With more and more people looking for options to sweat at home, Peloton has reaped major benefits, with the company seeing a 172% total revenue growth in its fourth quarter, and boasting a community of 76.8 million and growing. Translation: It seems like pretty much everyone has a Peloton Bike or Tread, or is using the Peloton App these days—and if not, they are definitely considering it.
When the Bike+, Peloton’s newest model, launched in September, I was wondering if I, too, should bite the bullet and buy one. And that’s why I took full advantage when the opportunity to test the Bike+ came my way. Well, that and the fact that while I have tons of fitness equipment in my apartment (dumbbells, a TRX, resistance bands, SKLZ slidez, kettlebells, etc.), my running routine has been quite crummy, and, subsequently, so has my cardio. Basically, I was in desperate need of a fitness routine reboot.
How I Tested
I used SELF’s stationary bike buying guide, featuring criteria from experts, to evaluate the Bike+. I tested the bike for a solid month, averaging about 5 classes per week. Wondering if you should invest in a Peloton Bike+? Here’s everything that I’ve learned so far, and what I thought about the bike based on each of the criteria categories from our experts.
Our experts noted that comfort is pretty much the most important thing to consider when evaluating a stationary bike. “Make sure you’re comfortable on the bike because you may be on it for long periods of time,” says Dan Giordano, P.T., D.P.T., C.S.C.S., CMO of Bespoke Treatments, tells SELF. I found the saddle to be comfortable from my first sit. Yes, a day or two after my first ride I did have a bit of soreness in my crotch area. It’s a feeling I’m familiar with as I experienced it when I first started taking indoor cycling classes more than 10 years ago and do so typically when I take a substantial break from cycling classes and finally decide to get back on the saddle (pun intended). Once it subsided, though, I didn’t have any other post-ride discomfort. I know a lot of my friends opt for a seat cushion to help make their ride more cushy, so that is always an option too.
Adjustable Seat and Handlebars
You also want to look for a bike with an adjustable seat and handlebars, according to our experts; the Bike+ almost delivers on this front. While setting the Bike+ to my specific specifications was pretty easy thanks to simple adjustable knobs for the seat (even when the weights were in the conveniently placed holder on the saddle) and handlebar heights and a quick release tab to adjust the seat back and forth, I still wished you could move the handlebars forward and backward. I am used to bikes where this is possible and I miss that added customizable feature, especially as someone who has long legs but a short torso. The additional handlebar tweak would be a game changer, making me feel not quite as far from the handlebars. Thankfully, I was able to get the bike to where it was comfortable enough for me, even though adjusting the handlebars is a bit tricky when the screen is already mounted.
Think about how you’ll use a stationary bike, our experts also say, and make sure the handlebar style suits your needs. For example, if you know you’ll be using your indoor cycling bike for classic studio-style classes, you’ll want to get a different style than someone who is looking to use their bike as an indoor alternative to a road bike. The Bike+ handlebars closely mimic those of a road bike minus the dropped bars (the curved part on the bottom underneath.) They had a nice grip to them, even when my hands got a little sweaty during class. I gravitated toward a lot of classes with climbing, and found that these handlebars were sturdy enough to handle my weight when I rose straight out of the saddle as well as when my torso was angled and I was leaning more aggressively on them.
The Bike+ has a physical resistance knob, but by far its most impressive function was the auto-follow resistance feature. This is strictly for the on-demand classes with targeted metrics, and means you don’t have to worry about adjusting the knob yourself; if the resistance on the screen says a specific range, your bike will auto-adjust to fit within that range. This is accountability at the highest level, and a great way to help you really push yourself. You are still in control and can override the resistance by a quick turn of the knob, but once you’re in the groove of the workout, why even bother, right?
I am not exactly a newbie to Peloton. Pre-pandemic, I had taken classes in its older studio space. In comparison to the bikes in that studio, this bike has a little more heft to it. I especially noticed how weighty it was when I decided to move my bike to another location in my apartment (with the screen attached, the Bike+ weighs in at 140 pounds). I’ve seen other reviews where customers say it’s relatively easy to move, but it was not easy at all for me. I definitely struggled. That said, the weightiness of the Bike+ was a good thing when I was riding. I felt very stable, both in the saddle and while standing. The floors are a little uneven in my apartment, so I appreciated that I could adjust the stabilizers on the bottom of the bike to different heights. This simple tweak put an end to the small rocking I experienced on my first couple of rides, firmly planting the bike on my hardwood floor and relieving me of any worry that I might tip over while riding. Also, I am not sure if the bike is bigger (4 x 2 feet) than I thought or my apartment is just that small—so when it arrived I had to do some adjusting so that it would fit where I wanted it to. Learn from my mistake: Measure your space!
Ease of Use
It took about two months for my Bike+ to arrive to my apartment in NYC, but once it did, setup was a breeze. Customer service at Peloton gets an A+. The guys who delivered it were top notch, wearing booties and masks when they came into my apartment, setting it up for me, answering questions, offering suggestions, making sure the bike worked and that it was connected to my internet, and making sure I felt comfortable before they left. (FYI: The one time I did get an error message on the bike—apparently the cord was loose on my monitor— I called customer service and they navigated me through the issue with ease.)