It’s a $5,000 treadmill (after tax, delivery, and warranty) — Is it really worth it? My peloton treadmill showed up a while back, and now that I’ve had some time to log a few miles, I thought I’d share my thoughts.
To preface: I consider myself a ‘veteran runner’ at this point. I’ve done 18+ marathons, well over 100 half marathons, and I’ve qualified for Boston twice. I’ve logged more than 5,000 miles in just the last 3 years. And, like most runners, I have a lot of not-so-nice nicknames for treadmills.
Unfortunately, having moved to Phoenix a few months ago, I quickly discovered that on the days when it’s 110 outside, Satan’s Sidewalk might be the preferred form of torture. All of this coincided with my purchase of the Peloton Bike as I was recovering from a broken foot. So Peloton pulled me — hook, line, and sinker, into the grips of their community.
How much is it?
List price is $3,995, but by the time you’re done paying tax (~$350), delivery ($300), and buying the 3-year warranty (~$350), you’re at the $5,000 mark.
If you want the Peloton classes and experience to go with it (and trust me, you do), that’s another $39.95 a month.
Let’s be clear. No treadmill is worth that kind of money, especially one that’s missing some of the more advanced features you can find in really high-end treadmills (decline, the ability to go backward, etc.). But, this comes with something that other treadmills don’t — the Peloton experience.
First… the treadmill itself
THIS THING IS A TANK! It weighs over 400 pounds. I was also told that if anyone besides Peloton moves it, the warranty is void. (So once it’s in place, it’s not going anywhere. Kinda like a pool table.)
There are three important distinguishing features that set this treadmill apart from all others.
- The track. They use individual rubber slats (like tank tread) rather than a belt. The result is that there’s no “belt slippage” when you land, and the cushion feels almost exactly like asphalt on a warm day.
- The 32″ HD touch-screen. It has some serious wow factor. You feel like you are in the Peloton studio when you are on this thing. It’s big. It’s bright. It’s gorgeous.
- The speed/incline knobs. Most treadmills use buttons on the screen to change speed and incline (hard to push while you’re trying to run) — these knobs are AWESOME. Just a slight bump while you’re mid-stride makes adjustments feel natural.
These three things make me wonder what other tread manufacturers are doing with their lives. It’s nice to see some actual innovation and creative thinking in this world!
What’s it like to run on it?
In short: It’s damn near perfect. Not only is the 32″ screen super immersive, but the surface actually FEELS like you’re running on the open road! I’ve never experienced anything quite like it! Adjustments to speed and incline are fluid and natural, and it feels enormous when you’re on it.
My Bluetooth headphones and heart-rate monitor paired right up to it (though the built-in speakers aren’t bad). You can also pair it to a bigger sound-bar if you want immersive audio.
One of the biggest complaints from other testers is that it’s loud. (All treadmills are loud, but the motor on this one is particularly so). However, on most treadmills you can hear the “thump” of every footstep from across the house. While this one sounds like there’s a loud fan flowing in the other room, you can’t hear the constant pounding of the steps. I actually don’t mind the loudness for that reason, as it sounds more like white noise.
Other cool gizmo features that geeks will like
- Bluetooth audio for pairing headphones and/or a soundbar.
- Screencasting is supported (so whatever is on the HD display can be mirrored to a TV).
- Powered USB port (watch a movie on your ipad if you want)
- Webcam (don’t know why you’d want this. Nobody looks good while they run.)
- And of course, WiFi connectivity to the Peloton studios.
What’s it missing?
- Fans (it’s easy to add a nice floor fan)
- No advanced treadmill features, like decline, or ability to go backward — but only REALLY high-end treadmills have this.
- It only has a 12-month warranty. (You can add 2 more years, for a total of 3, at checkout).
- You can’t use the display for anything except Peloton stuff. (So no movies or TV shows). I actually think they might fix this in a future software update.
- The motor is only 2HP. (For this reason, I think you’re going to want that warranty… but time will tell if it holds up).
What is the Peloton experience?
It’s amazing. Just like the Peloton Bike, you get:
- Live classes from their NYC studios. Their instructors are great and will guide you through a workout; the camaraderie of having others in the class with you live is great. You can even exchange virtual high-fives. (And people do!)
- The classes are themed/targeted/goal-oriented: Some are fun runs to themed music while others are based on speed work, low-impact/recovery, run/walk, marathon training programs, 5k training programs, you name it. The classes are great and the instruction is as good, or better, than you’d get from any running coach.
- On-Demand Archives: Every class that has ever been done is available on-demand. You don’t have to be in the ‘live class’ to get the experience. (In fact, there’s very little extra benefit to being in the class real-time).
- The leaderboard: Every class you do has a leaderboard on the touch-screen that shows who’s there with you (or ‘has been there’ in the past). You compete against their numbers. (Or turn that off if that doesn’t motivate you).
- Other types of classes: The content library is STUFFED with great classes including yoga, stretching, strength, cardio, and more. “Cast” the screen to your TV and do your non-running workouts on your living room floor.
- Other types of runs: They have “just run” modes as well, where you can run your favorite courses all over the world. (Many treadmills now offer this). A great way to break up the monotony of the treadmill, if you aren’t interested in doing a class.
A few other interesting things about the peloton treadmill
- Heart-rate training zones are front and center
- The instructors are gorgeous. Who doesn’t love a little eye-candy while they work out?
- Syncs with Strava, Facebook, and Fitbit
- Hide any metrics you don’t care about. (For example, I hate seeing how much time is left, it drives me nuts.)
- Scenic-runs: turn off the classes and just ride down a famous path somewhere in the world.
- It does a great job keeping track of your personal records in various categories, so you can track your improvements over time.
- The calorie-burn metrics are dead-on accurate if you’re wearing a heart-rate monitor!
- The instructors do a great job calling people out during the live classes (Birthdays, records, etc.)
In short, the peloton treadmill is an Apple-like experience. Everything is gorgeous, smooth, easy-to-use, and just works — and yes, just like Apple, you’re going to pay a premium for that.
Is it worth it?
No treadmill is worth $5,000. Period. End of story.
If you’re looking for more features at a lower price, there are other, way better options, but you’ll be buying the discounted Android, rather than the sexy, doesn’t-do-it-all-but-what-it-does-do-is-AMAZING, Apple-like experience.
But if you’re the kind of person who wants a luxury experience in your home, you want the classes and the community, and you’re interested in doing workouts that involve things other than just running, and you’ve got $5,000 burning a hole in your pocket, I’d say jump on it!
Also, if you’re training for a race, or trying to get faster, but aren’t sure where to start, this is also not a bad option. The classes are really good, and if you just show up every day and do what they say, you’ll accomplish your goals!
All that said? I was happy to see my NordicTrack go. This is a damn nice treadmill; I’m in love with the Peloton experience, and the community!
The better option to get started…
You can get MOST of the Peloton experience without buying the Peloton treadmill (or bike). They have an iPad app (and a phone app) that will give you access to all of their content, workouts, and classes (and it’s only $20/mo).
You can do all the classes on your own existing equipment (or take the iPad to the gym with you). This way, you can decide for yourself if you love the Peloton experience before you jump in feet-first with their bike and/or treadmill. (You can also take their classes outdoors by putting the app on your phone and taking it with you on your runs.)
If you decide to buy a peloton treadmill…
I’d be super appreciative if you used my referral code. (We each get like $100 worth of stuff if you do!)… It’s BKU8KZ
I also own the Peloton Bike
Read my review of the Peloton Bike here — I talk a lot about the Peloton community and such in that post. The two of these together, while expensive, make up a near-perfect home-cardio experience!