I want to be in certain zones. But if you really care about that, then you can use you know a smartwatch that you have already Or there's a chess monitor Kaden sensor with which is also made by wahoo that you can also use and it's really good and I'll link that in the show notes as well. So you can see both those the cadence sensor and the heart rate monitor and they link together really well. This is all you need truly to have a DIY peloton is these options, and so you're literally spending under $400. Depending on what the pricing is, you may be spending a little under $500 but you're spending under let's just say under $500. To have a DIY peloton and get the exact same workouts with the exact same metrics. As someone who has a peloton get. It's unbelievable. And this is where if you really want to pursue financial independence, figuring out these life hacks is worth it because like I said, buying a full priced peloton is going to cost you $22,000 a future dollars that you could have in your retirement account. If you're saying that's all fine and dandy. I still don't want to spend three to $500 on a DIY peloton that's too much for me, Well, I have an even cheaper option for you all. And this is something I used to use all the time. When I used to do triathlons, I used to do triathlons in college. And what you can do is if you already have a bike, you can set up an even cheaper DIY peloton that's not a spin bike. But what it does is it's called a sport trainer. And what you do is you hook it up onto the back of your actual bicycle. And then it has a locking mechanism for your front wheel. And as you pedal, you're just pedaling in place. And it's literally having a spin bike in your house. And then you can adjust the gauges to change intensity and things like that. So it's really easy to do. And all you do is you just position your bike on a bike stand, you install the trainer, and you just check it for safety. And that's literally it. And these things cost somewhere around 100 bucks. Sometimes you can find really nice ones for more than that. But I'll link one of these in the show notes as well so you can see what they look like. But if you already have a bicycle, you can literally have a DIY peloton with your phone and your bicycle for 100 bucks, and then 1299 a month for the app. And that's all you truly need. To be able to have a DIY peloton, a lot of things in life can be hacked. And a lot of things in life don't have to be paid full price, you can find different ways to get the same experience out of your purchases, if you just look hard enough, and this is a fantastic example. And I hope you guys try it. If you're in the market for a smart bike, you can spend 20 $200, or you can spend less than $500. The choice is truly yours. Because as a side by side comparison, both of them are exactly the same. And I get tremendous benefit out of mine, I truly get tremendous benefit out of mine. And it's the same experience, you're doing the same workouts as everybody else, you're getting the same metrics put into your bike as everybody else into your app, you're paying less money for the bike, and you're paying less for the app. This is a no brainer situation if you're in the market for this, so feel free to check out the links in the show notes. And if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me shoot me your questions, Andrew at Dollar After dollar.com. And I'll also leave a link to the article in the show notes. So you can see pictures of what it looks like and things like that. But other than that, I hope you guys have a great day. Thank you guys so much for listening. 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