The Peloton Bike and Bike Plus have the same main features, classes, and feel the same while riding.
But there’s a $600 price difference: the Bike is $1,895, while the Bike+ is $2,495.
After four months of testing the Peloton Bike Plus, I’ve determined that the Bike Plus has just four main unique features compared to the entry-level Bike. But are these features worth an extra $600?
The short answer? Save your money and go with the entry-level Bike. The Bike Plus is a $200 upgrade that Peloton charges $600 for.
For the long answer, keep reading as I break down each of the four main differences and provide alternative ways to gain some features from Bike Plus for less.
But before you continue, if you’re on the fence about buying a Peloton, read my Is Peloton Worth It? post.
Four Major Differences
#1 – Screen
The Bike+ screen is slightly bigger at 23.8” compared to 21.5” on the Bike, but I didn’t notice the difference until researching for this post.
Peloton claims that the Bike+ has a reduced-reflective and anti-smudge coating, but I can’t tell a difference. The Bike+ is still a fingerprint magnet and reflective.
But there’s one huge difference when comparing the screens:
The Bike+ screen rotates 360 degrees and tilts, which is great if you want to do exercises or guided stretching off the bike. The screen rotates smoothly and can be positioned at any angle.
The rotating screen is the biggest new feature on Bike+, but If you want to take a non-bike Peloton class, there are lots of alternatives. The benefit of the rotating screen is pure convenience.
The regular bike’s screen can’t be rotated or tilted up or down. But if your room is large enough, just take the class right behind the bike.
Another option is to cast from your Peloton or the Peloton phone app to a TV. If you don’t have a TV in the spot where you want to workout, 32” TVs are only around $100, which is a lot easier to stomach than $600.
If you plan to do lots of off-the-bike Peloton classes and want the convenience of the rotating screen, it’s an awesome feature, but probably not worth $600 alone.
#2 – Speakers
The Bike+ has 4-channel audio with 2×3 watt tweeters and 2×10 watt woofers, while the Bike has a 2×10 watt sound system.
What does this mean?
The Bike+ sounds a lot better because the speakers are right above the screen and facing you. The bass is deeper and it sounds less like a tablet.
The Bike sounds more like a tablet. It’s perfectly loud enough, it just sounds more hollow compared to the Bike+ partly because the speakers are directed away from you.
How bad is the sound quality? I used my parents’ original bike for a couple of years without having issues with the speaker.
#3 – GymKit
The Bike+ has Apple GymKit support, which is the feature that enticed me most before buying the Bike+
What does this mean?
Peloton has an NFC reader and works just like Apple Pay.
Bring your watch close to the Peloton logo and a message will appear on your Apple Watch. Just approve the connection. Once your watch is connected to your Peloton, your Apple Watch automatically goes into workout mode and logs the workout. The best part? The heart rate from your watch is displayed on the left side of the Peloton screen.
Peloton’s interface will let you know which heart rate zone you’re in at all times, which is crucial for power zone rides.
In my experience, GymKit works about 70% of the time, but I often hold my watch near the Peloton logo and nothing happens. Or sometimes, I accept the notification on my watch but get an “Unable to Connect” message. I can fix the issue by resetting my Apple Watch, but that takes about three minutes. The same thing happens with others who have tried my Peloton.
The good news?
While I can’t nail down if Peloton or Apple Watch are responsible for the communication issue, it’s just a software issue and will get fixed with updates.
Unfortunately, the Apple Watch integration only works for biking workouts. You can’t currently start a strength workout from your watch. Once again, this is a feature that may be added down the line.
What do you do if you have an Apple Watch and want to buy the original bike?
Just start an indoor biking workout and look down at your watch to see your heart rate.
But if you want your Apple Watch’s heart rate to appear on the Peloton screen, there’s a third-party app for your Apple Watch called BlueHeart that should let you enable this.
For on-screen heart rate, without the Bike+ and Apple Watch, Peloton sells a heart rate strap that goes around your chest for $50. Or you can buy a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Just type in “peloton heart rate monitor” on Amazon there are a bunch of third-party options. The Whoop wrist strap works great too.
GymKit is my favorite feature on the Bike+, but it doesn’t work consistently, doesn’t support workouts off the bike, and is not worth $600.
#4 – Resistance
The Bike has a mechanical resistance adjustment. When you turn the resistance knob, you’re moving the parts inside the bike that make it harder to pedal. It gets harder to spin the knob as you add resistance.
The Bike+ has a digital resistance adjustment. When you spin the knob, the computer is notified to change the resistance. You can spin the dial endlessly because there’s no endpoint. The dial is more sensitive too. Just a small tap can make a major adjustment on the resistance, while a full spin is needed on the bike to move it five points.
What does this mean during a riding?
But the digital adjustment enables a feature called “Auto-Follow,” which works with any on-demand class with the target metrics. When the resistance on the screen changes, your resistance will automatically adjust. You can turn this feature or off anytime by tapping on the lock icon.
I don’t use this feature, and there are a couple of reasons why.
Sometimes the numbers on the screen are incorrect. For example, the instructor says to go to 50, while the on-screen metric stays at 40. The metrics on the screen can have a few-second delay too.
Auto-Follow is an interesting idea, but it’s not for me. I want full control. Whenever I enable it, I do more thinking about my resistance than when I change the resistance myself. Plus, if I go a few resistance points over what the instructor says, things get messed up.
#5 – Miscellaneous
The Bike+ has twice the amount of RAM and a faster processor. Moving in and out of menus is a bit faster, but when picking a class is the only objective, processing power isn’t a huge need.
Peloton upgraded the front-facing camera from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels and it has a privacy cover. If you and a friend are in the same class, you can video chat, but because the screen is small a picture quality improvement is meaningless.
The Bike+ has a USB-C charging port for your phone, but how often do you need to charge your phone while you workout?
The Bike+’s headphone jack port is conveniently located in front of the handlebars, rather than on the right side of the bike.
The Bike+ has better seat adjustments. It’s a bit smoother and quicker.
The entry-level Bike has two small advantages over the Bike+.
The Bike+ has a plastic rack to hold the weights, which feels cheap, but the Bike has a metal rack that feels sturdy.
The bolts for the Bike+ screen need tightening every once and a while because the screen gets loose, but this doesn’t happen with the Bike.
Is the Bike Plus worth the upgrade?
The Bike+ has lots of minor upgrades. If each upgrade gets you excited, the Bike+ might be worth the extra $600.
The rotating screen is the biggest difference. If you plan to do lots of Peloton workouts off the bike and you don’t want to deal with another TV and casting, the Bike+ might make sense.
I love the idea of Apple Watch integration, but it’s lacking support for non-bike workouts and doesn’t work consistently.
Keep in mind, the Bike can be delivered in a couple of weeks, while the Bike+ takes a couple of months.
If you have unlimited money and want the best, there’s no question the Bike+ is a better bike. But the Bike is the better value for your money.