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Peloton Bike review

Live classes are key to why this exercise bike is so great

Peloton Bike review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Peloton)

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for live spin classes from the comfort of your home, there’s nothing better than the Peloton Bike

For

  • Excellent hardware
  • Engaging instructors
  • Live class options

Against

  • Screen does not rotate for on the floor workouts
  • Expensive
Peloton Bike: Specs

Price: $1,895 (Includes delivery and assembly)
Membership fee: $39/month
Max rider height & weight: 4’11” to 6’4” | 297 pounds
Bike Dimensions: 59 x 53 x 23 inches
Footprint: 4 x 2 feet
Total bike weight: 135 pounds
Pedals: Delta clips
Display: 21.5 inches 1080p
Sound: Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, built in microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack, 2-Channel rear-facing stereo speaker system with 16 watts of total power
Power Requirements: 100 V to 240 V | 50 - 60 Hz | 1.2 A Max
Warranty: 12-months
Delivery Time: 1-3 weeks
Free Trial: 30 days to try the bike worry-free at home. If you are not satisfied, you may send it back for a full refund.

The Peloton Bike has become a must-have for one big reason: Its live classes have been a way to replicate the experience of in-person spin classes while maintaining a healthy social distance. But even pre- and (we assume) post-pandemic, these classes are what have separated Peloton from the rest of the best exercise bikes

At $1,895 — plus $39 a month for a subscription — the Peloton Bike is higher in price than most stationary bikes, but there is nothing like it.. Peloton is the at home version of going to a cycling studio minus being in a crowded room filled with others and requires less time for your workout since you do not have to travel to and from the gym. 

Peloton Bike review: Price and accessories

The original Peloton Bike (which we reviewed) costs $1,895, and has a fixed 21.5-inch display; the Peloton Bike+ costs $2,495 and is similar in most respects, but has a larger 23.5-inch display that can swivel 360 degrees, so you can use it when doing non-bike-related exercises. While you can pay for the bike upfront, Peloton offers financing at a 0% interest rate, starting at $49/month for 39 months. 

Peloton Bike review

(Image credit: Peloton)

Peloton offers a number of accessories, which can be purchased with the bike or separately. There are four different packages you can choose from at the time of your purchase. The cheapest package is the Bike Basics whereas the Bike Family comes with the works.

  • Bike Basics - $1,895: This is the lowest priced package Peloton has to offer when purchasing your bike. It includes the Peloton Bike, 12-month limited warranty, and delivery and assembly.
  • Bike Essentials - $2,045: This package includes the Peloton Bike, 12-month limited warranty, delivery and assembly, one pair of shoes, one set of bike weights, and a pair of headphones. 
  • Bike Works - $2,145: This package includes the Peloton Bike, 12-month limited warranty, delivery and assembly, one pair of shoes, one set of bike weights, a pair of headphones, a heart rate monitor, and a bike mat. 
  • Bike Family - $2,345: This package includes the Peloton Bike, 12-month limited warranty, delivery and assembly, two pairs of shoes, one set of bike weights, two pairs of headphones, two heart rate monitors, two water bottles, and a bike mat. 

The top accessory I use most frequently are the bike weights, although getting the “Peloton” brand is not necessary. For more options, check out our picks for the best adjustable dumbbells. Likewise, while Peloton sells its own bike shoes, many people find the Peloton-branded shoes to be snug and narrow fitting. For other options, take a look at the best shoes for Peloton and indoor cycling

Peloton Bike review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Of course, to get the most out of the bike, you’ll also need to sign up for Peloton’s service, which gives you access to live classes and more. This costs $39/month; unfortunately, there’s no discount for paying upfront.

Peloton Bike review: Design and Setup

Your Peloton will be delivered and assembled by one of Peloton’s “crew members.” At the time of my delivery, our crew member connected the bike to our Wi-Fi, created our account, and showed us how to use the program.

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It’s recommended that you figure out where you would like to leave your bike so you don’t have to have to move it again. After all, the bike weighs 135 pounds. Additionally, give yourself some space next to where the bike will be placed so you have room to do the off bike workouts if you do not have a tv in the room to view the class elsewhere.

Peloton Bike review

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A YouTube video created by Peloton showing me to adjust the seat and handlebars was beneficial. If you’re comfortable with going to a Peloton showroom to purchase your bike, an associate can fit you and provide you with a card that has your measurements so you can match it at the time of your delivery.

Peloton Bike review

(Image credit: Peloton)

The bike itself is sleek and black, so it’s not as disruptive if you need to leave it in the middle of your living space. The 21.5-inch 1080p HD 10-point multi-touch touchscreen is vibrant and bright and shows all of the metrics as you ride including the time, section of the class distance, cadence, resistance, heart rate, calories burned, your output, and your best overall output for that length of time.

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Lastly, another great feature is that you can mirror the display on a smart TV, which can provide an even more immersive experience.

It is important to note that the screen does not rotate side to side so if you are off the bike doing a workout using the bike screen, it is hard to see since it does not have a swivel. Also, you can’t really use the screen for anything other than watching Peloton workouts. While the Bowflex Velocore doesn’t have live classes, you can use its screen to stream videos from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and others.

Peloton Bike review: Live classes

Do you ever wonder what the hype is about the Peloton and why your friend is posting that she got a shoutout from Cody for her Century Ride class and what does that even mean? One of the leading reasons that separates Peloton from other at-home exercise bikes are the live classes it offers. 

Peloton Bike review

(Image credit: Peloton)

Each week, Peloton drops live classes, so you can plan out your exercises for the week. Riders have the option to “Count Me In” ahead of time and can add the class to their calendar. I use this feature a lot, because it makes me feel accountable to make time to take a live class.

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The types of rides include the following:

  • Hiit & Hills - Intervals mixed with power driven hills. The goal is to improve your power and test your overall fitness during this high-intensity ride.
  • Low Impact Rides - A class spent primarily in the saddle to give your body a smooth ride while still working up a sweat. Anyone can take this ride, particularly those recovering from an injury.
  • Power Zone Endurance Rides - Using your output, calculated based on how hard you are working by combining your cadence (speed) and resistance (how hard it is to pedal), train to build aerobic endurance with intervals in zones 2 and 3 out of the 7 zones.
  • Sweat Steady Ride - This ride focuses on prolonged intervals.
  • Intervals & Arms Ride - A class split into sections of cycling and light weight segments.
  • Tabata - A form of the best HIIT workouts, Tabata rides are bursts of high effort to boost your heart rate to the max, followed by a recovery period. (If you don’t have a Peloton, you can still perform some of the best Tabata workouts on your own).

A con to the classes — live or otherwise — is that you can’t “pause” your workout on your bike. Fortunately, Peloton says this feature will be added later this year.  

Among the best Peloton alternatives, both Echelon and NordicTrack (iFit) offer live classes. Check out our Echelon vs. Peloton and NordicTrack vs. Peloton stories for a more detailed breakdown of what each service offers.

Peloton Bike review: Off-bike and on-demand classes

In addition to live classes, you can also take On-Demand classes have an overall and here now leaderboard so you can see where you stand on both lists. Although the instructor is teaching the class, remember it is not live so all of the shoutouts he is giving is pre-recorded from when the class was live. After the class has aired, it is added to the On Demand library within a few hours for users to take.

Peloton Bike review

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On Demand categories include strength, cardio, cycling, bike bootcamp, yoga, meditation, and stretching. A great feature to utilize when trying to find a class is using the filter options the software has. This allows you to pick a class based on any length, class type, instructor, music, if the class has subtitles, and by what is trending, popular, easiest, hardest, and top rated. You may also use the bookmark feature allowing you to save the class to take at another time. It is possible to filter to just show your bookmark classes so it is easily accessible for you to see and take.

Peloton Bike review

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These classes are available for you to take at any time of any day making it as flexible it can get for your schedule. If you see a live class at 12pm that you wanted to take but something came up, you will see it in the on demand library hours after it aired so you will not miss out! If I’ve taken a class that I enjoyed so much, I bookmark it so I can take it again, especially the ones that leave me breathless by the end.

Peloton Bike review: Audio and music

Live classes can range between 5 minutes to a full hour and have different types of music themed such as hip pop, house, EDM, pop rides including, 80’s or 90’s music and more. My favorite are the Artist Series rides which dedicate an entire ride — usually 30 minutes — to one specific artist such as Justin Bieber, Madonna, The Beatles, Prince, and Britney Spears. However, you can’t see the playlist ahead of time, nor can you play your own music. You can adjust the volume of the tunes and the instructor independently, though.

Peloton Bike review

(Image credit: Peloton)

An element of the Peloton Bike and music is that you can link your Spotify account to your Peloton Bike. By doing this, you can “favorite” any song that the instructor plays and your Spotify will create a playlist for you so you can listen to it off the bike. 

While not available for live classes, one great feature — especially for someone who is hearing impaired like myself — is that you can turn on closed captions for all on demand rides. 

Peloton Bike review: Leaderboard

The leaderboard is one of my favorite parts about live classes. When taking a live class, you can see who else is taking the ride with you. Your name (and theirs) rises and falls on the leaderboard based on your output, cadence and resistance. Once the class is finished, you will get an overall ranking to see how you did compared to other riders. It’s great motivation for those who like to compete. 

Peloton Bike review

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Just as motivating are the shout-outs given by the instructors during live classes. You can get recognized for such things as your birthday, Century rides (100th class), 200, 300+ rides, specific hashtags, or simply if you’re crushing it on the leaderboard.

One of the features of the leaderboard is being able to give or receive a virtual “high-5” from another user taking the class at the same time as you. Some find this feature engaging whereas others find it annoying and ignore it.

Note that the leaderboard with the instructors is just as engaging if you are taking a live floor workout however, it does not rank you in comparison to other users like the bike does.

After you’ve completed your 100th workout, you may receive a free commemorative Century Club shirt from Peloton to honor your accomplishment.

Peloton Bike review: Heart rate monitor

You can incorporate your heart rate into workouts to better gauge your overall effort. You can purchase a chest strap through Peloton for $49, or use any heart rate monitor that has Bluetooth or ANT+, such as the Scosche brand arm band. 

Unfortunately, you can’t use the heart rate monitor on the Apple Watch, as much as I — and many others — would like.  

Peloton Bike Review: Verdict

Even though I miss going to my cycling studio and seeing my workout friends to socialize before and after class, I enjoy being able to hop on my Peloton at any time of the day. The flexibility of the on-demand library allows me to fit in any length of time for any type of workout I want to do for the day. What took me an hour and a half for an hour class at my cycling studio now takes me an hour and two minutes to complete at home.

Additionally, the amount of content provided on the platform leaves me with countless options when it comes the time to choose a class. If money is not an issue for you or if you are a fitness junkie like me, the Peloton is your answer. It has all the bells and whistles you would want including live classes, an abundance of on-demand workouts — and not just for cycling — all in the convenience of your home.