Peloton Bike+ review: I tried a $3,695 bike for 3 months
- Big screen rotates so you can use it for workouts on and off the bike
- Huge range of classes with fun, engaging instructors
- Extremely well-made bike
- Auto-follow mode is great if you don’t want to fiddle with the resistance knob
- Excellent customer service
- Very expensive (with an additional monthly membership cost for classes)
- Limited live classes for Australian time zones
- Clipping out of the bike is harder than it needs to be
- Integrates with Apple Watch but not other fitness trackers
Peloton launched in Australia earlier this year with the Peloton Bike and Peloton Bike+ (or Bike Plus). The Bike+ takes Peloton's original popular spin bike design and kicks it up a notch with a larger swivelling screen and several new features. It also has a higher price tag, making it one of the most expensive exercise bikes available in Australia.
Peloton Bike+ pricing starts at $3,695 for the Bike+ basics package (or pay $86/month for 43 months for eligible customers). This package includes a 12-month warranty and delivery and assembly.
The next level up is the Bike+ essentials package which includes everything in the basics set plus one pair of shoes, one set of weights and one reversible workout mat for $3,995 (or $93/month for 43 months for eligible customers).
The Bike+ works package costs $4,145 (or $97/month for 43 months for eligible customers) and includes everything from the essentials package plus a bike mat and resistance bands.
Peloton also sells a Bike+ family option which gets you the Bike+ with 2 pairs of shoes, 1 set of bike weights, a reversible workout mat, a bike mat, 1 set of resistance bands, yoga blocks, yoga straps and 2 water bottles. The family package costs $4,395 (or $103/month for 43 months).
No matter which package you chose, you'll also need to pay $59 per month for membership to access Peloton classes.
The biggest design upgrade the Peloton Bike+ offers over the original Peloton Bike is the new 23.8-inch touchscreen (the original bike has a 21.5-inch screen). But the larger size isn't the best part of the new screen design – it's the 360-degree swivel mount that makes all the difference.
With this new screen, you can tilt the screen up, down and 180-degrees to each side so that you can see the screen perfectly whether you're doing a workout on the bike or off to the side on a yoga mat or the floor.
The screen also has an 8MP front‑facing camera with a privacy screen that you can use to video chat with any of your friends who also own Pelotons if you take the same class at the same time.
The actual bike has a virtually identical build to the original Peloton bike. It's made of carbon steel so it's extremely durable, but unlike some exercise bikes, it doesn't fold up to slide out of the way.
The Bike+ fits into a 4ft x 2ft space but it weighs a hefty 138kg so it takes 2 people to move it into place, although it has wheels on the front to help slide it into position.
As you'd expect from a spin bike, the handlebar height and seat height are fully adjustable. It has water bottle holders under the handlebars and plastic dumbbell holders behind the seat. It doesn't have a dedicated phone holder, which I would have liked, but the water bottle holder worked well enough to store my phone during workouts. (Tip for newbies: get a squeeze top water bottle if you don't already have one. I tried to use my regular screw top bottle during my first ride and spilt half of it down the front of my shirt).
Peloton's Bike+ is designed for people who are 150-195cm in height and under 135kg in weight. It comes in 1 colour: black with red accents.
Another improvement over the original Peloton bike is that the Bike+ has additional speakers on both the front and back of the screen (the previous version only had rear-facing speakers). The speakers sound excellent but if you don't want to bother other people in your house with the sounds of instructors yelling "What's up, Peloton?" at full volume, you can plug headphones into the front of the screen or connect to Bluetooth to use your favourite wireless headphones.
Getting set up
Peloton offers full delivery and assembly for anyone who purchases a Bike+ and the brand offered me that same service for my review. However, because Sydney was in the middle of lockdown when I received my bike, I chose to set it up myself rather than have extra people in my apartment.
If you also choose to take this contactless delivery approach, learn from my mistakes.
I started setting up the Bike+ like I do most things: without looking at instructions. I'll be honest, I wouldn't recommend this approach. The Peloton Bike+ is a premium piece of equipment and it has a very particular set-up process.
After a few minutes of struggling, I humbly opened the manual. The manual started with instructions on how to adjust the handlebars and seat, but was missing many steps including how to attach and plug in the swivelling screen and how to clip into the bike (presumably because the delivery people usually handle this part).
The manual also has instructions for adjusting the bike seat and handlebars but I recommend waiting to do this until you have the bike turned on as you'll be walked through this step with better visual cues once the screen is on.
I ended up Googling how to set up the bike and found much more helpful video instructions on the Peloton website. I followed the instructions, attached the screen, plugged in my bike and… nothing. It wouldn't turn on, even though the light on the rear plug was lit up. I unplugged it all, plugged it back in and tried again but it still wouldn't start.
At this point, I realised it was time to consult an expert. I called the Australian number for customer support that I found on the Peloton website. After waiting just a few minutes, I was connected to an extremely patient customer service representative (shout out to Roxy!) who talked me through plugging the power cord directly into the screen to make sure the issue wasn't with the screen itself. Fortunately, the screen turned right on.
Next, Roxy told me how to reset the bike. When this still didn't work, she emailed me a link with a video demonstrating how to check an additional power connection in the middle of the bike. As soon as I did, the Bike+ turned on. It must've come loose during transport but was fortunately extremely easy to fix.
Once I was able to turn the bike on, the screen guided me through the rest of the set-up including connecting to Wi-Fi, one-time calibration and adjusting the seat and handlebars to the right height for my body.
If you're used to using a spin bike, this process will be pretty familiar to you. The seat and handlebars have corresponding knobs that need to be loosened, then you can wiggle them up or down to your ideal height.
I ended up making the seat much too high and had to adjust it again after my first ride, so if you haven't ridden in a while, I recommend playing around with the height a bit until you find your perfect fit.
You can't use just any pair of shoes with your Bike+. In order to clip in and get the full range of motion that allows you to pull up and push down, you'll need shoes with a 3-bolt cleat mount (also known as delta compatible cleats).
Peloton sells its own cleats at $189 a pair, which can add up quickly if you have multiple Peloton users in your household.
Peloton's black and red cycling shoes are comfortable but there's definitely a learning curve when it comes to clipping in and out. To get on the bike, you have to push down on the cleats like you're stepping into a pair of skis. If you apply enough force, you'll hear the cleats lock into place.
Getting off the bike is much more challenging. You have to pull your heel away from the bike with a decent amount of force to get free. After an intense workout when my legs were tired, I found it pretty hard to get my first foot out. Once, after a particularly intense Tabata ride, I tried to take the shoes off and leave them clipped in but I ran into another problem: taking off the cleats is even more difficult than clipping out.
Peloton's cleats have 2 velcro straps and a third locking strap that helps you get a nice, tight fit. I'll be honest, I watched several YouTube videos about how to undo the locking strap but for some reason, my brain just couldn't figure it out. Some days, it slid off with relative ease. Other days, it took 5-10 attempts before I could get the strap to lift.
If I could get rid of the locking strap and replace it with more velcro, I would.
My first ride
For my first ride, I chose a beginners ride. I highly recommend doing this if you haven't used a Peloton bike before because the instructor will explain what cadence, output and resistance mean and how to use each of them to enhance your workout.
One of the bolts came off my cleat during the first ride because I hadn't connected them tightly enough. I also needed to adjust the position of the bolts because I'd set them up too far back on the ball of my foot.
If you're new to indoor cycling (or cycling in general) be prepared to make small adjustments to the entire set-up as you go.
Before testing the Bike+, I hadn't used a spin bike in about 10 years and it definitely took some getting used to. I'm reasonably fit but I was humbled by the difficulty of the beginner ride. However, after a few weeks, I was feeling great and ready to push myself a bit more.
After almost a month of using my Bike+, I discovered the "Mastering the Basics: Cycling" program and I really wish I'd known about it sooner. This program runs for 6 weeks with a range of instructors and introduces you to all kinds of Peloton rides, with a focus on making sure you're cycling with the right form. If you're new to cycling, I highly recommend checking it out. It's also a great way to try classes by different instructors and see whose teaching style (and music taste) works best for you.
So, how does the bike feel once you get used to it? With Peloton, you get what you pay for and in the case of the Bike+, what you get is an extremely smooth and quiet riding experience.
The Bike+ is stable no matter how hard you ride and the handlebars are grippy no matter how sweaty you get. I did see some users in the Peloton subreddit looking for wider seat options but I found the seat to be about as comfortable as I'd expect any bike seat to be, which is to say it's fine for working out and didn't leave me with any soreness, but I wouldn't want to sit on it all day.
It connects directly to Wi-Fi and all of the classes I took during months of testing were lag-free.
The sound system is great and allows you to pump your playlist at high volumes (assuming your housemates will let you) without any distortion.
The only issue I had with my Bike+ was that after several rides, my handlebars would start to slide down unless I tightened the knob. If I forgot to tighten it periodically, the handlebars would fully slide down in the middle of class, which was a pain. If I had purchased the bike, I would have gotten in touch with Peloton customer service for more long-term solutions but in the 3 months I tested the bike, this only happened twice.
The Bike+ allows you to enable an "auto follow" setting that keeps your bike in the recommended level of resistance without you needing to manually adjust it throughout the ride. This is great as it allows you to focus on your cadence and form and forget about changing resistance entirely. However, if you're pushing yourself with a super hard class or if you're not getting the challenge you want out of a ride, you can easily adjust the resistance by turning the red knob as usual.
I have noticed that for some rides, the auto follow zone doesn't match what the instructor is saying so during those rides I turn it off and manually adjust it instead.
Another new feature the Bike+ has is Apple GymKit integration that allows you to pair your Apple Watch to your bike by simply holding it up to the screen to sync. Once you've connected your Apple Watch, you can track your heart rate on-screen during your workouts.
Peloton classes and membership
Before using the Peloton, I found the cultish branding to be slightly off-putting but once I started riding, I joined right in. Within just a few weeks I was following my favourite instructors on Instagram (plus a Peloton meme account), I'd joined the Australian Peloton Facebook group and I was fully on the Cody Rigsby side of TikTok. I was daydreaming about what I'd do to celebrate my 50th and 100th rides. In short: I was all in.
So, what made someone who hadn't been on a spin bike in 10 years become a full-fledged cycling enthusiast?
While the bike itself is superb, it's the instructors that really make the Peloton experience.
They're incredibly engaging and enthusiastic and make the rides feel more like a fun hang-out with a friend than a trip to the gym. There's a huge range of instructors with different teaching styles and music preferences so there truly is something for everyone.
After 3 months of riding, my personal favourites were Tunde Oyeneyin when I wanted both a tough workout and a confidence boost, Matt Wilpers when I wanted to focus on my form and performance and Cody Rigsby for pretty much every other mood (#boocrew).
If you don't like the feel of sitting in a spin class with an instructor, Peloton offers scenery rides that make it feel like you're riding outside. I could hardly get through one of these rides. Without an instructor encouraging me to keep going or making me laugh, the ride just wasn't fun.
Peloton offers a huge range of spin classes ranging from 5-minute warm-up and cool-down classes to 90-minute boot camps. You can easily filter classes by time, instructor and difficulty using the intuitive touchscreen display.
One of my favourite things about Peloton classes (other than the instructors) is that you can also filter classes by music and you can see the full playlist before you start the class. If like me you think a soundtrack can make or break your workout, this feature makes a world of difference.
During live and session classes, you can see everyone who is taking the class at the same time on the leaderboard. If you're a competitive person, you can push yourself to get to the top but be warned – it's hard to get there! Peloton riders are extremely competitive and I honestly never even made it to the top 25%.
If heavy competition discourages you, don't worry – you can turn the leaderboard off during any ride.
Most of Peloton's live classes are geared towards US (and UK) timezones which means there are virtually no live classes for those of us on the east coast of Australia between 7am and 8pm. If you workout early in the morning or late at night, this won't be a problem but for those of us who love to hop on the Peloton in the middle of the workday, live classes aren't an option.
While all of the live classes are available to take later at any time, it still feels like Australian users aren't getting the same experience that American users are.
Peloton membership doesn't just give you access to spin classes but also a range of stretching, yoga, cardio and weight training classes that you can do before or after (or instead of) a ride by swivelling your screen to the side.
Peloton also has a series of outdoor running classes but these are only available through the app and can't be accessed through your Bike+ screen. While this may not seem like a big deal since you'll be running outside anyway, if you want to do any of the pre-run warmup or post-run cooldown classes next to your bike, you'll have to use your phone or another smart device to access the app instead of the Bike+ screen. This feels like an oversight for such an expensive piece of equipment.
You can stream classes through the Peloton app to your Apple or Android smart TV if you want to work out in a different space. However, Samsung TVs use a different operating system and there's currently no native Peloton app for Samsung TVs so if you want to access classes on your Samsung, you'll have to use the TV's Internet browser to manually type in the Peloton website.
Peloton All Access Membership vs Digital Membership
The Bike+ isn't cheap and neither is All Access Membership. To get access to all of Peloton's classes on your Bike+, you'll need to pay an ongoing subscription fee of $59 per month. All Access Membership is available for an unlimited number of users so if you have multiple people in your household, you still just need 1 membership.
However, you can still get access to Peloton's classes if you don't want to buy Peloton equipment through a Digital Membership that costs just $16.99 per month. Digital membership gives you access to thousands of Peloton classes without the integrated tracking and stats that you get when you use a Peloton bike. However, unlike All Access Membership, it's only available for 1 registered user.
If this sounds like you can get access to all the classes a Peloton owner gets for a significantly lower monthly cost, well, that's because you can.
I haven't used the app to try a Peloton class on another spin bike (because I didn't have access to one during lockdown) so I can't speak to how different the classes feel when you can't see your cadence, resistance and output on the screen. But if Peloton's classes appeal to you and you don't want to shell out thousands for a bike, it's a great alternative option.
Maintenance and cleaning
One of the great things about Peloton bikes is that they require virtually no maintenance. If you wipe it down after sweaty rides like you would equipment at the gym, you should see minimal wear and tear.
The Bike+ comes with a 12-month warranty so if you have any issues with it in the first year, you'll be covered.
My experience getting in touch with the customer service team was excellent. I didn't have to wait long and they sent follow-up emails to make sure everything was working properly.
One of my coworkers had a similarly positive experience when he purchased a pair of cleats and found them to be a little tight. When he contacted Peloton customer service, a replacement pair was delivered the next working day.
Should you buy the Peloton Bike+?
- Buy it if you want the best home exercise bike that money can buy.
- Don't buy it if you don’t have $3,695 to spend or if you already own an exercise bike that you like and just want access to Peloton classes.
After a month of testing the Peloton Bike+, I started to have a conversation with my partner about buying one. Having access to the Bike+ made a huge difference for my mental (and physical) health during the lockdown in Sydney and I grew very attached to the bike.
If you're willing to spend $3,695 on a home exercise bike, the Peloton Bike+ is the best of the best. Any complaints I have about the bike are so nitpicky (like that I occasionally had to tighten the handlebars) they're almost non-existent. The Bike+ is a seriously impressive piece of equipment. If you have the budget, it's a great investment in your physical fitness.
If you're already paying for a monthly gym membership, you can even save in the long run by getting the Bike+, especially if you'll have multiple bike users in your house.
Ultimately, I decided not to buy one at this point in time (though I did strongly consider it). I get most of my regular exercise through dance classes and I already pay a premium cost for this. Adding a Bike+ just isn't in my budget at the moment.
But getting the Bike+ isn't the only way to get access to Peloton's incredible classes. With a Digital Membership, you can get thousands of live and on-demand cycling and floor exercise classes for just $16.99. So, you can pick up a cheaper home exercise bike and still take advantage of Peloton's incredible instructors.
The range of classes Peloton offers are worth the cost of membership and aren't matched by any other service (including in-person classes at several gyms I've tried). If the classes or instructors appeal to you, give the app a try.
Pricing and availability
How we tested
I used the Peloton Bike+ in my home for 3 months, taking a variety of cycling and floor exercise classes. Peloton provided the Bike+ for the duration of testing.
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