Peloton Bike+ Review
I’m officially a Peloton Head. I’m obsessed with the new Peloton Bike+. It’s enjoyable to ride, and I can see how it’s maintained its cult status. It’s hard to appreciate just how great this bike is without first riding it yourself, but allow me to try and talk you through it without the workout attached.
I’m currently training for my first boxing match set for June. I have a pretty rigorous workout routine 3x times a week when I’m in the gym sparring and working on my form. When I’m not there, I’ve taken to using the Peloton nearly every day. It’s clichéd, but I’m truly working on no off-days at the moment, and I’ve never felt better. To simply hop on a bike and get some cardio in every day is very helpful for my training. I shouldn’t be in the gyms lifting weights nor should I be stuck to the cushions of my couch. I have to keep my body moving and if it was a bit warmer, I’d probably throw in some more skipping, but because it’s still freezing out in Toronto here at the end of April, I’m forced to bike, which is A-OK with me.
Despite falling for Peloton, that doesn’t mean I’m completely blind to their faults as a company. Especially with a luxury item. If you’re going to spend this amount of money, you want to make sure the product is going to be around for a long time to justify the high entry price.
Here’s the thing, Peloton is expensive, and they’ve had a rough 12-ish months. Growth has stalled as gyms around the world have reopened. Their stock price dropped 78%. The Peloton Treadmill got recalled. They keep showing up in pop culture in negative ways. Their founder and CEO stepped down, and they’ve laid off 20% of their workforce.
A big part of Peloton is that the massive 23.5-inch screen is installed right there on the bike. If Peloton were to go out of business, you’d be left with a lot of dead weight. But despite all the above, they are heading in the right direction. No company is without its faults and troubles at some point in their history, and Peloton and the Bike+ seem to be going in the right direction.
Peloton’s new CEO, Barry McCarthy, has been working on a strategy shift at Peloton. It appears they are switching from hardware sales to subscriptions and products to the ecosystem. These are the right proper steps the company needs to take to win back owners and bring in new riders such as myself.
If things go well for Peloton, they will be in a perfect position. They will be able to connect developers with users through their top-of-the-line premium hardware and core OS functionality.
Fitness isn’t going anywhere. The need to want to look your best will always be there. There are a lot of fads in fitness: Bowflex, Tae Bo, 8-minute abs, Jazzercise, and more, but I genuinely think Peloton is here to stay. Is now the best time to buy? That’s up to you to decide, but I love my time with the Bike+. I feel stronger and have much better endurance for my boxing and hockey matches. It also helped ease me into my daily bike rides into the office after a long, cold, arduous winter.
Look, we all know fitness and making a habit of exercising is hard. But that’s where Peloton shines. It game-ifies the experience for you, making you want to come back every day, and you can set the difficulty. Peloton is to me what Roblox is to kids under 13. Engaging in all the right ways. Once you get into a class, you will instantly feel more energized and excited to keep pushing yourself. The Bike+ is a product made for beginners to advanced riders, and there are plenty of different classes to try. You don’t need to stick to a grinding uphill bike ride. You can mix in some weights, and at the end of the day, a lot of the classes are about being fun and preaching positivity.
In the comfort of your home, you are free to act like a fool. I found myself constantly dancing and singing along to songs, and I’m not ashamed to say it. A lot of workouts put a big ol’ grin on my face. I also have a habit of mimicking my favourite instructors. I know all their witty catchphrases and lingering stares at the cameras. That looks like one heck of a fun job.
“The Bike+ is a product made for beginners to advanced riders, and there are plenty of different classes to try.”
I’m excited to see what the future holds for Peloton. The future looks bright with their new strength product Guide, and a rumoured rowing machine, and a possible full-featured strength training system. I’d much rather instead work out in the comfort of my own home than at the gym (that’s for weights and showing off my guns) or a Barry’s Bootcamp. I like the convenience and the ability to let myself get lost in the exercise.
Sure, most of us could buy a cheaper bike, stick a tablet on it, and use the Peloton app or other workout app to get our workouts in, but it’s not the same. The Peloton experience is an elevated experience. You get what you pay for here, and the Peloton is a meticulously built device that is super quiet and will keep you coming back for more every day.
I spend a lot of time in the gym already, 3-4 times a week boxing, 2-3 times a week playing hockey. I’m still managing to bike three times a week. With hockey coming to an end, I’ll be biking more. I need to be in the best shape for my first boxing match come mid-June, and the cycling sure is helping.
“You get what you pay for here, and the Peloton is a meticulously built device that is super quiet and will keep you coming back for more every day.”
You can currently get Peloton cheaper than usual right now. The price of the actual product has been slashed, but the monthly fee for its on-demand fitness content has gone up. In Canada, the price will be $55 per month, up from $49. A slight upgrade for excellent classes. If you don’t own any of the equipment, you can still sign up for its on-demand service for $12.99 a month.
As of Dec 31st, Peloton has 2.77M connected fitness subscribers, making it just a bit less than the city of Toronto. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a relatively small number, but those users are dedicated. Have you ever met a Peloton-er who didn’t immediately tell you about it? They’ve built a very loyal fan base of users. They are invested in the Peloton ecosystem, and it’s easy to see why. It’s addicting. Incredibly addicting.
The average user is said to do 15.5 workouts per month. The average cost of a spin class is around $30-40 dollars. That’s roughly around $525 bucks. You’d be able to pay off your Peloton at that rate in about 5-6 months, which should help people struggling with the price adjust their thought process.
The Bike+ is a bit more expensive than the base model but offers excellent upgrades. These include GymKit integration, which is fantastic if you have an Apple Watch. I hadn’t used my Apple Watch in months, thanks to Covid, but I got it working again. It’s also called an Auto-Follow resistance, which allows you to focus on the ride and makes workouts harder as it does not allow for slacking. And you can rotate the giant 23.5-inch screen 360-degrees to do more than just bike workouts; granted, you have the room. I struggled with this in my Toronto condo, built for 2.
“Getting up and started on the Bike+ is incredibly easy, which is probably part of the appeal. It works right out of the box and is ready to navigate.”
Another incentive of the Bike+ is that Peloton will deliver the Bike+ to your house and assemble it for you. The two guys who installed mine were charming and funny and were in and out in under 20 minutes. I was shocked by how little time it took to assemble such an advanced piece of hardware. They also help you adjust the seat, show you the basics and make sure everything is up and running for you.
Over the last month, I’ve taken some 25 classes. I’m not sure how I fit them all in, but my average ride time is around 30 minutes. I didn’t push myself to do more for the benefit of this review. I did them because I loved experiencing them. I like to keep the UI as clean as possible on the screen and minimize most features except for the bar at the bottom, which lets me know how many calories I’m burning, the distance travelled, and my resistance levels. I’m focused and in the zone.
Getting up and started on the Bike+ is incredibly easy, which is probably part of the appeal. It works right out of the box and is ready to navigate. Warm-ups are incorporated into your ride, and you can tack on a cooldown at the end if you so shoot. Peloton programs don’t waste your time. You’ll be up and riding in no time.
I never struggled with finding a ride I wanted to do; there was a plethora of them to choose from on the platform. Within turning it on, I was always riding within minutes. I’d look for a trainer I’d like, which would usually be right smack dab in the middle of the screen when I logged in, and away I’d go. There are thousands of on-demand classes and live classes you can join and possibly have you name out. For those looking just to ride, there’s also Ride, scenic routes, and Lanebreaker, the video game in Peloton’s arsenal. Scenic Route was probably the most disappointing of the options; I found the quality of the video was sub-par, and overall, was very bored by it. Everything else was outstanding.
If you stick to the classes, you can do more than just spin. There are also arm work exercises, yoga, and meditation. I found the weighted exercises very helpful for my boxing training.
While training, you can also choose to listen out of the on-board speakers, which are surprisingly really good, alternatively via blue tooth headphones or through a wired 3.55 mm jack. If you opt for the speakers, it can be pretty loud and even Phil Collins smash hit “In The Air Tonight” sounds pretty epic coming out of them.
Some mornings I can’t bear the thought of listening to the instructors, and their over-the-top personalities. So, I’ve opted to listen to my music or turn on Audible. I’ve found no loss in my rides if I can’t hear them. Sometimes it’s fun to have the instructors pump me up, and overall, almost every soundtrack I’ve listened to has been a solid 8-10/10, but it can be a little over-the-top at the time. All the smiling at the camera is enough to make even the happiest people cringe.
One of my biggest complaints with the Bike+ is how hard it is to get the shoes in and out of the device. I struggled every time with removing the shoes… and am embarrassed to admit I just kept them locked in when I got off. It was so much easier than trying to hook them in. My girlfriend was a little better at this than I was, but I did not find the instructions overly helpful. It’s also worth noting that, because of the shape of the pedals, you will most likely need to depend on Peloton shoes to use the device. The boots themselves are comfy, but it’s a shame a friend can’t use their shoes when they want to try the device.
Ultimately, I think the Bike+ is a powerful device for getting in or staying in shape, especially in the brutal cold months of winter. Here in Toronto, it’s freezing nine months of the year and running outside is incredibly hard on my lungs. Having a bike I can hop on and off to get my sweat on is incredibly handy. I could see myself riding this until the pedals fell off. It’s an excellent bike that is fun to use and all-around useful. The Bike+ is sleek and compact and doesn’t take up as much room as I thought it would, and the classes, for the most part, are a lot of fun. If you can afford it, I highly suggest buying one or at least doing a trial run. If I liked strangers, I’d say come over and use mine. This is an incredible bike that will truly have you looking like a normal superhero in no time.