Thoughts

Peloton as a Product: A Review

What our Biz Dev Manager thinks about his new pandemic-Peloton.

by Rob Hassler

Several months ago, I decided to dive headfirst into the world of "connected-fitness" and join the Peloton family. In the “before times,” my daily fitness routine was down to a science. Like many people, I worked out of an office five days a week, belonged to a gym nearby that was easily accessible, and added a healthy balance of supplemental activities like running or a spin class when I felt like indulging. When the world came to a standstill, my daily routine (and I imagine yours) required a seismic change in my everyday life. That included a pivot to how I worked out and the necessity to avoid places such as public gyms.

Fueled in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, Peloton has become a household name. To understand how Peloton has had its meteoric rise, I thought it'd be helpful to think about their product in the Jobs To Be Done framework (JTBD). This framework, explained in short by Clayton Christensen, sums up the idea that people don't simply buy products or services, consumers 'hire' them to make progress in specific circumstances. In particular, Sunita Mohanty, a Product Lead at Facebook, uses JTBD to highlight how many people during the pandemic decided to fire things like in-person gyms & studios and hire products like Peloton for a convenient and inspiring workout from home.

If you're considering joining the Peloton family, you'll first need to decide between the Bike or the Treadmill, their two core offerings. I opted for the Bike, which felt immediately more attractive because of its physical weight in comparison to the Tread. There's also the option to level up to the Bike+. It's worth noting that regardless of the equipment you choose, you'll be required to pay for a monthly subscription to the Peloton App. For those just interested in the App as a standalone service, you can sign up (without needing the equipment) at any time.

Here are a few pros and cons I have noted after a few months of using the Bike & App regularly:

Pros of the Peloton Bike App:

  • The bike looks GOOD. Not only that, it's also quiet; so much so that you can ride with other people in the room without disturbance.
  • Flexibility: The "connected-fitness" element works. The ability to compete against people around the world in real-time, find trainers that fit your workout style & personality, track your rides, and join monthly challenges provides the social element of in-person experiences.
  • Full Body Targeting: The ability to "stack" classes with the Peloton App. I'm often pairing a 20-minute ride with a 20-minute upper-body strength class, etc., and having the ability to go right from the Bike to (in my case) a different area in the same room is a valuable offering.
  • Adaptability: In the few months I've been using my Bike + App, Peloton has rolled out numerous 'beta' features - which for those of us in the product building industry know means they're at least attempting to listen to their customers.

Cons of the Peloton Bike App:

  • Notifications: Currently, I get push notifications for upcoming live rides I’ve selected to attend, or a notification telling me I’ve completed a ride. If you’re like me , you can probably imagine a suite of other push notifications that would be valuable. I’d love to see Peloton roll out notification features that alert you when a favorite instructor comes out with a new class or pings your watch when you’ve gone a week+ without strapping into the bike and need to quit slacking.
  • Subpar Speakers: The natural sound of the built-in speakers on the Bike is very tinny. The riding experience is tailored to wearing headphones while you ride. But for such a well-made product, I expected the speakers to have better sound quality sans headphones.
  • Awkward Video Chatting: Currently, the Bike only provides the ability to video chat with one other rider you are friends with or follow via the App. I only tried this feature once, but the experience felt quite awkward when someone is staring at you on screen while you try to hit your personal best.

I have a LOT more positive things to say than negative about my overall experience with Peloton thus far. It didn't take long for me to become a huge fan of their offering, and I think they've created a very likable product. I'll be curious to see how the "hiring/firing" mindset changes as the world reverts back to normalcy and warmer months are upon us. That said, humans love being around others and feeling like they are part of something bigger than themselves, and Peloton has established a foundation around building community, one that I imagine is here to stay.

Are you an avid Peloton rider - what’s your favorite feature?

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