The President sure loves his Peloton. This Inauguration Day, and for the first time in our nation’s history, White House intelligence found themselves assessing a piece of fitness equipment. Whether our new Commander in Chief prefers classes with Robin Arzon or Alex Toussaint or simply enjoys a ride through the French countryside, the Peloton is a highly “connected” device, and as such may pose a presidential cyber security risk—in addition to being a darn good work-out.
Indoor bikes have enjoyed a wave of popularity in recent years, accelerated by the pandemic, which has kept many people in their homes and seen gyms closed across the country. Combine that with dropping temperatures, and that indoor bike looks like a fitness savior (and not just a coat rack).
Peloton, launched in 2014, is the bike of the moment. With its wheels connected to a tablet screen, Peloton users can take live, high-energy, hip hop infused cycling journeys (and thousands of other fitness classes) replete with shout-outs from instructors who may be ten time zones away. Tens of thousands of pre-recorded classes mean you can cycle anytime you choose and still get many motivating benefits of a live class environment. Peloton, in fact, is so popular with President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden that the two apparently engage in “regular negotiations” about whose turn it is to ride, according to the New York Times.
So if you think your New Year’s resolution to get fit in 2021 means investing in a bike of your own, we’ve taken a look at some of the pros and cons of the best indoor bikes out there.
The Peloton is an impressive piece of equipment. It’s adjustable for people of varied heights and weights—from 4’10” to 6’4”—with a maximum recommended weight of 300 pounds. The bike includes a Wifi-enabled touch screen to view classes and personal fitness data and requires about 2’ x 4’ of floor space. Peloton users can set up personalized profiles with access to a library of thousands of bike-centric classes, as well as off-bike sessions in yoga, strength training, HiiT, and more. You can also catch one of about 10 live classes a week.
Many Peloton users love the leaderboards, which allow them to track progress against other users as well as themselves, and to connect and schedule rides with other members. The Peloton also allows you to view ride data like cadence (how fast you’re going), resistance (level of difficulty), and output (how much work you’re putting into the ride). Fun bells and whistles include a built-in mic and video camera and virtual high-fives, allowing further two-way connection.
In 2019, Peloton had over half a million connected subscribers.
The in-person aspect can help users who may struggle to motivate themselves to work out indoors when the bed and the bag of Cheetos are right there.Says one Peloton user, “The peloton has re-energized my indoor spinning, and it has everything to do with the instructors and their CONSTANT chatter during class. Constant chatter = constant motivation = the best exercise I’ve had in a long time!”
The Peloton is an investment – the bike is currently priced at $1899 (or $49/month), and the class membership is an additional $39/month . Some users may also need or want to purchase biking shoes and a warranty for the Peloton. There is a free 30 day trial period.
Due to demand, the Peloton is backordered. As of January 2021, it can take up to 10 weeks for the bike to be delivered. You may not be able to start your fitness routine ASAP if you’re ordering the Peloton today. It is possible, of course, to buy one used, though per the company used Pelotons are not covered by the warranty.
While this may only be a serious issue if you are a current occupant of the White House or otherwise have constant access to high-security information, the Peloton can in theory be hacked, and users should take care not to inadvertently release too much personal data.
The MYX is a newer competitor to the Peloton, launched in 2020. Currently priced at $1299, the MYX trumpets delivery to your door in 2 weeks. The company recommends a space of 4’ x 6’ for adequate MYX use. The MYX accommodates a slightly wider range of heights and weights than its competitor—up to 6’8” and 350 pounds.
Like the Peloton, the MYX offers a view screen and a variety of classes, beyond just biking, like weight training, yoga, and stretching. The MYX Plus also comes with a yoga mat and a set of weights—especially attractive for those who are having trouble finding weights and kettlebells during the pandemic.
The MYX also requires a monthly subscription to classes, which are $29/month. One major difference is that MYX does not offer live classes or leaderboard/community aspects like Peloton, which can be very motivating for some users. The MYX also doesn’t capture as much ride data as Peloton (no cadence, for example).
The MYX could be a good choice for users who are outside the Peloton height/weight range, need their bike very quickly, or who are uninterested in the social and teamwork aspects associated with Peloton.
If you have a traditional stationary bike, you can add your own community and class experience with apps like Zwift, which allow you to connect to any Bluetooth-enabled bike and screen to allow you to (virtually) bike through classes and challenges, join teams, and track your stats. Zwift, after an initial trial period, costs $14.99/month. If you’re looking to fine-tune your experience to your personal preferences and goals, there are more options out there!
Of course, if snapping on those cycling shoes just isn’t for you, there are a few other White House workout options. Aside from the Peloton, President Biden is also said to favor free weights and a little heart healthy play with the first dogs, appropriately named “Major” and “Champ.”
Marcy is the SVP of People and Communications at Zeel. In addition to overseeing the humans of Zeel, Marcy has written about workplace topics for more than 20 years both at Zeel and as VP of Content for Vault.com, a career information web site and publisher.