There’s a craze sweeping the fitness world. Symptoms include pouring with sweat, burning sensation in the legs, 2D people yelling motivation at you, and parting with an awful lot of money. The new Peloton Bike has thrown everything you know about home workouts out the window, reinventing exercise at home as a social, exhilarating, hi-tech experience.
With a devoted community, charming instructors, 24-7 live and on-demand classes, and rotating touchscreens, Peloton is more than just a bike. It’s a lifestyle that you can’t help but get sucked into.
A Quick Guide to the Peloton Bike
Check out Pelotons latest advert and you will see someone lying on the floor, covered in sweat with a huge smile on their face. I’m still convinced this isn’t an advert, but a premonition of what will happen once you step on the bike.
Whether you dive into an intense interactive workout, one of Cody’s live spin classes, or just jump on one of the bike’s preset workouts, you’re guaranteed a demanding, yet invigorating workout.
The live classes, social networking, and instructors are undoubtedly key selling points for this impressive piece of kit. Beyond this though, the bike continues to impress. Real-time data tracks your stats in ways you didn’t know were possible, the speakers pump out surround-sound instruction and music, and the smooth flywheel rides like a dream.
It’s genuinely difficult to pick out faults with this bike, not that you’d expect to find many at this price.
The 22-inch touchscreen is the centerpiece for the Peloton. Without it, nothing would work quite as well. The sweatproof HD screen immerses you into the workout or spin class with crisp quality and surround sound.
It works brilliantly with the Google Maps street view feature as well, its size and quality immerse you deep into the virtual world provided. Whether it’s cycling in your local park or up Mont Ventoux, for a second you’ll forget you’re at home.
Live and On-Demand Classes
Where to start here. This feature is Peloton’s unique selling point.
Once you jump on the bike you can choose from thousands of classes all of different lengths, types, musical genres, and instructors. Whatever your workout goals, the Peloton has found a way to deliver. Weight loss is a given, but muscle toning, endurance, or HIIT are all achievable in a seemingly infinite number of classes.
Each class is delivered by one of Peloton’s own trainers too. A small selection of instructors deliver an array of leg obliterating workouts complete with tailored playlists, positive motivation, and live interaction.
You’ll even find yourself developing an affinity for or picking your favorite instructors. If you’re anything like me you’ll probably stay loyal to their classes too. Cody and Robin are among customers’ favored trainers.
All the instructors have their own style, own music tastes, and own styles of workout, just adding to the brilliance and uniqueness of this bike.
I already mentioned that this bike feels like the exercise version of a social network. When creating your account you are asked to select a username too. Much like on social networks, people can follow you to see what classes you take, when you took them, and even how you performed on them. There are obviously privacy limits you can set too.
During the classes you can see how you are comparing to everyone else taking that class, watching as you move up and down the leaderboard. In the live classes, the instructor might even give you a special mention if you do particularly well. Teacher’s pet!
Obviously, if Chris Froome takes the class most of us will struggle to top the leaderboard. Luckily. you can change the leaderboard so that it displays participants in your area only or people within your age group or gender for more comparable ratings.
The community aspect is another standout feature of this bike and if you’re overly competitive it’s something that will drive you to work harder than you would in any typical spin class. You wouldn’t want to let your followers down!
Despite being able to fit into most corners of your home gym or garage, the Peloton’s steel frame and 22-inch touchscreen means it weighs a fair bit. 134lbs to be exact.
It does have transport wheels which make it easier to move around, and with dimensions of 22.8” W x 58.6” L x 53.1” H, it is one of the smaller pieces of home gym equipment you can buy.
Made from welded steel and complete with a powder coat finish, the Peloton looks and feels sleek and powerful. Despite its slight frame, the Peloton is super-sturdy and will stand up to the most powerful sprints with barely a wobble of the screen.
The seat has come under scrutiny from a lot of buyers. Being a sports saddle, it offers little in the way of comfort for those long endurance cycles. It’s not offensively bad but can be annoying if regular long cycles are your thing. Changing it isn’t simple either so if you are a comfort buff when it comes to exercise machines consider a gel seat cover for example.
The pedals are excellent unless you don’t own cleats, in which case get a pair of cleats then you’ll also find them excellent. Made from Delta-compatible aluminum their durable, sturdy, and smooth.
The bike rides well too. Its magnetic resistance system is quiet and efficient, transitioning between different levels seamlessly. With the Poly V® power transmission belt drive, the Peloton rides effortlessly and will require very little maintenance over time.
This is one feature that has so much potential but just didn’t quite hit the mark. If you’ve ever taken a spin class you’ll know that music is an important part of the class. To ram this point home, a few of the instructors are even DJs, carefully selecting their playlists and tunes to ride to.
To make the most of this, high-quality speakers on the bike would be ideal. The bike comes equipped with 2 speakers, both of which offer a fairly disappointing, almost dull, sound. A shame, particularly when you consider the effort that goes into the music selection, but not a deal-breaker.
That said, there is an audio jack and Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect your own earphones for improved sound quality.
Training Programs & Challenges
If you don’t fancy one of Peloton’s instructors shouting at you but want a testing encounter with the bike, you can try one of Peloton’s in-built workout programs. Within these are a series of challenges that help you work towards your personal targets and milestones.
The challenges are constantly updated and tailored to your workout needs, keeping things fresh and interesting as you get fitter.
It’s a bit expensive. At $1,895 it’s one of the most expensive bikes on the market at the moment. On top of this, you need to pay a monthly fee for your Peloton membership once your complimentary free trial expires.
Peloton does now offer a monthly payment scheme if you don’t fancy paying the full amount in one go.
Alternatives to the Peloton Bike
So, the Peloton is one of the best spin bikes you can buy. But if the price puts you off or you fancy something other than a spin bike, what are your other options.
1. Alternative Spin Bike: Bowflex VeloCore
With a 16-inch screen, exciting features such as leaning when turning corners, and a generally great and immersive experience, the VeloCore comes in at a slightly lower price than the Peloton.
It lacks the live classes and army of personal trainers that come with the Peloton, but a good option if you want something different and cheaper.
2. Alternative Exercise Bike: Concept2 BikeErg
Not quite a spin bike, not quite an air bike, not quite a rowing machine. Concept2 BikeErg takes the best aspects from all of these and combines them to make this leg-destroying machine.
Don’t be fooled by its auspicious looks, this bike will deliver a killer workout that can leave your legs recovering for days.
3. Alternative Best in Class: Concept2 Model D Rower
If annihilating your legs isn’t enough, then take your home workouts to your whole body with the latest rower from rowing kings Concept2.
Equipped with the latest PM5 for unbelievably accurate data and metrics, foldable, and with a fantastic air resistance system, the Model D will happily assist (and hurt) you as you work towards your fitness goals.
4. Alternative Best in Class: NordicTrack Commercial 2950 Treadmill
The Peloton bike of the treadmill world. If running is your thing, then the NordicTrack Commercial 2950 treadmill might be for you.
With a massive 22-inch touchscreen, iFit compatibility, and an array of exciting and hi-tech features, the NordicTrack treadmill redefines indoor running in ways you couldn’t imagine. Removing the boring tag from endurance exercise, this deluxe trainer will please runners of all levels.