It’s the Peloton question everyone asks themselves before making the purchase. ‘Peloton bikes look good…but should I buy a Peloton bike? Is it worth the money? Is it worth the subscription cost? Will I use it!? And if I do use it, is it any good?’
These are the questions I was asking myself for an entire 18 months before I bought one.
Peloton bikes look amazing and everyone raves about them. You only need to look at the online reviews and chat to a Peloton user for five minutes to realise that most people don’t just like their Peloton bikes, they LOVE them.
If, like me, you’re intrigued by the Peloton bike, but you just don’t really understand what makes it SO good.
How is a spin bike good enough to justify the £1,750 cost and £39 a month subscription? Keep reading and I’m going to tell you why it’s worth every penny and answer that big question…Should I buy a Peloton Bike?
What is a Peloton Bike?
Let’s start with the basics.
A Peloton Bike is quite simply a high quality spin bike with a large screen attached. The screen displays Peloton fitness classes so you can live stream classes or take pre-recorded classes.
There are bike classes as well as a huge range of strength, yoga, meditation, bootcamp and outdoor running classes too.
You can also ‘just ride’ your bike or take ‘scenic rides’ so it is possible to ride without doing a class.
How much does a Peloton Bike cost?
There are two bikes available:
Peloton Bike – £1,750
Peloton Bike+ – £2,295
The main difference between the bikes is that the Bike+ comes with a swivel screen, so if you jump off the bike and do a yoga class on the floor, you can swivel your screen around and continue your workout seamlessly. The Bike+ will also automatically adjust your resistance to the recommended setting for the class.
Peloton membership – The Peloton membership is then £39 a month for access to all of the classes. Multiple users can use the same membership so it’s really £39 per household.
You can get the bike on finance and pay £49 a month for 39 months.
So if you get it on finance and also pay for the membership subscription cost, you’d be paying £88 a month for your household.
For most couples, this is probably a similar amount to both of you having a gym membership.
Why I chose the original Peloton Bike (£1,750)
I opted for the original bike, mostly because it was the cheaper option. Now that I have it, I 100% realise I didn’t need the more expensive Bike+ and I’m happy I didn’t pay extra.
Turning the knob to adjust my resistance manually is fine for me and when I jump off the bike and do a mat based workout it doesn’t bother me that I can’t see the screen. I often do mat based workouts in my bedroom anyway. I either follow along on my iPad or turn the volume up on the bike and follow along using the audio (and peer over at the screen from time to time!)
There is also a Peloton app which is fantastic and, for me, made that swivel screen redundant.
Can a Peloton Bike replace your gym membership?
Is the Peloton Bike really good enough to completely replace a gym membership? Can you get an all-round workout using Peloton alone?
The answer to this will vary for everyone but I can 100% say that the Peloton bike and subscription to the other Peloton classes is so much better than the gym.
I exercise more, have a more intense workout and have more variety of exercises so I’m getting a better all-round workout. I burn more calories, can feel myself getting fitter in a way I didn’t ever see at the gym, I feel stronger and leaner and – most importantly – I’m really enjoying it. I’m still really excited and enthusiastic to get on the bike most days and it never feels like a chore.
If you use a lot of weights in the gym then you probably will miss this element. A lot of the strength classes use lighter weights and high reps.
My exercise routine prior to Peloton
To give you some context, I’m the kind of person who would go to the gym once a week.
I really enjoy exercising but life is busy and I struggled to find time to go. I enjoyed it once I got there but it felt like a chore to leave the house and actually go. I’d usually join in with a class such as Body Pump, Body Balance, Yoga or Spin, but I didn’t go consistently enough to see much improvement in my fitness or to make friends and enjoy the community spirit at the gym.
With three young children, a full time job, a dog, hobbies and a tiny semblance of a social life, going to gym consistently fell to the bottom of my to-do list and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t find the time to squeeze it in.
I tried so many home workout packages such as Insanity, Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Fit app, BarreMethod, Adrienne’s 30 day yoga, Joe Wicks and loads of YouTube workouts. But nothing stuck. I’d be enthusiastic and stick with it for 5-7 days and then lose motivation.
Why is the Peloton bike different from other home workouts?
If I couldn’t stick with all the other home workouts, why was Peloton different?
I’m not 100% sure I can answer this. I think it’s a variety of things.
- The classes are genuinely amazing and I feel like I get a REALLY good workout
- There are lots of stats to track so you can see yourself improving and performing slightly better with each class – so I’ve become quite competitive with myself to be a bit better each time
- You can choose bike classes based on the music and I find the music really motivating
- You choose the class you want to do rather than it being set for you, so you do a workout based on your mood
- There are lots of short classes to choose from so if you’re not really in the mood you can just do a quick 15 minute HIIT ride and still feel like you’ve had a good workout.
- Being on the bike feels like a safe, comforting little bubble. I wear headphones, focus on the screen and shut the door and it just feels like this cosy little space for me.
- Bike workouts start out seated and easy so you don’t need a lot of motivation to begin. It’s not like going for a run which, for me, starts out REALLY HARD and gets easier. The Peloton bike starts out easy and gets harder which is better for me because beginning is easy.
- You get badges! I know it sounds silly but getting badges for your milestones is really motivating.
- Seeing an overview of your workout history is really motivating and I’m keen to keep up my 10-week streak.
- You’re also encouraged to rest and take it easy, which ultimately leads to more exercise.
- I know this isn’t a fad so I don’t feel the pressure to go nuts. I’ve got the bike now and I know I love it and know I’ll always use it so, if I’m having a busy day or can’t be bothered, I don’t feel any guilt or disappointed that I haven’t used it. I don’t really set myself any goals, I just use it when I want and this has led to me using it more.
The main thing my Peloton subscription has taught me about fitness
The absolute game changer for me was the realisation that ‘little and often’ has HUGE results. Not only that but it breaks down all the barriers that have been stopping me exercising because there’s nothing scary or intimidating about a 30 minute workout.
My favourite kind of exercise is a 20-minute high intensity bike class followed by a 10-15 minute strength or yoga class. It’s only 30 minutes out of my day and I usually do it just before I have a shower so it just slots into my day really nicely.
That’s just 30 minutes of intense exercise a day and I feel amazing.
I’m sure a 1 hour exercise routine would have better results but – guess what – I don’t want to do a 1 hour routine. I’m scared by 1 hour routines. I worry about them, I put them off, I make excuses, I do everything I can to avoid them, I don’t enjoy them and, ultimately, I don’t do them.
But 30 minute routines? Well I love them and I’m happy to do them every single day!
And that’s why having the Peloton bike is so nice, it just makes these intense 30 minute workouts so easy.
I wouldn’t go to the gym for 30 minutes every single day because by the time you’ve driven there, got changed, had a shower, popped to the shop (because you might as well while you’re nearby) and then driven home, it’s an hour and a half and I simply don’t have 90 minutes spare every day! Gyms also don’t often offer such short classes at times to suit.
What about the additional Peloton accessories?
You’re planning to spend a fortune on a spin bike, do you really need to buy anything else? Well yea, kinda…
When purchasing the bike you’ll notice there are additional accessories you can buy. You can get shoes, weights, headphones, a heart rate monitor, water bottles and a mat to place your bike on.
Personally, I think you need all of these extras – especially the shoes and weights – but they don’t need to be Peloton ones.
I went for the Bike Essentials package which came with one pair of shoes, free weights and headphones. I’m not really sure why I got this package now because I already have my own free weights and I have much nicer, wireless headphones!
Peloton cycling shoes
I do have the Peloton cycling shoes but I actually find them really uncomfortable. You can buy the Peloton ones for £119 but, if I could go back in time, I’d just buy my own from a sports shop. This would be cheaper and you’d be able to try them on and check you like them. I’ve seen other people complain they’re small and uncomfortable too so it’s not just me!
My partner, Sam, already had his own cycling shoes so he just needed to buy new cleats so he could use them with the Peloton bike. Cleats are the things on the bottom of the shoes that help them clip into the pedals. Sam has told me that Peloton bikes have American cleats so you just need to buy new ones (available on Amazon) but there’s loads of information about it online.
The Peloton free weights do fit nicely in a wire rack at the back of the bike, so they’re easy to grab during a bike workout, but I actually prefer some D-shaped weights I’ve had for years from TK Maxx. I also think most people would want a variety of weights so you’d probably end up buying a selection of free weights anyway.
The Peloton headphones that come in the packages are fine but they’re pretty standard. They stay in my ears and are fairly comfortable but I find the wires a nuisance and prefer wireless ones.
I have the JBL Live Pro+ TWS headphones and I love them but I actually struggle to connect them to the bike. Sometimes they connect and sometimes they don’t and that’s really annoying! So I often end up just using the ones that came in my Peloton package.
Heart Rate monitor
While a heart rate monitor isn’t totally necessary, I find it really motivates me to work as hard as possible. I don’t have the Peloton one, I have a cheaper one from Amazon which works just fine. It connects via Bluetooth and automatically shows up on the screen. It tells you what heart rate zone you’re in and gives you a ‘strive score’ based on your heart rate. Your strive score is a personal, non-competitive metric that helps you see the intensity of your workout, whether it was a bike ride, a yoga class or a strength class. It’s really good to have for when you’re doing non-bike based classes so you can see your output.
Peloton bike mat
I didn’t get the Peloton bike mat but, depending on the flooring where your bike will sit, you may wish to get something.
We have our bike stored in a summer house with a wood chip floor. The guys who came to set up the bike recommended getting a mat – not for the bike but because the cleats from the shoes can cause little dents in the floor. We have an old play mat in there now but I just try and be careful and I haven’t noticed any dents.
Any other accessories you’ll need?
I 100% recommend getting a fan! My performance shot up once I placed a fan next to the bike.
A yoga mat
If you plan to do yoga or other strength based workouts then you’ll want a mat. I have a Liforme mat which I love and really recommend but, realistically, any yoga mat will do. I would get a proper exercise mat because it’s sticker and your hands and feet won’t slip.
Speaking about the Peloton set up. Depending on the area you live in, the people who deliver your bike will probably also set it up for you. The guys who came and did ours were lovely but they didn’t do a very good job at setting it up. The bike wasn’t level and my shoes weren’t set up properly so I spent my first few rides riding with my toes pointing in and generally feeling a bit wonky. The guys had told me it was set up correctly so I didn’t think to double check.
It’s not a big deal to correct everything yourself but this is just a word of warning that the Peloton delivery people aren’t necessarily experts.
Using the Peloton App
The Peloton app is brilliant and it makes it a completely seamless move from taking a class on the bike to following a class on your TV, a desktop computer, laptop, phone or tablet. The app and the bike sync together immediately too.
There’s also an app available for Smart TVs so you won’t be squinting to follow along on your phone or iPad. You can also mirror your phone to your TV too. I LOVE putting the workouts on the big living room TV, especially as it always encourages my kids to join in. We also have an outdoor TV under a covered BBQ shelter and it’s been lovely to do yoga classes out there.
Tracking my workouts with stats
Something that has really surprised me is how much I love seeing the stats from my workout. I’m not usually a stats kind of person. I do words, not numbers and I’ve never felt motivated by scores before.
But that really changed when I got the Peloton!
I love seeing my Total Output and my Strive Score from my workouts. I also really like seeing my heartrate and what % of the ride I spent in which heart rate zone. I find this really motivating and when I start to feel tired it gives me a little push to keep going and try and match my best score.
Another fun thing about Peloton is being able to see the leaderboard during your rides. If you’re doing a live ride then it really pushes you to race against people you’re close to! If you’re doing an ondemand class there will usually be tens of thousands of people who have done it already, so you can see how you rank against them. You can also filter the leaderboard to only see certain people – maybe you follow a certain hashtag like #PelotonMoms or #UKPelotonLadies – or you might only want to see people who are live in the class at the same time as you.
Another fun thing about the leaderboard is that there are sometimes celebrities who are live in the class with you! Usain Bolt was in one and Mel B was in a Spice Girls ride.
Hashtags and community
You can add hashtags to your profile to find other members who are similar to you. There are loads of hashtags that help you categorise yourself by anything from location, interests, occupation or even your favourite Peloton instructor.
This really adds to the sense of community and you quickly realise there are in-jokes and separate social media communities.
I haven’t really delved into the Peloton communities yet but I am starting to and I really like them. They’re welcoming, friendly, motivating and supportive without being competitive in a scary way.
Something I hadn’t expected was the celebrity stardom of the instructors. Peloton instructors collect a cult-like following from their fans and I can feel myself getting sucked into it! I have my fave instructors (Ben Alldis and Cody Rigsby!) and some instructors are really chatty so you get to know them. You find instructors you like based on the music they play, if they’re chatty or quiet and how difficult their classes are. And when you get to know them you’ll know exactly who to go to depending on your mood.
Can you store your Peloton Bike away?
This is something I’ve been asked a few times.
Not really. It isn’t a very portable machine so I personally would struggle to move it around. It does have small wheels on the front so you could lift up the back and wheel it forwards and backwards but it would be difficult to move it sideways.
If you’re getting a Peloton Bike I really think you need a dedicated space for it where it can stay all the time.
I’m a member of a Peloton Facebook group and people regularly share photos of their bike setups. Some people have incredible home gyms with loads of space but most people have their bikes in random corners of their homes. Lots of people have them in a home office, their bedroom, spare room, corner of the living room, garages or even in utility rooms.
Mine is out in the summer house (which used to be my office before we built an extension) and that works really nicely at the moment because I can open up the doors to the garden. I’m not sure if it’ll be too cold in the winter and possibly difficult to get the temperature right when it’s really cold, but we’ll see!
Can you use a Peloton Bike without the Peloton membership?
This was another question I was asked a lot and it was something I was curious about too.
It just seems so expensive to pay £1,750 for a bike and then have to spend an additional £39 a month for classes, doesn’t it!?
The answer is yes, you can use your Peloton bike without the membership but, honestly, once you’ve started doing the classes you quickly realise that it’s £39 a month well spent. The classes are so good, push you so much harder, help you progress so much faster and generally make it so much more enjoyable.
I’m not an expert but if you’re planning to buy a Peloton bike and not use the membership, you might as well buy a cheaper spin bike because the main value in the Peloton bike is the combination of the classes and the bike together.
Can you use a different spin bike with the Peloton membership?
I’ve seen loads of things online about the ‘Peloton hack’ where you buy a cheap bike and then use an iPad to stream Peloton classes (because you don’t need to have a Peloton bike to have a subscription to the classes).
You could do this but I think you’d miss out on a lot of the benefits. You wouldn’t get the community, the leaderboard or the stats that track your performance. You also wouldn’t really know if you were hitting all the targets the instructors set.
Before I got my Peloton bike I didn’t think I’d be that bothered about the community, leaderboard or stats but I’ve actually found them to be really motivating and I think they’re worth paying the full Peloton price to get them.
What if I only want the bike classes and don’t want yoga and strength etc?
There is no way to just subscribe to bike classes. If you subscribe, you get them all.
I didn’t think I would want any of the other classes but you quickly realise you’ll improve on the bike a lot faster if your all-round fitness improves. You need a strong core and strong legs and it helps to be calm and flexible too. Even if the bike is your main thing, it’s definitely worth tagging a short strength or stretch class onto your workout.
If I get a Peloton bike, will I actually use it?
And the big question!
Simply buying a Peloton Bike doesn’t necessarily make you ride it…but it removes the obstacles and excuses that are stopping you from exercising.
Can’t find time to exercise? Surely everyone can find 20 minutes a day.
Don’t like working out in front of other people? That’s fine with the Peloton.
Feel too unfit to even begin? There are plenty of classes to start small.
Do you find it boring? Find a class with music you love and it’s much more fun!
Can’t leave the kids home alone? That’s fine, mine have quickly learnt not to disturb me while I’m on the bike and they like to join me with the strength class I do afterwards.
Can you buy or sell a second hand Peloton bike?
If you’re still on the fence and you’re not sure it’s worth such a big investment, I’d recommend having a look online to see how much used Peloton bikes are selling for.
At the time I bought mine, I found one on Facebook Marketplace selling for £1,500. They still sell for £1,750 with all the accessories! So if you buy it and find you don’t use it, you can always sell it and you won’t lose too much.
Overall verdict – Should I buy a Peloton bike?
To sum up that whopping 4,000 word blog post…
I have never felt fitter, healthier or happier in my own body that I do after just 10 weeks with the Peloton bike. I’m enjoying exercise, I look forward to my short workouts and I know this is for the long-term.
I don’t use it everyday, more like 4 times a week and even with that I’m seeing huge improvements.
If weight loss is your goal then the Peloton Bike is great for burning calories, but for the first time in my life I’m exercising simply because it makes me feel good, and that in itself is worth every penny.
Find out more about Peloton here. You can sign up for a 30 day free trial for the exercise classes which gives you a really good taster.