Peloton Bike Review

Do you like spin classes but hate going to the gym? If the answer is yes, you have probably looked at some exercise bikes for your home.  During this search, you have likely come across the Peloton bike. At first, this might seem like just another brand name in a long list of at-home spin bike brand names.  However, it is worth taking a closer look and seeing what this bike brand has to offer.

There is a lot you need to consider before you buy any exercise bike and the Peloton is no different.  If you do not have the time to research the company and what they have to offer, we have done that for you.


What is on Offer?

If you have been looking into spin bikes, you will know that Peloton has been the main name in the game for a long time.  The brand also has a serious following even with the recent issue they had with their latest TV advert. This following may lead you to wonder what is on offer that makes this bike so popular.

Peloton Bike Logo Printed on the Frame

The Peloton is a high-end indoor exercise bike with the price tag to match.  The bike goes beyond the usual exercise bike you can get from your local store.  It is Wi-Fi enabled and comes with a 22-inch touchscreen.

While all of this is impressive for an at-home exercise bike, there is much more you should know about the bike and the brand.  With this bike, you do not only get an exercise tool, but you also get access to live and on-demand classes.


The Basic Equipment

When you first look at the Peloton bike, it looks just like the ones in your spin class.  The frame is sleek and you can see it is stable and well built.

The bike has a weight of 135 pounds, but you can easily move it using the two small wheels on the front bar of the frame.  The fame itself is made from welded steel and the pedals are aluminum.

While looking at the frame, you will notice the space in the back.  This carrier area is where you can store two hand weights that you may need for certain exercises.  While the bike comes with the carry area, you need to buy the weights separately.

The weight holder is not the only storage space on offer with the basic equipment.  The front of the bike has two water bottle holders that help you keep hydrated as you exercise.  There is one issue with these bottle holders. They are not as solid as the rest of the bike and can feel flimsy in comparison.

Peloton Bike on White Background

Having a solid frame important, but what about the parts of the bike that you work with?  The seat is comfortable when compared to other indoor exercise bikes. It can also be adjusted in both height and depth.  This is important because it makes the bike easier for anyone to use.

The handles are also adjustable allowing the bike to accommodate riders with a height from 4’11” to 6’5”.  The handlebars also have a good grip so you never slip during your workout. They are also secure and will not wobble as you exercise which is something you can find with other exercise bikes.

The pedals of the bike are aluminum and you need to use cycling shoes with them.  The pedal clips are Look Delta compatible so you might have to get new shoes if you have standard SPD shoes and cleats.  These clips are well made and easy to use making your exercise routine easier to get into.

One of the major drawing cards of the Peloton exercise bike is the screen.  The screen is actually a sweatproof touchscreen tablet that is Wi-Fi enabled and has Bluetooth.  The screen itself is 22 inches which is really big.


Using The Bike

The features of the Peloton bike are important, but if they are hard to use there is no point in getting the bike.  Before you commit to any exercise bike, you need to know how to use it and how user-friendly it is.

Peloton charges a $250 flat fee when you buy the bike for delivery and assembly.  According to their website, the concierge will not leave until the bike is working properly.  This ensures the expensive bike you now have will work when you are ready to start your exercise routine.

After the bike has been set up, you need to plug in the power adaptor and press the red button on the top of the display.  This is located on the touchscreen which is the access point for everything to do with the bike. You will need to wait a few seconds for the screen to buffer.

Peloton Workout Classes Streamed on Builtin Monitor

Once everything is on, you can start looking at all the classes on offer.  There are both live and on-demand classes for you to take. The only issue with the classes is the monthly subscription you need to pay on top of the high price tag of the bike.

It can become a bit confusing when you have to choose a workout because of the variety on offer.  The workouts are divided by length and category. There are beginners classes that you can start with that makes choosing slightly easier.

If you want a live class, there are 10 to 14 per day.  They are streamed from the Peloton studio in Manhattan and run on Eastern time.  If you miss the live class you want, you can catch it on-demand.

Once you have chosen a class, all you need to do is keep up with what the instructor is telling you.  Regardless of the class you have chosen, the screen will offer you all the stats you need in realtime.  These stats include rpm, resistance, and output.

If you are using a fitness tracker, you can pair it with the bike and your Peloton account.  The only drawback here is that the bike is only compatible with Fitbit and Strava. If you have another type of fitness tracker, you cannot pair with the bike.

If you do not want to disturb other people in your home with the class, you can pair Bluetooth headphones.  You can also pair Bluetooth speakers if you want to, but the built-in speakers are good enough for most people.

Overall, users find that the bike works like a dream.  The touchscreen is highly responsive whether you are using it at the start of your workout or in the middle.  The classes on offer are varied and you will never get bored.

Something many people do not realize is that Peloton offers non-spin classes as well.  These include yoga classes, strength training, and stretching. These classes are not as long as the spin ones and should be used to complement the spin classes and not replace them.

Peloton Bike Solid Frame

When pedaling, the flywheel and pedals run smoothly and easily.  The bike uses electromagnetic resistance that is extremely sensitive.  To adjust the resistance, you will use the big red knob in the center of the frame.  The resistance level will be displayed on the screen and is adjustable to a single percentage point.

While using the Peloton bike, you might feel that it is similar to many others on the market.  In terms of the equipment, there are a lot of bikes that are similar, but the classes are what really make the difference.


The Workout Classes

There are other exercise bikes on the market that offer the same basic equipment for a similar or lower price.  While the equipment is solid, it is the workouts that put the Peloton miles ahead of other bikes on the market.

While you have to pay a monthly subscription to get the workouts, what is on offer more than makes up for the costs.  If you are not willing to pay the extra monthly subscription for the classes, this might not be the bike for you. However, the monthly subscription for classes is cheaper than paying for traditional spin classes.

Looking past the price of the subscription, what do you get with it?  As mentioned, the touchscreen attached to the bike gives you access to live and on-demand classes.

The classes are held by 15 different instructors and many Peloton users have certain instructors they like more than others.  There are some instructors who have serious followings and for good reason. The number of classes each instructor holds live each day will vary, but will generally never exceed 14.  If you miss the live class, there are around 4,000 pe-recorded classes that you can take instead.

You might be wondering why you would want to take a class at all.  If you generally head to spin classes, this will give you the gym feeling in your home.  If you never attend spin classes, the streamed classes can get you into spinning and help you structure your exercise routine.

Peloton Bike in Class Leaderboard

Classes are also great motivators as the instructor keeps you focused and on track.  It is not only the instructor that helps with motivation. When you log on for any class, there is a leaderboard displayed on the screen.

With live classes, the leaderboard shows everyone who has logged into the live stream.  During the class, you will see the usernames of other riders, their age bracket, gender, and location.  With on-demand classes, the leaderboard shows the names of every rider who has taken the class.

This is a great motivator as you can track your movement on the leaderboard as you cycle.  Using the leaderboard, you can set goals for the class such as finishing in the top 200 of the 500 people who have joined in.  If this seems intimidating, you can filter the leaderboard as you want.

You know about the instructors and the leaderboard, but what else should you know about the classes?  Each class lasts between 20 and 90 minutes depending on the rider level and type of class. There are also some shorter 5 to 10-minute warmup and cool down options available.

The type of classes on offer vary depending on the instructor.  There are some classes that include upper body exercises, but this is not something that everyone approves of.  If you are firmly in the no weights on an exercise bike camp, there are a lot of pedal-only classes to choose from.

While it would make sense to only have spin classes as part of the subscription, there is more.  The subscription offers access to 99 timed scenic routes with immersive videos. These routes take you along the coastline or through the countryside or city streets.  The best part of these sessions is being able to go at your own speed.

There are also around 300 off the bike classes you can use.  You can access these classes on the bike screen or using the Peloton app on your mobile devices or smart TV.  This is a good thing because the screen on the bike does not detach.


The Social Component

As with so many things in our world today, social media is a part of the Peloton experience.  However, there is more to the social component than linking your Facebook account to your Peloton account.

facebook friends on peloton

When logged into your Peloton account, you can follow friends who also have one of these bikes and see their stats when you take classes.  If this feels a little invasive, you have the option of not linking social accounts.

The social component offered also includes the instructor if you are taking a live class.  When you hit a milestone such as 50 rides or 100 miles, it will earn you a shoutout. All instructors have this information flash up on their screens during the class but don’t worry, it is only your username that is used for the shoutout.

Another social component that you might enjoy is the ability to video chat with other riders.  If you like the social aspect of the gym and have friends who have Peloton bikes, the built-in camera and microphone let you connect with them.  The only issue is that the chat can be a bit buggy as not too many people are using the function.


Tracking All Your Metrics

If you are someone who loves tracking their fitness metrics, the Peloton has you covered.  While it does not come with the sensors that others have for your heart rate, you can connect your fitness tracker to it.

When you pair your fitness tracker, any workouts on your bike will be automatically uploaded and logged in your Fitbit or Strava account.  If you do not have a Fitbit or Strava account, you do not get the full benefits of the connectivity.

If you are interested in your metrics, the bike will store your data from each ride.  The key metrics stored in the bike are cadence, output, and resistance. Cadence is how fast the pedals are moving, the output is how hard you are working at the time and resistance is self-explanatory.

Peloton Bike User Metrics

The touchscreen will display these metrics as the main ones, but there are others that you will want displayed below them.  The first metric is speed which is a combination of cadence and resistance. The distance is shown in miles and is fairly straightforward.

The total output is what determines your leaderboard position and is the metric you should use for long-term goals.  This is the metric that tells you how much work you have done in the ride. It is displayed in kilojoules with one joule being one watt in one second.  A reading of 100 joules means you have an average output of 100 watts in a second.

The last metric is calories which is something everyone wants to keep track of when exercising.  The only issue with this metric is the fact that only the Peloton programmers know how it is calculated.  They state the algorithm used takes your age, weight, height, and gender into account as well as your heart rate if you have a monitor set up.


Are There Any Potential Dealbreakers?

Peloton exercise bikes have a lot going for them from the solid equipment to the class catalog, but are there any potential dealbreakers?  There are some issues that might make you think twice about buying, but not everyone finds them to be a hindrance.

The most obvious dealbreaker is the cost.  Peloton bikes are not cheap and they are not priced for beginners.  If you are considering getting into spinning, you should head to some classes first before you seriously consider this bike.

Peloton Bike

The bike costs around $2,000 excluding sales tax and the $250 flat fee for delivery and assembly.  You then have a monthly subscription of $39 for access to all the classes. If you do not already have spin shoes, you will need to buy compatible ones as well.

While the cost of the bike is a major issue for some people, others feel that what you get is worth the costs.  This is particularly true if you are a spinning enthusiast. If you head to spin classes regularly, this bike can be a great in-home solution to never going to the gym again.

Calculations done by some people have determined that enthusiasts will break even on their Initial investment in around 6 months.  If you are not using the bike regularly, this will take longer and you might want to consider a cheaper alternative.

Other than the overall cost, the biggest potential dealbreaker is the monthly subscription.  You already pay a lot for the bike and the extra cost can seem like overkill. If you choose to not take up a Peloton subscription, your bike becomes seriously limited.

The large class library is reduced from thousands of options to only three 45-minute ones.  You will also have access to the basic ride mode that lets you cycle at your own pace, but without the immersive video scenes.  It is not only the classes that are limited without the subscription.

You will not get a leaderboard to set goals against.  You will not even get your own personal best to compete against.  There is no storing of your workout data once you stop pedaling.

woman using peloton bike

The connectivity of the bike can also be a drawback.  As the bike is connected to the internet, there is nothing stopping Peloton from pushing a software update that further limits the bike without a subscription.  This leaves you with no guarantee that your bike will continue to function in the same way in the future.

If you do keep your subscription, you have to consider the security and safety of your data.  There are a lot of metrics being kept by the company and you do not want this sensitive fitness data falling into the wrong hands.  The camera and microphone for video chats can also be a security risk.

An issue many people have is the fact that Peloton account profiles cannot be made completely private.  Your username and location will be visible, but you can set them to not have any identifying characteristics.  You do not have to enter your age or gender into the profile which can reduce the sensitive data being stored.

According to a blog post by the company, they have stated that they never share any information through social media without your permission.  This is a standard disclaimer, but there is nothing to show that they do not adhere to it.


Should You Buy?

If you love spin classes, but do not like going to the gym or want these classes conveniently at home, this is the exercise bike for you.  The range of classes and different instructors make the Peloton the best answer for a spinning enthusiast.

If you are new to spinning, this bike may be too much.  You do not want to spend as much as this bike costs if you are not sure about spinning.  If you ditch the monthly subscription after realizing spinning classes are not for you, the bike will not provide an experience worth the cost.

The Peloton gets amazing reviews and anyone who tries it has loved it.  The bike is well-built and has everything you need to stay motivated while working out.  The cost can be a potential dealbreaker, but there are ways to overcome this.

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Peloton Bike Review - Bringing Your Spin Class Home — Bike Hacks