Peloton has a cult following, with thousands of rave approvals of lives changed for the better in ways never before possible. Is the Peloton bike really that special?Peloton is a waste of money?Perhaps more importantly, is it worth the money?
What you will learn
- Peloton Specifications
- The Peloton bike
- Is the Peloton bike worth the cost?Peloton is a waste of money?
- The peloton feels authentic
- Is Peloton for you?
- 5 best Peloton alternatives bikes for 2022
- Size: 59″ W x 53″ H x 23″ W
- display included: 21.5 inch Android 7 custom tablet
Subscription Required: Yes
- Engaging Coaches and Lessons
- High quality course
- Easy to track progress and milestones
- Just the right level of social interaction
- Very expensive
- Material closed
- Nature Rides Starring Snoop Dog
Since its creation in 2014, Peloton has grown steadily. However, in 2021, it took off and became the most popular home fitness service in the world. Despite its reputation as an expensive and overrated fitness fad, it shows no signs of slowing down.
Although it has attracted legions of dedicated members, there has been a feeling growing cynicism towards the premium home fitness movement in general, with Peloton as its focus. I am, embarrassingly, one of the cynical people. It was with some trepidation that I embarked on this review, because frankly – I expected to hate every second.
This review covers Bike, the entry-level Peloton exercise bike, as well as the service as a whole which offers many other strength, yoga and aerobics classes in addition to those taken on the bike.
Peloton now has a cult following with thousands glowing endorsements of lives changed for the better in ways never before possible. Is Peloton really that special? Perhaps more importantly, is it worth the money?
The Peloton bike
The Peloton Bike is a flywheel stationary bike that uses magnetic resistance, which is adjusted using a dial on the top tube . It’s fully mechanical, which means the bike runs normally even when it’s not plugged in.
These types of bikes are incredibly quiet in operation, and biking is no different. If you were on the bike with headphones on, your breathing would be the loudest sound anyone could hear. It’s adjustable to fit almost any size, and the bike walks you through setting it up via the tablet’s touchscreen. The frame and flywheel are constructed from welded steel and weigh 135 lbs 61 kg, which makes it stable on most floors, but quite difficult to move despite its two rubber wheels.
The bike is sleek and premium. Other than the cup holder and rear rack for the weights, nothing feels flashy or surplus to requirements. Simply put, it’s a good stationary bike.
Peloton bikes use the Look Delta cleat system and provide Peloton-branded Delta-compatible shoes, although these must be purchased separately from the bike or as part of a set. The shoes are solid and I was advised to take a size above my usual shoes. Throughout testing, the shoes felt sturdy and comfortable. The seat – which has a reputation for being uncomfortable – is a typical mid-wide saddle. I found it perfectly comfortable, but some padded shorts might be worth investing in some.
The Peloton Tablet
The Peloton Bike features a 21.5-inch tablet running a custom version of Android 7. It is designed for use with the Peloton app only and there is no supported way to add your own apps to the device. This is of course a point of contention, and if you’re looking for a bike you can watch Netflix on, this isn’t for you.
The screen is a multi-touch screen 1080p which is bright, and the quality is good enough for anything Peloton offers, as is the built-in front camera and microphone used for taking classes with friends. The bike’s sensors feed the back of the tablet, and each workout records these inputs in real time, giving you your cadence, resistance, and overall power metrics during workouts.
In use, the tablet felt fully capable of what it was designed for with no stuttering, and although both 10-watt rear speakers are nothing to write home about, they get the job done. That said, I rarely used them as I spent most of my time with Bluetooth headphones. You can stream from the tablet via Chromecast and Miracast, and both ANT+ and Bluetooth heart rate monitors are supported.
The application is also available on Android, Android TV, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV and some others, as well as through the browser offering many options for where and how take lessons without a bike.
There’s not much to say about the tablet itself, although that’s one of the differences between the Bike and the Bike+ , so let’s look at that now.
Peloton Bike vs Peloton Bike+
The Peloton Bike+ is an improved version of the original bike. Its base cost is $2495, and the extra $1000 doesn’t get you much. The two biggest differences the Peloton Bike+ brings are Apple Gymkit integration and a new digital resistance system that can be remote controlled – replacing the mechanical resistance handle with a digital rotary encoder.
The auto-tracking digital resistance dial is a nice idea, but it’s only available for on-demand classes, and I really don’t see how changing your own resistance “breaks the immersion.”
Note here: the Peloton bike will still work, even if the system crashes and the app has gone – even if you have a power outage – it’s just a stationary bike. I’m not sure if this is also true for the Peloton Bike+.
Other differences include a larger touchscreen with a swivel stand so you can use it for yoga and strength work, an upgraded speaker set, and a processor slightly beefier with more RAM.
If money isn’t an issue, get the Peloton Bike+, but with the price difference now so high, it’s something something I would have a hard time justifying.
The Peloton app
The Peloton app works as a skin on top of the Android operating system. You use it to find and follow courses, as well as the light social elements of Peloton, like adding friends on Facebook or finding Peloton’s hashtag descriptor system.
You could never use the app on another device and you wouldn’t lose anything in the experience. That said, I found myself using the Android app a lot more for things like yoga and weight training, as it meant I could do it in another part of my house.
The Peloton application has two levels of access. The cheaper digital only subscription does not work with the Peloton bike and is a unique user experience with no progress tracking.lots of content for the price – not relevant to the bike.
All-Access subscription costs $39 per month – which is not cheap. This is also a requirement for all Peloton gear. That said, the All-Access subscription is per household. Each member of your family can have their own individual user profile, track their own progress, and store their own favorite music and rides under one subscription.
So, the application offers everything the service offers, but… what does Peloton offer you?
The experience of the peloton
L he Peloton experience is seamless. It was delivered and installed in my fifth-floor walk-up apartment, and the delivery people set everything up and gave me a brief intro on how to operate the bike.
From there, you pick a ride, save, and start the lesson. A charismatic instructor welcomes you to the session in English or German, and Spanish sessions were announced earlier this year. There will be some information on what you are going to do in terms of intensity, speed, time and basic information on how to use the bike. There may be information about upcoming music choices or any other themes the ride might have.
Depending on how you feel, you can tune in write for almost militaristic hardcore with ruthlessly encouraging undertones “ride to a better you”, or you can choose a feel-good party theme with tunes to match. Maybe you need a pep talk to boost your confidence for a big day.
Peloton offers all of this alongside its regular fitness program, and although not everything is relevant to me, a surprising amount has been effective alongside the structure of a spin course.
Most sessions feature a leaderboard, indicating who is riding with you. You can tap on people’s names and give virtual high-fives that will appear as notifications on their screen with a prompt to come back to the top. The leaderboards also allow you to see where you stand on the overall power scale – a number generated from the speed you pedal against the difficulty applied by the magnets.
These rankings can be filtered by age, gender, location and tag – the hashtag system from Peloton to add credentials. The social element is small, but enough to make you feel like you’re doing something in a group, without having to be in a group. Alternatively, you can opt out of the social aspect altogether and take the classes on your own.
In addition to the usual spin class elements, there’s the occasional shoutout for riders hitting a stage – 100 laps, 500 laps, maybe that’s just their birthday. Knowing this would happen on entering I was a little worried I would find it creaky, but I didn’t, and I can’t deny that getting a birthday shout out gave me more momentum. than I had imagined. Maybe it was just the endorphins.
Music lessons for Peloton are arranged and played automatically, with the ability to choose favorite tracks during races that display as playlist in a linked Spotify account. A nice feature is the ability to change the sound balance. If you want to hear less instructor and more music, you can, and vice versa. It’s well balanced enough that you can still hear both, but it gives more flexibility than just a volume control.
Everything is focused, smooth and easy to follow . Peloton classes are designed simply to make you work hard and feel good, in a virtual group or on your own – and in three full months, they’ve managed to achieve that with almost every ride I’ve taken.
In addition to general outings, there are targeted classes to work on heart rate zones, multi-part classes to learn about key training concepts – from improving your kicking technique to driving to the marathon race or even learning how to sleep better.
Where the service deviates is with the nature rides – pre-recorded video of various locations that move at your speed. It would have been wonderful, but they also have music – which you can’t turn off. The journey through the magnificent forest of Pūpūkea in Hawaii’ I am accompanied by… Snoop Dogg.
There is also a kind of game Rhythm Rider in development, but at the time of writing this review, the beta program has yet to begin. Looks like Peloton is at least dipping its toes into gamified workouts, so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
Ultimately, the rides I described at the start of this section are at the heart of the Peloton Bike experience. Anyway, it’s great if you like the format, and surprisingly I did.
The experience is smooth, but from a distance, there are obvious limitations here. As mentioned before, the bike is for Peloton and Peloton only. Depending on who you are, this could be seen as a positive – a focused experience in a world of constant distractions. Although I’m actually someone who thinks I always concede that when bikes of similar value come with streaming services and all the digital conveniences, that’s a glaring omission.
A much heavier limitation comes from the basic design of Peloton hardware and services. Something that expensive having only one use case is a good goal, but also doesn’t deliver much in terms of security. If Peloton as a company folds – say due to a bad product launch that resulted in lawsuits – what happens to your hardware?
Is the Peloton bike worth the cost?Peloton is a waste of money?
At $1495 for the base bike, it’s pricey, no doubt about it. Other bikes that mechanically do what Peloton does are less expensive, and some at the same price offer extras like simulated climbing and incline adjustment for core workouts. Other bikes also let you use media services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, but Peloton limits you to just their app.
Bike Essentials package adds shoes, light weights and headphones for an additional $150, although this is completely optional as long as you have a pair of third-party shoes that are compatible with Look Delta cleats.
When you c Consider the initial outlay for the bike, plus the $39 per month unlimited access subscription you need to get the most out of it, it can be hard to see why so many people think it’s worth it. The answer lies in the service itself.
The peloton feels authentic
Although expensive, Peloton offers exactly what they advertise. If Peleton generated hype, he did it by creating a fitness service that people truly engage with, regardless of previous exercise experiences. Although there are no stats to back it up, it certainly seems like people who struggled to exercise at home or felt uncomfortable in public gyms have managed to stay with Peloton for hundreds and sometimes thousands of rides.
Peloton has achieved this by selecting instructors that people bond with, who not only exude personality, but structure courses to challenge a wide range of users. People have their favorites, so much so that when two of Peloton’s most popular instructors announced their engagement, it was treated almost like celebrity news.
They also managed to create a social system that walks the line between everyone being on the same team and every individual being in friendly competition – while also making it very easy to just fire and opt out if you don’t feel like it.
Regardless of what it looks like from the outside, from the inside Peloton feels just as vibrant as the glowing testimonials show.
Is Peloton for you?
Despite the shift from an extremely cynical to a positive point of view, I still maintain that the Peloton bike and service is nothing new, and is not is not quite special l as his diehard fans would have you believe. If you already have good fitness habits, Peloton probably won’t improve them.
But, if you’re not someone who feels uncomfortable in the gym gym but struggles to motivate themselves to work out at home, Peloton offers a social and structured experience based on self-confidence and self-improvement.
The polished service, top-notch gear, and endless stories of personal transformation seem to answer at least one of the important questions:
Is Peleton worth the hype? Yes. It’s pricey but casts an incredibly wide net, and those who benefit from it are likely to think it’s worth every penny.
5 best Peloton alternatives bikes for 2022
The Bowflex VeloCore is a Peloton rival — and so much more. Although it isn’t exactly a budget choice — the 22-inch version costs $2,199, which is more than the Bike — it offers features that neither Peloton option has (or in any other fitness bike).
The VeloCore’s main selling feature is its unique Lean Mode, which allows the bike to wobble from side to side to simulate a more natural riding experience when unlocked. This results in a greater exercise and a more engaging experience, especially if you’re on a picturesque trip. Because the VeloCore is bigger and has a broader footprint than both Peloton cycles, it can support heavier riders (up to 325 pounds).However, if you have limited room, it may not be the best bike for you.
Bowflex’s JRNY membership program, which costs $19.99/month after a two-month free trial, includes original streaming content. There are no live classes or leaderboards; all material, including trainer-led exercises and beautiful rides, is available on demand. The JRNY membership gives you access to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ in addition to Bowflex’s content. If you don’t like the material, don’t worry: there’s no need to subscribe to JRNY, and the VeloCore is compatible with other fitness applications (including Peloton’s).
CAROL is a customized stationary workout cycle driven by artificial intelligence. CAROL’s AI-powered algorithms combine your biometric and performance data to generate and apply tailored resistance in real time, allowing you to attain supramaximal power on every ride.
As a result, by exercising for less than nine minutes every day for eight weeks, you can get long-term fitness gains. CAROL’s main program, which was created by scientists, is just 8 minutes and 40 seconds long. Simply cycle, and CAROL will adapt the resistance and power to your unique fitness level and performance capabilities utilizing AI-powered algorithms and scientific research procedure.
Why should you ride a CAROL bike?
CAROL is your personal trainer and home workout ergometer, as prescribed by doctors and scientifically proved. It is a quiet, solid, and strong workout equipment.
Their bike has a very precise ergometer that regulates the magnetic brakes for supramaximal power, laser-guided motor controls, an HR monitor that collects ECG signals, a freewheel for safety, and a quiet belt to reduce pedaling noise.
If you want more than just a bike, the MYX fitness bike, like the Peloton Bike+, offers a “complete fitness system” for half the price. The MYX boasts a 21.5-inch touchscreen that swivels and tilts like the Bike+’s, but it costs $1,299 ($1,499 if you want all of the extras, like bike/workout mats and weights).
You’ll need to sign up for MYX’s streaming on-demand subscription, which is even cheaper than Peloton at $29 per month. The MYX subscription includes on-demand workout videos and Apple Health integration. There are no live exercises or leaderboards, and the content feels more like watching a YouTube video than joining a group — which isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but some people require a little more motivation.
The MYX fitness bike is a cost-effective choice for those who want some of the Peloton experience but not all of it. It’s still a dedicated workout machine that eliminates excuses (it’s a lot easier to skip a workout if you need to… You won’t feel like you’re joining a cult if you first locate and charge your iPad.
The 3G Cardio Elite UB Upright Bike has a very comfortable, adjustable big seat that will benefit your behind! The Elite UB Upright Bike is extremely well built, with industrial standard components and a small compact overall length of 41″. It will fit perfectly into any space you select. The Elite UB Bike, with a user weight capability of up to 350 lbs. and a 7-year components warranty, will make you feel like you’ve taken the gym home!
Hand-held heart rate contact sensors and a wireless heart rate chest strap are included with the Elite UB. Using the digital large size electronics display, you can easily reach your water bottle during exercises. You may effortlessly set your chosen programs with a simple dial control.
The Renpho AI Smart Bike is meant to provide an indoor bike experience that does not require an additional subscription, whether you want to get in shape or work on your riding legs. Overall, it performs a nice job, but you will have to make certain hardware and software tradeoffs.
It’s a small-space configuration that’s simple to set up and use, with adjustments in the proper locations to provide a pleasant ride. You don’t get a built-in display, so you have to rely on your own phone or tablet, and it’s little inconvenient that there isn’t somewhere to put a water bottle when things start to get steamy.
Peloton is a waste of money？What makes CAROL bike unique?Why CAROL Is Better Than Peloton?