Despite its $3,995 price tag — and a $39 per month subscription — a few techie types covering the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas seem to have experienced runner’s highs as they got their steps in on the new Peloton Tread. It comes equipped with a 32-inch TV screen, “powerful” surround sound and all the soft-pedaled haranguing and training you need from instructors in everything from “mellow” walking to high-intensity boot camps.
"I tried Peloton's new $4,000 treadmill — and now I get why the company has such a cult following,” reads the hed over Avery Hartmans’ piece for Business Insider.
“I found it does indeed have a lower impact on my feet, performing more smoothly than more traditional treadmills I've used,” reports Kaya Yurieff for CNN Tech.
That's because “unlike traditional treadmills, which often have a series of buttons that require a forceful touch to change settings while you’re working out, the Peloton Tread has two large knobs. The treadmill’s belt is made up of 59 shock-absorbing slats, for a cushioned feel,” explains Lauren Goode for The Verge.
The nine comments posted to Goode’s story this morning, we should point out, were all aghast at the price.
But “before you click away in proletarian disgust” at the price tag, suggests Farhad Manjoo for the New York Times, “there is something deeper worth studying about Peloton, its fanatical fan base and what its unusual path to success might portend for the future of the gadget business.
“In an industry dominated by smartphone apps, cloud services and cheap knockoffs, hardware companies have had a hard time getting traction. But Peloton said it did nearly $400 million in sales last year, up from about $170 million in 2016, and said it planned to reach profitability this year. It’s done all this on the strength of a singular insight: The gadget itself isn’t as important as the service,” Manjoo writes.
CEO John Foley “is quick to point out that Peloton isn't a legacy exercise-equipment company and isn't in the same league as a brand like NordicTrack or ProForm,” writes Hartmans for Business Insider. “We're not a hardware company,” CEO John Foley tells her. “We don't compete with those companies. Those companies are yesteryear.”
"What Foley thinks makes Peloton a company of the future is threefold: the classes, the instructors, and the community surrounding Peloton, which borders on fanatical,” Hartmans continues. “We're not committed to trying to sell you a treadmill. We want to get you fantastic content and great classes and instructors and community — whenever you want it, however you want it, so it works for you,” Foley says.
“I don't want to be cavalier about competition,” Foley tells CNBC.com’s Diana Olick. “I think there will be real competition, but from my perspective we would be more worried about a technology company, call it an Amazon, coming into our space, versus a content company trying to figure out what Peloton does.”
After successfully reinventing the home-stationary bike, Foley tells Fast Company’s Rina Raphael that Peloton “wants to make running and walking more exciting by combining it with off-machine circuit moves, like burpees, lunges, and push-ups. Peloton, it can be said,” Raphael continues, “is trying to boost a workout machine that is often dreaded by fitness enthusiasts—or at best, one that is relegated to the corner of the living room once New Year’s resolutions wear off.”
As for those of you sitting on the couch, so to speak, about whether such a pricey investment in your well being is worth it: “You'll have to weigh up the pros and cons of subscribing to this over your own personal trainer, although if you're having that dilemma, you've got more money than pretty much everyone else,” suggests Daniel Cooper for Engadget.
And when all is said and done, there’s much to be said for doing some basic stretching in your hallway, then bundling up and embracing the elements for a touchy-feely run on a woodlands path, followed by some strength work with cheap elastic bands. Add the fact that you’re not at all dependent on the electric grid being operative, as wannabe Peloton Treadsters discovered they were for two hours yesterday at CES, to get your workout in.