Peloton Lanebreak review: not perfect, but a great start!

Peloton’s new video game mode, Lanebreak, finished up their beta last week and has finally launched for everyone with a Peloton Bike or Peloton Bike+. So yesterday, I scrapped everything left on my schedule to take several of the 15 currently available rides. And you know what… Peloton has done a hell of a job here – Lanebreak is off to a great start!

Right out the gate, Peloton sends you into a mini tutorial to teach you all the basics about how to earn points through various objectives that you’ll see show up. The introduction is fast paced and gives you the option to try each of the concepts out before moving to the next. By the end, it covers all of the basics that you need to know to get started and have a good time.

Peloton Lanebreak video review

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In the Lanebreak menu, you can see all of the different workouts available. Each one centered around a specific music playlist and outside of a few 5-minute warm-up and cool-down options, most workouts range from 10-20 minutes in length. There is one 30 minute session that is the exception to this.

While these workouts are shorter in length than I typically like for a Peloton workout, the shorter length actually works well here. It leaves room for Lanebreak sessions to be used before or after a normal peloton class, which is how I imagine a lot of members will use them.

Each workout offers four difficulty levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. These versions are all identical except for the resistance ranges, which are increased as you move up in difficulty. I am happy to see so many options as it will help allow pretty much everyone a chance to enjoy this new mode.

Now once you start the workout you earn points by:

  • Beats which you earn by staying in the correct lane
  • Streams which force you to stay at a certain cadence range to earn points
  • Breakers which are pretty much spinups, asking you to rapidly increase your cadence to earn between a 100-200% bonus.

At the end of the workout, there is a stat screen showing you how you did on each component of the workout, as well as where you stand on the leaderboard (and strangely only showing whomever is currently #1 on the leaderboard over the past seven days).

So far, I am enjoying my time taking each ride. And while I like it a lot, I don’t love it. At least not yet.

For something like this to really work to keep me interested, there has to be reason to come back and replay these classes. There needs to be a carrot dangling in front me drawing me in to try to improve and increase my score.

Peloton’s Lanebreak is currently missing that carrot. But the good thing is, they have everything they need already here… it just needs some tweaking.

The Star System is the most obvious area that could be benefit from a little improvement. Lanebreak will give you up to three stars on each ride based on how high of a score you get. This is a good start and will help motivate many members to come back and complete each ride.

However, there are two problems with how the star system is implemented. First, the scores you need to get the stars are way set way too low. Relative to the maximum score, you only need 20% to get the first star, 50% to get the second, and 85% to get the third. Most riders will get three stars on their first try, unless they are in a difficultly well outside of what they can handle for resistance. 

Second, is that there is no difference between getting three stars on beginner or expert difficulty – it’s all recorded in the same way. Personally, I feel this eliminates another reason to come back and try to three star the harder difficulties. This may sounds dumb (and it probably is,) but I would be willing to bet anything that if they made beginner stars bronze, intermediate silver, advance gold, and expert platinum, a lot more people would come back to try these workouts again on a harder difficulty.

Now, even if there were not stars or anything to earn, I would still be interested in repeating workouts just to have the general satisfaction of improving on them. But the way Lanebreak is currently setup, it does not allow you to do this in a meaningful way.

The skill of the game is extremely capped, so there is not a whole lot you can do to improve your score. You are limited in how many points you can earn in pretty much every single aspect of the game. I would love it there to be a higher skill ceiling, like if the multiplier would increase the closer you got to the right edge of a lane. Or, I’d love to get a higher multiplier for being at the perfect cadence in a stream.

These are things that could make you feel like you were improving from one attempt to the next. As it is now, with a skill cap so low, it leaves little room for this type of improvement and makes the idea of replaying each ride a lot less interesting.

I am aware that I’m being fairly critical of Peloton’s new video game mode. The reason for this is not because its bad – it is a very good start. However, it is hard not to see just how much more potential there is here that is being left out.

Overall, I am excited about Lanebreak, and I plan on completing each ride before moving on. I hope they continue to improve the mode and add new classes frequently. Because if they do, it will add a whole other reason for everyone to jump onto their Peloton bike.

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