Should you get a Peloton? Fitness experts discuss considerations before you buy
Everything you need to know if you’re considering a Peloton bike, treadmill or fitness class subscription
While Peloton is actively working to restructure its company in an attempt to "deliver profitable growth," consumers who might have considered buying items from the connected fitness brand may be left wondering if they should go through with a purchase.
FOX Business consulted fitness experts and current Peloton promotions to help consumers decide if they should buy Peloton equipment or subscriptions or look elsewhere based on exercise preferences and financial factors.
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Peloton has made a name for itself in the fitness tech space with its stationary exercise bikes, treadmill and online fitness class subscriptions. The company notably lowered its equipment prices in 2021. However, Peloton announced in January that it’s now charging $250 and $350 for the setup and delivery of its original bike and treadmill, respectively. The company’s Bike+ model includes free delivery and setup at this time.
"There is a good chance that the costs of both the subscription as well as the products will increase in the near future," said Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer with over 30 years of industry experience.
"If you are thinking of buying, it's probably best to do so now," Holland continued. "The main benefits of Peloton include being able to exercise in the privacy of your own home, whenever you want, as well as having content to help make your workouts more effective and more enjoyable."
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Peloton’s original "immersive cardio" exercise bike retails for $1,495 while its cardio- and strength-focused Bike+ retails for $2,495. The company’s treadmill, on the other hand, retails for $2,495.
Depending on whether a customer opts for Peloton’s Starter, Select or Ultimate packages – which include a combination of various workout accessories like cycling shoes, light weights, dumbbells, an exercise mat, a heart rate band, a water bottle, a yoga block and strap – a bike or treadmill could run you $1,720 to $2,035 (Original Peloton Bike), $2,720 to $3,035 (Bike+) or $2,635 to $3,115 (Tread).
Peloton equipment owners also have to maintain an All-Access Membership subscription that costs $39 per month. The membership provides access to instructor-led fitness classes that are available for livestreaming or on-demand.
Workout classes Peloton members can choose from include strength, boxing, cycling, stretching, walking, running, Pilates, barre, yoga and meditation.
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If owning Peloton equipment is not a desired goal, potential customers can consider accessing Peloton fitness classes for a fraction of the All-Access Membership cost with a Peloton App subscription. For $12.99 a month, the Peloton App provides access to thousands of classes that can be viewed on smartphones, tablets, internet-enabled TVs and web browsers.
Peloton App customers can choose from equipment-based or equipment-free workout classes, but owning actual Peloton equipment is not required.
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Fitness consumers who are more concerned about getting a solid piece of exercise equipment but don’t want to be forced into a workout class subscription, Holland recommends brands like Bowflex, which he’s affiliated with as a chief fitness advisor for Nautilus, Inc. – the parent company of Nautilus, Bowflex, Schwinn Fitness and JRNY.
"The Bowflex C6 bike ($999) is roughly half the price of a Peloton but with the same design quality, and has connectivity with the Peloton app as well as numerous other coaching and content options, including Zwift’s [cycling app], utilizing your own mobile device," Holland told FOX Business. "If you have a Peloton but don't get the subscription, you are left with a bike [or treadmill] with a big expensive blank screen."
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Other Peloton competitors in the connected fitness space include NordicTrack, Echelon and MYXFitness.
FOX Business reached out to Peloton for comment on whether it considers now to be a good time for fitness consumers to purchase its bikes and treadmill.
"It’s always a great time to become a Peloton member," a Peloton spokesperson wrote in an email. "Peloton not only enables people to get healthy and stay healthy consistently, on their schedule, but our community constantly shares with us how positively our platform is impacting their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. And we know that our 6.6M members are using our products and loving them, as evidenced by our extremely high retention rate (92%)* and number of average monthly workouts (15.5)."
Considerations consumers may want to think about if they’re trying to determine if Peloton is a right fit for their needs include the company’s expansion into strength-training experiences that are set to launch in early 2022, the company’s range of accessories and apparel, and the company’s discount offerings (up to $200 off) for military and medical personnel, first responders and educators.
Peloton also offers 30-day home trials for its products as well as 12-month limited warranties that apply to touchscreens and most original components. According to Peloton’s website, the company says its team is "ready to repair unforeseen issues under warranty."
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For fitness consumers who value exercising outside their homes, Peloton might not be the best option.
"The value of Peloton’s virtual classes has rapidly declined as demand for in-person, boutique fitness classes are on the rise," said Barbara Chancey of Barbara Chancey Design Group – an international full-service fitness design firm. "We’ve been cut off from human interaction and living in dark times with solo exercise, and people now crave the community aspect of fitness in addition to mental clarity, physical exertion, and those glorious, feel-good endorphins."
Chancey went on to note that fitness enthusiasts tend to like in-person classes because the environment encourages human connection and accountability.
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"Touch and technology will always be an option for dedicated fitness fans, and home fitness equipment has a place in busy lives," Chancey told FOX Business. "Few have the luxury of a dedicated home gym, and pedaling in the kitchen surrounded by homework, dishes, and bills to pay often robs the mental escape so desperately needed."
She continued, "Instructors are the heart and soul of every indoor cycling class, and like religious leaders, they often develop a cult-like following. Many former Peloton instructors are now teaching waitlist classes in boutique fitness studios, so explore the personalities behind Peloton’s virtual classes before considering a purchase."