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Are Peloton Bikes Worth It?

New and creative technologies continue to make our daily exercise routine more convenient, trackable and customized. One of the more popular of these new devices is the Peloton stationary bike. Unlike traditional indoor-cycling bikes, a Peloton has a touchscreen tablet attached, providing live workouts with an instructor—or pre-defined, on-demand rides. It provides an interactive, connected workout experience from the convenience of home.

The Peloton has exploded in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. With gyms closed or cautiously reopening, many have turned to Peloton for their exercise. There are approximately 1 million members of the Peloton community—including home riders, app subscribers and studio and commercial riders.

The cost of convenience
What does a Peloton bike cost? It’s not cheap. According to the consumer help firm NextAdvisor, “the entry-level Peloton Bike will cost you $1,895 or $49 per month for 39 months. The more advanced Peloton Bike sells for $2,495 or $64 per month for 39 months. It’s equipped with more perks than the standard model, such as a larger touchscreen and better audio quality.” There’s also a standard membership that costs $12.99 a month, or an all-access version at $39 a month.

Worth it?
As with any purchase decision, a lot depends on how much you use it. It’s a significant investment into a singular piece of equipment. You’ll be wise to weigh in some factors before you dive in. For example:

For casual exercisers, a Peloton is probably overkill. However, if you’re a weekend warrior-type who puts a lot of time in to a heavy workout, it might be a worthwhile buy.

Having a Peloton in your house could save minutes of commute and wait time, and would allow extra sleep, as well as the extra time spent to get ready in the morning. Got kids? The home workout option is a no brainer. For some, just the thought of dragging yourself to the gym before or after work is enough to make yourself lazy. If you feel this way, a Peloton bike might be a good investment.

You’ll need to weigh the overall cost against the cost of any gym membership. The cheapest gym memberships come in at around $25- $30 per month. In a year (because most gyms insist on a 12-month minimum), that adds up to $360. Even so, the price difference is substantially less than buying a Peloton. So even if you can afford a new Peloton, it might not be justifiable. In some cases, check with your employer to see if they provide free gym membership as a perk.

Use a trainer and app. As an alternative to buying a Peloton, take your existing bike or old garage indoor trainer (or purchase a newer “smart trainer.”) Connect to an app via Bluetooth app—via a computer, a phone, a tablet, perhaps Apple TV. From budget to expensive you choose the way to provide a truly immersive indoor riding experience.

Indoor bike alternatives. Get your heart rate up and your legs pumping with a less expensive choice, such as a Bowflex or NordicTrack.

There’s a substantial savings to buying a used Peloton. There are some considerations you’ll need to account for to set the bike up, though.

It’s not a replication of an outdoor bike. Indoor cycling, often also called spinning, is much different than traditional cycling. Riding outside requires some basic skills like riding in a straight line, making side-to-side movements and navigating obstacles. So if your goal is to be a better cyclist, there may be some Peloton benefits that cross over to outdoor cycling, but it can really be a different experience.

Don’t forget the Peloton referral program bonus. Every rider gets a referral code. So if you’re thinking of purchasing a Peloton bike, just ask a friend that has a Peloton for their code and you’ll save $100 off accessories—they’ll receive $100 off apparel. And there are also some online coupons you can use to keep costs down.

Resources: Quartz Media, Inc., RetailMeNot, Inc., Reviewed.com, Onepeloton.com, CNET.com, Fortune.com, HuffPost, Immediate Media Company Ltd., TheEllenShow