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Peloton’s New Bike+ (Plus): Everything you ever wanted to know

Peloton-Bike-Plus-Early-Review-Hands-On

Last week Peloton announced their newest bike – the Peloton Bike+. This new unit includes a slightly larger (and now movable) screen, as well as an auto-follow resistance mode (what smart trainer/bike companies would call ERG mode). Additionally, they added native Apple Watch integration via GymKit, and a slew of slightly more minor things. Also, for those geeks in the crowd, they added what is effectively a power meter to the internals, to more accurately measure your wattage. Don’t worry, we’ll put that to the test here.

So, I ordered one and somewhat surprisingly they actually had almost immediate delivery slots available. Of course, said delivery slots were in another country. But hey, that’s never stopped me before. I tweeted out last week asking if someone had an address for delivery in Germany, and a bunch of you responded back. I picked someone just a few minutes from the border, making it only a two hour trip from Amsterdam. While normally I’d pick it up via cargo bike, a 10-hour pedal (each direction) wasn’t exactly in the cards for this morning. Though, I have transported my other Peloton bike via cargo bike just fine. Anyway, I zipped over this morning and got the unit via a rental van from some cheap car rental place nobody has ever heard of.

Peloton-BikePlus-Delivery Peloton-Bike-Plus-Pickup

And after meeting up with the DCR Reader (in a socially distanced way), I threw it in my kidnapper van and drove back across international borders. Then from there it was up the Dutch staircase into the DCR Cave and we were soon ready to roll:

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Here it is before I removed a pile of plastic wrap. It kinda smelled like a new car.

Peloton-BikePlus-Unboxing

With that, let’s dive into all the details on my first impressions after a single ride on it. Which, you can do by just hitting the play button below, or continue reading. You’re call.

Also – some people will ask, down the road I’ll write a full in-depth review on the Peloton Bike+, and probably also get around to hitting publish on my already-written in-depth review of the standard non-plus bike  I’ve had for a long while now (seriously, it’s basically done and written – I was hoping to put together a full video review to go with it.)

(Oh, and since undoubtedly some cyclist readers here will poo-poo a Peloton Bike for reasons that rarely make sense because they’ve never actually tried one, I’d simply point out that given Peloton is *BY FAR* the largest indoor cycling platform. It’s not even close. Their earnings call last week put them at about 1.1 million paying members with Peloton bikes. That’s roughly a little less than double the size of Zwift’s paying membership right now. And again, those are all people that paid $2,250+ for a bike, then $40/month.  But no, I don’t do every ride on a Peloton bike – I mix and match depending on how I feel. But there’s structured workouts just as painful or strict as anything you’ll find on TrainerRoad. Ultimately, it’s different things for different folks. In any case, more on all that sometime later.)

What’s New/Changed:

PelotonBikePlusResistanceUnit

As I noted in the intro paragraph, there are two major features that have (rightly) garnered most of the attention of the Peloton Bike+, the new bigger/swiveling screen as well as the Auto-Follow digital resistance system. However, there are numerous smaller things that have changed. So this is an attempt to catalog all of those things in one spot. I’m sure I’ll add a few others over time as I find some other nuances.

– Added Auto-Follow Resistance (aka ERG mode): Uses new digital resistance system that allows both manual and automated control of resistance
– Increased screen size from 21.5” to 23.8” (touchscreen on both)
– Increased from 2 rear speakers (2x10w each), to 2 front and 2 rear speakers (2x3w tweets & 2x10w woofers)
– Screen can now swivel/rotate to just about any orientation: This is for doing core/yoga/etc workouts on the floor/space nearby
– Upgraded front-facing camera from 5MP to 8MP
– Added privacy cover for camera
– Changed positioning knobs from longer to circular style for seatpost/handlebars, and changed to quick-lever for saddle position
– Changed handlebar design/shape a bit
– Very slightly changed seat design
– Added Apple Watch GymKit integration: This allows integration with Apple Watch including heart rate to Peloton bike
– Power/Display cables are now all internally routed, versus externally before
– Switched to USB-C charging for the bike (65w adapter)
– Switched to USB-C power/connector for the display
– Moved headphone jack to front of handlebars from side of display
– Moved volume buttons from back-edge of display to side of display
– Updated from Bluetooth 4.0 to Bluetooth 5.0
– Increased WiFi support to include 5Ghz WiFi networks (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
– Removed micro-USB port, swapped to USB-C port (and it can charge devices like our phone)
– Removed wired Ethernet port (you can use a USB-C to Ethernet adapter though)
– And of course, new shiny Peloton logo on sides added

From an underlying specifications standpoint, there are some changes here as well. Here’s a handy table outlining the hardware bits.

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And, just a few things that haven’t changed:

– Same max rider weight of 297lbs
– Same min/max rider height of 4’11” and 6’4″
– Same support for ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart heart rate straps/sensors
– Same ability to move it around a room using the wheels
– Same flywheel, best I can tell (without taking it apart)
– Same positioning markers on the side of the bike

Next, here’s a pile of photos I took, just a pretty gallery of sorts.

Of course, the biggie is the new swiveling display, which is designed so that you can do floor workouts from…err…the floor, without having to stream it to another TV. Obviously, in this case I could just stream/cast it to the giant TV next to it – but let’s not let details get in the way here.

PelotonBikePlusFloorDisplay

The display rotates to all 360° positions on that axis, but has to split the rotation half each way (so the cables don’t get tangled up internally). I show it in the video in case that’s not clear. The speakers on the front and back are more than plenty loud, and they don’t sound too bad. Certainly not like a high-end SONOS, but perfectly fine here. You can also still pair Bluetooth headphones or use headphones. The screen resolution is the same 1080p as before.

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Perhaps one of my favorite changes is the usage of a simple 65w USB-C charging brick. Meaning, my laptop charger can also charge the Peloton bike. I know that practically speaking this probably isn’t an issue – but I just love that they’ve gone with standard power here.

PelotonBikePlus-Close-USB-C-Power-Supply PelotonBikePlus-USB-C-Port

Note that while the original micro-USB port is gone in favor of a USB-C port, that’s a great change too. It allows you to not only charge your phone (assuming you’ve got a USB-C to USB-C/Lightning cable), but, it still allows connectivity to sideload apps like Zwift or TrainerRoad. And given the superior graphics capabilities on the Peloton bike, it should be a much better experience. I was able to successfully sideload some apps, which is how I got all the screenshots for this post (and the screen recordings for the video). Note that technically there are two USB-C ports on the back of the display, but one is for the power of the display itself, and the other is for your usage. The headphone jack has been moved to the front handlebars, which is great (the port you see on the back of the display is basically the wire running from the display to the front 3.5mm handlebar port for your headphones).

PelotonBikePlusPortsCloseUp PelotonBikePlusHeadphonesJack

Anyway, to summarize the newness – from a form standpoint, the new bike looks pretty darn sweet, and the hardware related changes (screen/speakers/position knobs) are all solid, albeit minor individually, upgrades. But, let’s dig a bit deeper into each of them.

An Auto-Follow Workout:

PelotonBikePlusDigitalResistanceKnob

First is the new Auto-Follow feature, which is effectively a fancy term of ERG workouts. Except, in reality it’s actually a bit smarter than that. While a typical ERG workout keeps you locked to a given wattage level (e.g. 250w), the Peloton concept is a bit more advanced in that yes, it’ll keep you locked to whatever resistance level the workout demands – but it’ll also let you stray higher or lower in the typical instructor range.

That’s because for most portions of Peloton workouts, instructors call out ranges, usually based on resistance levels (but also zones in the case of Power Zone workouts). So they might say ‘Keep your resistance from 40 to 50’. Thus, depending on your athletic capabilities or how much you drank last night, you’d pick some portion of that range. More on that in a second.

First though, let’s talk about the knob:

PelotonBikePlusKnob

The new ‘digital resistance knob’ has far less resistance within it, required to twist it. Meaning, you can easily twist it with your pinky – whereas the previous Peloton bike would take a chunk of your hand to get it to change. Of course, that’s likely because the new knob isn’t technically exerting a force onto the wheel like the old knob. Instead, it’s simply telling the bike digitally to change the resistance using a different internal system. In other words, it’s acting more like a higher-end smart bike/trainer than a mechanically simple spin bike.

That’s because unlike the previous Peloton bike which literally was just a simple spin bike that then used a mathematical equation to determine your power, this is actually measuring it and then applying resistance to change it. In Peloton’s support articles they state that “The Peloton Bike+ is powered by a digitally-controlled resistance brake system that auto-calibrates and has a load cell sensor that measures output separately.”

PelotonBikePlus-Resistance-Unit

Further than that, upon first usage of the bike, it’ll do a self-calibration of the stepper motor where it moves it through the range and back again and calibrates itself. Peloton says this is a one-time operation, though you can trigger it again if you want to in the settings (in fact, I did after swapping pedals, because depending on how they measure load, the slight 30-gram change might impact the accuracy, so just to be safe on accuracy testing I re-calibrated).

Peloton-Bike-Plus-Calibration

And in fact, if you crack open the apps on the Peloton Bike+ unit, you’ll even find a nifty diagnostic app for the digital resistance system and how it shifts the stepper motor.

Peloton-Bike-Plus-Diag-Sensor

In any case, start your workout like normal. Once the instructor starts calling out ranges, you’ll see the yellow box listed. To enable auto-follow you’ll simply tap the little lock icon next to the resistance levels during the workout:

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Except – here’s the catch: This doesn’t work on live classes, only with on-demand classes, because this information is added in after the fact. More on that in a second.

Once enabled, auto-follow essentially has a range that it keeps you within. Typically an instructor will specify a defined resistance range for that portion of the workout, such as between 25 and 40 (% resistance). By default, if you simply toggle auto-follow it’ll keep you at the mid-point of that range (33%). Each time the range changes, it’ll change automatically to the mid-point of the next range.

However, you can manually change the resistance knob to within the lower or upper end of the range, and then it’ll keep you in that same relative position on the range going forward. So if you were at the upper end (49% on a 40-50% range), and then the next set jumped to a range of 55-65, then it’d slide you to 65% for that next set. And so on.

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However, if that still isn’t enough (or, is too much), then you can use the resistance knob to override (either higher or lower). It’ll immediately break you out of auto-follow for that specific target set (but keeps auto-follow enabled), but then upon hitting the next set it’ll snap you back into the range at the top (or bottom) of the range. Honestly, this is kinda stupid. The point of going over the range (or under) is because the range isn’t working for you. I’d have thought Peloton would have simply done the math (either %-based or actual unit-wise) to keep you relative to the range. After all, they did the math on the in-range bits.

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Still, I suspect this is something we could see change with feedback. For myself, I tend to go on the higher end or slightly over – and usually by a set amount (e.g. increasing the resistance by 10%/units – e.g. 50% to 60%). Not every workout, but just when I’m feeling frisky.

And where this gets messy is half-hearted attempts to add in resistance levels on some classes. For example, this class I did from Christian Vande Velde, has resistance levels in it – but they’re basically useless. In the class he calls out ‘Zone 6’, while the resistance levels only put me in Z2 or Z3. So I have to override each set significantly (by +15-20 units). So eventually you just give up and turn auto-follow off.

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Pro Tip: It should be noted that the yellow lock icon is actually also serving as a timer for that interval. Previously, there was really no way to know exactly how much time was left in an interval unless the instructor noted it (and accurately so – which…varies). Now, because it requires everything really be specified within the platform so the Auto-Follow can work, it’s giving you that tidbit of information. So below, you see the screen is at roughly 75% completion of the yellow icon:

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But that doesn’t apply to cadence changes. So some instructors will maintain the resistance but drop the cadence. Thus, this isn’t really a pure wattage-play, since if you drop cadence on a spin bike while maintaining resistance, it lowers overall wattage.

Finally – the big rub: This doesn’t work with live classes. Or even recently created on-demand classes (lag appears to be three days). Or PowerZone workouts. And frankly, there’s zero reason these issue should exist. Peloton live classes as they are put together now are already highly scripted, after all, the music is synced to the highs and lows of the workouts, and the instructors are reading back notes from screens to remind themselves about the workout they created. There’s no good reason they can’t simply put those queues into the platform beforehand. Zero reason whatsoever. Sure, there might be seconds where the auto-follow system might be off a second or two from an instructor call-out, but c’mon – this is half-baked right now.

But let’s pretend that’s acceptable that live classes don’t have Auto-Follow. It’s 100% not acceptable to have to wait 3 days for resistance cues to be put into the workouts for on-demand classes.

(Note: On Monday evening classes from Friday still didn’t have any target metric details. On Tuesday, they appear to have done the weekend classes and into Monday’s classes and even one from 4 hours ago. Perhaps these updater peoples only work week days? Either way, it should be at a minimum available the second the class is done.)

After all, the biggest usage peak for those on-demand workouts is in the first 24-72 hours. So seems mixed. In any case, you need to ensure the class shows these Target Metrics graphs in order for Auto-Follow to work:

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On the flip side, Peloton’s live classes have never been a strong offering unless you were US East Coast-based. Even before the pandemic, and even with the newish London studio; the European and US West Coast users always got limited offerings at otherwise peak workout times (namely, 6-8AM and 7-10PM). That continues today. For example, if I look at the offerings for this evening and tomorrow morning, you’ll see it’s pretty slim:

2020-09-15 11.46.28 2020-09-15 11.46.51

Mind you, Peloton has demonstrated instructors can lead classes from home just fine. So the lack of live classes appears to be less about technology and probably more about internal/organizational politics than anything else. But ultimately, the point is – if you primarily do live workouts, auto-follow won’t be there for ya.

Apple GymKit Integration:

AppleWatchPelotonIntegration

Next, there’s the new Apple GymKit integration. This requires the Bike+, as the older bike doesn’t have the NFC hardware in it to wirelessly connect to the Apple Watch. Mind you, as I’ll note later – this doesn’t mean Peloton couldn’t introduce Apple Watch integration in numerous other ways. Today, Apple Watch integration oddly doesn’t work with existing Peloton bikes, but only with the Peloton digital app. But more on that in a second.

First, on your Apple Watch you need to ensure that you’ve enabled it to detect gym equipment. On your phone you’ll find this setting in the Watch app on your phone, then Workout:

2020-09-15 00.53.57 2020-09-15 01.47.58

Next, to pair your Apple Watch with the Peloton bike, you’ll hold your watch up near the Peloton logo (which is near the camera, but there’s no relation here) for a few seconds:

Peloton-IntegrationApple-WatchStartPairing

A moment later you’ll get a prompt on the Apple Watch itself, which you’ll need to confirm. This creates what is effectively a one-time pairing for that workout. Except, it didn’t work for me. It just hangs there forever, and never prompts me on my watch.

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Supposedly once paired, the watch will transmit the heart rate measured optically to the Peloton bike, and stay in sync. And inversely, the Peloton bike will transmit the time and distance data to the watch, also staying in sync. This is effectively a workout on your Apple Watch, so that once you end the workout it saves to your Apple Health/Fitness app, and thus closing any rings you might wanna close.

Now, in playing with this a bit – it’s a bit fumbly since it wouldn’t work for me after many tries, and others seem to report it taking numerous tries also. GymKit was mostly designed for…wait for it….gyms. Less so devices in your home. Sure, Apple and Peloton would sell you on that idea – but by its nature, GymKit was specified to essentially be a one-time transaction that’s thrown away after you leave that machine. As such, you have to manually pair it every single time you do a workout.

Adding a bit of insult to injury, GymKit is only available for cycling classes, and not any other classes you might take. While I can somewhat understand the thinking here (namely that if doing a core workout there’s technically nothing to measure), the reality is that this seems slightly underwhelming if you do other workout types. I’d have thought that the two companies would have worked that out.

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Finally, as I stated at the beginning, while Peloton has rolled out Apple Watch GymKit integration only with the Peloton Bike+, the reality is there’s no reason there should be that limitation for all the features. For example, half of the appeal here is getting your Apple Watch heart rate to the Peloton bike, and that could be easily (quite trivially) accomplished within a Peloton app for Apple Watch. After all, Peloton does exactly this for users of their Digital App on iPhone, yet not for the people who actually bought the $2,000+ bike. It’s a silly easy thing for Peloton to code for, and other indoor cycling companies like Zwift have rolled this out years ago.

So while the GymKit integration will be handy for some, I think the implementation seems more marketing driven than practically driven. Which is a shame, because the underlying aspects of it would have been really useful if it was seamless every time.

Power Accuracy:

PelotonBikePlus-Resistance-Unit

Of course, if you’re a regular around these parts, you know well that I’m into all the data accuracy bits. It’s part of what I do, and I do a lot of power meter testing. I’ve written vast sums of words on it, as well as how to do it too.

And I have boatloads of accuracy data on the existing Peloton bike (non-Plus). Piles and piles of data compared against numerous power meters I’ve attached to the original Peloton bike. And overall…nope. It was mostly high by a fair bit after it warmed up. Ironically, it was pretty good until about the 10-15 minute marker in most cases.

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The exact amount would vary, but in general the higher you went with resistance, the worse it got:

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Now by pure dumb luck, I finally got the Peloton calibration kit a bit over a week ago (I ordered it in early June). But I haven’t quite had the chance to run through that process yet. So I’ll do that before I publish my final base Peloton Bike model.

But what about the new Peloton Bike+? Is that fancy new digital resistance system with noted load cell accurate? Well, I threw a pair of power meter pedals on there to find out. Then I ensured they were properly bedded (meaning, I did some sprints, validated the crank length was set correctly, re-did the calibration with the new power meter pedals, etc…), before starting. Here’s what that data looks like:

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Holy cow, it’s actually accurate. Note that in the first ride above there was still a little bit of settling going on in the pedals being installed. You can see it stabilize over the course of the first ride.

The workout included some solid diversity of both cadence and power levels. It didn’t have any crazy out-right sprints (e.g. 800w+), but I’ve gotta save something. Plus, I was on my 3rd ride of the day somehow at this point. But again, very solid first performance. On that workout it was largely in auto-follow mode, though honestly I’m not seeing any impact of that enabled/disabled in terms of outright power accuracy. Also, I’m seeing no meaningful lag of the auto-follow system. It seems to make large resistance changes in about 2-3 seconds (the industry norm).

Next, another shorter workout I did in 100% auto-follow:

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Again, this looks even closer now that the pedals have settled a bit. Also, in case you’re curious about cadence accuracy, here’s that:

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Also looks solid. Note that Peloton does appear to apply a slight bit more smoothing than most power meters (and some trainers). I don’t really have an issue with that here, to be honest. It’s not impacting the accuracy, it’s just smoothing the power. We’ve seen the same thing in other smart bikes, especially in early firmware.

In any case – I’ll continue to collect more data over the coming weeks, and circle back in early October with a full in-depth review. But so far, this is about as good as I could ask for in a smart bike. And actually, the most accurate first production week firmware accuracy I’ve seen on any smart bike, including from companies like Wahoo/Tacx/Wattbike/Stages.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Wrap-Up:

Peloton-Bikeplus-Flywheel

Overall the Peloton Bike+ is both a blend of well-executed features, and a bit of slightly half-baked features. I think the hardware part of it seems to be quite solid based on my first few rides. While I haven’t had the pleasure yet of fully disassembling one, the main components seem more than robust enough for day to day usage in the home. And the new hardware aspects like USB-C power, the larger display, and other newness are super nice. Heck, it even looks swankier too.

But it seems clear to me that some of the features just aren’t fully baked yet. Auto-follow is good in theory, and when it’s available and you plan to stay within the resistance range, it’s great. But it’s just not available on the workouts you’re most likely to do as a daily Peloton user. As a daily Peloton user, it’s likely you’re doing classes from the last 24-48 hours, and said classes don’t have Auto-Follow enabled until 2-3 days usually. That’s way too long. And the lack of stickiness for when you stray above/below the instructor’s ranges seems antithesis to the countless times that instructors will note that you (paraphrasing) should ‘ride your own workout, and if you need more – great, or if you need less, nobody is judging’. Except that doesn’t work here.

The Apple GymKit bits should just work, and at present they don’t for me. I like the idea of Apple GymKit, and even if it did work, it doesn’t automatically pair each time, nor does it work for non-bike workouts. It should just automatically re-pair up anytime you start riding, just as your Bluetooth headphones or anything else does. I’m not sure if the blame here lies on Apple or Peloton, but certainly both companies have the power to figure it out together. And given how little adoption GymKit has in real life, then will easily and quickly become the biggest implementation of it.

Still, despite my gripes – I’d probably recommend this bike over the base Peloton Bike for most people, even despite the cost premium over the base bike. First, the accuracy is *FAR* better. Way better. Second, the screen’s size and swivels are handy. Then there’s the simple reality that eventually we’ll see newer features beyond those launched here that are only offered on newer bikes. We already saw that once before with older displays. I don’t expect that to be a tomorrow or even next year thing, but it’s worth considering.

In any case – more details down the road, in probably early October, for a full in-depth review.

With that – thanks for reading!

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114 Comments

  1. Adam C

    What size are the cranks and can they be changed/ordered differently?
    Can you use the monitor for other things such as hooked to a laptop, etc?

    • No, just the 170mm cranks – no changeable option.

      You can’t hookup a laptop to it or anything, but it’s Android under the covers. So you can sideload apps and easily access them, such as Netflix or YouTube or anything else.

  2. Victor

    As it verges on a smart trainer, I wonder how long before (a) you get peloton for smart trainers or (b) you can run zwift with resistance control on it.

  3. Pavel Vishnyakov

    Wow, Ray, that was a fast review!
    One question from a person who’s not familiar with Peloton – why does it need a webcam?

  4. Adam

    You think it will be feasible to run zwift side loaded, or there still issues with power data/ERG being proprietary?

    • You can still sideload (I sideload a few things already), but still runs into the same issue of lack of broadcasting of power. But I think there’s some movement from 3rd parties there…

  5. As it’s accurate, no Peloton user will actually want this bike. All the 500 watt FTPs are going to suddenly disappear.

    • Its true. And…also why Peloton has created the new ‘reset PR’ feature. 🙂

    • Paul

      Oh, no doubt. I recalibrated my bike about six months in and I still wonder if I calibrated it too heavy as it took nine months to get back to where I was before. And then I look at the riders that are older than me that are cruising by me with 300 watt averages and I scratch my head. I want the bike just to see how accurate my setup is. I’m sure there will be a lot of people calling Peloton crying about their new bike being uncalibrated when they used to put up ungodly numbers and now they are mortal.

  6. Tim Brown

    If you could easily choose Zwift I might consider it. $40 a month is kinda steep…..

    • It is steep, but it’s largely seen as an alternative to paid spin classes at a gym (or similiar experience). Of course, right now those gyms are closed – so one could look at that two different ways. But comparing it to Zwift/etc pricing wise is tricky because those aren’t really seen as alternatives to going to the gym, more than going outside.

    • Paul

      Consider that $40 also gives up to five people in your family access to the bike and other classes like bootcamp, yoga, meditation, etc. and it suddenly doesn’t feel very expensive.

    • inSyt

      A lot of these classes, including spin classes are available on YouTube for free. Also a digital Peloton (video content) membership to use with non-Peloton equipment is more reasonably priced at $12.99 a month.

  7. Aaron

    The screen seems to swivel pretty easily in the video, does it lock in place in the normal position? I would be worried about it rocking back and forth while standing to pedal or when pressing the touchscreen.

  8. Can you side load anything like TrainerRoad onto it?

  9. Heinrich Hurtz

    Controlled resistance is slope mode. Controlled power is ERG mode. Does this indeed have ERG mode?

    • Technically slope mode is setting a slope (gradient), this is holding an arbitrary resistance level, and thus would fall under ‘Resistance mode’ if using normal/industry terminology.

      But…like calling something ‘calibration’ when it’s really a zero offset, ERG mode as a term has grown to mean holding power at a given level. As of today they do that via resistance levels, but behind the scenes that’s just a software distinction.

  10. Jeremy F

    How would one use a garmin (935) with the Peloton ecosystem? Possible to sync rides to garmin connect? Or is the watch just used for HR at this point?

  11. Ian Bowers

    Hi Ray. Assuming still no power broadcast or ability to export data anywhere other than Strava and MPaceline? I have a 1st gen Peloton and it’s great other than the closed ecosystem.

  12. Adam

    Does the Bike+ allow you to chance calibration offsets, etc?

    • Maybe. There’s a diag tools for the sensor in there that’s fun to toy around with. I poked a bit, but literally nothing has labels, so you’re just pressing icons hoping the bike doesn’t explode. I stopped pressing buttons for now.

  13. Jay

    Capabilities aside, it sure is pretty. It makes Wahoo Kickr Bike, Tacx Neo, and Stages SB20 look like Frankenstein monsters in comparison. Something to consider when putting a stationary bike inside your home.

    • Agree. And that’s always been Peloton’s secondary strength – it looks pretty in a house.

      The KICKR bike is really the only one that might fit that bill, but people seem split on either love it or hate it (looks-wise). Again, capabilities aside.

    • JD

      Polished was the first word that came to mind.
      They must have some serious quality control in place wherever they are made. 😉
      I realize you aren’t trying to create a web brochure but why do the article photos work as a slideshow but the “piles of photos” have to be viewed one at a time with browser back button to close each? 🙂

    • Doh – I simply didn’t toggle the right box. Fixed, proper slideshow!

  14. One of the gripes I have with the non-plus bike is when it comes to syncing up with services like TrainingPeaks or TrainerRoad (both via Strava). For TrainingPeaks, it’s a non-starter because of how the data is formatted when it tries to get fed from Strava meaning it doesn’t even show up or if i tried to manually export from Strava, it will still fail (RunGap does somehow make it play nicely on TP). On TrainerRoad, the data will be processed from Strava, but the summary metrics are thrown way off (TSS, NP, etc.).

    So the question… Now, do the workouts produced and floated over to Strava from the Bike+ change things when getting auto-synced from Strava to TP/TR/etc. without the need of something like RunGap or Tapiriik? I recognize that it might be how the other platforms are processing it and thus the burden placed on them especially since it reads completely fine on Strava and their app is essentially reading from Strava. I was secretly hoping that maybe because of the new way it’s capturing output, just maybe it might be producing a slightly different file that’s being sent over to Strava and auto-sync’ing with the others from there.

    No biggie, but that’s just the only thing that really came to mind in terms of gripes. Definitely like the new stuff the Bike+ brings to the table. I was fortunate enough to have a bike that read close enough to the Assiomas without having to mess with anything. I’m hoping this is a sign of interesting features to come since they made a conscious effort on more accurate output readings and ERG.

    • Hmm, I haven’t tried syncing from Strava to TP. In my case I take the files from Strava and load them up in the DCR Analyzer and they do work there in terms of power/etc…

      Odd that the sync fails on the TP side.

  15. fisao

    Peloton should have some worries about the just announced Apple Fitness+ with MUSIC (i think they repeated the music part 9 times) at 10$/month. there is a significant overlap of Apple and Peloton owners.

    Popcorn time!

  16. JCZ

    If it can be hacked to use Zwift and mimick the hills + ERG mode I’m sold.
    Wife currently uses a regular spin bike with peloton App, this would be great for both.

    • Trevor

      Agreed, if it supported reporting power and erg control by 3rd party apps by Zwift, TR, etc, then this would be a slam dunk for what I’d think is a pretty big market of “people who want a smart bike but who have a spouse/family who wants do spinning classes”.

      Unfortunately the previous Peloton bike’s data transmission was proprietary and not available to side loaded 3rd party apps and there is no indication that anything will be different for power/erg in this go around.

      While it feels like a huge missed opportunity, I think Peloton as a company is far more interested in securing long term recurring subscription revenue than enticing people to buy their HW so they can run 3rd party apps on it. In fact, they could be selling the HW at low margin or even potentially a loss in order to make it up in the subscription revenue. As much as I personally hate their approach, I understand the business justification.

    • Joel

      I agree. Right now I set up original Peloton bike with Assioma (link to cycling.favero.com) Pedals which works with Zwift. However I don’t get automated resistance changes. About 4 years ago I came up with the idea of a device to attach to the mechanical knob on the peloton that would receive the signals from Zwift and auto rotate (servo) it like the power trainers. Never actually made the device as I would have likely had to buy and take apart a cheap trainer or other device to receive the signal. Now Peloton has made it part of the machine. Only missing step is to get it to work with other programs like Zwift. I wonder if talks are underway for some sort of combined subscription? $40 peloton + $15 Zwift = $55…then throw in a $5 price break to bring to $50?

  17. I ordered the plus last week, i’ve been running a kickr and an old bike permanently attached to it since 2013.

    This new bike with essentially erg mode is enough to convert me since its super user friendly for my wife and yet has the power/erg features i need to train, and the off bike stuff looks solid.

    I’ve been eyeing up the wahoo bike for months but its 3500 bucks, then i need a nice new ipad for 500 bucks, then i need a stand to mount it, and then you factor in the cost of a zwift sub, and oh zwift subs are per user.

    Then you look at the zwift user experience and its super stale. They haven’t done enough to innovate and they are the only real game in town. Factoring all that in, I bought a Peloton +.

  18. Gerald

    Ray, just because I’m still not sure. If you side loaded Zwift, does the new digital resistance control allow it to mimic the hills or adjust to a specific workout? I’m not sure if that’s what you meant by there might be third parties working on it.

    Thanks for another great review.

    • Correct, as it stands today, nothing directly inbox.

      There are two different 3rd parties working on solutions that could solve this. One person that’s developed basically a little box you put over the knob that controls it, and another that’s reading the signals off the wire (older bike). How these could work together, or work on Bike+ remains to be seen.

    • Gerald

      Great. Thanks for the follow up.

  19. dan

    297 pound weight limit. Now THAT is a precise number. I get a kick out of exercise equipment like this that purposely excludes a segment of society that probably needs a bike more than any other. 310?….sorry fatty….you want to lose weight better eat less and do some exercise…..just don’t exercise with us…….

    • I suspect that limitation is driven by the pedals/spindle (safety-wise). Just a guess…

      I remember talking to Garmin about this and the Vector pedals years ago, and the weight limit there. The issue wasn’t that a person at 298 pounds would snap it, but rather, that when they backed into the safety tolerances, they had to assume that the 297 pound person (or whatever) could also throw down 2,500w in a split-second sprint. That’s what tends to break most equations (and safety tolerances…and equipment).

    • dan

      Thanks for that perspective. I pondered it and I can see it has some validity. I have broken a chain, a crank arm, and a frame. I have caused some wimpy designed bikes to mis-shift because that pedal on the end of a crank arm is a big lever on the bottom bracket, and I could move the bottom bracket enough to move the chain line momentarily causing a skip for a second as the chain drops down 1 gear for a split second.

      However that is all on a road bike and there is quite a bit of movement between the wheel mounting points. tires, tubes, wheels, frame etc would all flex and absorb force. I suppose the way a bike like this is designed there is zero flex built in and its all the force is momentarily on that pedal spindle as you and garmin say.

      ok point taken.

      now if only you could solve my wahoo sensor dropout problem with my element so I could stop being such a whiny B*tch about it……lolololo

  20. Rharp

    Any thoughts on how they could provide feet climbed like Wahoo Trainer does? I’m sure it’s all based on calculation but unsure how this is done.

  21. Will

    Any insight into how long their bike trade-in program will run (exchange you non+ for credit towards a plus)?

    The improved accuracy is nice, though I guess if you just treat power as “Peloton Power” its all still relative to yourself for workouts.

    The thing that intrigues me is the potential for 3rd party zwift integration combined with “erg” mode. If that starts working it may be worth the upgrade. Just hope the trade in still works by that time.

    Also, did you try to sync garmin heartrate to peloton? That has been hit/ miss for me on non+

    • I’m not sure on how long, but honestly, my advice would be not to use the trade-in/credit, and instead sell and buy new. My thinking is simple: A used non-hosed-up Peloton bike will easily sell for $1,500+ right now, cause nobody can get them. I saw a stat somewhere today saying the current backlog of Peloton bikes is ~110,000 units. That’s insane.

      So, if one were to accept $700 when you could easily get double, that seems like a stale move. So if it were me, I’d put in an order for the new one, and then as time got close I’d offload the old one.

      I didn’t use the Garmin HR on these two rides (well, a strap, but not watch), but have used it on others non+.

    • Will

      That is an insane backlog, esp when you consider that is 10% of current subscribers. Now, I’m sure that will right size a bit as I am guessing they optimized their supply chain for bike+, but still a huge number. I guess COVID has been good for outdoor and indoor bike sales.

      Really appreciate the idea and perspective.

    • Will

      Correction: “good” in the sense of driving incredible demand… not implying COVID is good in any way

  22. Stephane

    If the Peloton bike has auto-follow on the bike and they’re tracking resistance accurately, how long until they have this on their Peloton *app* and can control smart trainers?

    And I must have missed it — they have FTP now too? Would be great if they did %FTP workouts instead of resistance.

    • I’d say almost 0% chance. All the moves they’d made to date have been away from 3rd party compatibility at every turn, and focused purely on pushing the bike sales.

      The question will really be though if there’s a driving/turning point that they realize getting a life-long sub on a non-Peloton bike is worth more than no sub at all. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple has any impact on that.

      Yup, they’ve had FTP for quite a while actually, their power zone workouts are really good.

    • Paul

      Stephane, jump on in, the water’s fine. There is even a third party that puts together eight-week programs for power zone training based on TSS. You can access it at powerzonepack.com (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to mention that). There are are four regular instructors now teaching using power zones and the bike will automatically spit out your FTP after doing an FTP test on the bike.

  23. David Hinchee

    David,

    How does the smart bike experience compare to a smart trainer-dedicated bike combo? Are we to the point where you’d recommend a smart bike over a dedicated trainer & bike? And if so which smart bike would be your pick?

    Thanks,

    David H

  24. B2

    Since you didn’t call out new Plus content, I guess there aren’t sessions that take advantage of the spinning display (i.e. “cyclocross” with treadmill, or boot camp with burpees).

    Does anyone know if the Peloton digital app will ever include virtual rides, runs, or hike videos from around the world?

    It’s not a Plus feature, but imagine “Everesting” on Everest!

  25. JohnB

    As it’s unlikely Peloton will ever be compatible with Zwift, do you ever see them creating their own version of Watopia? With the promising power accuracy data you posted today for bike+, having races against friends would be fun.

  26. Ki Tat Chung

    GymKit sounds like round two of ANT+ FE. Let’s see if it gets anywhere this time around.

  27. Parag

    Hi Ray, I watched your Youtube video and came to this article. An outstanding effort of reviewing this bike, truly hats off to you.
    I have one question for you please. How do you compare Peloton Bike+ with the MyXFitness bike, which is almost half the price. Except for the magnetic resistance, Apple watch integration and live classes, MyXFitness bike has almost everything what Peloton is offering.

    Thanks in advance.

  28. Stu r

    As someone that’s owned a peloton for 4 years now, I think the biggest miss on the updated bike is the inability to adjust the horizontal position of the handlebars by sliding them backward and forward. It is just not possible to dial in your position on the bike as well as you can on a standard studio skin bike. I think this is especially noticeable for taller riders.

    The other change that peloton has made is to focus on 20 and 30 minute rides instead of the 45 minute rides they offered prior to covid. Looking at the live schedule you will see several days each week with only 10, 15, 20 or 30 minute rides. O the days have 1 45 or 60 minute rides – useless if you’re trying to train or build endurance. If you want 45 minute out longer rides you are going to be sick riding old recorded rides.

    Apart from this the new bike is decibel an upgrade on the old but is not enough of an improvement to get me to upgrade.

  29. Trevor Jones

    What is the wrist hr monitor you have on

  30. inSyt

    Considering Peloton’s pricing, it’s good to see that the bike is more of smart bike instead of a dumb spin bike with fancy spin class videos hooked up to a social network .

  31. Dave Cochrane

    I’ve even seriously dubious about Peloton VS Wahoo, etc…until now. If they’d sell this in NZ, I’d buy it. No question.

  32. Cody Palosaari

    I’m really surprised you don’t recommend the Nordictrack S22, at least over base Peleton. They have live classes now and the instructors can change the resistance in real time. It also has had the swivel feature and auto imcline up to 20% and decline-10%. For same price as base Peleton and cheaper yearly membership really surprised you don’t recommend it. The mew Peleton adds usb C and 5GHZ capabilities, better cabling behind monitor. Those are the only improvements I see over S22i, but they have a new model coming soon too. I’ve tried Peleton at gyms and wife has had s22i for a year now, prefer s22i for the incline and adventure rides.

  33. MT

    Does it support multiple Strava accounts? The original, despite supporting multiple users, did not.

    GREAT site btw.

  34. Edward McCarty

    So i have a garmin fenix 6x, I have a couple of questions about how to get this all setup correctly as I will be purchasing a peloton plus near black friday.

    1.) I have an hrm run now, will I be able to use this to both send heart rate data to the peloton and record the heart rate on my workout on the fenix, or will I need a different strap to accomplish this simultaneous data collection?

    2.) I have a stryd footpod, will I be able to use this for an indoor cycling workout to get pace, cadence, etc on the workout on the watch?

    3.) Since I can’t get the power data from the peloton on my watch and I know that you have to acquire the power data during the workout for it to work with the watch, how do I get the power data to my fenix?

    • Michael B

      1) One Garmin strap can be received by both the bike and a fenix 6 (I do this).
      2) No experience with that but I would guess the watch could receive it, assuming it works as a cadence meter cycling.
      3) You need power pedals if you want to send power data to the fenix. I’m considering getting power pedals for this purpose, I did a heavy vo2max-based workout today and based on HR the fenix thought I was doing a tempo workout.

  35. Jim C

    It seems like it’s still missing the ability to transmit data (cadence, power, HR) to a separate head unit?

    For instance, I like data analysis from my Garmin, but the only way I can get that from a Peloton ride is by putting my power pedals on the Peloton to get power and cadence, and having HR simultaneously broadcast to my Garmin Edge and the Peloton. With the improved power accuracy you’re describing for the Peloton Bike+, it would seem like using power pedals would no longer be needed, but lack of broadcast to a separate head unit would still be a problem.

  36. Adam Roffman

    Ray – great writeup. Quick question – what type of smoothing did you use on the power pedals. Looking to make a similar graph using my assiomas. Thanks!

  37. Wano

    Please publish the review for the base model!

  38. ChooChoo

    I have a Echelon spin bike for my wife and I use an old bike with a Hammer trainer. My two gripes about spin bikes… 1) you can’t coast. Either you’re pedaling or you’re not. 2) neither the Peleton or the Echelon have fore/aft adjustment for the handlebars.

  39. Sungwook Kim

    Hi Ray, thank you for this quick review. Where do you think they implement the load cell sensor (or power meter)?

  40. Bibliophile

    Great review, useful information, thanks! I have a current-model Peloton bike and was thinking about upgrading to the Bike+ using their trade-in program, but just ran into a snag. I was just informed by Peloton that, if you have purchased an extended warranty for your existing bike, you lose it upon trading in/up. No transfer of remaining credit to new bike, no prorated refund, no nothing. It’s gone – bye bye. That petty type of nickel-and-diming of their customers leaves a bad taste in my mouth and has more than offset my desire to get better sound, a swivel screen, auto-follow workouts, and a higher degree of accuracy in my power readings. Oh well, my existing Peloton bike is functioning perfectly and will continue to serve me well…

  41. ARM

    Still on the fence about an upgrade. bigger screen/better speakers are nice, but I use headphones 99% of the time. No room for floor workouts near my bike, even if I swivel, so that’s not a great selling point. GymKit is the one feature I was excited about- too bad it’s buggy so far. The power meter is huge though- and funny Peloton doesn’t mention that (much). And lastly…. erg mode. As someone who does almost exclusively power zone rides, it seems like it’s pretty worthless (for now). If they added auto-follow based on output, not just resistance, that would be a game changer. But considering that they don’t even have a “target zone” readout for PZ rides (like the target cadence/resistance ranges for other rides) I’m not sure how much they care about that. Which is a shame, because I suspect PZ riders are exactly the types that would be interested in this! Hopefully these features will improve with software updates. But as someone who tends to ride above the instructors’ called out resistance ranges (on the rare times I do non-PZ rides), it seems fairly worthless? But, my bike is 4yo and I like shiny new toys, so…. I may have to bite the bullet anyway. 😉

    • ARM

      oh and not adding fore/aft handlebar adjustment seems like very low-hanging fruit that they missed. People ask for that ALL the time! Don’t all other spin bikes have that?? moving the seat fore/aft is not the same!

  42. Very informative and extremely well done. Thanks for the information and your had work!

  43. Suedesi

    I enjoyed the review and the accompanying video on Youtube.

    What’s the biking experience like versus a smart trainer like a Kickr?

    And if you already have a road bike would you get a Kickr or a Peloton for indoor training?

    • It’s a fair bit different in that with a spin-bike style such as Peloton the flywheel weight carries you forward such that you can’t really stop pedaling and coast, the pedals keep moving with momentum.

      For most road cyclists I’d recommend a trainer over Peloton, but only if they find the current indoor training options appealing.

  44. jlegelis

    Ray – How were you able to export the data from the Peloton Bike+ to compare it to the Pedals for accuracy? Is there a diagnostic interface?

    • I use Strava. By linking the bike to Strava it then sends the file there the second the workout completes (the timer hits the end of the workout). Then I choose to download the original file from Strava, which contains the power data.

      Works great!

    • jlegelis

      Thx. Here’s hoping they continue to open things up to TrainingPeaks, GarminConnect, 1st-class TrainerRoad integration etc. As someone who has been training with power for over 10 years, better interoperability with other platforms would really legitimize the Bike+ in the eyes of ‘real cyclists’ now that Peloton has finally got accurate wattage handled.

  45. Jeff Leupold

    How is the max resistance? Is there enough resistance for you to feel as though you’re doing some quality climbing? Do you have a point of reference to equate the max resistance? I did a test ride in a store for the standard bike and was disappointed in the level of resistance. I thought it was much lower than the Keiser bikes. When I chatted with customer service, he said that a 90 on the peloton bike is equivalent to a 23 on Keiser bikes so I may have ridden a bike out of calibration. In addition, I did have a kicker snap so I am familiar with its feel, if that helps you decide how to frame a reply.

    • ARM

      Resistance is a percentage, so 100% should mean the wheel can’t be moved- or close to it. If resistance is too easy, the bike must be out of calibration (a known issue on gen 1 bikes- hopefully fixed now)

    • jlegelis

      ‘Resistance’ seems accurate… I was doing 400w intervals and was appropriately gassed just like my Kickr. I haven’t seen any numbers but I’d be curious how much resistance / load the Bike+ can supply as my Kickr can do ~2000watts (not that I’ll ever need that much).

  46. Amanda

    My husband and I just upgraded and neither of us can hit our PRs anymore. Struggling to even finish a class within the instructed ranges. And during high intensity parts the bike makes noises whereas our original bike was silent. Anyone else having these issues?? We are planning on reaching out to peloton but curious what others are experiencing.

    • Unfortunately, it’s likely that your previous bike was inaccurate. The new bike is pretty darn impressively accurate. I just did a Peloton Bike+ workout a few hours ago, and the data is spot-on with my testing power meter.

      Whereas the non Plus bikes just weren’t that accurate on the whole, leading to the situation you describe.

      The good news is that you can go into your profile and basically tell it to ignore all PR’s prior to the date of your new bike.

    • Paul

      I’m expecting a lot of this sort of shakeout over the next few years when bikes are swapped out for the Bike+.

    • Amanda

      That’s really unfortunate. I’ll have to go in and reset my PRs. Half the fun of peloton is the competitive nature but if everyone with the original bike is able to get a higher output with the same amount of work, then that kind of eliminates competing with others! Thanks for the info though.

    • Paul

      That is fun but also maddening when someone has recalibrated their bike (me) and so many people with miscalibrated bikes pass me on the leaderboard. But, that’s the reason I do power zone training so it really doesn’t matter what the leaderboard looks like.

    • Amanda

      We’ve been in contact with Peloton and it’s sounding like something might be wrong with either the resistance or the break. There is a 20% variance from bike to bike but this seems like more than that. They said it doesn’t sound right. We are still in the middle of communicating with the Hardware team but thought I would update in case anyone else has the same issue.

  47. Ismo

    It seems that Amazon just launched their own version of the Peloton bike, the Prime bike, for 500 USD.

    And just hours later, stopped the sale due to naming issues.

  48. Ian Bowers

    Anyone know if you can connect an external power meter to the 1st gen bike for use with the Peloton app?

  49. Fred Hade

    Question: I’d like to use programming and 3rd party apps from Peloton, Zwift, Bowflex, Joyride etc. etc. all on the SAME bike with resistance control, video/sound and all hardware features. In other words separate the hardware from the “service” – open source? is this possible on the new Peloton – or on any other for that matter?

  50. nycjdc

    I’d splurge on a Peloton bike if it would broadcast data, e.g., to a Garmin Fenix watch. I really like examining the data w/in Garmin Connect. But I don’t want to buy a $2500 spinning bike and then have to buy pedals to get cadence/power.

    I can’t even think of a reason why Peloton wants such a closed system. I have even asked them, but they won’t answer (though one rep said it does broadcast power/cadence which I laughed at when he said so).

    • jlegelis

      My guess is Peloton is under increasing pressure open things up now that ‘serious’ cyclists are starting to use them (and now that the Bike+ is worthy of serious cyclists due to it’s improved accuracy). If they can open it for Strava, they can open it for anyone.

  51. Bob

    In the video, when you tilt the tablet 90 degrees, it looks like the tablet (and I guess the arm holding it) is not level and sloping down? Is that correct or just an optical illusion in the video? Thanks.

  52. Kenisha

    I recently ordered my Peloton, about 3 days before the announcement of the Bike+ and it hasn’t been delivered yet. I have time to upgrade to the Bike+ but wasn’t sure if it is worth the extra $200 (I know the difference is really $600 now with the price drop but I’m just going with what I had initially planned to pay). For a Peloton newbie, is it worth the upgrade?

    • ARM

      I don’t have the plus, but I would absolutely upgrade for $200. The 4 features they advertise as upgrades (swivel screen, better speakers, auto-follow, GymKit) aren’t even the issue, but the digital resistance and auto-calibration have me seriously considering paying $1800 to upgrade my bike lol

    • Kenisha

      Thanks. I am definitely not concerned about the speakers or GymKit (not currently an Apple user at the moment anyway). I do like the idea of it being more accurate though. It just sucks because I’m pretty sure it won’t be delivered in a week and a half now and will likely be pushed back more.

    • jlegelis

      agreed – the auto follow and improved accuracy are a game changer for athletes who typically ‘train with power’. I switched my order as soon as the Bike+ was announced and am really glad I did. Even if you have to wait longer I think it’s the right move if power is important to you.

  53. Leighanna

    I had a bike- and sold for a bike+. I will echo Ray and say that where my previous bike total output in a 30 min session could differ from my power pedals (powertap dual sided P1) by 40-70 kj, bike+ differs by +/- 2 kj. Much more accurate.

    Too bad it’s all a waste because the bike died after 3 rides…I can’t wait to spend my whole day on the phone with Peloton tomorrow 🙂

  54. David Manjarrez

    What are the specs on the power adapter?
    Is it 19 volts 1.7 amps?