If you’re familiar with Midwest winters, you know how hard it can be to motivate yourself to get exercise outdoors.
When there’s ice everywhere, the wind chill is 20 below, and even the dogs won’t go out, it’s home gym time, Baby…
That’s why this past fall we decided to plop down $2,256 to buy a Peloton Bike+ (with a $59 bike mat and $35 toe clip adaptors added to the package).
So if you’re wondering “Should I buy a Peloton stationary bike?”, I’ll share the five reasons why we think you should buy this go-nowhere bike. We’ll also offer a few reasons why you might want to avoid it.
A Quick Background on Peloton Interactive
Peloton was the darling digital company of the pandemic. The early lockdowns meant that all local gyms were shut down and the appeal of having a Wi-Fi-enabled stationary bike soared.
Despite some frequent marketing mishaps (Who can forget the Christmas Peloton ad campaign of 2019?) and a serious issue with their early treadmills, Peloton racked up new subscribers at a rapid clip.
Now, since the pandemic has eased up, things aren’t as rosy as they once were for Peloton. Its stock traded as high as $163 back in December 2020. As of this posting, the stock is scraping the bottom at $9 a share. Guess who bought some of this stock when it dropped to $50 a share? This knucklehead.
But we still love our Peloton bike. There’s a serious devotion to this flawed (but fun and effective) machine. The subscription base has held strong despite the decreased demand for home-gym equipment.
In my view, that’s a recipe for sustained growth – when a product can retain customers at net growth over time, despite market headwinds.
Let’s jump into it then. If you’re new to Peloton and wondering if this investment makes sense, I’ve got five reasons for you to consider buying this fancy exercise bike.
“Should I Buy a Peloton”? Five Reasons to Give It a Spin:
1. Workouts can be as hard (or as easy) as you want them to be.
Now, the trainers will push you and they’re no joke. Sometimes it gets on my nerves – the constant harping to “stay with it!” or “you only get out of it what you put in!” So lately, I’ve been muting the trainers and listening to podcasts from my iPhone instead.
It just depends on the mood you’re in or how your body is feeling on a given day. I recently slogged through a bought of Covid so the recorded classes I chose were limited to the 15 or 20-minute recovery rides.
When I’m feeling good, I’ll typically hit the 30-minute (or 45-minute) HIIT and Hill rides. Those classes kick my butt! By the time the cool-down has ended, I’ve put in nearly 10 or more miles and burned a good 300 to 400 calories. And my legs feel like rubbery noodles. Exercise is GRRREAT!
2. Peloton offers a huge amount of workout options and classes.
This was an unexpected treat when we bought our machine. Once online and the menu popped up we were presented with a plethora of classes.
Biking with a trainer is the most popular option of course, but you could also check out a bunch of yoga classes, stretching, boxing, and strength training (bring your dumbbells).
Whew! Mrs. Cubert is better about mixing it up than I am. My variety consists of the tried-and-true spinning with a few stretching classes here and there.
Depending on your tastes, you can pick classes with EDM music, pop hits, hard rock, or even country. Heck, I’ve even seen a few classes set to classical music (Sadly, not Hooked on Classics). Some cycling selections have a guest DJ on the set, in case you want to make your ride a real Lizzo fo-Shizzo party.
The latest addition to the collection of classes is a video-game-like experience called “Lanebreak”. It’s a fun little novelty. You’re immersed in a Tron-meets-Guitar-Hero workout that is a refreshing change-up from staring at a sweaty trainer for 30 minutes.
With some refinement, there could be a Candy Crush affinity for this option. Imagine that, getting addicted to exercise!
3. Their trainers are outstanding.
At first, we didn’t know what to make of our new virtual trainers. I mean, sure, they’re real people, but the experience is virtual. You see the trainer, but the trainer only sees a list of profiles on the screen.
We had to get familiar with the different styles and attitudes each trainer brought to a given class. Some Peloton trainers are social media superstars – like Cody Rigsby (recently a contestant on Dancing With the Stars) and Ally Love.
There are dozens to pick from based on your personal preferences. Do you like it salty with swearing and R-rated topics? Try a Cody ride – he’s one of my faves.
Sometimes I’ll go mellow and ride with Emma Lovewell. Again, it’s all a matter of what you prefer on a given day.
No matter what, these trainers will put their A-game out there every time. They sweat, they push, and they struggle too (sometimes). My hat’s off to these athletes.
They are the backbone of Peloton and the reason why the company and brand continue to survive through tough times.
4. It’s cheaper than a gym membership.
The upfront cost of our package is nothing to sneeze at. We paid $2,256 for the bike, a mat to catch all that sweat underneath, and toe clips to get us by until we could gift each other clip-in Peloton shoes.
What helped immensely was getting all this financed at 0% interest through Affirm. We went with the longest repayment option available of 43 months, making our monthly payment $52.48. This we could stomach much easier.
You’ll also need to pay $44 per month (pre-tax) for the Peloton membership fee, which is still cheaper than a typical gym membership ($50 – $150 or more). The company I work for offers a discount as part of a broader health incentive for employees.
We pay $28 a month – a nice perk for remaining tied to the cubicle. And, our bike was a little less than retail thanks to the company’s fitness incentive program.
Trade-offs abound in this world, right (i.e., retire early, and miss out on all these wonderful discounts and perks? C’mon, man!)
Even so, without the discounts, the bike and membership make for an affordable home-gym option. Just be sure to prioritize your debts BEFORE making this investment.
We put off our purchase until we were in a good place financially, even if our wintertime fitness suffered a bit.
5. The community is strong and growing.
To be honest, I’m not all that much of a virtual community guy. Just ask my friends in the personal finance and FIRE blogging space.
I come and go with the breezes and don’t pay a lot of attention to national gatherings like FinCon (though I do appreciate the local meet-ups with a handful of blogging friends).
So when it comes to Peloton, I’m not part of any Facebook or Instagram groups exclusive to members, nor do I take the time to scan who’s on a ride with me to see if they’re from my town.
I just pretty much do my thing and that’s that. For many gym goers though, the social piece is very important.
With Peloton, you’ve got 6 MILLION fellow virtual at-home gym rats. Among those six million, there are bound to be several with relatable lives and interests ready to help cheer you on or join you on your next spin.
Worried about whether Peloton has the “staying power” in the hyper-competitive home fitness industry? Check out these figures on recent subscriber growth:
|As-of||Peloton Platform Members|
|September 2019………..||1.6 million|
|December 2019…………||2.0 million|
|March 2020………………||2.6 million|
|June 2020………………..||3.1 million|
|September 2020……….||3.6 million|
|December 2020………..||4.4 million|
|March 2021………………||5.4 million|
|June 2021………………..||5.9 million|
As of June 2022 – Peloton has over 6.6 million members
Why You Should NOT Buy a Peloton
We have more than five good reasons for loving our heavy-duty stationary bike. Just having the option for a quick and effective workout led by a trainer, without having to gas up and go to the gym makes a ton of sense for us.
But it may not make sense for you:
1.) If you’ve got a mountain of debt (as noted earlier), stay focused on riding a real-deal moving bike. Once upon a time, I purchased a magnetic resistance wheel to prop my bike on in the winter for stationary riding. No trainers, and no fancy gauges or digital data tracking. But it still offered a decent workout. Bottom-line: Hold off on these fancy toys like Peloton until you get out from under that debt load.
2.) You may not have room for a Peloton in your home. If you’ve got the space, great. We make it work in our modest 1,500-square-foot house, but barely. It gets tough when I’m working from home in the basement and Mrs. Cubert is doing a death-march ride. The good news is you can Bluetooth your AirPods to the Peloton so that the only noise Mr. Cubert hears is the huffing and puffing and wails of suffering coming from his lovely wife.
3.) If you already have a gym membership, you should decide if you need that on top of a Peloton membership. If you favor the in-person community a gym can offer, stick with it. There is no way to replace live social energy with a virtual machine.
Hopefully, this gives you a balanced view. We have had zero regrets about our purchase, but it’s easier to not have regrets when you are debt-free and place a high value on healthy living.
Could we eventually get bored with our workhorse? That’s certainly a possibility. But the beauty of our seasons up north is that we can take natural breaks from things for a few months.
Indoors is great in winter, but in summer, it’s time to get outside!
During summertime, I probably ride the Peloton twice a week at most. Get out and enjoy the good weather. When the snow flies, it’s time to clip in and pedal HARD.
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Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto says
About 6 months ago we bought a “cheap Peloton” via the Nordic Trak with iFit software. I love it so much I quit my gym membership and get much better workouts at home on my schedule (vs. having to be at the gym at 7:30 am for Spin Class). I love how you can push yourself as hard as you want, and have gotten in the best shape of my life in the 6 months of using iFit. After 30-40 minutes on the bike, I immediately jump into a 45 minute weight workout. Amazing workouts, great technology. No regrets here!
Hey Fritz! Long time, my friend. Hope you’re doing well in retirement.
I really appreciate your routine. I’ve found it a super-efficient total workout to hit the rower for 20, the Peloton for 20, then the weights for 20 or 30. I hope to add some time to those totals once I finally retire like you! 🙂
Why not just get a gym membership for $40 and get access to a lot more?
Erik! Long time no see – hope all is well my friend.
You know what – that’s a good point. BUT the Peloton offers the trainers – and I think for a lazy butt like me, it helps to have a trainer on my back to keep me going. That’s the main difference I think?
See you soon!
Impersonal Finances says
As an old-fashioned moving bike rider, I’d add safety to the list. Drivers do not pay attention to bikers and anyone who gets their exercise on two wheels has probably had a close encounter.
That’s for sure! I’ve had a handful of near-misses during my bike commuting days. I plan to get back to that habit, but probably not as much as before.
What I’m really looking forward to is improved energy and pace on our long rides along lake michigan later this summer- thanks to all that winter Peloton action!
Peloton bikes are super expensive. Although, I’ve considered buying one of the cheaper exercise bikes. I work from home so I thought it would be a good idea to get fit rather than just sitting at my desk all day. It’s also advantageous during poor weather conditions or if I feel like working out at night time.
We absolutely love our Bike+ and use it every day. Especially in winter here in MN!