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Value Machine

Kyle McIntosh, 3:35 am ET

SEPTEMBER WAS A BIG anniversary month for us. In addition to celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary, we celebrated our third Pelo-versary. In the words of my mother-in-law, we are Peloton addicts. Ask us about our favorite instructors at your own risk.

The general perception of Peloton—for which the entry price is now $1,495—is that it’s priced too high for most people. While I don’t believe that Peloton is “democratizing fitness,” as its CEO suggests, I do see solid value in Peloton bikes for households that’ll use them consistently.

As early adopters of Peloton, we paid $2,200 for our bike, shoes and delivery. We also pay $39 per month to be “connected fitness users,” which allows us to take live and on-demand classes. Our membership covers all four members of our household, though my wife and I are the main users. In addition to bike classes, we have access to strength, yoga, stretching and bootcamp classes.

How can a $2,200 bike with a $39 monthly fee be a good value? First, if we spread the $2,200 over the past 36 months and add the monthly fee, the monthly cost is $100. That average compares favorably to what we’d pay for two high-quality gym memberships here in California. Further, if we assume the bike will last two more years, the average monthly cost becomes $76 and the comparison favors Peloton even more. And, of course, the value equation is even better for those buying at today’s lower price point.

Another way I look at value is based on cost per workout. Since 2018, between my wife and me, we’ve completed almost 3,000 classes. As we usually complete two or three classes during each workout session, we’ve done about 1,200 workouts—which usually last between 45 and 60 minutes—in the past three years. This puts our cost per workout at $3, which compares very favorably to spin and barre studios, which usually charge $15 or more for a workout.

The bottom line when it comes to Peloton: If you’ll use it consistently and not let it become a clothes hanger, there’s a good chance it will be a good value for your household.

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DrLefty
DrLefty
5 days ago

We got our first Peloton Bike in February, and we loooooove it. I knew we’d use it because we’ve had a nice Precor elliptical in our home for 15 years, which we’ve used quite a bit. Gym memberships, though? Nope, too inconvenient, and I’m too self-conscious about working out among strangers.

I’m at over 200 rides and approaching 200 in both strength classes and stretching. I use the walking classes when I’m staying in a hotel that has a treadmill and sometimes do the outdoor walks, as well. Now we’re in discussion about whether to keep our old elliptical.

Jim Wang
Jim Wang
6 days ago

What’s fun (if you like that sort of thing) is you can download all your workouts into a spreadsheet and it includes all kinds of fun stats like miles, calories, minutes, etc. You can calculate a price per calorie burned. 🙂

The other benefit is that there truly is a social aspect to it. We have a bunch of friends who got one and we do workout regimens together (sometimes at the same time, sometimes we just follow the same protocols during the week). There are separately organized group challenges, like Power Zone Pack, and they all help to keep you engaged when you hit low points of motivation. I find it to be a pretty good product and the community around it is great too.

corrupt
corrupt
13 days ago

My gym is $10 a month plus a $20 annual fee. While it’s not “high end”, it has all the machines I could want or need. Your $100 a month more than covers my gym for the year in two months.

George Counihan
George Counihan
13 days ago

Most do get used as clothes hangars and collect dust after the initial surge wears off … glad you are enjoying yours but I suspect your usage is on the high end

macropundit
macropundit
11 days ago

Probably so. It’s important to find an activity that matches your personality type or you’ll either quit in the end, or far less likely slug on at minimum level with grim determination without enjoyment and lacking benefit.

I was never active in sports in school, but started running when I was in my 20’s. I quit after a few years and started reading weight workout mags. I realized that running didn’t fit my personality, and it seemed to me weight lifting would. Long slow work doesn’t fit me as well as shorter groups of higher intensity work. Since I’d workout alone–even though I don’t live alone–after thinking it through and doing my homework I bought a compact smith machine to shoehorn in a spare room in 1994 for about $1500. Apparently it does match my personality, because I’m still using now and even more as time goes on. I love it still today. Working out manages my stress levels and keeps my muscle mass % the same (actually more) than when I was in my late 20s so it reverses aging of a certain type, if that’s the way to put it. It’s all about finding useful activity to accomplish the goals you want. When you do that you’ll use the hell out of your equipment. If not, you’ll stop or might as well.

Kyle Mcintosh
Kyle Mcintosh
13 days ago

I agree that most don’t get the value out of it that we do. Based on many of the connections I have who have a Peloton, it does seem that Peloton offers something that keeps people using it that prior exercise equipment did not. Once we’re fully reopen, it will be interesting to see how usage trends.

David Powell
David Powell
13 days ago

In our house Peloton is also the first fitness budget item which has delivered sustained value, not true for gym memberships. We were early adopters so I can say the bike is durable well beyond three years, and serviceable. I upgraded our first bike’s tablet several years ago. It now sees use at our daughter’s place after we upgraded to the newer Bike+. Over the last couple years, Peloton’s expanded offering of floor exercises like Pilates added value to the subscription.

Kyle Mcintosh
Kyle Mcintosh
13 days ago
Reply to  David Powell

Fully agree on the value points. We’ve done zero maintenance on our bike the last three years, and there have been no issues. As for other class offerings, I am a big fan of the outdoor classes offered through the App. I didn’t comment on this in the post as I didn’t want to make it a 800 word piece, but I use the app for outdoor running and walking at least a few days per week. Glad to hear you are getting good use from yours!

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