Zwift vs Peloton: Which is Better and Why? [A Complete Guide]

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Even though Zwift is a bit different, it simulates a video game.

Like myself, you may not be interested in video games and would rather listen to music, a podcast or a documentary during your workouts than watch a so-called virtual landscape.

You can do guided structured workouts in 15-minute increments with the Peloton digital app instead. Peloton needs no introduction today. The Peloton experience is amazing.

However, you can certainly do Zwift cheaper. With Zwift, you can easily hop on and ride around the volcano for an hour in a virtual world without breaking the bank.

Peloton or Zwift, which is right for you?

“Do you know of any apps to use for a spin class?”, asked the new fine girl at my gym. I replied, there are a few free ones out there but they cannot be trusted. Not really the best.

You probably have to pay a small subscription for a good reliable app…I mentioned.

Her, “Which one – can you help me with that?”

Immediately, I had to go back to my research mode and BOOM “Zwift vs Peloton” was on my mind.

No worries. You’re also torn between these two amazing options: a Peloton or Zwift setup, just like the Echelon vs Peloton competition. Join me as I do an extensive comparison of the Zwift vs Peloton experience.

When I’m done with you in this article, I know you will make a better informed and intelligent buying decision going forward. And most importantly, this fine girl in my gym will from today be my best friend.

Zwift Setup

Zwift setup

Zwift Accessories on Amazon

With Zwift, cycling is a game. Are you interested in training or racing?
All you have to do is to get Zwift installed and configured and you can ride in the Zwift virtual world.

Zwift has not only taken cycling by storm. Mark Zukerberg is even impressed. The well-known Facebook founder chose to ride with Zwift after he had an arm injury.

Another amazing way to spice up your indoor training by riding with other cyclists, in a choice of the virtual world all around the world. That’s what the Zwift app has to offer you.

The Zwift app turns your indoor training into a game that helps you to alleviate the boredom associated with riding indoors through virtual reality.

What is Zwift?

Zwift is an indoor cycling app that enables you to ride with other cyclists in a virtual environment. This is done by simulating a real-world cycling experience through the use of a smart turbo trainer and the app.

In other words, Zwift is a turbo trainer game that enables you to link up your smart turbo trainer to either your computer, iPad, iPhone or Apple TV, etc…

Costing £12.99 or $14.99 a month – Zwift comes ready with a free seven-day trial and you can just download the version you need from their home page.

Why wait?

The main idea with Zwift is that –  it allows you the rider to join group rides where you can measure your progress against others in the comfort of your home.

A sharp contrast to other indoor cycling apps such as the Peloton app, where you rather join pre-recorded or live online classes by trained instructors.

You can chat with others or give them a thumbs-up as they ride, too – and the Zwift companion app that allows this has been improved for the 2018/2019 indoor season.

Pros

  • Top coaches
  • Indoor racing
  • Virtual environment
  • Message other riders
  • Alleviate the boredom
  • 6 WORLDS WITH 80+ ROUTES
  • 1,000+ structured workouts

Cons

  • Excessive sweating – get towels and a fan

Peloton Bike Review

peloton-bike

Peloton Accessories on Amazon

So have no intention of joining Zwift. No video gaming nonsense. What are your choices?

The popular Peloton bike is luxurious, great, and not cheap. Peloton taunt itself and in fact, even retorted by menhealth.com that “Peloton is the best exercise bike on the planet”

If you can’t afford the Peloton bike at its price point, then I advise you don’t watch the commercials. You’ll be hooked. It’s powerful. You’ll find your fellow peers sweating it out successfully and you’ll want to try it out.

If spinning is your thing. And you’re busy. And you don’t want to spend so much on gym memberships, then, the close to ($3000) Peloton bike (plus add-ons) might be good for you.

If not, there’s a “Peloton hack”.

And here it is: (Pay for the Peloton Digital app and use it on a cheaper indoor bike of your choice.)

There are several Peloton alternatives like these Amazon best sellers;

1. Echelon – The biggest Peloton Competitor today. Widely used and recommended.

2. The best Peloton lookalike and works great with the Peloton digital app – Keiser M3i

3. NordicTrack – As another reliable Peloton alternative

The above-mentioned Peloton alternatives can give you a similar experience, especially with the Peloton Digital app installed.

That is getting the Peloton experience at a cheaper cost. We’ll look at the peloton app in a jiffy.

Just hop on a Peloton bike for a high-energy, training experience that will have you feeling like you’re riding through rolling hills.

Further, Peloton comes with a large 21.5” built-in display and clip-in pedals – you do have an option to purchase the Peloton cycling shoes if you want.

Pros

  • Reputable
  • Live Classes
  • Fully assembled
  • Compact and sleek
  • The best digital app
  • On-Demand Classes
  • unlimited Streaming
  • Multigrip handlebar
  • 22″ touchscreen display
  • Scenic Rides experience
  • World-class instructors
  • An interactive community
  • This Amazon bundle has lots of addons

Cons

  • Only works with its digital app
  • High-priced: You get what you pay for
  • Excessive sweating – get towels and a fan

Zwift or Peloton Comparison: A Buyer’s Guide on How to Choose the Best

#1 Zwift vs Peloton app

The Zwift app is an intuitive app that mixes the intensity of training with the fun of gaming. You’re virtually in a different world. A Zwift world – they call it.

The main idea is to ride or run in a virtual world with a community that motivates and pushes you the max. The keyword here is “The Community” where you’re each other’s keeper and get support too.

Zwift offers a free trial of either 50km or two weeks if you’re not yet ready to make the commitment. And after that, you subscribe to a monthly fee of $14.99 per month for the privilege of riding around Zwift Island and Watopia.

On the other hand, the Peloton bike as the main product has a huge price tag, however, the Peloton digital app will give you the ultimate Peloton experience on a different level.

And that is what we’re comparing to the Zwift app.

In fact, there are several Peloton alternatives used with the Peloton app (Peloton Digital). Both the Peloton app and a Peloton competitor bike will give you a similar experience as the Peloton brand is offering.

Isn’t that great?

You can look at our extensive post on the best Peloton alternatives which you can find on Amazon in order to make an intelligent and informed buying decision.

Notwithstanding the price point, the Peloton bike is still a great force in the spin bike – indoor cycling industry and the Peloton app just keeps getting better and better.

Peloton has a two-week free trial which you can cancel at any time before you start your monthly subscription fee – at a cool $19.49(plus tax).

#2 Peloton Bike vs  Zwift

The main attraction of the Peloton is its 22″ touchscreen display which powers the Peloton digital app. The Peloton bike is a state-of-the-art indoor exercise bike. Compact, lightweight and almost quiet. The Zwift setup comes in a virtual gaming platform which concentrates on getting results on purpose with a clear goal in mind. It is a great choice for result-oriented cyclists and athletes.

#3 Peloton or Zwift Experience

Of course, Zwift is a whole experience, and for that matter, you’ll need a few other addons in addition to the Zwift membership for a befitting Zwift setup.

Alright, I’m interested in this whole Zwifting thing. Where do I start as a beginner?

As I’ve mentioned earlier, you can use Zwift without breaking the bank. So we’ll look at the most minimal approach possible for this purpose.

After all, we just want to ride.

So if you’re that person who wants to run or ride and have fun without regretting your decision to do so; then lend me your ears.

Using Zwift doesn’t require a power meter or a smart trainer. You can do just fine with your old or standard trainer thanks to a concept called “Virtual Power”.

A Virtual Power is an estimated power number that is derived from a rider’s weight, speed, tire size, and the resistance curve of the rider’s specific trainer.

Every trainer has its resistance curve that can be measured and mapped. The Virtual Power concept has been a revolutionary development in indoor training indeed.

Even though Virtual Power is not perfect, it is a great option if you don’t have a smart trainer or power meter.

In fact, Zwift will be compatible with any bike that has a Bluetooth or ANT+ speed sensor or power meter. A standard turbo trainer will do just fine if the tools mentioned here are available.

This setup will cost not more than $200. An estimated cost of between $200 and $300 depending on the setup and experience you’ll want to achieve.

Peloton vs Zwift: What Zwift Equipment Do I Need?

The following are what you need to ride, and you can all of these on Amazon:

Stationary Trainer: As already mentioned you’ll be ok using virtual power.  Or otherwise, use any standard (non-smart), trainer. However, for the best Zwift experience, we recommend this riser block trainer from Amazon or a stable ride.

Protective Floor Mat: Super-tough, durable mat to help protect your floors and carpets from the damaging effects of equipment and debris from mechanical parts. Choose this versatile bike trainer floor mat on amazon.

Speed Sensor: For speed, you need an ANT+ or Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor mounted at the rear wheel. We recommend this RPM Cycling Speed and Cadence Sensor available from Wahoo on Amazon.

A Receiver/Dongle: Your speed sensor now needs to have a way to communicate with your computer. How you make this connection depends on if you are using ANT+ or Bluetooth. We also recommend this Garmin USB ANT Stick and if you want to track and measure your progress; we recommend this reliable heart rate monitor from Amazon.

If you have any ANT+ devices, you will need an ANT+ dongle. If you have other fitness equipment, you might already have one.

A Computer, Tablet, or Smartphone: You need to meet the minimum hardware requirements to use Zwift. Zwift can be installed on a PC or Mac or a compatible Apple iOS device.

What if you want a Perfect Zwift Setup?

If you want a high-end Zwift experience and setup, then you may need to do a bit of investment. You’ll need is a turbo trainer. And that’s very key.

You’ll find a good smart turbo trainer on Amazon such as the:

CycleOps – An Advanced Direct drive Technology for the top-rated bicycle Trainer brand in the world

Again the Tacx Neo 2 Smart is without question the most silent, realistic and accurate bike trainer available.

Further, the Sportneer Bike Trainer is a Bicycle exercise magnetic stand with a noise reduction wheel for a road bike.

All these are great and regarded as the industry standard. A smart turbo trainer comes with (what you really need) and not just the usual bells and whistles.

We are looking at a price range of between $1000 – $2,000 depending on the type of smart turbo trainer you use.

How does it work?

It adjusts its resistance based on the real-time on-screen action.

So apparently, it will fell harder when your avatar on the screen is climbing. For the same, it will feel easier if your avatar on the screen is descending.

This smart trainer changing resistance does take the experience to another level. Using your gears makes the simulation much more engaging.

The biggest benefit of a smart trainer is the ERG mode. Notwithstanding the app you use, all you have to do is pedal – the trainer does the rest.

NB: Note that Zwift needs to support your trainer to estimate power readings.

On the other hand, the Peloton hype is because of its added experience. There’s no doubt about that. It’s great.

This is the main reason why there are several Peloton hacks. Just to get something close to the Peloton experience.

It all about aiming for that equinox gym felling. Again, you can install whatever pedals you want on Peloton.

For the ultimate Peloton experience, you may also need to purchase peloton shoes in order to clip in and ride the Peloton bike.

The essentials package that includes the shoes, dumbbells, and headphones comes in at about $2404. That’s the total experience you get with this genius.

#4 Zwift vs Peloton: Price

Having pegged the Peloton and all its addons at about $2200. It looks as if you’ll be lured to go with Zwift.

But wait!

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Peloton Digital app and a cheaper indoor bike of choice can give you the Peloton experience.

Become a “Peloton Digital Member” at a $19.49 monthly subscription.

What do you think of the Zwift Pricing?

Apparently, looking at the Zwift app pegged at just about $14.99 per month, and a whole Zwift setup costing way less, who wouldn’t be tempted to start here.

#5 Resistance and Workout Programs

Apart from falling in love with the variety of classes using the Peloton, you can have access to recorded on-demand selection of daily workouts as well.

You can now choose from over 9,500 pre-recorded classes, choose from 25 different cycle instructors. and 20 live daily classes from the Peloton app.

All of the Peloton classes are filmed in the company’s fitness studio in Manhattan and delivers elite instructors with a broad range of training styles.

You can join a peloton class live or pick from thousands of different ride and workout options at a time that is convenient for you.

Whiles on the Zwift app, you tend to strengthen your engine with 1,000+ structured workouts made by top coaches.

All you have to do is “hop on Zwift for an effective and heart-pumping workout based on your goals and time. Geared to your ability, the guided intervals are easy to follow and challenging to do.” And that is a promise Zwift is making on its website.

How does Zwift work?

First, you need a way to gauge your speed/power/cadence. You also need a speed sensor for this which can relay its data via ANT+ or BlueTooth (if you have power/cadence, then great! Otherwise, Zwift can’t estimate your power and cadence).

Next, you need a way to receive the sensor data on the device Zwift is running on.

If it’s a laptop: if you have ANT+ sensors you need an ANT+ stick – and that can run on macOS/Windows. If your sensors are BT (like Wahoo), you can send BT directly to the Mac. For Windows, it’s much trickier (you can do this for MacOS too but why would you) – you HAVE to have a smartphone with ZwiftLink installed. The app will connect to your sensors and then relay data to the laptop. I tried it, it works, but I’m going to splurge on an ANT+ stick.

If it’s an iPad: I believe you can use BT directly. Don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to do the same on Android

Once your data is getting sent to the Zwift app, you’re done – just ride.

Benefits of Peloton vs Zwift

1. Weight loss

  • It is cycling we’re talking about here. An exercise bike is arguably one of the most potent and best weight loss and cardio machines available today.
  • With the Zwift setup, you don’t just burn unwanted fats and calories, but you do it in a virtual playground where thousands train with you.
  • The community challenges you to achieve your objectives whiles you compete through virtual bike racing.
  • It even gets better with the Peloton where you track your progress with milestones and reminders.
  • With a scheduled workout by type or length, you can achieve your weight loss goals quickly.

2. Muscle Toning

  • With so many options (workout types) to choose from – strength, core, arms, yoga, etc.. muscle toning is easily achieved on either Zwift or Peloton.
  • Both apps come with 1000+ resistance and structured workouts that can be done within a duration from 10 min to an hour. Suitable for travelers alike.

3. Cardiovascular Health

  • After all, your main aim for a Zwift setup or the Peloton is to improve your cardio and endurance.
  • Both Peloton and Zwift apps will expand your comfort zone with a mix of cardio and strength training.
  • Zwift will let you score points and unlock achievements while you sweat.
  • And the Peloton will let you feel the rush of instructor-led studio classes anytime, anywhere.
  • Classes and workouts on these apps are just so fun and the music is awesome.

Peloton and Zwift Recommendations

My best advice for the newbie trying out a Zwift vs Peloton, to start with a small budget and get to see and fell whether you enjoy the experience and workouts.

Do you see yourself using it frequently?

If so, then you can start making upgrades to make the experience more enjoyable.

You’ll need a few minor add-ons which can be very vital to your experience.

for instance,

  1. A floor mat (from Wahoo Kickr on amazon)
  2. 2-3x the towels you think you’ll need,
  3. Buy sweatbands to help control the sweat too.
  4. 2-3x as much laundry will need to be done for towels and riding clothes.
  5. Buy a good blower fan as much as you can. Whether you’re riding with or without a shirt, you’ll still sweat buckets. This high-velocity blower fan we found on Amazon will do the magic for you.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven
through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” — Ernest Hemingway

Frequently Asked Question about Zwift and Peloton

Can you use Zwift on peloton?

Of course, you can be using Zwift on Peloton. However, you may be shortchanged and not benefit fully from using the Peloton digital app.

Let me explain.

So basically, the content of the Peloton app is meant for peloton cycle users. Hence, if you don’t have a Peloton bike, you will be limited to some functionalities and the overall experience of the Peloton digital app. In the same way, a Zwift set up and used with many spin bikes such as the Peloton bike and/or smart trainers.

Do you need a peloton bike to use the app?

Not necessarily. The Peloton digital app can be used on many spin bikes. However, since the app is made to work in conjunction with the bike, you may experience some limitations on aspects of the app.
So apparently, you don’t need a Peloton bike to use the app. You can actually use the Peloton app with other indoor exercise bikes.

Can I use Zwift with an exercise bike?

Zwift mimics a virtual gaming reality, slightly complicated and makes use of smart trainers, USB ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity. Unlike many exercise bikes where you can attach your bike to a turbo trainer etc.. to enjoy close to a similar experience. All you’ve to do is invest a little bit more, and enjoy the benefit and functionalities of USB ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity.

What is the best spin class app?

The Peloton digital app stands out as the best spin class app by far, in terms of value for money, user experience and its overall quality – which set it apart from the rest. There are a number of spin class apps that are on the same level of approval, usage and acceptance.

The Echelon fit app, Peloton digital app, iFit Coach, etc.. but the Top Fitness App’s for Indoor Cycling will definitely go to the Peloton app. Notwithstanding Peloton’s hype and outrageous price tag, its HD touchscreen display- inspired app walk on water. And it will give you an unforgettable and amazing workout.

How much does it cost to use Zwift?

Costing £12.99 or $14.99 a month – Zwift comes ready with a free seven-day trial and you can just download the version you need from their home page.

Conclusion

Inasmuch as you’re busy and don’t want to continue with a gym membership, indoor bike exercise is not meant to be boring.

Make sure you put some spice into indoor cycling with any of the two solutions. It’s definitely worth it.

If you travel all the time and constantly staying in hotels, Using the Peloton or Zwift app will make it easier and exciting to workout.

Most hotel gyms have indoor bikes that can be compatible with your Zwift or Peloton app. This will only motivate you to work out every day.

Zwift is fun because it’s interactive and, with a smart trainer, you could almost feel like it was a real ride with terrain and elevation. It has everything.

Any money you spend on a smart-trainer or Zwift setup is well worth it, so only cry once if you can buy. It will easily have you in the best shape of your life when others are just getting re-started for the Spring.

With Zwift every day is race day.

And it’s a game-changing live fitness with Peloton at the comfort of your home.

Disclaimer: Cardiozero.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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