Review – Peloton

A few months before the whole Peloton commercial controversy blew up, my wife and I decided to purchase a Peloton Bike.

Screen capture of the now infamous Peloton ad.

Why spend that kind of money on a stationary bike? Good question.

As I’ve gotten older, fitness has become more and more important to me and my wife. There was a time during my career – when I was younger – that I could get by on my natural fitness level and metabolism, making me lazy. When we lived in Virginia Beach, I started to get into P90X and a couple of other workout routines from Beachbody, and that really helped kickstart my enthusiasm for working out again.

However, as my chronic back pain continued to get worse, I got to a point where the high impact workouts that are a hallmark of P90X and Insanity (love those workouts) were too much (plus my physical therapist about four months ago “suggested” I find a low impact alternative to high impact cardio like Insanity and running).

That’s what got us thinking more seriously about Peloton. We looked at some alternatives but decided to check Peloton out by scheduling a workout at a nearby store. They fitted us with shoes (the bike utilizes cycling cleats), sized the bikes for our height, and gave us a crash course on the types of classes available and riding form. We each did a 20 minute ride and loved it. The bike was obviously well-made; the instructor was great at actually instructing while telling me what was coming next; and the workout was excellent.

I was about to go on tour so we decided to wait until I got back before ordering; instead, I downloaded the digital app and paid the monthly subscription ($12.99/month right now) to try out the workouts while on the road. One of the selling points for both me and Anjali is the great variety available.

Screen capture on the digital app.

While on the road, I used hotel bikes (not a perfect solution but it worked just fine) and the strength and yoga workouts. The quality of the instructors and the variety of workouts further cemented our decision to go forward with the purchase when we returned from tour. We scheduled our delivery for the day after we were returning from visiting family during Thanksgiving (30 November). Two nice guys whose sole job is delivering bikes to customers came at the appointed time, set up our bike on the fourth floor of the townhome we’re renting without complaint, and gave us a tutorial.

Our bike in our workout space. We keep the shoes locked in because we wear the same size!

Later that day, I went to do my first ride and realized the weight control wasn’t showing on the screen as it should. We called customer service and they talked us through a restart. Problem solved. From then on, it’s been off to the races. My routine over the last month has been to do three bike workouts, three strength workouts, and one yoga workout per week.

I’ve tried several instructors – both for the bike and the floor routines – and liked all of them. There’s one instructor that has a strong accent that I can’t always understand, so I’ve avoided her classes; but besides that, I’m completely impressed by the expertise Peloton has at their disposal, and the variety is great and always growing.

There are thousands of classes to choose from on-demand. You can filter by duration, type of class/focus, instructor, type of music, difficulty, etc. – a great tool for finding the right one for you for that moment. For example, Anjali was having some shoulder soreness so she found a stretching routine that targeted shoulders and upper back.

Before I go to bed, I usually pick the class I want to do and bookmark it so I don’t waste time in the morning; the integration between the digital app (which comes with the bike subscription ($39/month) and the bike is seamless. In addition to the on-demand classes, there’s always a schedule of live classes available, which is pretty cool.

A look at the live cycling classes available at this particular snapshot in time.

Besides the individual classes, there are always different challenges and programs available. Over the last month, both Anjali and I did the “Crush Your Core” program, which was a 5-15 minute core workout, five days a week for four weeks – a really easy add-on to whatever workout I had going on that day.

With the floor workouts, you can either position the screen on the bike for viewing or mirror your screen to a TV, which is what we do. A very convenient feature that works really well. I haven’t tried any of the outdoor workouts (running – no thanks!, walking, etc.) but if the other workouts are any indication, I’m sure they’re good.

What I like most about Peloton is that since downloading the digital app in October, I’ve been more excited about working out than I’ve been in a long time. Since receiving the bike, I’ve worked out every day but two – one was due to being at the performance hall all day for holiday concert prep and the other was our travel day to New Orleans for the holiday. Not bad.

The bike is solidly constructed, rides smooth and really quiet, and is fun to use. My two issues so far (besides the price tag of $2,200 for the bike) is that you have to use the cycling shoes (though we got ours free due to being military) and you can’t pause a workout while using the bike (you can on the digital app for iPad/iPhone). Besides that, we are very happy with our purchase. I actually look forward to working out. I know what you’re thinking – “talk to me in a few months” – I will keep you posted!

So, is Peloton worth $2,200 and $39/month? That’s a question only you can answer. We (you, me, many people) spend money on all kinds of things – some people buy a new $1,000 phone every two years. Some people go to Starbucks every day before work. It just depends on your priorities and what you can afford. A purchase like this isn’t for everyone but it was for us.

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