- Peloton revolutionised home fitness with its high-tech indoor bike, which enables users to stream live classes from home.
- The company launched in 2012 and is now valued at about $US1.3 billion.
- We got to try out the bike that launched it into popularity. Here’s our step-by-step review.
Peloton has revolutionised home fitness.
Since launching in 2012, the New York-based high-tech fitness company has gained a cult following of fans who are obsessed with its core product, the indoor cycling bike.
Peloton has grown to become a billion-dollar business in a short period of time. It was valued at about $US1.3 billion last May, after it closed a $US325 million financing round. Noah Wintroub, a vice-chairman at JPMorgan, has even referred to it as “the Apple of fitness.”
It’s a buzz that even the company’s CEO, John Foley, says he wasn’t expecting.
“I was totally surprised by it,” Foley told Business Insider‘s Avery Hartmans in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
“When I started Peloton with my cofounders, I saw clear as day what it was going to look like and how it was going to work – the technology, the hardware, the software, the business model,” he said. “I saw everything except the community. The community has blown me away.”
In February, it unveiled its newest product, a treadmill that will be available to buy this fall.
But, we also wanted to try the $US1,995 product that made Peloton popular in the first place. Here’s our step-by-step review of the Peloton bike:
We headed to the Westin Hotel near Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan to trial a Peloton bike, which is available for guests to use.
The machine is similar to a bike you might use in your local gym. However, there’s one glaring difference: its screen, which enables you to stream live and on-demand classes from the saddle.
It costs $US39 a month to stream these classes. This charge is made per bike rather than per user, so you can split the cost with roommates or family members.
The touchscreen is definitely the most impressive part of its appearance. It’s HD and 22 inches in size.
We were first asked to create an account. Each account is linked to individual riders’ workout history and performance.
This bike was styled specifically for hotel guests who most likely don’t have special cycling shoes to hand. The standard Peloton bike, however, comes with clip-in pedals, unless you specify for it not to have them.
You can have the clip-in pedals swapped out for “toe cages” that allow you to work out in sneakers. This costs an extra $US35.
Peloton doesn’t throw its clip-in cycling shoes into the $US1,995 price tag. They cost $US125 on Peloton’s online store, but you can use your own if you already have them.
The screen was user-friendly and easy to follow on the bike.
There are a ton of classes to choose from, ranging from 45-minute, high-intensity classes with weights to 10-minute, low-impact rides. For our trial, we opted for a 30-minute intervals-and-arms class with instructor Robin Arzon.
It’s an easy process from the get-go. The class began with a three-minute warm-up.
The screen shows how fast you’re going, how much resistance you’ve got on the bike, and where you rank in the class in terms of output.
This was the best part of the experience — the instructor gives you exact instructions on what resistance level you should be on and what output you should be aiming for. This leaves you no chance to cheat.
When you stream the classes live, your username is added to a leaderboard on the right-hand side of the screen. This means that the instructor can shout out your name to motivate you.
The workout ramped up, the music was pumping, and it felt just like being in a boutique workout class.
It definitely felt less sturdy than a machine you might use in a boutique class. We noticed that it started to wobble when we picked up the pace.
The resistance wheel was easy to adjust.
As we were in a public space, we had to listen to the class via headphones. In the high-intensity bursts, the headphones occasionally fell out.
It would definitely be preferable to wear cordless headphones or play the sound from the speakers.
10 minutes in, the class switched to arm work.
The weights were handily located at the back of the bike.
These are not included in the price of the bike. A set of weights – in one, two, or three pounds – costs $25 each.
We finished off with a one-minute cooldown.
The verdict: This is as close as you can get to being in a boutique workout class without having to leave home. And for those who want to work out in a pack, the ability to stream live classes is a big bonus.
Overall, we were very impressed with the bike – the standard of the workout class was great, and we stayed motivated throughout.
However, it’s not cheap. $US1,995 is a big commitment, even if paid in installments, and the cost of extras does mount up.
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