If you’ve ever shopped for home gym equipment, looked online for workout videos, or searched for an effective and fun workout app, chances are you’ve come across Peloton.
Some athletes swear by their workouts. Recreational athletes love their interactivity and high-intensity sessions that can be done right from the comfort of your own space.
But it does come with a steep monthly fee – plus the cost of the bike itself and accessories.
So… is Peloton worth it?
If you’ve ever had a peek at their deals but been put off by the price tag, this article is written just for you.
We’ll break it all down so you can make the decision for yourself.
What is Peloton?
Peloton is a sports equipment and media company. They offer live-streamed exercise classes via digital platforms, internet-connected bikes, and treadmill equipment, and monthly subscriptions to use their software.
They name themselves “the Netflix of fitness”, which is an indication of what you can expect from their app. You’ll be watching a live-streamed exercise and taking part using your own exercise equipment.
What Equipment Do They Sell?
Peloton sells two types of exercise machines: exercise bikes and treadmills. They only have two of each, so you’re slightly limited in choice if you want to use Peloton exercise equipment.
If exercise bikes are more your thing, then you can choose between the Bike and the Bike+. Runners may prefer their treadmill products, which include the Tread and the Tread+ (which is currently on hold).
Not all their equipment is available in all areas, so you may be limited in choice, depending on where you live.
As well as their exercise machines, Peloton also sells bike accessories like mats, cleats, and shoes, strength training items like resistance bands and dumbbells, and yoga equipment like mats and blocks.
You can also get a variety of full packages including a range of equipment. Some examples include:
- Bike Works: Peloton cycling shoes with cleats, headphones, a heart rate monitor, a bike mat, and 2 dumbbells.
- Bike Family Set: 2 pairs of bike shoes with cleats, 2 HRMs, 2 water bottles, 2 headphones, 2 dumbbells, 1 bike mat.
- Tread Essentials: A workout mat, heart rate monitor, 2 dumbbells, set of resistance bands.
- Tread Family Set: Reversible workout mat, 6 dumbbells, a set of resistance bands, 2 glass water bottles, 2 HRMS, and 2 JBL x Peloton Wireless Earbuds.
What is the Peloton App?
Peloton has developed their own app, designed to provide live-streamed exercise classes in a variety of different workout types.
Although the app has been designed to integrate fully with Peloton products, you don’t absolutely have to have one of their exercise machines to use the app.
There are more than 10 different workout types, so whatever you feel like on the day, you should find it or something similar.
If you download the app but don’t have the product, you’ll fall into the category of “Digital Members”. Those with Peloton equipment are “All-Access Members”.
But if you don’t have a Peloton bike or treadmill, you’ll miss out on being able to read your metrics live on the app screen, as well as access to the Peloton leaderboard in the app.
If you’re undecided about Peloton and their workout programs, starting with the app is an excellent idea. For $12.99 a month, you can access all their workouts.
If, after a while, you decide that you want to invest in their exercise equipment, the app will only get more exciting for you. On the other hand, if the workouts don’t quite grab you, then you haven’t bought an expensive piece of equipment that you may lose interest in quickly.
Take note, though, that if you want to upgrade to an All-Access membership, you’ll pay between $39 and $59 a month depending on which machine you buy with it.
What Classes Does Peloton Offer?
The Peloton app is chock-full of workouts to suit everybody’s liking. Some of the most popular sporting workout modes include:
- Running (indoor & outdoor)
- Strength Training
- Yoga & Stretching
- Other Cardio
- Bike Bootcamp (a HIIT workout mixing bike with weights or bodyweight workouts)
That’s a lot to choose from. You can also choose from different instructors or different types of workouts.
What are the Benefits of Peloton?
When you become a Peloton member, you have instant access to more than 10,000 pre-recorded workout sessions.
If that’s not enough, there are up to 14 daily, live-streamed spin classes, various fitness instructors to choose from, and even virtual rides you can do with friends if you have the Peloton Bike or Bike+.
You can also choose between long workouts or short, sharp workouts. Whatever your needs on any particular day, there’ll be a workout that suits you.
Thanks to the wide variety of workouts, there’s really something for every fitness level.
No matter if you’re just beginning or you’re an accomplished athlete, there’s something to suit your level or just your daily mood.
If you’re goal-oriented, the leaderboard feature can help spur you on toward new heights.
Earn achievement badges as you progress, and see where you rank on various leaderboards. It’s an excellent way to set achievable goals, and get excited when you meet them!
If you have the app and the Peloton equipment, you have access to real-time data on your screen as you’re going through your workout.
Now if you don’t have the Peloton equipment, you’ll still be able to see your data if you have any equipment with a screen, a smart watch, a heart rate monitor, or a fitness tracker.
The pro to having the Peloton equipment is that everything is integrated and stored for you. But if you’re already using trackers like Strava or TrainingPeaks, this may not be the biggest deal for you.
You get to take part in any workout you want from the comfort of your own home.
Day, night, rain, or shine, you can get an intense, effective workout in during your available time. You can also get a free 30-day trial if you aren’t totally sure about it yet.
What are the Cons?
The biggest con of Peloton, and the one thing that’s likely to put people off upfront is the cost. While you can use the app for just $12.99 a month, it’s designed to be integrated with the Peloton equipment.
When you buy the Peloton machine of your choice, you’ll need to purchase an All-Access membership separately.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for a machine, independent of the monthly membership cost:
- Bike: starting at $1,495 or $39/month
- Bike+: starting at $2,495 or $59/month
- Tread: starting at $2,495 or $59/month
You’ll also need to buy bike cleats separately for their bikes, which is an added cost on top of everything else.
The Peloton machines are designed for use with the app. There’s a screen fixed to the machine, which can’t be moved if you find it in an annoying or inconvenient position.
You also can’t stream the workouts to your TV or another device, unless you have a smart TV with the Peloton app installed. This is a con for many who may be used to watching their workouts on the big screen a little way in front of them.
You also can’t do anything else with the screen, like watch YouTube videos or read a book if you feel like a less intense, quieter workout.
In terms of adjustability, the bike is somewhat lacking for taller riders. The saddle can be moved forward and back, but the handlebars are fixed in place and can only be moved up and down.
This can make it difficult to get the machine in the optimal position for comfortable riding, especially for taller users.
One of the concerns we do have is that there’s no safety and form education on the app or on any of the machines. Exercise, particularly high-intensity workouts, can quickly go wrong if your form isn’t correct.
Peloton and their instructions offer no education or information about the correct form to use with their machines.
When you’re in the middle of a class being led by a ripped, energetic, super-charged athletic person who obviously knows what they’re doing, it can be super easy to sacrifice your form just to keep up with the workout.
A bit of education about correct and incorrect form, information about running, riding, or doing weight training with an injury, and perhaps a couple of form checks in the middle of live-streams would be appreciated.
What’s the Difference Between Bike and Bike+?
Peloton’s Bike and Bike+ are fairly similar. Both will do exactly the same job and provide you with a robust machine that will help you to burn calories and build muscle.
Bike+ has a few extra features. The screen is larger than that on the Bike, and it rotates if you need to angle it differently. It also features more speakers, for a better surround-sound experience!
Perhaps the more important performance feature that’s changed is that Bike+ has automatic resistance-changing, which the Bike doesn’t.
Is It Beneficial for Triathletes?
Peloton does have benefits for triathletes. It’s a more interactive way to get in your workout sessions, rather than just trudging along on your regular treadmill or spinning bike.
No matter the weather, the time of day, or your preference of workout for the day, you can get a seriously good training session in.
You can also find classes specifically focused on output and power. If you’re working towards specific power, intensity, or cadence goals, there’s sure to be an appropriate workout designed to improve your performance.
Off the bike, you can do tempo runs, recovery runs, long run warm-ups, and race prep runs. Strength classes can help you incorporate cross-training as well.
What are Good Alternatives to Peloton?
Peloton is a great option for triathletes if you have the money for it. If not, here are some excellent alternatives.
If cycling is your main focus, Zwift has everything you need. While Peloton offers other disciplines like strength training and running, Zwift is dedicated to cycling.
It has daily and weekly events you can join, and 1000s of miles of virtual worlds you can cycle through. There’s also an element of progress, not only in performance but as a fun feature, you can customize your avatar’s gear more and more the further you progress.
Zwift is compatible with a wide range of smart trainers, so it’s more accessible and affordable than Peloton.
It’s a fun, gaming-style app that offers plenty of interaction and high value. $14.99 per month gives you full access, and as a bonus, you can put your account on hold during months that you know you’ll be riding less.
If data is what you’re after, TrainerRoads is the app for you. Your very first activity when joining up is a functional threshold power (FTP) test, which will set you up to get the most out of your workouts.
An abundance of guided workouts cater for every need and can also be modified mid-workout if necessary. If you connect your bike computer, you can do one of their workouts outdoors.
You’ll be able to check out your data at any point, you can design your own personal workouts, and you’ll also have access to the weekly TrainerRoad podcast.
For $15 a month (or $129 a year), you’ll get a full range of workouts, data, and support.
Sufferfest gives the user access to structured cycling workouts, but it’s about more than that. Strength and flexibility training are incorporated, which is excellent supplementation for cycling workouts.
It’s compatible with many smart trainers, and a feature that gets a thumbs-up from us is the fact that you can watch your own videos while training with just a small graph of data in the corner.
You can also ride to raw footage of big races like the Tour de France, the World Championship, and the Giro d’Italia.
What you can’t do is interact with others, or ride with a friend. But for $14.99 a month (or $129 per year), you’ll get access to a huge database of training videos, personalizable workouts, and excellent mental and mindset training too.
FulGaz is a training app with thousands of real-life video clips to simulate real-life riding. There’s no gamification here, just solid, hard riding in beautiful locations.
It’s not complicated to get set up. Download the FulGaz app, connect your smartphone to your smart trainer, and choose a route.
You’ll be able to check out your ride data on the screen, and it automatically uploads to apps like Strava or TrainingPeaks.
It’s nothing complicated, but it’s an excellent app if you like replicating the feeling of riding outdoors as closely as possible.
After a free 14-day trial, you’ll pay $15 a month for a stash of beautiful rides. If you pay for an annual subscription, you can add a second friend or family member for free.