The Peloton exercise bike has carved out an interesting niche, leveraging the collective craze surrounding the cultish cycling classes (SoulCycle & others) that has been sweeping the nation, and mating that enthusiasm with the ever growing demand for connectivity and large display screens on basically everything in our daily lives. With one of the highest price points on the market, this bike is made to impress the athletic consumer. Its design is sleek and minimal, and though it doesn’t match its competition, in some aspects regarding features it will still win over some shoppers with its 24/7 access to live training classes.
Faced with a rapidly growing competitive pool, we were recently informed of the launch of the Peloton Bike+, which is designed to add further features to the already successful Peloton Bike. While the new Peloton Bike+ comes at an even steeper sticker price of $2,495, but the pleasant surprise came with the news that the classic Peloton Bike would see a price reduction down to $1,895. With this price drop, the bike now competes more effectively with the NordicTrack S22i, the Echelon Connect EX5S, and several others. It still comes up short in regards to its screen not being able to swivel, and the lack of connectivity to Netflix and others (as now offered on the Stryde Bike and Bowflex Velocore), but more often than not it’s the quality of training that seals the deal for Peloton buyers.
For a long time, those shopping for an affordable alternative to Peloton were mostly out of luck. Some brands would come close, but often cutting corners by making users rely on their own iPads or tablets for streaming. This is no longer the case, as MYX Fitness has entered the ring offering a much closer competitor for a significantly lower sticker price (read the full MYX Fitness Bike review here).
The both versions of the Peloton Bike are equipped with an HD touchscreen, a manually controlled magnetic flywheel, and reasonably adjustable ergonomics. The handlebar shaft also features a vertical adjustment to help achieve proper riding posture. Beyond that there are some key features only found in the more expensive Peloton Bike+, but we’ll get into that a little further down in the review. It’s worth noting, as you won’t necessarily catch it right away on the Peloton website, these classes don’t come free. On top of it’s purchase price, a $39/month membership fee is charged for access to its extensive training programming. If you’re after results and have the commitment to back it up, the additional cost is likely going to be worth considering (though some competition offers a similar service with one year subscription included).
Rating: 90.25/100. It’s safe to say that the biggest contributor to the relatively high ranking of the Peloton Bike and Peloton Bike+ is the overall experience with the brand’s instructor-led virtual workouts. Peloton uses real instructors from its NYC location who teach regular classes (you can even see people in the class, at least back before COVID hit), and they are at the top of their game. Though this is not a bike for riders on a budget, the price reflects the quality of the service that comes with the bike, as well as the bike itself. If you’re not willing to spend the additional $39/month on the membership then look elsewhere, but once subscribed you’ll have access to thousands of different workouts such as HIIT rides, themed rides, climbs/sprints, and workouts that incorporate dumbbells (also not included with the bike). With the Peloton Bike+, you’ll be able to take advantage of even more workout options, including yoga, stretching, strength training, cross training, and even Peloton Boot Camp sessions. The brand has (FINALLY) added the ability for its screen to swivel, allowing a proper view from off the bike. Most of its competitors already jumped on this feature since the first Peloton launched, so this a welcome change that brings quite a few perks to the table when compared to the classic Peloton Bike.
Clearly geared towards to the many tech-obsessed fitness enthusiasts, the Peloton is all about connectivity. Through its 21.5” HD touchscreen (or the larger 23.8″ screen on the Bike+), you can either be transported to the Peloton gym in New York City for a live workout, or follow scenic trails through simulated outdoor training. During live training sessions, a video camera lets you chat with the instructor and classmates as you ride—a leaderboard shows the top participants’ scores as added motivation. As noted above, instruction for yoga, general stretching, strength training, and other exercises is also included with Peloton virtual membership, however due to the position of the screen they are much easier to follow on the new Peloton Bike+.
One other shortfall of the classic Peloton Bike that has now been overcome by the Peloton Bike+ is the integration of Auto-Follow resistance. On the original bike, users had to adjust resistance manually, which was a disappointment knowing that similar competition from NordicTrack and Proform allow the bike’s resistance to be controlled by instructors of their live iFit training programs. With the new version, this ‘live’ functionality comes with what Peloton is referring to as Auto-Follow.
Engineering for the Peloton bike is respectable, and at least up to snuff considering its north of $2k price point. The machine came to market as a Kickstarter project all the way back in 2013, and it launched with support from “people like you” who care about home fitness. It’s sturdy, constructed of high strength steel and other higher grade materials, and just like a commercial exercise bike, the Peloton home exercise bike is adjustable for just about any body size. The saddle adjusts to fit riders from 4’11” to 6’5” tall, and supports riders with a weight limit of 305 pounds.
The new Peloton Bike will set you back $1,895, and the Bike+ is priced at $2,495, including delivery with assembly, though don’t forget to factor in the $39/month fees when comparing it to other models. This bike’s top competitor is the NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio, that boasts similar features. With the Peloton bike you’re still getting an elite spin bike, but also investing in the live instruction and social features of a virtual studio membership.
Purchase includes a 12-month warranty on parts, electronics and labor. Extended warranties are available to cover the purchase up to 39 months.
Here are lists of pros and cons we’ve noted in a preliminary Peloton bike review.
- Thousands of enthusiastic customer reviews & very few complaints
- Connect with spin classes 24/7
- 21.5” or 23.8″ touch screen and stereo speakers for immersive experiences
- Improved speaker system on Bike+
- Connection to Apple Watch for tracking on Bike+
- Swiveling screen on Bike+
- Automatic resistance adjustment during classes on Bike+
- Webcam for in-class video chats
- Compatible with wired and Bluetooth headphones
- Bluetooth for automated statistics tracking
- Welded steel frame with powder coating for a durable finish
- Adjustable saddle and handlebars; sized for riders from 4’11” to 6’5”
- Takes up little floor space; Peloton bike dimensions are just 48” L x 24″ W
- Peloton customer service available daily by phone and online chat
- Higher price point and monthly membership required
- No fan in the screen display as other bikes include
- No tray or holder for items such as phone, keys, etc.
- Screen does not swivel on classic Peloton Bike
Peloton Workout Programs
The Peloton is a popular model in the cycling community as many riders are looking to find a bike that provides the experience of being in a spin class while in their own home. The Peloton is the closest riders will get to an in-studio experience without physically leaving their homes. Peloton has upped the ante in their quality of fitness app by using real instructors whose classes are filmed in NYC. Many apps on the market can come across cheesy, overly rehearsed and inauthentic, where the Peloton gives you a real, motivating and sweat dripping experience. The music has a ton of variety from throwbacks to modern age hip hop which left me singing along even when the workout was finished.
Alex Toussaint is one of the top instructors for Peloton and was my personal favourite on the app. He speaks to his class as if you are in it rather than filming for an app. The dialogue is often funny, inspiring and most importantly, real. He is motivating and informative telling you exactly how much resistance to add and at what cadence you should be riding. The instructors inform you of how to use the numbers at the bottom of the screen: cadence, output and resistance and always tell you where you should be or striving to be in different parts of the ride. Other bikes on the market tell you to add resistance but this is the first I have seen where you can see the amount of resistance you are adding for a more accurate workout.
Peloton organizes studio bike classes into these eight categories:
- Beginner – The easiest Peloton rides, all low-impact
- Low Impact – Low impact rides for all experience levels
- Rhythm – Spin bike workouts set to a beat
- Theme – Bike classes set to musical themes such as classic country or 1980s rock
- Live DJ – Peloton classes with live DJs for workouts especially focused on fun
- Metrics – Highly structured rides focused on cadence, resistance and output
- Climb – Rides that use resistance to simulate uphill climbs
- Heart Rate Zone – Workouts focused on any of five effort levels as measured by heart rate
Peloton videos are also designed to help you focus on your arms, core and total-body stretching.
Following each Peloton workout you get the chance to review each ride and rate the music, and the company uses feedback to continually improve and adapt to members’ preferences. You can also use the bike’s social media feature to recommend a specific Peloton workout to friends.
Peloton Exercise Bike Features
The flywheel and seat are important features to look at when purchasing an indoor exercise bike as you are going to be spending a lot of time on the bike and should be comfortable riding it. The magnetic flywheel is quiet and smooth as butter. You could be riding right beside someone in your home and they would barely hear the wheel moving. The push-stop option with the resistance knob is also extremely smooth with no friction to bring the wheel to a complete stop. The seat on this bike is narrow like a road bike seat but cushioned for comfort when riding in the saddle. If you are looking for a smaller, professional seat but without the discomfort of actual road bike seats, the Peloton will be perfect for you.
With any great piece of equipment there are always some downfalls that users will find. One of the main things that would be considered a negative about the Peloton is the screen’s inability to swivel. Some of the workouts require off the bike movements so not being able to turn the screen like its competitors definitely makes it more difficult to use. Another feature that is less desirable is the fact that the screen is so close to the user’s face when riding, especially as some of the rides require out of the saddle work that would bring you within centimeters of the screen. Something to consider when buying a stationary bike with a screen that doesn’t move is that if there are times when you don’t want to ride to a video but perhaps your own TV, the screen will be distractedly in your way.
The Peloton home exercise bike weighs a sturdy 135 pounds. Its charcoal grey frame is 125 pounds of carbon steel, and the console with wide screen adds another 10 pounds.
For showing live and on-demand spin classes, the Peloton bike has a 21.5” screen. The screen shows HD video and uses touch technology. High fidelity stereo speakers are included.
A 5 megapixel camera faces the rider for video chat. You can use the webcam to interact with classmates and instructors.
The Peloton bike frame is powder coated to be sweat-resistant.
The bike provides nearly silent resistance with a high end magnetic belt drive.
Peloton’s saddle is molded and can be micro-adjusted vertically and horizontally with levers. Peloton handlebars are adjustable too.
This bike takes 4 feet x 2 feet of floor space. Caster wheels are attached for easy repositioning.
Warranty & Guarantee
The Peloton bike warranty provides 12 months of coverage for the bike’s parts, electronics and labor. Two extended warranties are available, with the longest bringing coverage to 39 months for $230.
For a Peloton warranty to remain valid, the bike needs to be kept where it was originally assembled.
Overall, the Peloton lives up to its high status and price point, but it is also very much geared towards the rider looking for training support rather than someone that wants to build or already has their own training regiment sorted. The new Bike+ makes up some ground where it fell flat before, but the sticker price reflects these added perks. The lowered price of the conventional Peloton bike is a bit more appealing now, if you’re most focused on the digital/live experience the brand is known for.
This bike is also a great option for users with busy lifestyles that do not allow them to go to conventional spin classes. I definitely wouldn’t recommend the Peloton for someone who is new to exercise bikes or isn’t already enthusiastic about spin classes overall. The app also requires a monthly membership fee that would be what most people pay for a gym membership, so it is definitely a model for avid riders and fitness fanatics rather than someone who’s starting to work on new fitness goals. Even if the added training is of interest, I’d suggest also looking at the Peloton’s closest competition, the NordicTrack S22i. Between a lower price, additional features, and pricing inclusive of training videos, it’s a compelling alternative for those who haven’t already succumbed to the Peloton siren song. As a suggestion to those considering the Peloton, try downloading the Peloton app and spend some time exploring it before investing in the bike itself. While you will truly only have a real spin class experience by physically going to a studio, the Peloton is about as close as you’ll get from a home exercise bike for now.