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Monday, December 11th
Peloton: it's probably the first name you think of when shopping for an exercise bike. And why wouldn't you? Their fitness classes have taken the home workout scene to a new level: there's no need to go to the gym to get a sweat session perfectly geared towards your ability (and maybe your competitiveness too!).
Choose between Bike and Bike+
There are just two models of exercise bikes to choose from at Peloton, with just a few slight differences between them. The Bike is $1,895 plus tax with a 22" touchscreen. The Bike+ is $2,495 plus tax with a 24" touchscreen that swivels 360 degrees, Apple Watch pairing, AutoFollow resistance and a forward facing sound bar. Both have the same Membership content (which ranges anywhere from $12.95 to $39 a month, depending on the promotions available when you sign up), Bluetooth capability and standard headphone jack.
Worth extra for the swiveling screen
Is it worth the extra money to get the Bike+? For most people, probably. You get the obvious upgrades on the technology - bigger touchscreen, greater connectivity, and so on - but the swiveling screen makes it much easier to do the non-cycling workouts. You just flip the screen in whatever direction you need to be able to follow your favorite strength class or yoga session (instead of trying to see it from behind your Peloton bike).
Have to order toe cages if needed
Both Peloton bikes use clip-in pedals by default. That means they're harder to use with your regular gym shoes, and you'll need to buy Look Delta-compatible cycling shoes (which are available through Peloton or from the retailer of your choice). If you don't want to use clips, you can buy toe cages through Peloton: they're $35 if you order them at the same time as your bike, or $50 if you order them separately.
Accessory packages available
You can also gear up when you buy a package from Peloton. It's a good option especially if you have multiple people in your household who will be using the exercise bike. For example, the Family Package comes with two pairs of cycling shoes, a bike mat, weights, and all extras needed for Peloton's streamed yoga classes (resistance bands, blocks, workout mat, etc.). If you're not sure on the fit of the shoes, Peloton's customer service says they fit like most Nike athletic shoes but without half-sizes so order a size up - and rest assured that you can exchange them within the first 30 days.
Risk-free 30-day trial
Peloton offers a fantastic 30-day in-home trial. Not only will you get free shipping and in-home, professional setup, but you get to use the exercise bike and all of its membership features for 30 days. If you want to send it back for any reason, Peloton will refund the full cost of the Peloton, accessories, and membership after the Peloton is picked up. You don't even pay return shipping costs! That's a deal you probably won't find anywhere else.
Delivery in 2 weeks
At the time of our review, Peloton was operating within about a two-week delivery window in most areas. You won't get an official delivery date range until you place your order, but once it's confirmed you get to choose the date you prefer.
Improving in order fulfillment
That's good to know: like most retailers of home fitness equipment, Peloton has had problems in the past with keeping up with customer demand. The Better Business Bureau shifted Peloton's evaluation to "Not Rated" because of a pattern of delays in order fulfillment in the past. Fortunately, that seems to have been resolved, and two weeks isn't a bad timeframe at all to wait for a Peloton exercise bike.
Less warranty, lower weight capacity
All of that being said, Peloton still doesn't capture our highest ranking. Why? Their warranty coverage doesn't quite compare with many of their rivals': just 5 years on the frame and a year on everything else. For most bikes in Peloton's price range, you'll usually get lifetime warranty on the frame and up to 10 years on electronic/mechanical components. Their bikes also have a weight capacity of just under 300 lbs., while other manufacturers have options up to 350 or 400. That's not a dealbreaker per se, but it's worth keeping in mind.
Too many complaints
Our other concern with Peloton is the pattern of complaints received by the BBB that describe major hassles with delivery and service post-purchase. There were over 1900 complaints filed in the 12 months leading up to this evaluation, and almost all of them describe serious delays in getting exchanges, repairs covered under warranty, or refunds for returns. We're glad to see that the Peloton team responds to each complaint but it shouldn't take Herculean efforts (as one review put it) to get and maintain a working exercise bike - otherwise, it just becomes a very expensive clothes rack!
Not the only option for live fitness
Peloton may have set the standard for studio-style cycling at home, and no one can argue that their classes aren't amazing. But, with so many look-alike exercise bikes out there for much less money - or with much higher quality and better service after placing the order - Peloton needs their equipment and their delivery/warranty/repair service to match if they want to earn the #1 ranking here.
Fitness equipment is more popular now than ever, with so many people working, learning and doing just about everything from home. It can be challenging to find anything in stock near you, with no idea of when your preferred exercise bike will be available to buy.
Naturally, that's where the internet comes in, making it a lot easier to get the type of bike you want most. Looking for live and on-demand fitness classes on a machine that automatically increases and decreases resistance - or that even allows a coach to remotely shift your settings to give you an extra push (or a break!)? Shopping online gives you access to not just one company but several that offer that boutique-style workout experience.
Or, maybe your doctor has told you that you can't do high-impact exercise anymore, but you still need something to stay healthy. Recumbent bikes to the rescue! There are plenty of models available from internet retailers, from basic models under $500 to high-tech designs with plenty of features for over $2,000.
There are even exercise bikes designed for use under your desk or with a tabletop/desk built in: no more using work as your excuse for not working out! Your coworkers can get in on the fun if you choose a model that has three bikes at the same round table, too.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you start your search for the exercise bike that's right for you. Studio style? Recumbent? Touchscreen or basic console? Fortunately, there are several criteria you can use to narrow down your options and find something that fits:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best online retailers of exercise bikes available today. We're confident that this information will help you get the indoor ride you've been hoping for!
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