Peloton proves you can’t keep up by cutting corners. Why I Chose A $500 Bike That Does 1 Thing It Can’t

In early January, Peloton announced a promotional offer giving shoppers free shipping and running until January 30, which was previously standard with a Peloton purchase.

Come on January 31, Platoon will cost an additional $250 to cover something that its main competitors include for free: delivery and installation. However, the cleverly deceptive marketing tactic to shift slightly from free shipping to delivery charges isn’t the only thing the cult indoor bike brand hoped you wouldn’t notice.

After all, Peloton users expect to pay a premium price for the highly sought-after bragging rights that come with its ownership. But despite its price tag of around $1,495-2,495+, there’s one major thing that makes a major difference that Peloton Bikes can’t: connect to entertainment, such as Netflix or YouTube. Well, according to Peloton anyway. And it cost the company much more than the shipping cost but the customers including myself.

Such, Peloton has just announced that it is stopping production of its treadmill bikes due to dying demand for the brand. And it’s not surprising.

The indoor bike brand had put the home indoor bike on the map with its cult cult following of around 5.9 million members, generating a quarterly revenue of $937 million. It did an incredible job of creating a marketplace, but at some point it stopped working to give consumers what they wanted, something no business should ever do. Instead of optimizing and improving its products, it rested on its laurels and sent potential customers into the arms of its competitors.

Having had an indoor bike for years before Peloton or bikes with built-in screens existed, I like 77% exercise bike owners, had used my bike extensively for watching TV or reading a book. While I enjoyed the occasional spin class, the reality is that after a long day, I wasn’t always eager to be barked at by an over-enthusiastic instructor over loud music.

For me, indoor cycling was not just to increase the energy needed for fitness, but to turn off my brain. It was a way to enjoy a guilty pleasure, without guilt. So after putting up with a rickety bike for years, it was time to upgrade. Naturally, Peloton – the brand synonymous with indoor cycling, the Kleenex is with tissues – was my first thought.

In a quest to justify the $1,500 price tag, I realized something I hadn’t even considered. The mere ability to access web browsers and apps is not standard functionality as I had assumed.

Browsing the web I found many users explaining how to connect Peloton to Netflix or YouTube. But on digging deeper, I discovered that the simple solutions were connected through a separate device (i.e. smart TV). And those who accessed it from their bike screen were jailbreak softwares.

In disbelief, I contacted Peloton customer service, who confirmed, “Peloton Bike and Treads are designed to leverage content from Peloton and do not support access to other websites such as Netflix.” When doing so, I was told it might affect the bike’s software, which could cause issues with the bike’s screen.

What if that happens? You guessed it, your warranty will be void. Admittedly, it’s unclear if Peloton would be able to access your bike history, between technological capabilities and privacy laws.

Anyway, Peloton was not for me.

Not only had I failed to justify the price, but the convenience-based brand was becoming a pain. From the required accessories to the cleverly deceptive marketing tactic and its obvious ability to access the internet (as you can watch the owners do) combined with its inability to make it a proper feature, I lost my confidence. And trust is an absolute must for any business.

For less than a third of the price, I have a bike that does what the Peloton can’t. While delivering what Peloton doesn’t: great value for money, something every company should strive to at least match, if not exceed, at its price point. Because whether you’re looking to attract new customers, retain them, or just train, it’s about going the extra mile without taking shortcuts.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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