When Peloton Slashed the Price of Its Exercise Bike, I Took the Plunge—Here’s How I Feel About It Now
Recent price cuts have made the Peloton, once one of the most expensive bikes on the market, a deal you should ride away with.
After two years with one of the more affordable stationary bikes on the market, a price drop on the Peloton prompted me and my wife to take the plunge and upgrade. While our old stationary bike had served us well, the Peloton’s robust performance data, engaging group of instructors and cool leaderboard feature has taken our exercise bike experience to another level.
Overcoming the Sticker Shock
Our biggest barrier to entry with the Peloton was the price. The Peloton’s original price of $2,245 was way too high for us to justify. While the price dropped to $1,895 with the release of the Peloton Bike + in September 2020 was tempting, it still wasn’t enough. When Peloton slashed the price of the exercise bike in August 2021 to $1,495, that was good enough for us.
No Assembly Required
After pulling the trigger, It didn’t take long for the Peloton to arrive. Less than 24 hours after we placed our order, a truck rolled up to the house, and out came the Peloton, fully assembled and ready to go. Keep in mind that the Peloton comes with clipless pedals that require special cycling shoes unless you plan to change them out with standard platform pedals.
Climb into the saddle of the Peloton and the difference between it and other exercise bikes instantly becomes clear.
Whereas my old stationary bike was limited to a decidedly low tech 5-inch digital display with three metrics—cadence, speed, and time elapsed—the Peloton, in comparison, boasts a beautiful 22-inch touch screen loaded with data.
Running across the bottom of the screen is cadence, total output, and resistance. Squeezed between these larger data points in smaller type are averages and highs for each data point, while along the bottom you get calories burned, speed, distance, and total power output in kilojoules.
If that isn’t enough, you can add a power zone meter tailored to your fitness level to the display by completing an FTP power zone test ride and you can add heart rate data with the purchase of an ANT+ heart rate monitor.
While all of this data may at first seem like overkill, it’s tremendously valuable for anyone looking to track improvement in their fitness level (which is pretty much anyone who would invest in a Peloton). What’s more, I also love the fact that the Peloton can be linked to FitBit and Strava to meld your Peloton workout data with other activities, such as kayaking, walking, hiking, yoga, and strength training, giving you a total picture of your fitness activities.
Up until now, my stationary bike experience was with a friction-based Schwinn IC3 exercise bike, which used a 40-pound flywheel and a rotatable knob that pushes a felt pad against the flywheel to create resistance. Determining the level of resistance with the IC3 was purely by feel. In comparison, the Peloton uses a magnetic flywheel that assigns specific values for resistance from 1 to 100 that you can precisely adjust with each turn of the knob.
My wife and I thought we were estimating the resistance levels on the Schwinn with a fair amount of accuracy. Turns out we weren’t. The same Peloton classes we had taken via the app on the Schwinn turned out to be much harder once we could dial in the actual resistance levels the instructor was calling out.
In addition to all that data, the display includes a leaderboard that ranks you by total power output (in kilojoules) with other people who are riding in the same class, if it’s live, or who have logged a ride if it’s an on-demand class. For anyone who’s even mildly competitive, the leaderboard is a great motivator.
During your ride, you can watch yourself moving up or down the leaderboard in real time among the other riders as you battle it out with people on opposite ends of the country or on other continents. I must say, I do find myself digging deeper to try and crack the top 500.
Though I’ve been an avid cyclist for more than 16 years, I’ve never been one for spin classes even when I had a gym membership, but I love Peloton’s lineup of instructors. Whether it’s the PG-13-rated tough love doled out by Alex Toussaint, the witty banter of London-based Bradley Rose, or the tear-inducing, soul-searching rides of Christine D’Ercole that my wife loves, all of the instructors are entertaining, engaging, and knowledgeable.
During live rides, Peloton instructors will do shout-outs to as many class members as possible. While I initially saw this as a gimmicky way of appealing to millennials, the first time I got a shout-out, I couldn’t wait to finish the ride so I could run downstairs and tell my wife.
It’s important to note that Peloton’s price tag doesn’t include the $39 per month fee to access all of the online content. You can split the subscription among up to 20 user profiles. While the subscription fee plus the cost of the bike may sound like a lot, if you use Peloton’s 39-month 0 percent interest financing, the price of the bike plus the subscription is comparable to a couple of gym memberships.
Although the Peloton bike weighs a hefty 135 pounds and has a broad base, it does have some wobble if placed on a carpet, as we noticed. Plan on investing in a good mat if your Peloton is going to reside in a carpeted room.
The Peloton allows you to set the seat height, seat distance from the handlebars, and handlebar height. Each moveable piece is clearly labeled, which is helpful when switching from rider to rider. Making adjustments is fairly easy thanks to quick release handles, though raising and lowering the weighty handlebars can be a bit of a struggle.
Despite all the price cuts, Peloton is still among the most expensive exercise bikes on the market. There are quality stationary bikes that are much more affordable. That said, once in the saddle, guided by one of its charismatic instructors, and immersed in a 22-inch display rife with useful performance metrics and live rankings, it quickly becomes clear that the Peloton is indeed the gold standard in exercise bikes and, dare I say, worth every penny.