Is the Peloton bike worth skipping those weekly Soul Cycle classes? One writer finds out.
The first time I tried spinning was about a decade ago and I was the youngest in the class. I got five minutes in and realized there was no way I could possibly keep up—and left. I was dying. Because I am a firm believer of trying everything twice, I hit another spin studio a few years ago and it was basically déjà vu. So, I wasn't exactly the world's biggest spinning fan. When I was invited to test out the much-hyped Peloton bike—which is dubbed “the Netflix of fitness” by the US media—before its official Canadian launch, I decided to give it a try. As it turns out, third time is a (pricey) charm.
What it is
The Peloton bike is a top-of-the-line connected spin bike that is complete with a screen and offers live and on-demand boutique studio classes in the home environment. It features a variety of class types that range from low-impact to high intensity interval training (HIIT) and are accompanied by playlists that span many genres. Since the launch of its bike in 2014, Peloton has become the go-to exercise regimen for everyone from high profile celebrities and CEOs, to busy parents who need a more convenient way to exercise at home while keeping up with the very fit Joneses.
Why I Tried It
I tried the Peloton bike to determine whether the absence of a physical, in-real-life—and inevitably intimidating—spin class would improve my indoor cycling game. I was drawn to the shorter class lengths, the fact that they cater to varying experience levels, the high-energy, nostalgic playlists, and that fighting traffic and being on time were removed from the fitness equation.
I chose a 20-minute session that was complete with 90s hip-hop and an inspiring six-pack-rocking instructor who kept energy levels high. I quickly discovered that you don't have to be a seasoned spinner by any stretch to do this—you're so entertained that you almost (almost) forget you're burning calories in the process.
I ended the session feeling great, surprised with myself for completing the class and (gasp!) actually wanting to do more.
How it Compares to Other Forms of Exercise
While it's all the rage in places like California, the Peloton bike is perfect for snowy Canadian winters when you want a quality workout but don't want to leave the house. It's also great for spinning enthusiasts who love instant variety and options—and who doesn't in our on-demand culture?
For those who crave the competitive nature of a traditional spin studio, they can have it with the Peloton bike. Each class—live or on-demand—features the option of displaying a leaderboard on the right side of your screen, which shows the usernames of everyone else in the class and measures your output throughout (the sum of your pedal speed and wheel resistance). It displays the number of riders, and where your performance falls in terms of percentile. If you opt for the live option, your instructor can see your username and output and will frequently offer shout-outs, congratulating spinners on their milestone rides (i.e. your 50th ride). Making lives easier, each bike (thankfully) comes with professional home assembly—something that isn't always guaranteed with other at-home fitness equipment.
The bottom line is, the Peloton bike is definitely a luxury item. The catch to the unmatched experience is that it comes with a price tag that starts at $2,950 just for the basic bike. This doesn't include the experience completing “extras,” like the specially designed cycling shoes, headphones and weights. Then there's the monthly Peloton Membership that grants you access to unlimited class content and will set you back $49 per month—but can be cancelled or paused at any time.
A spin class costs on average of $30 (before tax) for a drop in. So, for the basic bike, this is equivalent to about 98 spin classes at a Soul Cycle (granted, most studios offer class packages that lower the cost of each class), but also, don't forget to factor in Peloton's monthly fee.
Should You Buy It?
If you're a die-hard spinner, already spinning at least twice a week and have the dollars to drop, the bike would make a sound investment. If you're someone who likes to drastically switch up your workouts with everything from yoga to tennis, be honest with yourself as to whether the machine will get as much use as you think it will. It's less of a blow to dust off a barely-used yoga mat than a shiny piece of machinery that cost thousands of dollars.
Would I buy it? If I had the space and the cash, yes.
You can purchase the bike directly online at onepeloton.com—the company ships to many areas across Canada.