When it comes to luxury indoor cycles, few are as highly rated as Keiser’s M3i and the Peloton Bike. Both cycles come with hoards of dedicated users, although the bikes themselves are quite different.
The most notable difference would have to be that the Peloton is designed to be a streaming bike (you may’ve noticed that huge tv screen console sitting on the handlebars), while the M3i isn’t.
But the differences don’t stop there.
The Peloton comes with a heavy flywheel system, while the Keiser utilizes a light flywheel.
Speaking of flywheels, the Peloton comes with its wheel in the traditional front location, while the M3i has its wheel in the rear.
As you can see, there are quite a few differences between these 2 bikes, but it’s still safe to say both amongst the best home exercise bikes on the market.
They just go about doing their thing in completely different ways.
But if you’re trying to choose between ’em, you’ve come to the right place.
In this review, I’ll compare these 2 elite cycles head-to-head with regards to all their key specs and features.
After reading, you’ll not only know all the differences between them, but you should also know which cycle is best suited for your home.
Let’s get rollin’.
|The Peloton Bike
|8 lb flywheel
24 magnetic resistance levels
|35 lb flywheel
100 magnetic resistance levels
|92 lb assembled weight
350 lb weight capacity
|135 lb assembled weight
297 lb weight capacity
|10 year frame
3 year parts
90 day wearable items
|5 year frame
1 year parts
1 year labor
|Small LCD console
Heart rate monitor compatible
Fully adjustable seat
Fully adjustable handlebars
Dual compatible pedals
|22" HD touchscreen console
Fully adjustable seat
Height adjustable handlebars
Dual water bottle holders
$39/month streaming fee
The Keiser M3i vs The Peloton Bike
Above image courtesy of Peloton
I feel like Peloton needs no introduction- I mean let’s be real, you can’t turn your tv on for 10 minutes without seeing one of their commercials.
And realistically, if you’ve found your way here, you’re probably familiar with Keiser too, but since they aren’t quite as well-known to the general public, it can’t hurt to provide a little background info here.
The brand has been around for decades and started out with their innovative strength training machines that used hydraulic and pneumatic systems to provide resistance.
And even though most of us know of them because of their popular M3i bike, their strength training equipment is used by the majority of the professional sport teams out there.
Keiser, as a brand, comes with a stellar reputation for providing top of the line equipment.
Oh, I should mention that there are 2 Peloton bikes to choose from these days: the Peloton Bike (original) and the Bike+.
In this article, I’ll be comparing the M3i to the Peloton Bike.
I should probably also mention that I’m a happy Peloton owner myself- so I’ll try to keep my biases to a minimum…
Let’s start our comparison off by taking a look at the resistance system each bike uses because this is the most important performance spec there is.
And by that I mean that the resistance system is responsible for the feel and intensity of each workout- so, it’s a pretty crucial component.
The resistance system for a spin bike is comprised of a weighted flywheel and a resistance mechanism (friction brake/magnetic).
The Peloton and M3i are both magnetic bikes, so we can skip the friction brake discussion for now (just know that magnetic systems are better).
So let’s talk flywheels.
Most home cycles are designed so that having a heavy flywheel is beneficial.
I say “most” because some elite bikes, like the M3i, are designed to utilize a light flywheel.
The thing to keep in mind is that the flywheel’s job is to provide a smooth pedaling motion. Heavy flywheels are often used because it’s an easier way to achieve this goal.
The extra weight a heavy flywheel has builds momentum as it spins- this momentum actually helps keep that heavy flywheel moving, which in turn reduces any lag between pedal strokes.
The result is a smooth pedal motion.
And since it doesn’t cost that much to add bulk to the flywheel, these days we see massive flywheels on even the most affordable indoor cycles.
Well, you can also achieve momentum with a light flywheel, you just have to get that flywheel spinning faster.
I’m not an engineer or anything, but physics shows us that you can achieve more momentum (inertia) by spinning a light flywheel faster than by adding more weight to the flywheel itself.
(Groom & Style has a great article on this- check it out here for more info).
Well, this is why Keiser’s chose to go with a light flywheel on their M3i.
The M3i only comes with an 8 lb flywheel, which is crazy light compared to the huge flywheels found on most home cycles, but unlike these other bikes, that light flywheel is spinning 11x for every full pedal rotation.
This gear ratio gets Keiser’s flywheel spinning faster than any other bike’s flywheel, which in turn creates even more momentum, resulting in a smooth feel.
Peloton, on the other hand, is more traditional and comes with a 35 lb flywheel.
Users of both bikes (myself included) agree that both bikes feel smooth to ride, but some feel the light flywheel is a little easier on your joints because you don’t have the extra weight trying to pull your legs through the pedal motion.
I mentioned that both bikes are magnetic, but I should also point out that they come with different amounts of resistance levels too.
The Peloton comes with 100 resistance levels, allowing you to make very small changes to the intensity as you see fit.
The M3i comes with 24 resistance levels.
Keep in mind, having less resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean you get less resistance, it just means you have less control to make small adjustments.
Oh, I almost forgot- the location of the flywheels is different between these 2 bikes too.
The Peloton has its flywheel in the front (more traditional), while the M3i comes with a rear mounted flywheel.
Looks aside, Keiser reports that having a rear mounted flywheel protects it from sweat damage (which makes sense), but Peloton’s flywheel is protected by a guard, so it’s not like you’ll have to worry about damage there either.
Otherwise, there’s no performance advantage whatsoever to having a front vs rear mounted flywheel.
Although I do think the rear mounted design looks kinda badass.
Overall, the light vs heavy flywheel design is one of the biggest differences between the Peloton and the M3i.
Alright, let’s take a look at how the bikes themselves compare to each other – by that, I really mean the frames.
The resistance systems are super important, but it’s a good idea to look at how heavy-duty the frames are too.
The best way to get an idea as to how heavy-duty a bike is without being able to test it out first is to look at the assembled weight.
And seeing heavier weights is a good thing.
After all, “heavy-duty” is just another term for “stable”, and generally speaking, a heavier bike is more likely to feel stable than a lighter one.
The Peloton comes with an assembled weight of 135 lb, which is high for a spin bike.
The M3i comes with an assembled weight of 92 lb, which is on the lighter side.
A couple of things to consider though:
- The M3i is designed with a light flywheel, so you don’t have the extra flywheel weight to add to the total assembled weight
- The M3i doesn’t have a huge console
If you subtract the difference in flywheels (27 lb) and the console (~10 lb), there isn’t much difference between the weights of these 2 bikes.
I also like to compare weight capacities because secure bikes usually come with higher weight limits than less stable models.
The Peloton only comes with a weigh limit of 297 lb, which is very average for a home indoor cycle.
On the other hand, the lighter M3i comes with an impressive 350 lb limit.
Now, I can tell you from experience that the Peloton feels rock solid during use and Keiser users have 0 complaints about frame stability as well.
But to sum things up, as expected the Peloton is much heavier than the M3i, but that extra weight doesn’t equate to a higher weight limit.
The lighter M3i comes with a significantly higher weight capacity than the Peloton.
But expect both bikes to feel stable and secure during workouts.
Before we get to the more exciting features, let’s review the warranty info for each cycle.
I know warranties can be kinda boring to talk about, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re still very important.
A strong warranty can add peace of mind about a purchase (especially when talking about an investment as significant as either one of these cycles).
Peloton offers the following residential warranty on their bike:
- 5 year frame
- 1 year parts
- 1 year labor
And Keiser offers the following warranty on their M3i:
- 10 year frame
- 3 year parts
- 90 day wearable items
So yea, Keiser’s warranty blows Peloton’s out of the water.
They offer 2x the frame warranty Peloton does and 3x the parts guarantee.
I’m not sure why Peloton’s warranties are so short- they don’t have a reputation of breaking down or anything.
Regardless, when it comes to the warranties, it’s not much of a competition.
Keiser actually offers one of the better warranties you’ll find on an indoor cycle (although Bowflex offers a great warranty on their C6 too).
Ok, let’s get to the fun stuff (and give Peloton a chance to fight back after the beating it just took in the warranty department).
The most notable feature on the Peloton is its 22″, HD touchscreen console.
Through this gorgeous console, you get access to unlimited, instructor-led streaming workouts.
These include both live and on-demand options and cover cycling, strength training, stretching, and pretty much any other type of workout you can think of.
Of course, these streaming benefits come with an ongoing monthly fee of $39 (certainly something to consider when planning out your budget).
The Peloton’s console is bluetooth compatible with wireless headphones and heart rate monitors and you access all the streaming media via wi-fi.
Other than the huge console and streaming capabilities, the Peloton also comes with a fully adjustable seat, Delta-compatible pedals (no toe cages), height adjustable handlebars, dual water bottle holders, and dumbbell holders.
A pair of dumbbells isn’t included, you have to pay a little extra for the package that includes these.
So, the star of the show for Peloton is obviously the console and access to all the streaming media.
Now the M3i isn’t designed as a streaming cycle, so it doesn’t come with a huge screen.
Instead, it comes with a small LCD console that simply displays all the key metrics you’d expect from an indoor cycle.
These include cadence, speed, distance, time, calories, and power.
Speaking of power, the M3i’s console has been certified for its accuracy in calculating watt output- not something that might matter to casual riders, but definitely something serious cyclists might want to consider.
The M3i is compatible with heart rate monitors and it’s also bluetooth compatible with Keiser’s fitness app for metric tracking and whatnot.
The M3i also comes with a fully adjustable seat, fully adjustable handlebars, and dual compatible pedals (toe cage and SPD).
Oh, the M3i also comes with a V-shaped frame that can accommodate folks all the way up to 7′ tall, which is quite impressive for a spin bike.
Time to talk numbers.
I hate to quote specific prices because we all know these numbers can change as soon as I publish this, but what the hell- I’ll do it anyway.
At the time of writing this, these cycles cost the following:
- The Peloton Bike: $1495
- The Keiser M3i: $2095
Peloton recently dropped the price on their original bike by like $400, making it a whole lot cheaper than it used to be.
I think that was smart, given how much competition they have in the streaming market these days.
But anyway, the M3i costs about $600 more than the Peloton, which is quite a bit.
Of course, if you do go with the Peloton, you have to keep in mind that the listed price above is for the bike only- if you get the shoes, dumbbells, and headphones package it’ll cost ya an additional $200.
And then there’s that ongoing $39/month streaming fee to consider too.
Add all that up and the price difference between these 2 bikes gets a lot smaller.
Ok, that’s about all I’ve got, so it’s probably a good time to wrap this article up.
These 2 cycles have made their way to the top of the exercise bike food chain for good reason- they’re both hi-tech, elite cycles that can perform with the best of ’em.
But they’re also very different from each other.
The Peloton is designed as a streaming cycle and the M3i is not.
The Peloton also utilizes a heavy flywheel system while the M3i utilizes a light flywheel system.
In terms of hi-tech features, the Peloton has the advantage; in terms of high-end performance, the M3i likely has the advantage.
When deciding between them, the easiest way would be to consider whether or not you want access to the streaming workouts.
If yes, then the Peloton makes more sense.
But if you’re an elite cyclist or someone simply looking for the best, then the Keiser’s M3i might make more sense.
Either way you go, you can’t go wrong.