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Editor’s note: This is a review of the original Peloton Bike, which is now available for $1,445. We’ve also reviewed the newer Bike+ ($2,495), which has a pivoting display, a larger screen, and more connectivity capabilities, which you can read about in our Best Exercise Bike roundup.
You’ve heard about it on the news. You’ve seen it in commercials. You probably even know someone who swears by it. What is ‘it,’ you ask? The Peloton bike.
But Peloton isn’t just a bike. It’s a fitness company and community. Some would argue it’s a lifestyle. For two years, my husband and I have owned one of these bikes, and overall, Peloton knocks it out of the park for both of us.
The classes are challenging and rewarding. The metrics and leaderboard provide healthy competition and motivation. The community is inspiring. And having the bike at home—and not having to travel anywhere to take a class—is the most convenient thing for fitting fitness into our busy lives.
Is the Peloton bike all it’s hyped up to be? For anyone who enjoys cycling as a regular part of their workout routine, we think it is.
What is a Peloton bike?
The Peloton Bike is an indoor-cycling bike with a touchscreen tablet attached to it. It’s a lot like a spin bike you would ride at a boutique fitness studio, but much nicer—and all yours. The pedals allow you to clip your shoes in, meaning you need special shoes with cleats, and the seat and handlebars have settings that you can adjust according to your height and arm length.
Like every other spinning bike I’ve been on, it can be uncomfortable to sit on at first, but you get used to it. Overall, it’s a great piece of equipment, and it looks nice at home—even though, for me, it takes up a decent amount of floor space in my 730-square-foot apartment.
How much is a Peloton bike?
The original Peloton Bike costs $1,445 and includes a 30-day free trial of Peloton’s class subscription, as well as delivery and setup. After your 30-day trial, the membership costs $44 a month.
You can also purchase a package that includes some Peloton accessories to get more bang for your buck.
The “Bike Starter” package gets you a pair of Peloton cycling shoes, a pair of hand weights (you can select from 1, 2, or 3 pounds), and a bike mat to protect your floors for $1,645.
The “Bike Ultimate” package throws in a reversible workout mat for off-bike exercise classes, a pair of Peloton dumbbells (starting at 5 and weighing up to 30 pounds), and a Peloton heart rate monitor.
Peloton also offers refurbished bikes for $1,145, though all sales are final and no financing options are available.
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My husband and I bought Peloton shoes with cleats ($125 each), one pair of three-pound weights ($25), and a bike mat ($59) to protect the floor. I can’t speak to whether the other accessories are worth it, but you can also get Peloton-branded items like a glass water bottle ($17), heart rate monitor ($90), or a workout mat ($70).
You don’t have to buy the brand’s shoes; you just need indoor cycling shoes with a three-hole cleat design outfitted with Look Delta cleats.
How does the Peloton membership work? Do I have to have it?
To take classes and participate in the leaderboard, you’ll need to pay the $44 monthly membership fee. As a member, you get access to much more than just cycling. There are thousands of other fitness classes available to take, including strength, yoga, running, and walking, which you can cue up on the bike’s tablet to work out alongside it (floorspace permitting), cast to your TV, or download the Peloton app to your phone or tablet to use on the go.
When you’re ready to ride, you can select from Peloton’s vast collection of live or prerecorded classes. And new ones are always being added. There are more than 90 live classes each week, which are archived to the library right after.
The classes range in length from 5 to 60 minutes, class type (beginner, low impact, climb, HIIT, and more), music genre (they got ‘em all), and instructor. If you don’t feel like being coached, you may take a scenic ride, where you can explore the world from the comfort of your own home while pedaling to your own beat.
Non-equipment owners can also buy the Peloton app for $12.99 a month with the first month free, so if you want to try out the instruction first (sans leaderboard) on your iPhone or Android device, that’s an option.
You can also get creative, as some budget-conscious cyclists have. Jessica from Westchester, New York, a working mom of two, uses a Peloton membership for cycling but does not own the brand’s bike.
“I was really interested in the Peloton bike but not the price,” she says. “Instead, I purchased the Schwinn IC3 Indoor Cycling Bike on Amazon, and I take Peloton classes using the app on my iPad. The classes are great and I love that they offer various length classes. Some days, 15 minutes is all I have!”
While this is a less expensive alternative, without the Peloton bike, you won’t have the ability to track your metrics and keep tabs on your performance via the leaderboard. Your bike may be able to tell you your speed and resistance, but it won’t connect to the app and you won’t be given any stats for your ride. This means you won’t be able to compete against others or yourself moving forward, to gauge improvement.
On the other hand, as a bike owner, if you stop paying for the membership, your bike’s usability is seriously limited to just a few cycling classes, no leaderboard, and free pedaling on your own—the tension knob will still work, at least.
How does the Peloton bike compare to SoulCycle and Flywheel studio classes?
The biggest hesitation I had when it came to buying the Peloton bike was leaving in-studio spin classes behind. I swore by SoulCycle and was worried that without the nearby energy of all those people or my favorite instructors, I wouldn’t try as hard.
But what I found when I started using the Peloton was the exact opposite: I work way harder during Peloton classes than I ever did at SoulCycle.
Although you’re technically riding by yourself, you aren’t really riding alone in a Peloton class. In addition to streaming the instruction, the bike’s touchscreen shows your metrics and provides a leaderboard. You can monitor your performance compared to everyone taking a live class at that moment in real time, or to everyone who has ever taken an on-demand class.
You earn a score according to your overall output number, which is a calculation of your cadence (rotations per minute of your feet on the pedals) combined with resistance (how much you crank up the red knob), showing how much energy your performance is generating.
During class, you can watch yourself move up and down the leaderboard, competing with way more people than you ever would in a physical studio. You can also change the leaderboard to display only participants in your demographic (age and gender) to see how you rank.
Another cool aspect of Peloton is the community. As on a social media network, your account is branded with a username of your choosing, and other riders can follow you to see all of the classes you’ve taken, when you’ve taken them, and how you performed during them. (You can set privacy limits, of course.) This lets people see your progress, which has given me motivation outside of class to get on the bike and ride.
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Are the Peloton classes good?
I found myself working—and sweating—way more during Peloton classes compared to in-person cycling classes. I’ve even had to go sit or lie down after rides for a half hour until I stop feeling like I might throw up. Part of this is because I often push myself way too hard to beat my personal records each class. But it’s also because the classes are just that good.
That’s not to say every class is equally good. With such a wide range of rides you can take—some long, some short, some low impact, some high intensity—you’re inevitably going to have some classes you like and some you don’t like as much.
However, I’ve never taken a class I hated. And every class has the option to mute the volume entirely if you want, because you can follow along on the screen for the workout guidance of when to increase or decrease your resistance or effort.
I am extremely picky about the music I listen to while working out, so I appreciate that you can preview the songs played in most on-demand classes. For live classes, you can’t view the song list beforehand, but you sacrifice this knowledge for the thrill of potentially getting your username shouted out by the instructor (or, at least, I do).
Like the playlists, the classes and instructors you enjoy most will depend on your own personal preference. I gravitate towards classes taught by Cody Rigsby, Robin Arzon, and Emma Lovewell. I tend to like their playlists best, but I also love their personalities and teaching styles.
As for class length, I find myself doing 30-minute classes most of the time. I have taken 45-minute classes before and, honestly, they are a lot. The times I’ve done them I’ve felt like I took two 45-minute SoulCycle classes in one. Even the 20-minute classes are a solid workout.
My husband is great about doing 15- or 20-minute rides on busy days before or after work just to get exercise in. It’s been a major perk to owning the bike for him, and those with busy schedules will also appreciate the shorter workouts available.
Will the Peloton get boring after a while and start collecting dust and cobwebs?
After years of owning basic treadmills and ellipticals, many people tend to get sick of their fitness equipment and leave it behind. But this bike isn’t just a piece of equipment. It comes with a built-in motivational community and hundreds of new classes to take each month.
I don’t use my bike as much as I did in the beginning, mainly due to some serious neck, shoulder, and back injuries. My husband, on the other hand, uses the bike just about every day—and sometimes even twice a day. He quit his pricey gym membership a few months ago to go all in on the Peloton. Now, in addition to riding the bike regularly, he takes non-cycling classes on the app.
So even though I might not be using it as much right now, our bike is getting used. And that’s another point: If you’re considering sharing the bike or subscription with your household, you may get more of your money’s worth—you can register an unlimited number of people on the same account to use the same bike.
Can you try the Peloton bike before committing to buying it?
If you are on the fence about whether or not Peloton is right for you, the company offers a 30-day home trial, where they will pick up the bike and refund your entire order, including delivery. (The home trial does not apply to those living in remote areas including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.)
Is Peloton worth it?
Yes, you’ll enjoy riding it for years to come
Compared to what we were spending on the gym and classes prior to purchasing our bike, we’re actually saving money. The monthly cost of Peloton is much less than the $84-per-month gym membership my husband canceled—and also much less than what I was paying for SoulCycle when I was going around eight times per month, which came out to $264 ($30 for the class and $3 for shoes each time).
Even though I haven’t continued to use the Peloton as much as I thought I would, my husband’s commitment to it makes the monthly price we pay worth it. I also plan to use it much more moving forward—injuries permitting—making it a great long-term investment.
That being said, if you’re not already convinced by the tens of thousands of rave Peloton reviews, I 110%, without a doubt, recommend getting a Peloton bike if you have the money (and space!) for it.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.