Peloton is an old-school product made sexy in the digital age. Peloton has taken a simple exercise bike and turned it into a phenomenon. Many of their instructors have cult followings that would make well-known evangelists jealous. A quick Google search shows articles about what the instructors eat, where they hang out, how much money they make – the list goes on. Is there substance beneath the multimedia hype? Do the numbers make sense? Read on to find out.
We received our Peloton bike (they also do treadmills) about six months ago. Working from home an average of 10-12 hours a day, this seemed like the ultimate convenience. Jogging is no longer an option due to multiple hip surgeries, and riding on the streets in my neighborhood is a death wish. The Peloton delivery people were helpful and courteous. My wife nor I could have set it up without their help.
We did have to buy multiple accessories including special shoes, a heartrate monitor and a padded seat cushion. I really don’t understand why the seats are so uncomfortable to begin with. Riding is impossible without the cushion and just bearable with it. The actual mechanics of the bike are clunky and seem cheap. It is difficult to move the seat in both the horizontal and vertical direction. Surprisingly, the handlebars only move vertically. Every bike I have used for the last 20 years at the gym moves both horizontally and vertically.
The digital interface is amazing! It is a big, easy to use screen. The acoustics are great, and it has all the necessary Bluetooth hooks-ups. You can monitor your heart rate, scroll through the menu and adjust the sound easily with the touch of a screen. The menu of classes is unlimited, and I haven’t had a bad one yet.
The heart and soul of Peloton is its instructors. They are all well-trained, fit and FUN! They draw you in with constant smiles, just the right level of motivation and an obvious enjoyment of what they do. You find yourself forgetting you are in your basement and imagining yourself in a class of fellow bikers. They really do create an experience that keeps you wanting to come back.
The full set-up is expensive, so make sure you will be using it on a regular basis before you commit. The cost ranges from $2245 for the basic package, which barely includes the seat, to the family package at $2,694. A heartrate monitor is a must and an additional cost. Do not even think about getting a Peloton without buying the padded seat. You can get the bike interest-free for 39 months, so unless they give you a significant discount, it does not make sense to buy it upfront. The kicker is a mandatory $39-dollar-a-month membership fee. This puts the total cost at $108 a month. The average gym membership in the U.S. costs $58 a month. SoulCycle, a major competitor, charges an average of $30 a class.
You can do the math. If convenience on those cold winter days is important and/or multiple family members will use the bike, then it is probably worth your while. The amazing instructors may push you over the edge to work-out that one extra day a week, and in that case, Peloton is a good investment.