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The Rise of the Peloton Bike

Peloton has taken over the fitness world over the past year and a half. The renowned exercise equipment company launched their new Peloton Bike Plus in 2020. The stationary exercise bicycle connects to the internet and links to a membership program that gives users access to an abundance of immersive exercise experiences such as live classes and an on-demand library of recorded classes. Last year, more than one million people subscribed to Peloton’s services. From 2019 to 2020, the company saw a 100 per cent increase in sales. 

In a world where video call-based everything has become almost essential, it’s no surprise that this product took off in the way it did, even though the CEO of the company, John Foley, didn’t intend for the bike to be a “pandemic product.” His inspiration for the bike came from his personal life. Foley and his wife, Jill, didn’t have time to attend in-person fitness classes with their busy schedule and family, so bringing studio-style fitness to their home was just the right motivation and time-saver they needed.

How the Peloton Bike Became a Success (Despite Controversy) 

Of course, the pandemic set a landscape for success for this particular product. People miss going to the gym, being outside, and seeing new places, and Peloton is an at-home-hub for all these experiences. Regardless, Peloton has a success story to share, even despite the controversy that arose in December 2019 upon the release of its holiday advertisement. 

The 30-second advertisement featured a man giving his wife a Peloton Bike for Christmas and the subsequent journey she went on, dedicating days in a row to working out on the bike. In the end, she thanks him because after a year of use, she claims it changed her life. Despite the positive message the company was aiming to give out, some people launched a stream of outrage against it, calling the ad sexist. The company’s stock plummeted 9 per cent in value temporarily while the controversy raged on. 

In a statement to CNBC, Peloton shared that there was no ill intent with the advertisement. In fact, they explained that the idea was to celebrate the positive influence that fitness can have on people’s lives. The company was able to move past this situation—no doubt with the widespread help of influential people waxing eloquently about their bikes. Many famous actors, musicians, and athletes are fans. Megan Rapinoe, Miley Cyrus, Lizzo, Ellen DeGeneres, Venus Williams, Hugh Jackman, Michael Phelps, and more are all Peloton riders.

A Breakdown of the Peloton Bike as a Product 

The Peloton Bike starts at $2,495, including delivery and assembly for the Bike Basics option, which includes the bike without any accessories. The other package options are the Bike Essentials, Bike Works, and Bike Family, which include varying accessories such as shoes, bike weights, headphones, a bike mat, and a heart rate monitor. The Bike Family package includes these in sets of two, except for the mat and weights, which feature singly. 

How Does the Peloton Bike Compare to In-Person Fitness Classes?

A lot of people wonder if at-home fitness with the Peloton Bike is worth it when compared to other gym workouts. Although this varies on an individual basis according to particular wants and needs, there are some comparisons worth noting. Just the fact that you have an impressive variety of exercise options at your fingertips from home is amazing, especially given the health and safety measures we are currently required to follow. 

Despite the initial hefty price tag of the bike and the monthly membership payment, it can cost less than many in-person fitness classes. Often gym memberships allow you access to equipment without training, which usually means paying extra to attend classes. Peloton gives unlimited access to training, while gym training may cost higher with each class.

Fun Facts

  • Peloton was founded in 2012 and launched via Kickstarter in 2013 
  • Peloton offers over 1,000 classes and has 4.4 million members
  • Peloton delivers and assembles the bikes themselves  

Emily Norton | Contributing Writer

Spring 2024

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