This Peloton Bike+ review is here to help you figure out if this high-profile fitness setup is right for you. The Peloton Bike+ builds on the already popular, original Peloton Bike model by integrating a slightly larger 24-inch display. The magical thing here, however, is that it swivels around to liberate users’ daily exercise from the saddle and to the floor of their homes, opening them up to a whole new world of virtual, instructor-led workouts beyond the spin class.
Besides hand sanitiser and loo roll manufacturers, it's hard to think of a brand that’s done better out of the pandemic than Peloton. Sure, the company was already doing well before Covid hit, but the lockdowns that followed, and the subsequent insatiable demand for home fitness equipment, meant that Peloton quickly became a household name.
There’s a good reason for this. Not only was Peloton in the right place at the right time, but it had the goods to back it up: a premium, high-quality piece of home gym equipment with a great quality streaming service to boot.
The Peloton Bike+ is probably the best exercise bike you can buy and has attracted plenty of hype since its launch, part-way through the pandemic. But is the fuss justified, or have the gym-starved fitness nuts been too easy to please? This is what we’re here to find out. Read on for our full Peloton Bike+ review.
The Peloton Bike+ won the 'Best Home Gym Equipment' category at the T3 Awards 2021!
PELOTON BIKE+ REVIEW: PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
However, the costs don’t end there. If you want the full Peloton experience, there’s an endless amount of accessories on offer to complete the kit, which can easily rack up. On the other hand, there are a bunch of packages available when buying the Bike+ which can save you a bit of dosh. There’s the Bike+ “Essentials” pack, which retails at $2,695/£2,495 and includes a pair of Peloton cycling shoes, bike weights and a reversible workout mat.
Next, there’s the Bike+ “Works” priced at $2,795/£2,595, which includes everything you’ll find in the Essentials kit plus a bike mat to protect your floor and a set of resistance bands. The final, biggest package is the BIKE+ “Family” kit, priced at $2,945/£2,745.
This includes two pairs of shoes, a set of bike weights, a reversible workout mat, bike mat, resistance bands, yoga blocks, yoga strap and two water bottles. Any Bike+ purchase also includes free home delivery and a 12-Month limited warranty.
If you can’t quite stretch to splurging over two grand in one go, there are some really good financing options available. Currently, you can buy the Bike+ from as low as $64/£59 per month for 39 months with 0% APR. However you buy it, the bike is still in considerable demand and is currently shipping with a 5-9 week wait.
Anyone that knows how Peloton works will also be aware that there’s more than just the one-off purchase cost to consider. To access the virtual classes that the Peloton Bike+’s display broadcasts either live or on-demand, there’s an additional cost of £39 per month. That’s across all your Peloton products if you have more than one, and you can cancel at any time. This gives you unlimited access to everyone in your household.
For comparison, the UK’s answer to Peloton - Apex Bike - costs £1,200 and then £29.99 per month on top for the all-access subscription.
And finally, what about design options? Well, unlike some rivals that have released their bikes in a series of colours, Peloton has kept it simple, having just one straight up colourway to choose from: a very sleek black with red accents.
PELOTON BIKE+ REVIEW: SETUP
Still, before we received our Bike+ review model, we were very aware of the hype surrounding this spendy bit of kit. Usually, when something is super hyped, it’s either because it’s exceptionally bad to the point of shocking (but kind of in an enjoyable way) or it’s utterly amazing and deserves every bit of praise that it gets. Thankfully, the Bike+ falls into the latter category. From the Peloton-emblazoned delivery van to the brand reps that carry the bike up three flights of stairs before guiding you through the installation process so you can get spinning within minutes, the set up experience is swift and painless.
If you’re adjusting the bike to accompany your or someone else’s height, this is very straightforward and will be a piece of cake to those who are familiar with setting themselves up at a spin studio. To adjust the saddle and handlebars to your own riding position, you need to simply twist and loosen the height adjustment knobs on each side and choose your preferred height. There’s also a lever at the back of the saddle to tweak the fore and aft, if required.
PELOTON BIKE+ REVIEW: DESIGN
Okay, so we’ve established that the Bike+ is by no means cheap, but the great thing is that – even with a high price tag – you really do feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Everything about this bike is premium-feeling. It’s an exceptionally well-made and high quality bit of kit, easily matching the standards you’d find in equipment at a professional gym or slick boutique studio.
This is probably because it’s constructed from high grade powder-coated carbon steel, which also means it’s bloody heavy (weighing 138kg). It will definitely require two people to carry it from one room to another. Thankfully, there are two wheels on the front legs to help when it comes to sliding it into a better position, for example, from one side of the room to the other.
As we mentioned earlier, the Bike+ boasts a bigger screen than the original Bike. This measures 23.8-inch over its predecessor’s 21.5-inch display and is connected to a 360-degree swiveling mount so you can tilt it up and down for a better view while cycling, or 180 degrees left and right for floor workouts. This touch-enabled display is the perfect size for riding and is good enough quality that it's immersive. You really do feel like you’re part of the class during workouts. However, when reading data post-exercise, you do notice some pixelation around the text. Asa result, we think the Bike+’s display would benefit from a slightly higher resolution.
Above the display you also have an 8MP front‑facing camera with a privacy slider built-in. This is for video chatting with friends during workouts but to do this you must be following one another and be taking the same class at the same time.
In terms of size, the Bike+ is pretty much what you’d expect from your average spin bike with the addition of the screen that will take up an extra bit of space. It doesn’t fold up, so if you’re going to make a purchase be sure that you’ve got a dedicated space in your house where it can sit and not need to be moved every time you want to work out. Because that would prove really annoying over time.
Downsides? There aren’t many but if we’re being picky, it would have been nice to have a built-in stand for a smartphone, like on the Apex Bike. And the plastic weights holders (which have replaced the metal cages on the previous Peloton Bike) look nice but don’t feel as sturdy as they probably should. Still, these are just niggles. Overall, the bike is a beautiful, well-made piece of equipment and we can see why people love it.
PELOTON BIKE+ REVIEW: PERFORMANCE
So how does this elegant bike fare when it comes to getting hot and sweaty? Excellent, is the answer to that. The Bike+ remains stable even when you’re really going for it. Drenched in sweat, the handle bars offer substantial grip and the saddle has the right amount of cushion for a super comfortable ride, even during longer workouts. During our time with the bike, we’ve experienced zero bum soreness, which is usually the case with new saddles.
The Bike+ is powered by a 2.5 GHz Qualcomm QCS605 processor and 4GB of RAM and features Wi-Fi, ANT+, Bluetooth 5.0, and 100Mbps Ethernet connectivity. You can connect your earphones over Bluetooth, or there’s a 3.5mm audio jack on the handlebar for the wired variety if you’re more old school. As for the resistance, this is supplied in the form of a super weighty 17kg magnetic flywheel at the front. At its lowest setting (0), this provides plenty of room for rapid spins and ample resistance at the top end (100), also.
During a ride, you control this resistance via the red knob above the flywheel. This is sensitive to the touch, but not overly so. A tiny millimeter or two change in direction can easily be a level or two of resistance change, but you do get used to this over time. If you can’t really be bothered worrying about resistance, that’s fine, too, as the Bike+ features a brand new feature that its predecessor didn’t: an electronic resistance controller. This means you no longer have to listen to what the instructors are telling you in class and change your resistance manually by spinning the knob if you don’t want to. The new resistance system means the platform will change it automatically during class. You do this by simply tapping the ‘Auto-Follow’ option on screen. This only works during on-demand classes, though.
Thanks to the Bike+’s upgraded sound system, which features a front-facing high-fidelity 2.2 channel stereo soundbar with two front-facing tweeters and two rear-facing woofers, music can be turned to a pretty high volume during classes without distortion. It sounds great, and the good quality audio helps to keep workouts engaging.
The only complaint we have in terms of performance is that the handlebars can become a little wobbly over time. The good thing is that you can tighten them up easily with the Allen keys the Bike+ is supplied with.
Overall, the Bike+ delivers on performance just as it does in design – workouts are extremely comfortable and smooth, and the bike performs perfectly throughout, as expected.
PELOTON BIKE+ REVIEW: CLASSES AND PLATFORM
In order to enjoy the Peloton Bike+ at its fullest, you’ll have to sign up to the firm’s fitness streaming service, which costs £40 per month. Yes, that’s definitely not cheap – especially after forking out two grand for the bike itself – but if you take into consideration the amount of classes being uploaded to this platform every week, across multiple fitness disciplines, there’s a lot on offer for your dosh. Compare that to how much you could spend per month going to multiple boutique studios and you’re definitely saving in the long run.
The classes Peloton produces are exceptionally premium, fun and engaging. There’s a wide range of instructors from both the US and the UK, all with different personalities and music preferences. As cynical Brits, we were a little apprehensive about US instructor-led classes, especially due to their reputation for being a little corny in their motivational speeches. We were pleasantly surprised that many of the instructors aren’t like that. And with so many, you’ll definitely find an instructor that fits your vibe. There really is something for everyone.
If you’re opting for a standard spin class (and not the newer Bootcamp spin classes which involve intermittent floor workouts throughout), you’ll have the option of an on-demand (pre-recorded) class or live class, in 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90-minute workout durations.
You can also filter these by music and difficulty to find the right one for you. Each class begins with a five-or-so minute warm up, followed by the main workout and then a few minutes of “cooling down” before a short stretch. Throughout, the instructor recommends the best level of resistance and cadence to match each track and it works really well – just like being in the saddle at a spin studio.
During class, you’ll also be shown your stats in real-time. This includes cadence (RPM), your current resistance level and total power output (a calculation of your resistance combined with cadence, measured in kilojoules, or KJs), all of which are displayed live on the screen. These are joined by the music track currently playing, your heart rate data (if you've got a monitor connected) and class time remaining. Your power output is converted to points, which represent your position on a leaderboard, displayed at the top right.
If you're in a live class, the leaderboard shows everyone who is taking it alongside you and during on-demand classes, the leaderboard shows everyone who has previously taken that class or started at a similar time. There are around 10 live classes per day and while there are a few here and there per week out of the London studio, most are focused on the US East Coast time zone, so you’ll have to do them later in the day.
On the flip side, the slight lack in regular live classes for the UK is made up considerably by the relatively new addition of Peloton’s Sessions feature. Adding a live element to on-demand classes, it puts other members in the classes with you, in real-time, despite the class itself being pre-recorded. This means you can battle it out like you would in a live class to try and beat the other members’ scores and make it to the top of the leaderboard. Sessions classes are ongoing throughout the day, so you’ll always have someone to compete against if that's how you like to workout. For us, it makes the whole experience way more fun and compelling. Be careful how competitive you are, though. We nearly passed out getting that top spot on one occasion.
The interface that the Peloton platform is based upon works seamlessly and it’s evident that its UI has been well thought through. It’s intuitive, delivering heaps of information and fitness data without overwhelming you. We especially love the post-workout summaries, which show you how well you performed and the amount of calories you’ve burned, for instance.
If you want to ensure your stats are more accurate, you can connect most bluetooth-enabled trackers to the Pelton system. These have to be ANT+ enabled, however. We regularly use our Polar Verity Sense arm band and it works brilliantly. It also supports Apple's GymKit technology, which lets you pair up an Apple Watch to share metrics between devices.
PELOTON BIKE+ REVIEW: VERDICT
There’s a lot to consider when buying a Peloton bike: the initial price, the ongoing subscription costs, if you have space in your home, if you’ll use it regularly enough to justify a purchase, and so on. However, such concerns will likely melt away as soon as that bike lands on your doorstep (and is subsequently carried over the threshold by the delivery guys, of course).
Thanks to its super robust construction, beautiful design with attention to detail, ease of use and comfort, we dare anyone not to become instantly obsessed with the Peloton Bike+. The premium experience it delivers is kind of magical, and as a result, we’ve used it almost daily over the past few months. We can’t get enough.
There’s a reason why Peloton is happy to provide a 30-day free trial with free delivery for newbies: the brand knows that as soon as a Bike+ virgin places their bum on that saddle, there’s no going back. An epic piece of home fitness equipment with an immersive top-notch platform to back it up. Believe the hype: the Bike+ is the best exercise bike you can buy right now.
PELOTON BIKE+ REVIEW: ALSO CONSIDER
The Echelon Smart Connect EX3 is a sturdy Peloton alternative for those on a tight budget. It might not have a built-in display but if you're happy to stream workouts on your smart TV, you can save a significant amount of money getting this smart bike.
The Schwinn IC8 is a Peloton-friendly, cheap exercise bike that's not intimidating to use. Dual bottle holders and space to hang dumbbells mean it wouldn't seem out of place in a spin class, but it also packs embedded cadence, power and resistance sensors for those who want to get more serious. Great value-for-money overall.
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