Peloton is a fitness firm best known for its stationary bikes equipped with touchscreens for live and on-demand video workout classes. The seven-year-old American company, which launched its IPO in September, doesn’t just serve cyclists though.
Peloton Tread serves walkers and runners alike, and Peloton Digital for iPhone and iPad lets you experience even more workout courses — even if you don’t have stationary bike or treadmill from Peloton. My whole family has been testing the full Peloton system over the last six weeks. Read on for our experience starting with Peloton Digital for iPhone and iPad.
I’ll start with an admission. The Peloton Digital app is not one that I knew existed prior to my partner’s interest in the bike. Anyone who watches TV at the gym or sees ads on YouTube probably knows Peloton makes a stationary bike system and maybe even the treadmill, but the iPhone and iPad app was nowhere on my radar before.
That changed over the summer during a trip to Atlanta to run the Peachtree Road Race 10K. My partner and I visited a Peloton store to see the bike and treadmill in person before making a purchase decision. A few days later, she ordered the Peloton Bike and started schooling me on how the whole system works. More on the bike and treadmill experience later.
Here’s what you need to know about Peloton Digital:
- Works on iPhone, iPad, and Android through the app, or on Mac through onepeloton.com
- Includes access to live and on-demand instructor-led studio classes for running, cycling, strength training, yoga and mediation, stretching, walking, and cardio
- Access costs $19.49/month without a Peloton Bike or Tread, included with Peloton Bike and Tread memberships
Great with your own equipment
Peloton Digital is a must-try experience if you want to workout but don’t know where to start. Access to live and on-demand classes offers the gym class experience with diverse music and experienced instructors. There’s no need to miss a class because it doesn’t fit your schedule, and you can gain experience at your own pace without feeling uncomfortable next to more seasoned attendees.
You don’t have to own a Peloton Bike or Tread to experience the app. Using any stationary bike or treadmill at home or at the gym is totally fine. That makes Peloton Digital one of the best ways to see if the Bike or Tread is for you before you jump in — if you like the experience, then you can get more with a Peloton machine.
Outdoor workout classes included
Personally, my favorite workout is an outdoor run. I love being outside and getting miles in away from the house or gym. For outdoor workouts, Peloton Digital offers loads of audio-only classes with goals like focuses like 30 minute internal runs, 45 minute power walks, and 60 minute marathon race prep.
Outdoor run classes with Peloton Digital aren’t just video courses without the video. Each session is recorded specifically for running outdoors without a treadmill.
For me, these are especially useful for giving myself permission to run slower at times without feeling like I’m not giving the run my all. Coaching on when to push further and reminders to focus on posture is especially appreciated.
You can stream outdoor run classes on your iPhone or download them ahead of time to avoid using data, but you can’t leave your phone behind yet. I would absolutely love to see Peloton Digital gain an Apple Watch app for streaming or downloading outdoor classes without bringing the phone.
The same running and walking instructors also lead video classes so you can become familiar with your favorite personalities however you choose to run, walk, or jog.
Digital can make the gym fun
While I don’t prefer to go to the gym to run on the treadmill, bringing Peloton Digital along with my iPhone or iPad makes the experience so much better. You don’t have access to all the metrics you can capture from Peloton Tread and Bike, but it’s a great experience for pushing you forward.
Peloton Digital also lets you get a taste of the Peloton experience without buying the bike or treadmill yet. If you love what you experience, you can have an even better experience at home with a bike or treadmill designed specifically for Peloton classes.
More than cycling, running, and walking
Even if you are a Peloton Bike or Tread owner, I highly recommend including the Peloton Digital app in your fitness routine.
I’ve greatly enjoyed strength training classes (using AirPlay from my iPad to my Apple TV) with weights at home, and my six-year-old daughter is totally obsessed with borrowing my iPad and taking yoga and meditation classes. We’ve had to add yoga blocks to her yoga mat setup at her request, and she already has a favorite instructor, Ross Rayburn.
Learn more at onepeloton.com/digital.
Running is my absolute favorite workout — all thanks to the Apple Watch. After my partner purchased the Peloton Bike and absolutely loved it, I was extremely curious how the Peloton experience could improve treadmill running. The verdict? The Peloton Tread is making me a better runner.
A treadmill you won’t dread
If you love running outdoors, you probably loathe running on treadmills. Sometimes it’s just not possible to hit the road with daylight, great weather, and a clear route. For those occasions, we tolerate the dreadmill to get a run in — Peloton Tread is no dreadmill.
It’s a luxury experience from $4,295, but Peloton Tread is by far the best treadmill I’ve ever used. I’ve ran on high-end treadmills at five star hotels and pricey fitness clubs, but no machine has matched the Peloton Tread experience for me.
Great build quality
It’s not just the immersive 32-inch touchscreen. Peloton nails so much about what makes a great treadmill. Physical knobs rotate to adjust speed and incline, and shortcut buttons jump you to the next pace or percentage. Other premium treadmills with touchscreens rely entirely on virtual controls that are anything but ergonomic when you’re sweating it out on a run or jog.
Peloton Tread also has a really great belt that feels similar to an outdoor track. Treadmills at all prices often feel like what I imagine running on a grocery store checkout conveyer belt must feel like. Peloton describes its slat-belt as a rubber overmold on 59 “individually mounted aluminum slats” with a “ball bearing rail system.”
The body of the treadmill is made of carbon steel with cast aluminum included in each handrail, and either side has a nylon-blend fabric that looks more charming than intimidating and doubles as a workout mat storage compartment.
The plastic tray holds two drinks so you can have your water bottle and sport drink during your run, and the large base can hold your iPhone or iPad plus a towel. Peloton Tread also has one of the coolest removable safety keys I’ve seen on a treadmill.
Improve your workout
Then there’s the giant touchscreen. The 32-inch high-def touchscreen serves up a whole dashboard for browsing live and on-demand classes. These range from walks to runs to mixed workouts with strength training included, and each instructor offers a variety of classes with different goals and even music genres.
Peloton Tread’s touchscreen is immersive so you quickly forget you’re running on a treadmill and feel fully focused on the class. Apple fans will even appreciate the design which is similar to a giant iMac Pro, paired with a 20W sound bar.
I really enjoy Peloton run classes too. I haven’t experienced a class I didn’t appreciate yet, and I’m learning to be a better runner through guidance and insight I haven’t picked up from running on my own. I still have to show up to run each time, but I never regret it. Becs Gentry is my favorite instructor so far, especially her classical music running class. (Alex Toussaint is my go-to on the bike.)
Peloton Tread definitely makes training and closing my Apple Watch activity rings more enjoyable than just using my gym’s treadmill, and the build quality and design are excellent.
I’m not alone in my Peloton Tread appreciation. My partner is also an outdoor and indoor runner, and Peloton Tread is probably preferred to outdoor running for her. My six-year-old daughter has also enjoyed working out with the Peloton Tread and being like her parents — something that just melts my heart.
There’s even a really cool “Free Mode” feature that lets you run on the treadmill at your own pace without the motor moving the belt. Instead, you set the pace with your movement and push the belt along similar to outdoor running.
Peloton Tread is certainly no entry-level treadmill at $4,295, but it’s also not your standard experience. Peloton also offers financing options with $179/month for 24 months at 0% APR.
A few more things to know about Peloton Tread:
- It’s not compact and doesn’t fold so be sure you have space for it — the bike is much smaller
- You can actually visualize it in your space using Safari on iOS 12 or later for iPhone and iPad through augmented reality
- It can be loud so it’s best for first floor rooms (some customers recommend using a 4-foot by 6-foot 3/4-inch thick rubber stall mat to absorb vibration)
- Like other consumer treadmills, there’s no Apple GymKit support (which is only found in $12,000+ commercial equipment)
Learn more at onepeloton.com/tread.
Peloton, named after the cycling race term for a group of riders, all started with the bike for both the company and my family. I’ve already written about how Peloton Bike and Tread integrate with Apple Music and Apple Health which was my first surprise experience with the machines. Two more surprises followed.
First, my partner and I purchased Trek road bikes so we can ride together outdoors within weeks of buying the Peloton Bike. We’ve had budget-priced road bikes before, but Peloton has made us both appreciate cycling in general in a new way.
As a runner, I love the opportunity to cross train and take time away from running to use the Peloton Bike or our road bikes. Both are great ways to close my rings on my Apple Watch.
Next is a 100 mile century bicycle road race. My partner learned about this race, registered for it, and actually completed it after training almost entirely with Peloton.
Fit for spaces of all size
She’s the primary Peloton Bike user in our family, and she absolutely adores the whole experience. She bought an Apple Watch earlier this year after joining our gym for the first time, which brought us to Peloton in the first place.
Like me, she actually enjoyed the gym! But the Peloton Bike and Digital experience is way more comprehensive than just riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes.
Peloton trainers keep her motivated and push her to go beyond closing Apple Watch rings, which is turn creates even more competition for me. Emma Lovewell is by far her favorite instructor. The nuance of which instructors connect with you the most especially interests me since that’s not something that can easily be recreated somewhere else.
Peloton Bike is remarkably compact for a stationary bike equipped with a 22-inch touchscreen that runs live and on-demand classes. You only need space to fit the 4-foot by 2-foot footprint.
It’s also extremely quiet. You can jam your music and instructor’s voice through the touchscreen’s built-in speaker, or use headphones for a ride so quiet no one at home or downstairs will be disturbed.
Peloton Bike includes pedals that work with Peloton clip-in shoes for the most control while spinning, or you can replace each pedal with standard pedals that work with any shoe. Personally, I had to adjust to the clip-in system but it’s greatly preferred now.
Peloton Bike starts from $2,245 or $58/month for 39 months with 0% ARP through financing. Peloton has also launched a new 30 day home trial experience with free pick up and a full refund if you decide the bike isn’t for you.
Both Peloton Bike and Peloton Tread require a Peloton Membership for access to live and on-demand classes, and memberships include access to Peloton Digital on iPhone, iPad, and Mac at no additional cost.
Bike and Tread owners can add anyone in the household at no additional cost, and a single membership works with both machines and the app. Simultaneous streaming is limited to three users at a time, but one membership can include unlimited users to accommodate any size family.
Community, Milestones, and Celebration
Like with Apple products, there’s more to Peloton than just an app or machine. The company’s customers have created a whole community of happy trainers who support each other online, including in a very active Facebook group. (Fun side note: We discovered the Nugget play furniture set we bought for my son’s second birthday through a Peloton Facebook group for moms.)
Peloton Bike sees the highest turnout for both live and on-demand classes, and cyclists are very competitive yet encouraging during sessions. Peloton has a useful leaderboard feature for each class so riders can compete, and each member has their own profile for tracking lifetime progress.
Peloton Tread classes are much more intimate for now. Expect to see around 100 or so attendees for live treadmill classes versus numbers around 1000 or more for live bike classes. That’s likely because Peloton Tread only debuted in 2018, and Peloton Bike is what launched the company in 2012.
As a runner, I do appreciate the smaller Peloton Tread live classes for now. Each class feels more like a local run club race with fewer runners to compete against, and other attendees are from all over the world.
The leaderboard for both Bike and Tread also let you narrow down who you see during a workout. For example, I can filter my leaderboard by gender and age just like a run club competition, effectively competing in my division during a class.
Another part of the Peloton culture that I’ve discovered and appreciate is how members celebrate milestones. Instructors regularly give shoutouts to attendees who hit milestones like 50, 100, or 500 rides or runs completed, not just the top performers in each class.
Members even celebrate these achievements by attending live classes at Peloton’s New York City studio. I’ve seen members travel to the United States for the first time from countries in Europe to experience milestones like these with Peloton in person.
Peloton is also regularly expanding its variety of classes for Bike, Tread, and Digital, including more live classes scheduled for later in the evening with west coast customers in mind.
Put your Apple Watch fitness features to work
Like Apple hardware, Peloton isn’t the lowest priced solution on the market. Instead, the premium machines are matched with a personal experience that can’t be easily replicated.
Personally, I credit the Apple Watch for pushing me into a healthier lifestyle and discovering the world of running. Peloton Bike and Peloton Tread are fantastic for putting the Apple Watch fitness tracking to work in ways that won’t crush your spirits.
I hit a stride a few years ago with working out daily and closing my rings on my Apple Watch, but life challenges including having a second kid has made that more difficult. For me, having Peloton at home (and at the gym) has reduced the number of excuses I have for not meeting my fitness goals with Apple Watch.
Both machines are big investments with a recurring membership cost, but Peloton Bike and Peloton Tread are easy to recommend if you’re in the market for a premium stationary bike or treadmill with an experience worth the price.
Peloton Digital, which offers a free trial before paying, is even easier to recommend for anyone with an iPhone, iPad, Android, or access to the web while working out. If you want to experience Peloton without buying a bike or treadmill, Peloton Digital is an excellent preview and a value-add for gym goers. I never want to run at the gym with my Apple Watch again without a Peloton Digital session along for the ride.
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