Is Peloton Worth It? My Thoughts After Three Years

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is peloton worth it

I bought my Peloton four months ago, but I used my parent’s Peloton for a couple of years before buying my own.

I’ve logged over 180 rides and love it. I wouldn’t trade my Peloton for anything. 30 minutes of intense cardio on the Peloton is my favorite way to reset my mind.

Four years ago, exercise was an activity that I dreaded, but now I look forward to it each morning. There’s no doubt that Peloton played a role in the shift in my mindset towards exercise.

You’re probably thinking the same exercise benefits can be found for a more reasonable price and you’re right. The Peloton Bike is expensive and requires a monthly subscription fee. 

In this post, I’ll go over the five main reasons to buy a Peloton and four reasons why it might not be for you. Then, I’ll wrap it up by answering the ultimate question: is Peloton worth it?

Reasons to Buy

#1 – Something for everyone

Peloton has something for everyone.

The instructors are world-class motivators, and they all have interesting personalities. Not every instructor will be a good fit for you, but after a couple of weeks, you’ll have a go-to instructor.

There are at least five new cycling classes posted per day, and there’s an on-demand archive from each live class.

Each class has a different difficulty level that’s displayed when you tap on the class. There are hills rides, beginner, advanced beginner, low impact, Tabata, and my personal favorite, the high-intensity interval training rides.

Most classes are structured around music, and there are 10 music genres to choose from.

The difficulty of the ride changes based on the speed of your legs (cadence) and how tough it is to peddle (resistance). The resistance is changed by twisting the knob left and right. The instructor tells you the cadence and resistance at each point in the ride, and there are indicators on the screen too.

These recommended cadence and resistance numbers are just a baseline and can be modified to whatever works for you.

If you want a day off from cycling, there’s yoga, strength, HIIT, pilates, core, and other exercises to do off the bike. 

Once you find an instructor who you click with, you might want to follow them to one of their classes off the bike. It’s a great way to discover new exercises or programs you’ve never considered.

#2 – Convenience

The main reason people don’t exercise is that they claim they don’t have time. This is a lame excuse, but if you own a Peloton this excuse is eliminated.

Just turn on the screen, tap on your username, clip your shoes into the pedals, pick a class, and then pedal for 20-30 minutes.

With Peloton, you don’t need to drive to the gym, which means traffic or bad weather are no longer your concern.

You don’t have to wait at the gym for someone to get off your favorite piece of equipment. Plus, there are no awkward social interactions with people you don’t want to deal with. Everything is done at your convenience.

#3 – Fitness Motivation

A few other reasons people don’t exercise regularly are due to not having motivation, getting bored easily, or not wanting to workout alone.

Peloton fixes these issues by gamifying the experience and making it more fun.

You can ride while the class is live, but each class is recorded and can be taken on-demand instead.

For those who are competitive, each class has a leaderboard on the right side of the screen where it shows where you stand amongst other riders. If you’re not in the live session, the leaderboard updates as if you were in the original session. It’s like you’re riding with them even if they completed the class days ago. For example, the leaderboard shows the real-time output for each rider at each specific point in the ride.

For an on-demand class, there may be more than 30,000 riders who have taken the class. If you want to ride with a smaller group, every five minutes “Sessions” are available. In a session, you’ll ride in a previously recorded class with a small group of people (usually around 10). 

The sessions are a way to amp up the competition and make the leaderboard seem more real. I’ve had some of my best output numbers during sessions because I stare at the leaderboard to make sure none of the clowns behind me can pass.

If you’re not competitive or find the leaderboard overwhelming, all stats can be hidden from the screen. Sometimes it’s best to just compete against yourself and your previous output numbers.

Peloton logs your output and other performance stats for each ride, tracks your personal bests, and keeps track of any streaks.

You can join a pre-existing Peloton group or create a new group. Each group is represented with a hashtag, and it appears on your profile page. Groups are a cool way to compete with friends and hold each other accountable. Lots of these groups exist outside of Peloton’s network on Facebook and Twitter too.

Peloton’s combination of the giant community, great instructors, leaderboard, and awards are all great ways to keep you motivated and make exercise fun.

It’s easier to pedal faster when an instructor tells you to and everyone else is following along. Like I’ve said with Apple Watch, ideally, we shouldn’t need exercise to be gamified to take care of our bodies. But if we’re making better health decisions because of tech, does it matter where the motivation comes from? I don’t think so.

Because Peloton has the largest community of riders, the community will continue to grow exponentially. The network effect has already kicked in. When your friends are all on Facebook, why would you want to be on MySpace? The same thing applies to Peloton.

Plus, because of Peloton’s huge market share, they can attract and retain the best instructors in the world and entice them to stay on the platform.

#4 – Build Quality

I can’t speak directly to the build quality of Peloton’s competitors, like Echelon or Nordictrack, but Peloton is a well-built machine.

There are a couple of exceptions like the cup holder and weight holder, but almost everything looks and feels well-built. The seat and screen can be adjusted easily and always feel sturdy.

How about longevity?

I’ve only had my Bike+ for four months, but my parents have had their Peloton Bike for three years and ride it almost every day. It still works like new.

#5 – Integrations

If you have the Whoop strap, your heart rate can be displayed on the left side of the screen. Or the same thing can be down with your Apple Watch if you have the Bike+.

There are Apple Music and Spotify integrations too. With your music account signed in, when a song plays during your ride, just tap the heart button and the song gets added to a playlist.

I’d expect more integrations with other software and devices in the future too. For example, with the music services, it’d be nice to play your Apple Music through the Peloton speakers during the scenic rides.

Reasons to Not Buy

#1 – Expensive

The Peloton Bike is $1,895, while the Bike+ is $2,495.

The Peloton shoes are $150. You’ll need multiple pairs if more than one person is riding.

Even the mat for the bike is $60.

You don’t need the official Peloton gear, but you’ll need shoes with bike cleats.

Fortunately, the bike can be bundled with the accessories and purchased for as low as $49/month, completely interest-free.

#2 – Subscription

Peloton requires a monthly subscription for $39/month

Without the subscription fee, the Peloton is essentially a stationary bike with a blank screen attached. The pedals will move but you won’t have access to classes and your data won’t get logged.

The good news? Everyone in your household can ride on the same plan.

$39/month may seem like a lot after dropping $2,000 for the bike, but let’s put it into perspective.

Budget gyms like Planet Fitness are close to $10/month, but the average gym membership in the US is about $65/month.

While the average spin class is about $20 per session. More specifically, SoulCycle is around $30 per class.

Peloton looks like a bargain compared to the alternative spin options. Unless you place a high value on the in-person aspects of working out with friends, Peloton is a better bet.

#3 – Delivery

It took me three months to get my Peloton Bike+ after placing the order. Current wait times are down to two weeks for the regular bike or eight weeks for the Bike+, which is still too long.

To make matters worse, Peloton doesn’t have a dedicated delivery team. My bike was delivered by two guys who didn’t speak English. Due to the language barrier, they couldn’t show me how to use it or answer questions. They rushed to get it set up as quickly as possible.

They went so quickly that they left my bike without a foot so I couldn’t use it right away. Luckily, I called Peloton and after exchanging a few emails, I got a new foot for my bike within a week.

Not everyone will have a bad delivery experience, but Peloton needs to have a standardized delivery process. I’d like to see the delivery guys have basic Peloton knowledge to answer questions.

Peloton is growing fast and having scaling issues. Deliver times and smoothness will get fleshed out eventually, but the current process is not good enough.

#4 – Nice Weather

My biggest issue with Peloton is nice weather, which has nothing to do with the bike.

I live in the northeast, and as soon as it gets warm in the spring, I’d rather be outside running, hiking, or mountain biking. I prefer the fresh air and sun.

Tons of Pelotoners ride their bike year-round, but during the summer, I only plan to use it on rainy days or when I need an intense HIIT ride.

During the summer, I know I’ll feel guilty for spending $39/month for just a few rides per month. The other option is to pause the subscription during the summer, but I’d feel worse owning an expensive bike that I can’t use, than paying $39/month while infrequently riding.

Who should get one?

$2,500 for the bike and $500/year for the subscription is pricey. If you’re paying off the bike monthly, plus the subscription fee, it’s at least $100/month.

Rationally, someone like me, who’s self-motivated and likes to exercise outside for six months of the year, shouldn’t buy a Peloton because it’s not the best value.

With that being said, I love my Peloton and want to keep it forever.

Could I find more affordable ways to exercise? Definitely. But the bike makes me happy and keeps me healthy.

Let’s look at some math to rationalize the purchase.

If I ride 4 times per week during the cold months, then 1 time per week during the warm months, that’s 130 rides per year.

If I keep this pace for five years, it’s about $6.50 per ride. And if my fiancée rides an equal amount during those five years, it brings the cost down $3 per ride, which is tough to beat.

If you lack exercise motivation and need the full power of the Peloton cult behind you, you won’t regret your purchase. You won’t find a better value for your time than 30 minutes on a Peloton. Sure, $100/month sounds expensive, but if it helps you stay in shape and live longer, that’s a bargain. I’ve watched the bike motivate both of my parents to exercise regularly, and it even helped kickstart my passion for working out three years ago.

If you exercise every day without needing motivation, Peloton probably isn’t a necessity, but it’s still a lot of fun if you can afford it. If you have any competitiveness in you, it’s a must-have.

Which model should you buy?

I’m the owner of the Bike+, but I recommended the regular Bike because the Bike+ isn’t worth the extra $600. If you want to learn more about the differences between the two bikes, my next post will compare the Peloton Bike to the Bike+.

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I’ve been obsessed with gadgets since I was eight years old. I buy each device reviewed with MY money and don’t have insider access. I’m just like you, the everyman.