Peloton Bike Review
The Peloton bike has inspired a wildly enthusiastic fan base. Piggybacking off of the spin class craze that continues to dominate the fitness world, the Peloton bike combines high-end spin bike hardware with live instruction. From the comfort of home, riders participate in spin classes broadcast live from Peloton’s NYC studio. Additionally Peloton riders can train with thousands of bike class videos streamed on demand. This business model has made Peloton the talk of the town, and has since forced several other brands in the space to cook up new high spec/high tech bikes in order to compete. For a brief moment Peloton was “king of the hill”, so to speak, but in the last year NordicTrack, Echelon, Horizon, and others have come out swinging with bikes that deliver equivalent experiences for a more approachable sticker price.
The Peloton bike’s machinery rivals that of commercial spin bikes, and is paired with a WiFi-enabled 22″ HD touchscreeen that can broadcast live classes from the Peloton fitness studio in New York City. Peloton’s world-class instructors work at all hours, so their live spin classes fit anyone’s schedule. You can also choose from thousands of pre-recorded classes, but the live instruction with two-way communication makes Peloton stand out. A 5.0 megapixel camera with audio is built into the bike for socializing with instructors and classmates. A list of participants shows alongside each class, and sometimes friendships form across the miles. The Peloton’s high fidelity audio can also help make the most of workout music. The bike works with Bluetooth headphones and is shipped with a set for the plug-in port.
As the market evolves, we’re starting to see brands focus on more training-agnostic builds. For example, the new Horizon Fitness IC7.9 is a very high spec bike that rivals the Peloton in terms of construction, and is designed in a manner that’s cohesive to using the Peloton training app (or other live training apps currently on the market). Aside from the leaderboard and two-way communication—both of which being not-so-high priority features in our eyes—you can now get the same training experience on that bike for less than $1,000 before monthly membership dues by running your own tablet/iPad. Additionally, the IC7.9 can be used without any tech at all, should you just want to get on and pedal—a feature that is sorely lacking on the Peloton boke.
More than 4,000 pre-recorded Peloton classes for on-bike and off-bike exercise are available on demand. Classes are grouped by length, music style, and other factors for convenience. You can even read the available Yelp reviews of specific Peloton classes/instructors.
Key specs for the Peloton bike include a 21.5” HD touchscreen, a welded steel frame with powder coating, an adjustable saddle and multi-position handlebars, and of course variable magnetic resistance for a smooth and quiet ride.
The Peloton bike price is normally $2,245 including delivery, set-up and a 12-month warranty on parts, electronics and labor. An extended warranty ($230) adds another 27 months of coverage.
- Happy Customers: Peloton customer reviews tend to be not only positive but exuberant. The bike hardware, classes and customer service consistently earn top ratings.
- Unlimited Exercise Classes: High quality live and on-demand spin classes are key to the Peloton bike experience. Workout sessions of different lengths and intensity levels are broadcast around the clock from Peloton’s boutique gym in New York City’s West Village.
- Large Touchscreen: Peloton bike classes are displayed on a high definition 21.5” screen with touch technology. Stereo speakers work with the wide view to help create the effect of in-studio training.
- Webcam for Interactive Training: A 5.0 megapixel camera faces the rider to allow for in-class video chat with instructors and classmates. For many Peloton owners, being social is a big part of the Peloton attraction.
- High Quality Resistance: The commercial-quality resistance system is magnetic with a dial for smooth transitions. Because magnetic braking is contact-free, the system works almost silently and can’t physically wear down.
- Adjustable Seat & Bars: To fit different riders the Peloton saddle has levers for up-down and forward-back adjustment. The handlebars are also adjustable and have no-slip grips.
- Compact Carbon Steel Frame: The Peloton bike frame is 125 pounds of powder-coated carbon steel. It’s welded for stability, and the powder coating helps keep the finish looking new. For easy portability, transport wheels are attached. The bike’s footprint is just 4 feet long x 2 feet wide.
- Clip Pedals: This high-end exercise bike has aluminum Delta pedals. These sport pedals are lightweight and compatible with clip-in cycling shoes.
- Durable Moving Parts: Industrial-grade bearings, forged steel pedal cranks, and other durable moving parts help ensure that the Peloton spin bike serves well for thousands and thousands of miles.
- Peloton App: With the Peloton app for iOS you can quickly sort through class offerings, schedule workout reminders and track your workout history.
- Price: Peloton bikes cost more than traditional indoor cycle trainers with comparable resistance.
- No Built-in Programming: The Peloton bike is only effective if used in conjunction with class subscriptions, and does not have any built-in programming.
- Better Competition for Less: For a brief period the Peloton bike stood alone in the category. Now NordicTrack, Horizon, Echelon, and others are nipping at the brand’s heels with competing models for less money.
- Brand Longevity?: The more time passes, the more industry analysts question the longevity of the brand. This means that you could wake up one day to no more live programming should the company fold.
- Perpetual Subsciption Cost: Even as you grow into a hardcore indoor cyclist, as a Peloton bike owner you will remain relegated to spending monthly on their subscription service. If you love the interactive element of training that’s fine, but having the option to ride solo without a giant screen in your face would be a good one. If you intend to augment your workouts with strength training sessions at the gym, your overall monthly fitness costs will add up quick.
- Warranty: The standard warranty of 12 months for parts and electronics is short for the bike’s price category.
- Requires WiFi: Smooth workout programming for this bike requires a strong wireless connection, and several have complained of drop-outs in connectivity when first getting their bikes up and running.
Who Should Ride the Peloton Bike?
The Peloton bike is best for people seeking high-energy workout sessions. All skill levels are met by its resistance range; Peloton fans include competitive outdoor riders, and also people who haven’t ever been motivated by cycling before.
This fitness machine is useful for weight loss and weight management, cardiovascular health, building endurance and speed, and toning and strengthening your body. The Peloton is also unique for letting you add socialization to spinning, but without the time investment and hassle of commuting to a membership gym.
The Peloton bike is a comfortable fit for adults of all heights, and its forged steel frame has a high weight capacity. It’s also a good match for homes of all sizes; it’s just four feet long and two feet wide, and can easily be rolled to the side of a room after workout time.
If the Peloton fits your workout style, then the only potential drawback is the price. To get the same quality resistance without any extras or the commercial quality, you could spend lots less. A main competitor is the Keiser M3, which is also a club-quality spin bike sold with a home-use warranty. The Keiser has the same $1,995 sale price. It’s long been a bestseller, and now that Peloton is giving the M3 a run for the money, Keiser is bundling it with software to simulate outdoor training. You won’t get the live training and camaraderie, but the overall price is less. Aside from this, the obvious NordicTrack S22i and Horizon IC7.9 are the key competitors to consider here, as is the newly launched Echelon EX5S.
The Bottom Line
To put it simply, Peloton had the upper hand for a while, but they’re quickly being trounced by their competitors. Their classes are good, and they certainly have a loyal following (hence their rampant growth), but unless you’ve already been drinking the Peloton Kool-Aid, there are better and more affordable alternatives out there from more established brands in the market.
Lower-priced alternatives with similar high-tech studio benefits are featured in the “Indoor Cycle” section of our page Best Exercise Bikes.
Peloton Bike Specs:
||19″, aluminum & weighted
||59″ L x 23″ W x 53″ H