Six weeks ago, I took delivery of a Peloton Bike+ after riding on an original Peloton Bike for the previous year. In my first impressions review, I came away impressed with the Bike+, but I had some terrible delivery issues relating to the assembly of my particular bike. Although it’s not Peloton’s fault I had an issue, it was their problem. The hardware problems are now resolved, and I’ve seen many hours logging miles on Bike+, so I have a more fully featured opinion on the product. Let’s dive in to see if Bike+ was worth the upgrade after six weeks of use.
One of the headline features of Bike+ over Bike is the upgraded sound system. The speakers on the regular bike are just okay, but they are passable. Unfortunately, they’re on the back, so that hinders them even more. However, the soundbar on Bike+ is fantastic, and it’s added a lot to the rides where music is a central part of the experience.
Now, if you typically use headphones, you won’t care about this upgrade. I personally prefer to ride without headphones, so I’ve loved it. It’s a major upgrade over what was on my previous bike.
The rotating screen
The other headline feature of Bike+ is the rotating screen for off-bike workouts. I have a handful of dumbbells and resistance bands, so I am pairing strength training with cardio at least three days per week. Previously, I had used the Peloton digital app on Apple TV for these workouts. I never wanted to go through the process of pairing my heart rate monitor to Apple TV, though. The major benefit of having a rotating screen is I can quickly switch to strength workouts right after a cardio workout and not worry about losing the heart rate tracking – which is important for Strive Scores.
Is that worth spending $600 over the price of the original Bike? It depends on your current setup. If you don’t have a TV or iPad with access to Peloton Digital, I would say so. If you have another setup for strength and the other off-bike workouts, then you’ll probably be fine. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, Bike+ would be a nice way to consolidate everything into one.
Auto Follow + digital resistance
One of the headline features of the Bike+ is the auto-follow for on-demand classes. You can set your resistance to be on the low-, mid-, or high-end of the instructor’s range. Then, when they call out adjustments, there is a slight vibration/sound to let you know it’s changing. In my first few classes, I found it extremely beneficial not to think about my resistance. The digital resistance vs. the analog one in the Bike is much nicer as well.
I go back and forth on whether this feature is worth the upgrade, though. I’ve finally settled on this thinking: If you typically follow the instructor, then it’s worth it. If you tend to ride a decent amount higher, then no. I wish it were possible to set % above the instructor and then have it follow their call-outs. Let’s say the instructor starts on a 25-35, but I started at 55. Whatever they call out from there might track on a number or percent basis, but my bottom would always be 55. So if their 35 becomes a 45-55, mine would be a 65-75.
Overall, it’s a great feature, but I hope it’s enhanced in future software revisions.
If you wear an Apple Watch, GymKit support in Bike+ is going to be the central reason to choose it over the regular bike. GymKit is only compatible with cycling classes currently, though. It originally worked on Bike Bootcamp classes, but that feature was removed. After it was removed, Peloton provided Connect the Watts with this statement.
“Apple GymKit is designed to work with equipment-based cardio workouts. However, Peloton recently implemented GymKit with Bike Bootcamp, a multi-disciplinary class type that combines strength and cardio, which the feature does not support. Members can still use GymKit to sync their cycling-only workouts to their Apple Watch from the Bike+.”
There are some third-party solutions for pairing Apple Watch with Bike+ and Bike for all types of classes, though. Watch the video below to learn more about Watch Link.
Summary: Is Bike+ worth the upgrade?
For me, it has been a great upgrade over the Bike. It’s a more premium product in all aspects. Despite my early problems with the assembly, I am glad I spent the money to upgrade. I ride on the bike at least six days per week, so it’s a core part of my workout routine.
If you’re all in on Peloton, go Bike+. However, if you’re the type of person that runs outside when the weather is nice and still goes to the gym for weights, then the original Bike is a great choice. I love the nicer build quality, and since Peloton is how I do 99% of my workouts, it was a great upgrade.
Either way, both products are fantastic and offer a lot of benefits. Connected fitness is here to stay, and we are at the beginning of a health revolution thanks to products like Apple Watch, Peloton, and iFit.
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