A Brief History of Peloton: Bike, Bike Plus, Treadmill, App, and Studios

History of Peloton

Peloton’s history is among the few ironic histories, at least from its foundation. It started as an idea of the CEO John Foley in 2011, who sold it to a friend and colleague, his co-founder Cortese.

The two found the idea of indoor fitness with live and on-demand classes viable and intriguing, but this was not the case with potential investors. They felt that there was nothing creative or innovative technology in the idea. Therefore, to them, this would be a loss of money.

Despite all these hiccups, Peloton managed to become one the most sought-after companies for investment across the U.S. and in some parts of Europe. So, how did the game change, and what are the scars that Peloton had to endure to be where it is today?

The Peloton?

I can bet that Peloton is the most innovative company in the fitness industry. Of course, live cycling studios were available, and home spinning bikes were available. However, who could have thought that you could get the studio training with live instructors right at the comfort of your home? 

Most importantly, Peloton is the most affordable option with all the characteristics laid down. Do I sense satire in the statement? Peloton is probably known to be the opposite; expensive and only for the wealthy.

However, think of it this way; if you had to take a studio class in a state-of-the-art spinning studio-like SoulCycle, you would have to pay a minimum of $25 per class. Therefore, you will have spent more than you need for a Peloton subscription within two classes. And don’t forget that the all-access subscription includes multiple accounts. And, if you had to take a cheaper spin bike within your budget limit at barely $300, you would still get access to Peloton using the digital app.

After all, Peloton has affordable pricing options, which help users finance the bikes and treadmills within a duration of time without any interests attached. And, by the end of it, unlike a studio class, 

The Conception of Peloton

It all started with an idea in 2011, which John Foley felt worthy of pitching to his friend, colleague, and Peloton co-founder, Cortese. He says that he felt that there was an unnoticeable gap in the fitness industry, especially for people with a tight work and family schedule. Being a married man with two kids and CEO of Barnes and Noble, of course, he was the best example of the situation.

Yet, these people with tight schedules wanted to keep fit but found it challenging to keep up with a fitness schedule that would perfectly fit in their already existing, and sometimes increasingly tight, schedules. Others would have wanted more time in a spinning class or gym, but the monthly subscription costs were quite high. And all these people needed one more thing in common; an interaction outside the house.

So, the two pals put all these gaps together to come up with the modern-day Peloton.

However, their idea wasn’t as simple and straightforward as they felt, at least not with other investors. They were turned down so many times because the idea did not seem to have a future.

Fortunately, the two did not give up, and in January 2012, they founded Peloton Interactive. On top of that, together with three other co-founders, who were more of friends, the group was able to raise $400,000 seed money. In February 2012. Then, by December 2012, the company had already made 3.5M USD. Of course, this was far from enough, but it was helpful enough for the company to make the prototype bike.

The History of the Peloton Bike

The Peloton bike was the first piece of equipment that Peloton made, and it was actually what the founders had in mind for the home fitness industry. It is not surprising, given that the founder, Foley, is a spin fan while his cp-founder 

Peloton sold the prototype bike; of course, it was far from the current Peloton bike, but the design was similar. They sold the bike on Kickstarter at $1500 in 2013.

And in 2014, Peloton was able to release their very first stationary home bike, the Peloton standard bike. This was after getting $10.5M after the release of the prototype. And, the amount was substantial for making multiple and more modified bikes for a severe sale.

Foley recalls that they sold the bike at $1200, hoping that the quality equipment was affordable for the larger community. Surprisingly, the sales were not much, and he said in an interview that people would say that the bike was cheap because it was of poor quality.

So, subsequently, and using the only psychological information, Peloton raised the price of the bike from $1200 to $2245. Surprisingly, this was all the motivation users needed for a high-end fitness product in their homes. As a result, the bike sales shot by an unexpected margin.

In 2015, Peloton had another fund-drive, and this time it was more fruitful, given that the bikes had started selling at a steady rate. Therefore, the fund-drive collected approximately $30M. The bike sales managed $75M in the same year, which was reinvested into the company for technological advancements.

Fast forward in 2020, during the Corona Virus pandemic lockdown, Peloton made its major breakthrough. The demand for the bikes was so high that the company admitted that delivering all the bikes was a challenge. Given that the bikes were partially made in Asia, it was not easy to meet the demand on time. The delivery delays would take as long as three or more months.

By the end of 2020, Peloton introduced an advanced version of the Peloton bike, with the name bike plus. During the launch of the bike plus, the older bike lovers also had something worth celebrating; the cost of the standard bike dropped to $1895. At this time, almost everyone already had a thing for the bike and already knew that the lower cost did not mean cheap construction. 

By the end of 2021, the cost of the standard Peloton bike dropped again to $1495; a value cost to accommodate more users. And, even better, there is still a financing option so that you can get the bike for as low as $39 per month for $39 months.

Essentially, the Peloton bike comes as a full package, with its touchscreen having an in-built Peloton app. The delivery and installation are also included in the cost. However, the pedals are clipless, which means that one has to buy special cycling shoes with cleats in order to ride on the bike.

Related: Where Are Peloton Bikes Made? (Explained)

The History of the Peloton Bike Plus

The Peloton bike plus is a later innovation and advancement of the standard Peloton bike. It has all the desirable features that one would have wished on the standard bike, such as a larger 23.8-inch touchscreen that is faster and with more up-to-date features. Most importantly, the screen rotates, which is essential for floor workouts and bike Bootcamp convenience.

So, Peloton only had one bike that sold since 2014 without competition from the brand until September 2020. This was when Peloton launched the bike plus and, at the same time, slashed the price of the standard bike.

The bike plus came as a more expensive piece, at $2495, hence the premium Peloton bike.  However, the financing option requires that one pays $59 per month for 39 months, which is fair for the amazing bike features.

Now, the two bikes sell co-currently, and the competition is quite fair. The rotating feature, which is the most envied on the bike plus, is a feature that the Peloton bike owners have gotten around, with the screen pivots available on Amazon.

However, features such as a large screen, a faster processor and RAM, a camera cover, and, obviously, a posh outlook remain bike plus exclusive.

The History of the Peloton Treadmill

In January 2018, Peloton surprised the public by introducing a relatively new product in the market, the Peloton treadmill. Before the treadmill, Peloton was all about cycling and anything to do with cycling. However, walking, running, strength, and other floor workouts came with the treadmill.

And this time, Peloton had already learned its lesson, and the starting cost of the treadmill was $3995. Within no time, the treadmill cost $4295, and the purchases were steady and impressive.

The treadmill was the heart of athletes, people who love running, as well as overweight people who exceeded the weight of the Peloton bike.

However, in 2020, after introducing the bike plus, Peloton promised that a cheaper treadmill was underway. This is because the piece of equipment was definitely popular, but the cost was frustrating. It was evident with the many people who preferred other brands of treadmills with the Peloton digital app.

And, with the introduction of the new cheaper treadmill in 2021, the older treadmill got the name the tread plus. And with it, the new treadmill was also recalled, though it was only a couple of months before it was back in the market.

The new Peloton treadmill came into the market at $2495, which is basically the cost of the Peloton bike plus. Actually, its screen features equal those of the bike plus, and the financing option is the same. So, if you want the Peloton treadmill at hire purchase, you can get it at $59 per month for 39 months without added interest rates.

As if by sheer luck, the new tread came into the market just as Peloton recalled the tread plus due to safety issues. The tread plus had several accident cases where people would be pulled under the belt while the touchscreen fell off the treadmill. The death of a child broke the camel’s back, and Peloton recalled the sales of the tread plus. People who already owned the treadmill were requested to return it for remaking as well.

The incident of the tread plus affected Peloton’s earnings and shares, which dropped, but the overall earnings quickly recovered through the sale of the bikes and the new treadmill.

The tread plus is still under construction, and Peloton is yet to announce it back in the market. However, the cheaper treadmill picked pace, though affected by the situation of the tread plus. And, over time, people seemingly love it, given the lower cost, quality build, and excellent performance.

The History of the Peloton App

The Peloton app is as old as the Peloton bike. It was the most innovative part of the Peloton bike and was among the main reason; Peloton won so many fans. However, the app only streamed 9the cycling classes, which is probably a reason why there are more cycling than any other category in the Peloton on-demand library.

Nevertheless, with the introduction of the tread plus in 2018, Peloton included more workout options. There were walking, running, tread Bootcamp, outdoor training, strength, yoga, and meditation classes.

Peloton would seek the best instructor talents available, then approach them with a lucrative job and salary. This further increased the popularity of Peloton. In addition, the instructors had personal connections with fans, and Peloton would gain a more extensive online crowd through the coaches’ impression.

However, Peloton bike and treadmill owners get an all-access subscription, which costs $39 per month. With the subscription, one can create Peloton accounts on the same bike or treadmill for the whole household.

Then in June 2018, Peloton made another significant step, which was to include everyone who loved the Peloton experience but without the Peloton equipment. This was the birth of the Peloton digital app, which was less costly than the Peloton equipment’s all-access membership. At only $12.99, the Peloton app allowed members to access all the on-demand and live classes on Peloton.

Moreover, the Peloton digital app is also available to the Peloton bike and tread owners. It is free with the all-access membership, and the owners can also decide to subscribe to the cheaper option.

Peloton Studios History

The Peloton started with a studio in Chelsea, Manhattan, in 2014, where cycling classes were cast. 

However, there were also plans to have Peloton studio classes, hence expanding the venture.

And today, Peloton has studios in NYC as well as London, where Peloton fans can go for a live class and interact with the instructor. The NYC studio serves American riders, while the London cycling studio serves Europe. It is also the center of the German classes.

However, due to the Covid situation, the studios have been out of service since 2020. In December 2021, though, John Foley gave fans hope that the studios would be opening soon. The NYC studio had a 50M USD upgrade, and fans are looking forward to a more exciting experience.

What about the studio in L.A? Well, the Peloton studio in L. A was a secondary studio for instructor Cody Rigsby, who was in L.A for the Dancing with the Stars contest.

How much do you pay in a Peloton studio? Basically, Peloton is built to be an online platform. However, for those who wish to attend the class in person, it costs $32 per class. It is a fun experience, which allows user-instructor persona interaction. And, if it is your birthday, you will get a shoutout from the instructor while your screen screams birthday wishes.

Final Verdict

The history of Peloton is quite enlightening and fascinating, we all have to admit. Of course, given its current status, it has its bumps, unlike what most would love to think. However, the best part is that it has risen against all odds to become a top indoor fitness company, with millions of fans and users all over the world. 

Starting with the Peloton bike, to the tread plus, the digital app, the bike plus, and finally the standard treadmill, it is evident that the future of Peloton innovation is vivid.

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