Whether you just got your Peloton (or any spin bike really), finding the perfect water bottle or fan to complement your ride is icing on the cake. But what accessories do you really need? Should you purchase one of Peloton’s accessories bundles or not? Do you really need to buy Peloton’s shoes?
As a tried and true Peloton devotee (got my first bike in 2017 and have owned the Bike and the Bike+), I’ve learned firsthand what accessories you need, what you don’t, and what items are a fun splurge for occasional use. Considering the Peloton is already pricey (the Schwinn iC4 is the best budget non-Peloton replacement btw), purchasing the accessories you only absolutely need can certainly help the bank account.
So whether you are planning on sticking to the bike or planning on also tackling strength classes (highly recommended!!!), in this article, I’ll walk you through what you need, why you need it as well as provide some of my favorite go-to products.
Before we jump in, keep in mind all accessories offered by Peloton are OPTIONAL (yes, even their shoes!) and are not proprietary. From shoes and water bottles to heart rate monitors and weights, compatible and comparable products offered in Peloton’s packages are available for cheaper. As a result, I would not recommend any of Peloton’s bundles if you are trying to get the best bang for your buck.
PELOTON: WHAT YOU NEED AND WHAT YOU DON’T
For quick and easy reference, clicking on the blue product name will jump you down to the explanations and recommendations sections provided below.
WORTH THE INVESTMENT
NOT NECESSARY FOR MOST
If you have a Peloton referral code (which gets you $100 worth of accessories when you purchase the bike), I recommend the bike mat, especially if your bike will be on carpet, and the reversible workout mat if you plan on doing any strength, pilates, barre, or yoga classes. With any remaining funds, I would go for Peloton’s 2 lb. and/or 3 lb. weights (they are sold as a set). If you don’t have a referral code, ask your friends for one as they will gladly share! If you don’t know anyone, shoot me an email :).
MUST HAVE PELOTON ACCESSORIES – Cycling
BEST SHOES FOR PELOTON
You do not need Peloton branded shoes to ride the bike, but you do need dedicated cycling shoes. When selecting cycling shoes, fit is essential for overall comfort and to prevent numbness. As a result, when at all possible we highly recommend going to your local bike shop or REI, to test out shoes prior to purchasing.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING SHOES FOR THE PELOTON
Quality cycling shoes should have a very stiff sole to allow for maximum energy transfer per stroke. Any cycling shoes that have 3 holes vs. 2 holes will work if you plan on using the pedals included on the Peloton.
In addition to shoes, you will also need to buy a pair of LOOK style cleats w/9-degree float. Cleats screw into the holes in the bottom of the shoe and are what allow the shoe to snap into the pedal. They are available online as well as at most bike shops.
If you are down with swapping out the pedal on your Pelotons (quick and easy – not typically hard) you can also look for shoes with 2 holes. Shoes with 2 holes will require you to also purchase new pedals (not just a different cleat for the bottom of the shoe). Shoes dedicated to road bikes typically have 3-holes while those dedicated to mountain biking typically have 2-holes, but for the Peloton, it really doesn’t matter what type of shoe you get.
One benefit of 2-hole shoes is that they usually allow the cleat to be recessed within the sole of the shoe. As a result, they are much easier to walk in and much less likely to scratch your floors than shoes with 3-holes.
TIEM’s are a popular 2-hole shoe that many riders love, but keep in mind that they have a softer and more flexible sole. The softer sole will flex as you ride, resulting in a slight loss of power with every pedal stroke. If you are planning on doing Peloton’s cycling Bootcamps, which include strength workouts off the bike intermixed with cycling, the Tiem’s are ideal!
In the end, properly fitting cycling shoes are your end goal. If the shoe that fits you the best has 3 holes, purchase them along with a LOOK style cleat and you are ready to go. If the shoe that fits you best has 2 holes, then make sure you also purchase a compatible pair of pedals with corresponding cleats.
WHY NOT BUY JUST BUY PELOTON’S SHOES?
Peloton’s cycling shoes are of good quality and tend to be a good fit for those with average to narrow feet. Like any shoe, however, they work great for some people and are a bad fit for others. If you don’t have the time and energy to find a good biking shoe at your local bike shop, Peloton’s shoes do come with a 30 day trial period, so there is no harm in trying them out.
Another cost-saving option is to purchase new Peloton shoes for around $75 on OfferUp, Facebook, Craigslist, etc. Many people purchase them along with the bike, end up not using them and resell them new.
PELOTON PEDALS – LOTS OF OPTIONS
As mentioned above, you do not need to use the pedals that come with the Peloton. The threads on Peloton’s crank are the standard 9/16″ x 20 threads per inch found on almost all bikes, which allows you to easily swap out the included pedals with a wide variety of pedals.
If you do swap out the pedals, it does not void your warranty, but you do need to keep the original pedals just in case you do have to return the bike for any warranty issue or if you decide to trade it in later.
For me, I have always been a fan of the 2-hole Crankbrothers pedal system. I’ve found them ridiculously easy to clip in and out, and the pedals are repairable, so they last for years. I’ve been using the same pair of Crankbrothers Mallets pedals since 2012 (I moved them from my mountain bike to my Peloton) and still love them.
Also, keep in mind that Peloton recommends replacing their included pedals every year. At $60 a year, that really adds up with time. With Crankbrothers, when the pedals wear down (all pedals do with time), their $30 Refresh Kit makes them as good as new again. The same is true with higher-end pedals for almost all brands.
PELOTON TOE CAGES
RIDING WITHOUT CLIPPING IN – If you prefer to ride without clipping in and just want to start off using your tennis shoes, it’s not ideal, but totally possible. To do so, you will want to get pedals with baskets (aka “toe cages”). These baskets tighten around the front of your shoe and allow you to “pull up” on the pedals, especially when standing up on the bike.
While I have not tried them, these baskets shown above are unique in that they attach to the bottom side of Peloton’s pedals, allowing you to ride with or without cycling shoes. Adding cages also allows multiple riders with various shoe sizes to ride the bike without special shoes. If you only need baskets occasionally, these baskets clip in and out of the standard pedal, allowing them to be used with regular shoes.
BEST FAN FOR PELOTON RIDING
You need a fan. Not just any fan – you need a fan that will blow a lot of air directly at you. Riding your Peloton without a fan is like riding in a hot car without air condition during the summer. The ride is so much better and you are so much more comfortable with a lot of air blowing directly on you!
There is a wide range of fans available, and which is best for you really depends on your space and preference. Some riders prefer floor fans, others handlebar fans, while many riders use multiple fans. Regardless of the type of fan you choose, look for a fan that is quiet, tiltable, and blows a lot of air directly at you.
When I first started, I used a standard cheap box fan and it did the trick, but I would always have to lean it up against something to make sure it was pointing at me. I finally got smart and purchased a tilting floor fan (the Vornado Whole Room Circulator) and love it.
BEST WATER BOTTLE FOR PELOTON
Almost any standard-size water bottle will fit on the Peloton. You do NOT need a special water bottle to use with the bike or with any strength class. Standard height water bottles work best on the bike, but I have successfully used 10.5″ tall water bottles with any major issues.
My favorite water bottles have a softer tip, which comes in handy when you not paying attention and accidentally “miss” your mouth while working out. 🙂 While this isn’t a huge deal, if you are looking to buy a new water bottle, trust me and go with a softer tip. Camelbak’s Podium line is my favorite (Peloton gray bottle below). In addition to the softer tip, it’s self-sealing (it won’t leak on the ground if you drop it), comes in a wide variety of styles, and is easy to clean.
If you want a metal insulated bottle, Camelbak’s Eddy+ Metal Insulated bottle is amazing (solid teal bottle above). It has a soft, silicone flip top spout and comes in a variety of sizes. I also have the Hydroflask and Thermoflask insulated bottles with flip-top spouts and can attest that they are very rigid and not as friendly on the teeth.
While both of these bottles fit onto Peloton’s bottle rack without any problems, having long legs and short arms, I found the water bottle holders cumbersome to access during rides. As a result, I use this IKEA foldable stool as a stand next to my bike. In addition to making my water bottles easier to access, it also holds my phone and a box of tissues just in case (I got a bloody nose during an intense ride once – it was not pretty!).
PELOTON SWEAT TOWEL
Be prepared to sweat during Peloton rides. Sweat towels are essential and I highly recommend purchasing a set so you always have a back-up when some are in the wash.
The fabric and size of the towel to get really comes down to personal preference. Larger towels “hand towel size” that can cover the entire handlebar are typically preferred as they don’t easily slide off the bike and prevent your handlebars from getting sweaty.
PELOTON BIKE MAT
If your bike is on the carpet or if you sweat a lot, you will need a bike mat to protect your carpet. Nobody wants to deal with stinky, sweaty carpets and the bike pad prevents sweat from dripping onto it. The mat also helps to stabilize the bike so it doesn’t shift back and forth as you ride. If you have a really thick carpet or you are on the taller or heavier side, you may also need a piece of plywood (at least 3/8″) beneath the bike mat to keep the bike stable.
Peloton’s bike mat is great and is the perfect size, but is pricey at $75. Horse Stall mats, found at Tractor Supply Company, are a great alternative as they are cheaper, thicker, and larger! The downside of the stall mat approach is that you will need to make sure you clean and air out the mats before bringing them inside, as they can have a stronger smell when new. If you have a smaller space, you may also need to cut the horse stall mat down as it is considerably wider than the base of the bike.
WORTH THE INVESTMENT – Cycling
PELOTON DUMBBELLS (2 AND 3 LB.)
Even if you don’t plan on using Peloton’s strengths workouts (which require sets of weights 5 lb.+), you should absolutely get sets of 1, 2 or 3 lb. lightweight dumbbells for use while on the bike. The average rider, however, can likely get away with just using a 2 lb. set and skip the 1 and 3 lb.
These weights hang on the back of the bike (only one set – I usually have the 2 lb. set on the bike) and are used during “arms” sections of rides or during “Arms and Lightweights” strength classes. While 2 and 3 lb. seem really light, you’ll quickly be surprised at how difficult these classes can be!
PELOTON HEADPHONES – EARBUDS
Whether your bike is in a shared space or you love cranking up the music, headphones can be a life-saver. Since the speakers on the Bike are on the back of the monitor, you really have to crank up the music to hear it well. The speakers on the Bike+ are on the front of the monitor, which doesn’t require the sound to be turned up quite as high, but earbuds are still beneficial for clarity.
Over the years I have found it is best to have a set of earbuds just for the bike. Considering my phone is usually near me when riding, my regular earbuds always want to pair with my phone instead of my bike and it quickly becomes a pain.
Not wanting to (or needing to) spend a fortune on earbuds, I have used these cheapo bluetooth “wireless” earbuds for years and love them. Although the wire between the two earbuds may seem annoying, I actually like them as it allows me to easily pull one out to talk to one of my kids without worrying about having to put the earbud down, I just let it hang on my neck. Storing is also super easy as I just wrap them around the handlebar. Last of all, I can workout an hour a day and only have to charge them a couple of times a month.
If you can’t stand the wire, my brother uses these budget wireless earbuds with his bike without any issues.
Whether you are a heavy sweater or have hair that needs to be tamed, sweatbands are worth every penny. Thin, sweat-wicking bands are ideal as they help release versus retain heat.
Having tried many of the most popular brands, including Junk, Maven Thread, Temple Tape and Mission, and found Junk’s Big Bang Lite headband to be my favorite a slight margin. It is the thinnest of the bunch and stays in place without any issues. Temple Tape is also thin but doesn’t seem to wear as well with time. All four headbands are significantly better than cheap cotton headbands that retain heat.
With all sweatbands, keep in mind that they are designed to fit lower on the forehead than traditional headbands. When positioned properly, these headbands stay in place while also wicking away sweat.
PELOTON BIKE SEAT CUSHION & PADDED SHORTS
When getting started on the bike, your butt is going to be sore. There really isn’t a way around it – just keep on going and it will get better with time. If you really need some relief, a gel pad for the seat can provide some relief as you get used to riding.
A better option for most riders is padded shorts or a bib. Fitting tight to your body, the won’t slip and slide out of the way like some seat cushions can. Shorts or bibs from The Black Bibs are amazing quality for the price. Between the two, I actually much prefer bibs as they don’t put pressure on my stomach as I ride.
PELOTON BIKE SWEAT PADS
After every ride, you will want to make sure that you wipe down your bike. The salt from your sweat can damage the frame of the bike over time. For those who sweat a lot, consider getting a washable bike sweat pad. A sweat pad covers the bike and absorbs any sweat that falls on the bike. The RideHide cover is exceptional as it prevents sweat from running down the resistance knob into the frame of the bike.
Washable pads are also available to cover and protect your handlebars.
NOT NECCESARY FOR MOST – Cycling
PELOTON HEART RATE MONITOR
If you have a smartwatch with a heart rate monitor, the Peloton can sync to it and display your heart rate while riding. For those without smartwatches, a separate Bluetooth heart rate monitor can be used. The Scosche Rhythm+ Heart Rate Monitor is one of the best out there and as an added bonus, it can be worn on the arm instead of your chest like most monitors (Peloton’s is a chest monitor). **Peloton now makes a heart rate monitor for your arm, but I haven’t tried it yet.**
But do you need a heart rate monitor? No, but many riders love using them as it provides another metric to monitor how hard they are working. For example, if their heart rate rises too high too early in a ride, they know they need to back off in order to ensure they have enough in the tank to finish out the ride. Peloton also provides a Strive score for riders who use a heart rate monitor to help them access their efforts.
MUST HAVE PELOTON ACCESSORIES – Strength
WORKOUT MAT (NOT A YOGA MAT)
Workout mats are designed to be used with shoes and are much more durable than yoga mats. While you can use a yoga mat to do strength workouts, don’t be surprised if the foam begins to wear down or rip with time.
If you need a workout mat you can easily roll up and store, Peloton’s reversible mat (one side durable for strength the other soft for yoga) is great quality and reasonably priced considering other options. If you have room for a larger workout mat that you don’t need to roll up, Gorilla Mats are a great choice. If you are lucky enough to have an entire workout room and want to cover the whole floor, Tractor Supply’s Horse Stall Mats are a killer deal.
PELOTON DUMBBELLS – 5 lb.+
To dive into Peloton’s strength classes you will need several sets of heavy dumbells, starting with 5lb. and going up to 30 lb. (or more for super buff folks). If you are just getting started, I would recommend starting with a set of 5, 10 and 15 weights. If you can splurge, add in a set of 8s.
Neoprene weights are amazing for getting started and are pretty affordable. The Amazon Basics weights are a great deal as you only need to buy what you need and they are colored-coded for quick recognition.
For weights larger than 12 or 15 lb., you will want to stay away from neoprene weights as their handles get too bulky to comfortably hold. Peloton’s larger weights are slimmer and easier to use than standard hex, but also much more expensive!
15 lb. Neoprene / 20 lb. hex weight (with medical tape) and 25 lb. Peloton
The metal handle on these larger weights, however, can be hard on the hands. As a trick, wrap colored medical tape around the handle to provide extra cushioning (as shown on center hex weight above). As an added bonus, the medical tape also color codes your weights!
PELOTON APP – FOR TV OR PHONES
While you can access all of Peloton’s strength classes on the bike, if you don’t have a Bike+ with a turning screen, it can be hard to see the workout! Not to worry, you can access all of Peloton’s content on their app available on most devices, including your Smart TV. If you don’t have a Smart TV, casting via Chromecast or Amazon Stick works great as well.
WORTH THE INVESTMENT – Strength
HardCORE FACEBOOK GROUP
Peloton’s strength workouts are top-notch, but knowing how to navigate through the endless options can be extremely overwhelming! If you are new to weightlifting, I highly recommend starting out with Andy Spears Total Strength Program. The several-week class provides a great introduction to the various moves when weightlifting.
If you are already familiar with the basics of lifting (or even if you’re not), the HardCORE on the Floor is an amazing resource for planning workouts. Every month the group’s founder provides a calendar of highly structured workouts for every day of the month for free to anyone in the group. The group is also very supportive and encouraging for people at all levels of their fitness journey.
As you add to your weights collection, investing in a weight rack will help keep your weights organized. The Marcy 3-tier rack is a crowd favorite (and the rack I use) that offers great quality for its price. In order to hold small 5 lb. neoprene weights, you will need to reverse one of the lower lips of one of the trays (lots of pictures in the Amazon reviews) to make room for shorter handles.
PIVOT (FOR BIKE ONLY)
Another option for doing strength workouts is to purchase an after-market Pivot for the Bike. The Pivot allows you to turn the screen of the Bike 180 degrees like the Bike +. Keep in mind that the installation could void your warranty if it leads to any damage on the bike (this is NOT common though), so be careful!
NOT NECCESARY FOR MOST – Cycling
While Peloton does offer some great classes using resistance bands, there aren’t very many and new classes don’t pop up very often. As a result, don’t plan on using resistance bands regularly during workouts. If you travel a lot, resistance bands are great to travel with and are worth throwing into a suitcase.
Peloton’s resistance bands are color-coded for light, medium, and heavy resistance. They are easy and comfortable to use, but essentially any resistance band with handles can be used for the workouts.
OTHER OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES
While most people just put their phone in one of the water bottle trays, there are many different after-market phone holders to allow for easier access to your phone. Phone trays mount to the handlebars and are great as they also you to store your earbuds, chapstick or any other small items. If you need your phone front and center, Aerow’s phone holder allows you to hang your phone directly over the corner of your bike’s screen.
Need a place to store all your accessories? Peloton shelves – aka home gym organizers – make organizing and storing your shoes, towels and even your workout mat super easy.
Whether to keep little fingers away from your previous bike or you need to protect your bike from dirt and dust during home improvement projects, Peloton-shaped bike covers’ can be a lifesaver. I used this cover during our construction project and it was worth every penny!
HANDLEBAR PAD OR PADDED TAPE
The handlebars on both models of the Peloton are not padded and do not have “soft” grips like a traditional bike. If you need additional padding, Aerow makes removable handlebar pads for both versions of the Peloton. The pads are made of thick foam and in addition to softening the handlebars, they also allow you to sit more upright on the bike.