Peloton Review – Is the Crazy Popular Exercise Bike Worth the Hype?

Peloton burst onto the home fitness scene in 2014 with their sleek, high-tech exercise bike and on-demand streaming classes. Offering the experience of boutique studio spinning from the comfort of home, Peloton quickly developed a cult-like following.

With a price tag exceeding $2,000, Peloton is definitely a major investment. So is the popular exercise bike really worth all the hype? This comprehensive Peloton bike review will examine all the key features, pros and cons to help you decide.

Peloton Bike Overview

The Peloton bike aims to recreate the experience of attending a high-energy spinning class at a boutique fitness studio. Here are the key features that set it apart from other exercise bikes:

Fully Adjustable Bike – The sleek carbon steel frame bike features adjustable handlebars and seat so riders of all sizes can find the perfect fit.

Smooth Magnetic Resistance – Silent belt drive and magnetic resistance system provides resistance range from 1-100 for beginners to advanced riders.

Rotating HD Touchscreen – A 22” HD sweat-resistant touchscreen rotates 180 degrees and tilts up/down for easy viewing from any position.

Clip-In Pedals – Pedals use Look Delta clip-in cycling shoes to keep feet securely in place during intense riding.

Live & On-Demand Classes – Bike comes with family membership to stream thousands of live and on-demand classes daily.

Metrics Tracking – Bike syncs with app to track performance metrics like resistance, cadence, output, heart rate.

Leaderboard – See how you rank vs other riders during classes in real-time.

Music Integration – Instructors curate energizing playlists to keep you motivated.

Social Community – Connect with and compete against other members. Give “high fives” during rides.

Peloton Bike Pros

What are the major advantages of the Peloton bike that help justify the high price?

  • Motivating On-Demand Classes – Endless class variety from expert instructors will push you harder than exercising alone.
  • Live Class Energy – Theme rides, competitions, shouts outs from instructors/fellow riders create a group fitness vibe.
  • Metrics Tracking – Detailed performance data helps you track progress over time.
  • Convenience – Workout anytime without leaving home. Choose class length/style/music based on your mood.
  • Low-Impact – Cycling is gentle on joints vs high-impact activities like running.
  • Compact Footprint – Bike requires just 4ft x 2ft of floor space. Easily fits in apartments/small rooms.
  • Whole Family Access – Included membership allows unlimited profiles for household members.
  • Financing Available – 0% APR financing makes Peloton more affordable. As low as $58/month over 39 months.

Motivating Group Classes

One of the Peloton bike’s biggest differentiators is the variety of streaming spin classes available on-demand or live daily. Choose from beginner rides, advanced HIIT classes, themed rides focused on specific music genres, competitions against fellow riders on the leaderboard and more. Expert instructors coach, challenge and motivate you throughout each ride. Having a schedule of classes eliminates the tendency to skip workouts when exercising alone.

Class TypeDescription
Beginner RidesLow impact, easy pace rides with clear instruction on proper form/technique.
Advanced HIITIntense interval training with bursts of maximal effort.
Themed RidesClasses focused on specific music genres, eras, artists.
Artist SeriesRides themed around a single artist/band’s music.

Having a motivating instructor guide each workout helps you dig deeper versus exercising solo. The energy of live classes with hundreds of fellow riders also makes it easier to push yourself. Overall, the engaging class experience is a major advantage of Peloton.

Convenient Home Workouts

Another big perk of the Peloton bike is the ability to get studio-quality workouts without ever leaving home. The 22” rotating touchscreen lets you take classes anytime, regardless of weather or time constraints.

After a long stressful day, it’s much simpler to walk downstairs and hop on your bike rather than driving across town for a class. You also have thousands of on-demand classes at your fingertips so there are endless options based on your mood or schedule each day.

The Peloton bike eliminates all the little friction points that can derail home workouts. From queuing up playlists to setting up equipment, everything is seamlessly integrated. Just clip in and start pedaling. This convenience and flexibility helps remove common excuses for skipping home workouts.

Detailed Performance Tracking

The Peloton bike syncs with their app to provide detailed performance data including:

  • Total output – Measurement of overall work performed during each ride.
  • Cadence – Your pedal stroke speed measured in revolutions per minute (RPMs).
  • Resistance – Level of resistance applied to bike flywheel from 1-100.
  • Heart rate – Track heart rate trends with compatible monitors.
  • Calories burned – More accurate calorie burn estimates based on your personal metrics.

Having access to real-time output, cadence, resistance data lets you better judge your effort. You can ensure you are working hard enough during interval portions or backing off on recoveries.

The metrics tracked over time also help you clearly see your fitness progress. Trying to beat your previous output or hit certain resistance/cadence targets gives each ride a quantifiable goal. It becomes addicting to see performance improvements over time.

Low-Impact Cycling

While many Peloton classes deliver high-intensity cardio, cycling itself is actually quite gentle on the body compared to exercises like running. The smooth spinning motion reduces stress on joints while still providing an excellent workout.

The adjustable bike fit also ensures proper positioning to minimize strain on the knees, hips and lower back. This makes Peloton a better long-term exercise option for those with injuries or joint issues who still want intense cardio.

Cycling is weight-bearing so it helps strengthen bones. But the lack of pounding impact reduces risk of repetitive stresses that can lead to overuse injuries. For those looking for an intense low-impact cardio option, Peloton checks the box.

Space-Saving Design

Lack of space is a common barrier to having exercise equipment at home. At just 4ft long x 2ft wide, the Peloton bike has a compact footprint. It can fit into apartments, small rooms, even spacious closets if needed.

The bike also requires just 1-2ft of clearance at the front and sides which provides more placement flexibility. And it’s on wheels so you can easily roll it out of the way as needed.

Peloton’s vertical design takes up significantly less floor space than elliptical trainers, treadmills or weight benches. No massive workout room required.

Financing Options Available

The largest downside of Peloton is clearly the staggering price tag. Their original bike retails for $1,895 while the newer Peloton Bike+ costs $2,495. Packages including accessories like shoes, weights, heart rate monitor can reach $2,500-$3,000.

While not exactly affordable, Peloton does offer financing options to break up the cost over time. This includes:

  • 0% APR financing for up to 39 months
  • As low as $58/month with 39 month financing
  • Down payments as low as $250 Spreading out the payments helps make Peloton more accessible. Just be sure to budget accordingly as monthly costs will continue for several years.

Peloton Bike Cons

Of course, the Peloton bike is not without flaws. Here are some of the most common downsides to consider:

  • Expensive – Major investment especially when financing. Hidden fees like $39/month membership after 1 year.
  • Limited Weight Capacity – Max user weight of 297 pounds. Tall riders over 6’4” may feel cramped.
  • Loud Instructors/Music – Noise level unsuitable for apartments/shared spaces during early/late hours.
  • Membership Required – Bike is useless without $39/month membership after 1 year.
  • Spotty Customer Service – Complaints of long hold times, difficult repairs/returns.
  • Basic Metrics Only – No built-in ability to track running metrics like distance/pace/elevation.

Steep Price Over Time

There’s no getting around the fact that Peloton costs a pretty penny, especially once you factor in ongoing costs.

The bike itself costs nearly $2,000. Add on a set of clip-in cycling shoes, weights, heart rate monitor and prices approach $2,500 quickly.

And after the initial 1 year included membership expires, you must continue paying $39 per month for access to the classes. This adds nearly $500 per year in costs.

While financing spreads out payments, you’ll realistically spend $3,000-$4,000+ on Peloton over the first 3 years of ownership. There are cheaper ways to get home cardio and classes if budget is a concern.

Limited User Weight Capacity

Another common complaint is Peloton’s maximum user weight capacity. Currently the maximum rider weight is 297 pounds.

Users over this weight limit report the bike feels unstable and lacks resistance needed for proper workouts. The weight limits could make Peloton unsuitable for some users considering its high price.

The bike construction and flywheel may also feel cramped for taller riders exceeding 6’4”. Budget bikes with heavier frames or larger flywheels may be better options for larger/taller riders despite lacking hi-tech features.

Disruptive Noise Levels

Spinning classes are known for loud instructors, shouted encouragement and blaring music. But what energizes studio riders may annoy family members during early morning or late night Peloton workouts.

Despite headphone use, the rumbling flywheel, stomping feet and instructors’ yelling can be disruptive, especially in apartments or shared living spaces. Night owls and early birds should consider sound transmission to avoid relationship friction.

Peloton Bike Cost Breakdown

Curious what’s included with Peloton and what accessories cost extra? Here’s a detailed breakdown of pricing options:

Peloton Bike$1,895 (original), $2,495 (Bike+)
Delivery & SetupFree (included)
Membership (after 1 year)$39/month
Cycling Shoes$125
Heart Rate Monitor$89 (chest strap), $129 (arm band)
Weights$35 (single), $70 (set of 2)
Bike Mat$69
Bike Stand$125 (standard), $179 (swiveling)

Peloton requires use of their proprietary cycling shoes so most buyers will need to budget an extra $125. Other popular accessories are the heart rate monitor for tracking intensity and free weights for cross training. A bike mat to catch sweat and protect floors runs around $69.

All in, expect to invest $2,500+ for a basic Peloton bike package. Their financing options help spread out these costs over time.

Best Peloton Alternatives

If Peloton is out of your budget, here are the top-rated exercise bikes that offer similar performance for under $1,500:

Bowflex C6

  • Price – $999
  • Key Features – Spinning-style bike, 100 resistance levels, Bluetooth connectivity, device holder
  • Pros – Excellent magnetic resistance, smooth & quiet, 2-year parts warranty
  • Cons – No touchscreen, bring your own tablet/phone

The Bowflex C6 provides a similar smooth magnetic resistance flywheel and adjustable seat/handlebars as Peloton. Lacking the built-in touchscreen, you’ll need to supply your own tablet or phone to stream classes. Excellent lab and user reviews confirm it matches Peloton’s performance at half the price.

Echelon Connect EX3

  • Price – $839
  • Key Features – 21.5” touchscreen, resistance knob, Bluetooth speakers
  • Pros – Lower cost alternative to Peloton, great warranty
  • Cons – Limited class variety, metrics can be inaccurate

This powerspin bike by Echelon Fitness offers a similar experience to Peloton at a lower price point. It comes with integrated touchscreen to stream live and on-demand classes. Resistance adjustment and calibration issues have been reported by some users. But overall a solid budget option.

Schwinn IC4

  • Price – $999
  • Key Features – 40 lb flywheel, 40 levels resistance, LCD display
  • Pros – Commercial grade construction, dual-link pedals work with various shoes
  • Cons – No touchscreen, bring your own tablet/phone

The Schwinn IC4 indoor cycle is built to stand up to repeated intense workout demands. The heavy flywheel provides a smooth, quiet ride that mirrors the feel of Peloton. Bring your own device to use fitness apps and streaming classes. Backed by excellent warranty and customer service.

YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike

  • Price – $439
  • Key Features – 35 lb flywheel, belt drive, steel frame, LCD monitor
  • Pros – Most affordable Peloton alternative, easy assembly, tablets fits well on frame
  • Cons – Limited resistance levels, no pre-programmed workouts

For under $500, the YOSUDA indoor cycle bike offers exceptional value. It matches Peloton’s smooth magnetic resistance in a sturdy steel frame. The large LCD display shows time, speed, distance, calories burned. Just bring a tablet for spin class videos. At half Peloton’s price, it’s a budget-friendly option.

Peloton Bike FAQs

Peloton is packed with hi-tech features that may require some explanation. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Do you need a subscription for Peloton?

Yes, a Peloton membership subscription is required after 1 year of included use. Without the $39 monthly subscription, you can’t access any of their class content. The touchscreen becomes useless and it’s just a stationary bike.

Does every user need their own subscription?

No, one Peloton membership provides unlimited user profiles for all household members. Each person can create their personalized profile and login to track individual workout data, progress, participate in challenges, etc.

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Can you use Peloton without wifi?

No, a wifi connection is required to use Peloton as it streams all classes digitally. Even for Just Ride mode, you’ll need wifi for the screen to function. Some hotels charge fees for wifi access which is important to consider when traveling with Peloton.

Can you use non-Peloton cycling shoes?

Yes, any standard 2-bolt cycling shoes will work with Peloton’s pedals. You just won’t have the Peloton logo. To ensure proper fit and safety, visit a bike shop for expert shoe fitting. Peloton also sells shoes in mens, womens and extended sizes.

How long do Peloton bikes last?

Based on owner surveys, Peloton bikes last approximately 3-5 years on average with regular use. Preventative maintenance like tightening loose bolts can extend lifespan. Peloton’s 1-year parts warranty also provides peace of mind initially.

Is Peloton worth the cost?

At over $2,000, Peloton is a major investment. But financing options as low as $58/month make it attainable for more budgets. For those lacking motivation to workout at home solo, Peloton’s engaging classes and competitive community justify the price long-term. Just be sure to actually use it!

Bottom Line: Worth Investing In?

So after weighing all the pros, cons and alternatives – is Peloton ultimately worth the hype and high price?

If convenience, motivation and competitive drive are most important – Yes, Peloton is worth the investment! The constantly updated leaderboard competitions and wide class variety will push you harder than exercising alone. Just be sure you can afford the ongoing membership fees to fully utilize its potential.

If budget is a major concern – Peloton alternatives like the Bowflex C6 and Echelon Connect cost nearly 50% less while offering a similar smooth ride and class streaming. You just need to supply your own device. These are great options to save money without sacrificing performance.

At the end of the day, thousands of happy Peloton owners swear it’s the best exercise

equipment they’ve ever purchased. Yes, it’s expensive, but financing helps spread out the cost. And the immersive classes keep you engaged and motivated long-term compared to other cardio machines gathering dust in basements.

If you know you struggle with self-motivation to workout at home, Peloton’s energetic community and classes are game-changing. The metrics tracking also provides clear proof your fitness is improving over time. Just be sure to budget for the ongoing membership fees.

For those short on space or funds, the bikes by Bowflex, Echelon and Schwinn provide nearly the same incredible ride and streaming class options for under $1,000. You supply the tablet or phone to save hundreds.

Overall, Peloton delivers an unmatched cardio experience with professional instruction, entertainment and competition conveniently streamed right to your living room. If the price fits your budget, it’s a worthy investment for your health, wellness and enjoyment. Just clip-in and feel the motivation that’s made Peloton a home fitness phenomenon.

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