Peloton Cycle is a cutting-edge tech company that primarily sells high-end spin bikes– Rolls Royces compared to the Nissan Altimas of Soul Cycle and Flywheel. Peloton’s bikes are smooth, sleek, high tech, and most importantly, users can stream a variety of spin classes from the NYC studio from the bikes’ screens. Read more about the bike here – I’m not a tech person so I can’t really describe the features in crazy detail (I can barely understand WordPress ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).
For those of us who live in NYC and don’t have $2K to casually spend on a spin bike, the Peloton flagship studio hosts live classes that are recorded for at-home users. The studio hosts 10+ classes per day that vary in length (30, 45, and 60 minutes) and class type (metrics, theme, rhythm, live DJ, beginner, and pro-cyclist). I tried out a 45 minute theme ride at the Chelsea studio.
I’d heard through the grapevine that Peloton has one of the nicest fitness studios in the city, and the grapevine didn’t lie. You’ll enter the studio into the boutique, which sells Peloton bikes and workout clothes. Past the boutique and check-in area, you’ll find a HUGE lounge that looks more like a coffee shop than a fitness studio. There are couches and coffee tables, chairs and tables, and a smoothie and coffee bar. You could lounge here for hours.
The locker room is fully stocked with towels, lockers, showers, and shower products. My only qualm with the locker room is that it’s not nearly as spacious as the rest of the studio. I took a 7:30pm class and ended up in the locker room right as the 6:30 class let out–it was body-to-body in there.
The spin studio itself is huge and has about 60 bikes, plus lights and multiple cameras on the instructor for the video streaming. Bikes are set up with towels, weights, and free water bottles–a nice touch. Overall, I’d give the studio a 9/10 rating (detracting one point for the size of the locker room).
I took class with Jennifer Jacobs. With a name like that, you’re destined to be famous, or at least Peloton famous. She is absolutely stunning and still looked stunning at the end of class, despite leading and participating in a killer workout (meanwhile I’m in the back of the room, hair a mess, looking like an old lady hunched over my bike).
My only issue with the instructor (and this is probably the case for most Peloton instructors, not Jennifer specifically) is that it felt like she was speaking/catering to the video platform more than the students in the room. Some of the things she’d say felt kind of cheesy, and she’d always smile at the respective cameras rather than at the students themselves. Even when encouraging us to get through a sprint, she’d look at the camera instead. While this makes sense for Peloton’s larger business model, it did feel a little impersonal as a student in the live class.
As noted above, Peloton’s bikes are the tits. They track cadence (pedal speed), output (power), resistance, calories burned (even though I didn’t enter my weight/age/gender…kinda shady), rank among other riders in class, and time left in class. These features were really awesome to see and the ranking definitely made me more competitive (I finished in 13th place and I’m not even a regular spinner!).
The theme of the ride I took was “Girl’s Night Out,” which I was not aware of until I sat on the bike. Good thing I’d filled up my water bottle with sangria anyway! (kidding, obviously but unfortunately).
While the bike was smooth and the features were awesome, there were a few things I didn’t like about this class. First, I think my bike was set up wrong (even though a Peloton employee set it up, or at least that’s what the random guy messing with my bike told me he was doing). Pedaling fast hurt my knees on this bike to the point where I found myself standing during a few of the seated sprints. Again, I think this was a bike setup issue rather than a Peloton issue–one does not simply create a $2,000 bike and forget to address possible knee sensitivity. Second, the music in the class was so loud that it was hard to hear the instructor at times. Thus, I had trouble understanding her instructions and knowing what the target cadence/output/resistance should be. Lastly, the sprints/climbs/etc. didn’t vary much from each other, so I found myself watching the clock on my bike and frequently dreading the amount of time left in class. Perhaps this is because spinning isn’t my favorite workout, and perhaps this is because I didn’t take a strictly rhythm or strictly metrics-based class, but I’d still prefer a workout where I’m not watching the clock.
Overall, I’d give Peloton another shot, but I’d probably try to take a rhythm-based ride instead of a mysterious theme ride. I’ll also make sure to adjust my bike properly for next time.
Peloton was a pretty welcoming environment with friendly staff and a wide variety of clients.
Drop in classes are $32, but your first ride is $20. Also, if you’d prefer a 30-minute class, those are $20, too. The studio is also on classpass, but peak time slots are usually booked.