Peloton introduces Bike+ . . . a threat to TrainerRoad?

Today Peloton announced Bike+ for availability. It’s main offering is an even broader (strength, yoga, etc) and richer (video, sound) experience than it’s already wildly successful current bike and app offerings (see announcement and included video below for details). However, I wanted to bring attention of the announcement to Forum users due to a new feature also included called “Auto-Follower”.

When a user selects “lock” on their screen, Auto Follower digitally controls the resistance on the bike according to the class leader’s instructions. Sound familiar to ERG mode on a smart trainer for TrainerRoad users? Thoughts?

BTW: Next Tuesday, Peloton will have their quarterly/annual earnings call. Their numbers in all aspects are expected to be off-the-charts again, hence why their stock continues to set new records simultaneously while the rest of the tech market is falling. For those interested in listening, you can go to their investor website to get access to the earnings call details.

No threat to TR as it currently sits, for a couple reasons. Firstly, their power readings are only +/- 10% in an ideal state. Secondly, only the power zone rides (a small subsection of classes that’s different from the classic “Peloton Class” actually customizes power ranges to the user, a la TR with an FTP assessment. The majority of classes seem designed to be 10-30minute hard efforts, and that’s it. Thirdly, even within power zone rides, the progressive loading is very, very basic; better than nothing, but that’s about it.

Essentially, this is a spin bike with an instructor controlled resistance dial. I could see people starting in Peloton and moving into TR/Zwift if they get into actual bike riding, but I don’t see many people chosing Peloton OVER TR. If anything, I could see people who otherwise don’t want TR choosing Peloton, sure, as it’s arguably far more entertaining to some. But the type of person who’s looking for what TR provides, has a road bike and trainer, and is looking to get faster, isn’t going to look at TR plans and then see that the Peloton has a faux erg-mode and switch, I don’t think.

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Excellent comments.

For those of us with specific goals, there is no substitute for structured training. However, over the past 2+ years since I have been a TR user (just extended my subscription again), I noticed several user comments that they are just looking for fitness gains and not training for anything specific and a bit overwhelmed with TR at trial. So I am curious about others views on the potential customer overlap. Thanks for your thoughts

Well, no.
For the most part, the venn diagram of TR users and Peloton users is very very small.

Plus peloton is mostly a home spin class. Its different than TR, although there are WO that are similar in nature.

Short term that is likely true but it appears safe to say that Peloton bikes are going to be around in basements and workout rooms for a long long time (Like decades as they are well built) so writing off those spin bikers today may not be a smart long term decision. Over time we could see a not insignificant number of Peloton owners get their first taste of Zwift or TR on their Pelotons for whomever partners first.

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100% accurate. Peloton users are (primarily) people using an exercise bike as their workout tool. They are not cyclists.

Currenlty.

Any company would be foolish to not see the massive installed base of these bikes and not see wither a potential threat, or an opportunity (or both).

Will Zwift ever allow Pelotons on their platform (and will Peloton allow the bikes to be accessed)? My gut reaction is, for the foreseeable future, the answer is “no.” Peloton revenues are significantly buoyed by the monthly subscriptions…last I looked they had ~95% retention rate (which is astounding). If they allow their units to start being used on external platforms, they potentially risk that revenue stream.

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Oh no arguments there, I was exclusively looking at going the other way. I could totally see a percentage of spin riders eventually crossing over. I just mean, like @Joelrivera said, the venn of users is small right now. I think it’s almost self selection; by the time you start exploring options like TR, you’ve outgrown what Peloton has to offer. Companies will of course try to attract new users, but thinking as a user, it doesn’t feel like a direct comparison between them. They serve different goals. That said, if TR can find ways to pull in more ‘casual’ riders and provide more ‘excitement,’ then more success to them. I remember them very briefly mentioning in a podcast once that they’ve found that TR users tend to be more inwardly motivated. Of course, current vs goals is a separate discussion, but it’s interesting.

Anyway, I’m diverging, but all that’s to say: I don’t think an automatic resistance knob on a spin bike will pull people to Peloton who otherwise would be on TR, no. If anything, perhaps it gives Peloton users a small taste of what smart training can be like.

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Hopefully, people who outgrow peloton become cyclist and get their first road/mtb!

I have few friends who have peloton. One of the reasons is that multiple people can use the same system in their house hold so a peloton is a more convenient , or they are runners interested in spin type wo as recovery and such.

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The most interesting part of this development from my perspective is how far Peloton is out in front of the first gen Smart Bikes in the market from Tacx/Garmin, Wahoo, Stages and Wattbike. I don’t see Peloton as a threat to TR or Zwift as they don’t compete with spin classes but the manufacturers of smart bikes need to get bikes to market with screens, steering and no QA/QC issues at comparable prices (I think only Wattbike Atom is comparable). I have not met a Peloton user who cares whether their bike’s power estimate is spot on (or watches @dcrainmaker and @gplama YouTube videos on the day they come out like we do) and the rest of the bike and user experience just works.

I do see an issue for TR if Zwift makes a smart bike and significantly ups it workout/plan game. The trainer market may need Zwift users to flourish at this stage.

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I could see current TR users that aren’t actually cyclists (as in, they don’t ride outdoors) and are using TR as a fitness class move over to something like peloton, if peloton’s offering was good enough. Not sure if that would be a problem though.

I am that person.

Purchased a peloton October 2019, started their power zone classes later that month, purchased an actual bike in June and started TR end of July (there is surely nothing in the peloton library that looks like Wright Express or Tallac +4).

I currently have a set of Assiomas on my peloton and use it as a dummy trainer for TR and working my way through SSB2HV. Have grown ftp from 177 to 313 and weight from 307 to 247 (still a long way to go in that department).

So while I agree it’s no threat to TR, Peloton & their content (specifically the CVV classes) is what got my fitness journey started and eventually led me here. And for that I’m very thankful.

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Super interesting perspective and congrats on your tremendous fitness and weight improvements.

Haha not even the same. Used to have one and Wilpers power training is the closest you will get and can make you faster but not the point of Peloton. The community element is much different as well. Both as good depending what you want.

No. Not at all.

If zwift got their shit together though and hired a competent coach to make real training plans tr could be in trouble at some point.

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I don’t think so. IMO the appeal of TR Is that it takes a longer-term, goal-oriented approach. Both the app’s functionality and the way it is marketed through media such as the podcast is very focused around periodized training for a specific event, whereas peloton is aimed at motivation and entertainment to complete standalone workouts. Which will get most people fitter in a general sense, but it’s very different to a base-build-specialty cycle in the context of entire seasons.
I don’t think it’s a simple comparison- Peloton’s strength is it’s user experience, whereas I think TR sets itself apart from it’s competitors by working on a larger timescale than that.

And honestly, Peloton is expensive as hell. Granted both cycling and spin class enthusiasts tend to be a higher-income group, but for myself and at least a few others, the monthly subscription plus cost of the equipment (particularly if you’re factoring other bikes into the equation) is nowhere near justifiable. While you could go down the same route dropping $2000 on a smart trainer, one of the deciding factors for me was that I could use TR with an old KK and virtual power and still get really good quality training. I’d imagine that’s a consideration for at least a portion of the market.

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On an apples-apples cost basis, I think the comparisons would be either:

  • App only: Peloton Digital ($12.99/mo) vs. TrainerRoad ($19.95/mo)
  • Full system cost: Peloton ($2.4k + $39.99/mo) vs. TR (bike + trainer + $19.95/mo)

My 2cents on Peloton’s cost: Demand has been off the charts at the current pricing. They have lowered the current bike to $1,895 (with the Bike+ at $2,495). I’d expect in a year or two for them to offer tiered subscription services for use with the bike. And in the interim, those that want most of the Peloton experience at a lower price, the Digital App at $12.99/mo is an incredible deal.

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Peloton is great. Good app, good features, etc. I totally understand why they are successful, and my sister and brother-in-law love it. However, peloton is a fitness app, and TR is a training/performance app. Two good, but different, goals with different user profiles.

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I don’t think Peloton is a thread for TrainerRoad as their customer bases don’t overlap.

Different story for Zwift. Zwift offering a proper training environment (plans, analysis) could seriously hurt TrainerRoad. Ditto for them offering complementary services like running and rowing or even their own hardware.

Yep. Go hang out on the Peloton Facebook page and this will become clear very quickly. Very different customer segments.

My money is on Zwift releasing a plug and play Zwift bike that is designed to enable Zwift features. Not a “e-sports level Zwift race bike” specifically - but one targeted at the masses - following a similar approach Peloton has taken.

I’m going to agree wholeheartedly with the different audiences comments and folks have nailed it, Peloton seems to be about exercise vs TR which is about training. Training is exercise but exercise isn’t training. It kind of drives me nuts that my wife is wanting to do triathlons and she’s doing random peloton workouts with a spin bike, but I’ve resigned myself to not interject lol

The goal is to convert exercise people into training people. And I think a lot of people here can attest that one doesn’t need to race/be competitive to train, training is continuous improvement whereas exercise can often result in plateaus.

So ultimately I don’t think Peloton is a real threat to TR, unless they somehow smarten up and get people on training as opposed to exercise.

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