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'I Honestly Don’t Know Who I Am Any More, and the Peloton Bike+ Is to Blame'

Women's Health UK logo Women's Health UK 09/09/2020 Kirsti Buick
The brains behind home fitness cult Peloton have debuted the new Bike+. WH Junior Fitness Editor Kirsti Buick took it for a virtual spin. © Provided by Women's Health UK The brains behind home fitness cult Peloton have debuted the new Bike+. WH Junior Fitness Editor Kirsti Buick took it for a virtual spin.

Sorry Peloton, I don’t like cardio. There, I said it.

I know how important it is for heart and overall health (which is why you’ll find me slogging through 5k runs 2 or 3 times and week). And spinning? Bleh. Teeny tiny arm weights and a seriously sore bottom for days after? Count me out. Just give me a barbell, please.

Still – I love tech, and I love fitness even more. So when Peloton offered me the chance to try their brand-new, high-tech Bike+, I resigned myself to gritting my teeth and sweating my way through a few classes. In the name of journalism and science, I agreed to take it for a few virtual spins.

If you’re not sure what I’m on about, check out our guide to everything you need to know about Peloton, plus our review of the original bike: Peloton: Your First-Timer's Guide to This Next Gen Workout

What’s new in the Peloton Bike+?

Aside from the price, you mean? Peloton’s Bike+ will set you back a few bob – to the tune of £2,295. With release of the Bike+, Peloton has dropped the price on their original bike down to £1,750.

peloton-bike+-review © Peloton peloton-bike+-review

A big difference, yes, but the new model comes with an impressive list of new features, including some of the most member-requested hardware and software upgrades, including:

A bigger, better touchscreen

Seriously, this thing is better than my TV. (Sadly, I can’t watch Netflix on it. I asked.) The new 23.8” HD touchscreen now rotates 180 degrees – you’ll understand why that’s necessary in a bit

a person standing in front of a computer: peloton-bike+-review © Peloton peloton-bike+-review

A four-speaker sound system

Again, better sound quality than any of the tech I have in my house. The clearer sound and quality allows for ‘a more intense Instructor connection’, according to Peloton.

Better Apple Watch connectivity

Gymkit™ allows you to pair your Apple Watch with a quick tap of the device to your screen, so you can watch your HR on the screen in real time (always fun) and automatically track your workouts.

a man looking at the screen of a cell phone: peloton-bike+-review © Peloton peloton-bike+-review

Automatic resistance changes

It’s called Auto-Follow, and for a lazy cyclist like me (hands up if you’ve ever just mimed turning the resistance nob in a spin class) it’s a game changer. In the On-Demand classes, the bike will automatically adjust the resistance for you, based on the instructor guidance (don’t worry, you can turn this off too).

A more wholistic workout

Remember that rotating screen? What Peloton is really trying to do here is bridge the divide between their cycling classes and the other offerings on their app. The Bike+ is designed to be the foundation of your home gym – a home gym base, if you will. With the launch of the new bike, Peloton is set to debut a combo-style class, in which you’ll be able to get your cardio in on the bike, before hopping off and rotating your screen to complete your strength, yoga, stretching or even meditation classes.

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: peloton-bike+-review peloton-bike+-review

The combo classes are called Bike Bootcamp, and are only set to debut September 15. The classes were designed my Peloton MVP instructors, including Robin Arzón, Jess Sims, and Cody Rigsby. Watch this space for an updated review once I’ve tried my hand at those.

Peloton Bike+: My Verdict

The good:

  • Bigger, brighter screen
  • Auto-follow resistance
  • Super sleek design
  • Built for more than just spinning

The bad:

  • Expensive

OK – I’m converted. I’ve finally understand the cult that is Peloton. I’ve actually been forgoing my beloved strength sessions to slog it out on the bike for upwards of 45 minutes. I did an hour-long class just this morning. An hour. Of spinning. I honestly don’t know who I am any more, and Peloton is to blame.

I don’t know if it’s the gorgeously sleek design of the bike, the vividness of the video on screen, the top-notch instructors or the genius tech that makes the experience as immersive and seamless as possible, but there is magic that happens on that bike. And I kept coming back for more.

In lieu of being able to try out the new combo Bootcamp classes, I set up my own. With a mat and some weights placed perpendicular to my bike, I chose a 10-15-minute spin class as my warm-up. Then I hopped off the bike, rotated the screen, kicked off my cleats and got to work in a strength class of 20-30 minutes.

And loved it. Following along with the strength session on the monster screen was great, given I usually do them with an app or video on my phone. Despite my transition time, it really felt like one bumper cardio and resistance session, and (obviously) got my heart pumping in a way I’ve never been able to achieve during home workouts. Those endorphins, man...

But for me, I reckon the stand-out feature on the Bike+ is the Auto-follow. I had no idea what a mental game-changer this would be for me. Instead of having the second-guessing and weighing-up that always seems to come with tougher intervals in a spinning class, I just went with it. Sometimes I was so involved in the class, I barely noticed the shift.

The tech is also intelligent enough to adapt to any changes you may make, too. For example, if you feel like the instructor's recommended zone is a bit too much and take it down a few levels, the next resistance interval will be relative to that – it won’t suddenly jump to the recommend range if you’re not there yet. Neat right?

In terms of cons, there is only one, but it’s a biggie: cost. As previously mentioned, you’ll have to pay for the bike, as well as Peloton’s £39 monthly unlimited membership. In a pre-Covid world, I could have made the whole, ‘Well, how much do you spend on gym every month,’ argument, but given how well we’ve all adapted to home workouts, I feel that’s not going to fly here.

It’s worth noting that Peloton does offer financing options available, plus a 30-day home trial – they’ll let you keep to bike for a month to test it out, and come collect it if you’re not sold after that.

For what it’s worth – I’ll have to say goodbye to my test Bike+ soon, and I’m already saving for my own. Beans on toast for the foreseeable future? Worth it.

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