- The high-tech fitness company Peloton has unveiled a new treadmill that costs $US3,995 and enables users to stream live and on-demand classes.
- Peloton says the treadmill is undergoing testing before being shipped to customers this fall.
- Business Insider had the opportunity to test the product and found it easy and fun to use.
Hot on the heels of its wildly successful exercise bike, Peloton has created a new product: the Peloton Tread.
The high-tech fitness company, which was valued at about$US1.3 billion after closing a $US325 million financing round last May, has a cult following of fans who are obsessed with its core product, the indoor bike. Noah Wintroub, the vice chairman of JPMorgan, has called Peloton “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 in an interview at the CES tech industry trade 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.”
Peloton’s new $US3,995 treadmill, expected to launch this fall, works similar to its indoor bike. It has an HD touchscreen that streams thousands of live and on-demand classes that users can join from home.
It costs $US39 a month to stream these classes, which include high-intensity boot-camp routines, running drills, and mat work. If you already own a Peloton bike, you can stream classes for both machines for this monthly fee.
Customers also have the option to pay for the Tread in installments. For current members, it’s $US110 a month for 39 months, while new ones pay $US149 for 39 months. You can reserve the treadmill online now with a $US250 deposit.
Peloton invited Business Insider to its spacious New York headquarters to test the new treadmill. The office is a couple of blocks from its cycling studio, where customers can attend classes.
Here’s our step-by-step review.
When we showed up at Peloton’s Chelsea office, which spans four floors, we were reminded that the company has quickly grown out of its startup phase.
It was the second time we’d come face-to-face with the Peloton Tread — the product, still in the testing phase, was experiencing a few technical difficulties earlier in the week. Still, its size is shocking. It’s about 73 inches long and 33 inches wide, which made us wonder whether city dwellers would have the space to store it.
We hopped aboard the machine. There are three categories of classes: run/walk, total body, and floor, which includes yoga workouts. The Tread comes with thousands of on-demand classes, and 10 will be livestreamed from the studio each day.
We tried a 20-minute full-body boot-camp workout hosted by one of Peloton’s master trainers.
From the outset, the workout was easy to follow. The first screen lays out exactly what you’ll be doing, how long each exercise is, how hard it is overall, and what extra equipment you’ll need. You can also view the playlist in advance, so if you don’t like the music, you can switch.
The workout kicked off with a three-minute walk as a warmup. Peloton said it had lots of classes for people who have never worked out before.
Then it was straight into an eight-minute run, the main part of the treadmill-based workout. The first thing we noticed was the comfort of the running belt — it’s definitely easy on the knees.
The belt has 59 slats, which look like caterpillar tracks on a tank. While they’re extremely comfortable compared with what you might find in your local gym, they’re just as noisy. Once again, we wondered just how suited this would be for urban living.
The Tread has a massive, 32-inch screen, making it easy to see what’s going on and follow the instructor.
At times, you’re face-to-face with the instructor, which is a bit off-putting. You’ll find yourself bobbing up and down at the same time, making it feel as if the machine is moving a lot. We preferred the side-on angle of filming.
The instructor asked us to crank up the pace, which is when we found the attention to detail in the speed and incline wheels. With just a roll of a wheel, you can zoom your way up to top speed without having to lurch forward and awkwardly reach for a button.
In the center of each wheel is a button that pushes the speed or the incline up by one notch. The top speed is 12.5 mph, and the maximum incline is 15%.
The instructor was engaging and motivating. It felt exactly like a boutique fitness class, which could set you back about $US35 in New York.
In both the live and the on-demand classes there’s a leaderboard system to rank your performance.
If you’re participating in a live class, you can log in and compete, and the instructor will be able to give you a shoutout.
In on-demand classes, you’re competing against people who have done the workout in the past.
The sound quality is great, thanks to a sound bar that runs across the bottom of the screen. Unlike with incline and speed, there’s no rolling wheel to adjust the sound, but a small button at the front.
“We spent a lot of time really getting the sound right so when you’re on and off the treadmill you can still get that high-quality sound,” Maureen Coiro, a senior product manager of hardware at Peloton, told Business Insider.
There’s a USB jack at the bottom of the screen to charge wireless headphones. The machine is not designed to be used with wired headphones because some of the exercises are off the treadmill.
“One of the worst things about wireless headphones is the battery life,” Coiro said. “You charge them here while you’re not using the machine, and every time you come back to the machine, your headphones are charged.”
For the second half of the class, we headed down to the mat. You’ll need to have it ready in place, as there’s no time to dawdle.
Peloton sells the mat and five-, 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-pound weights separately, as it’s assuming lots of people already have this equipment. The company says it will confirm the cost of the accessories in the fall.
The mat work was where the class became harder to follow. We were advised to put the mat alongside the treadmill so we could see the screen. While the sound was still great, it was harder to see what was going on.
We did a series of squats and lunges using the weights, then finished off with some abdominal crunches.
All the while, the instructor was egging us on.
The class wound down with a few minutes of stretching.
The verdict: Peloton has made home fitness more convenient and high-tech than ever. The Tread is no exception – it’s easy and fun to use, and I stayed motivated throughout the workout.
But space is an issue. While The Tread isn’t going to make the squeeze into a boxy New York apartment, it’s a good solution for anyone who doesn’t have a boutique fitness class at their doorstep.
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