The Peloton Tread combines impressive hardware with best-in-class guided workouts on a huge HD touchscreen
- Enjoyable guided workouts
- Large running area
- 23.8in touchscreen
- High price and subscription
- Doesn’t fold up
- Screen only shows Peloton app
The Peloton Tread might just be the best home treadmill I’ve ever used. The large running belt and open front design makes for a wonderfully roomy and comfortable running experience, and the guided workouts on its huge 23.8in touchscreen are a star attraction for those looking to start and maintain a fitness kick.
However, these great features come at a very high price, and there are other flaws with the Peloton Tread, such as the frustrating fact you can only show the Peloton app on that screen, rather than third-party entertainment options like Netflix or a virtual training app like Zwift. So, is it really worth splashing out on?
Peloton Tread review: What do you get for your money?
You can select from a range of packages when you buy the Peloton Tread, with the ‘basics’ option just including the machine and delivery plus setup for £2,545. If you spend more you get some added extras like dumbbells or a water bottle, but there’s no compelling reason to upgrade beyond the basic package.
Once assembled the machine takes up a lot of room – it has dimensions of 173cm x 84cm 157cm (LWH) – and you can’t fold it up. It has a large running belt area of 150cm x 50cm which feels even bigger because of the open front – the belt doesn’t run into a console, so you can run without fear of your toes clipping it if you get too close to the front.
The machine has dials on the handles on either side that you use to change pace and incline, and a small tray in the middle in front of the screen where you can put two water bottles. The speed range runs from 0-20kph and the incline goes from 0-12.5%, and there’s a 3HP motor under the hood powering the belt.
There is also a safety clip which attaches to your shirt or legwear and it’s worth noting that you can now only turn the machine on after entering a pin code on screen – this was added to allay the safety concerns that surrounded the Peloton Tread when it first launched.
The star feature on the treadmill is the 23.8in 1080p HD touchscreen on the front. This really does fill your field of vision during a run and makes for an immersive experience whether you’re using the guided workouts or scenic runs in the app.
Once you’re all set up, you’ll need a Peloton membership to unlock all of the features within the app. Free users can still access the ‘Just Run’ mode, but if you’re spending this much money on the Peloton Tread you are going to want a membership to make the most of its screen.
You get a 12-month warranty on the touchscreen and most original components, three years on the motor and belt, and five years on the frame. During my testing of the machine I did have a couple of problems, one I was able to fix by resetting the treadmill and one that needed a part replaced, which was done quickly by Peloton. However, I was using a media loan unit which do tend to take a beating while being tested by several people, so I have no real durability worries about the Peloton Tread.
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Peloton Tread review: What’s running on it like?
As a taller person, running on the Peloton Tread is more comfortable than any other home treadmill I’ve tried, mostly because of the large running area that allows you to relax into your stride more than on smaller machines.
The dial controls are also excellent and easy to use, and the machine responds quickly to changes in pace, so you can ramp up from a walk to a sprint in a few seconds when doing intervals.
I also found that the belt ran smoothly and reliably even when using it at max speed for long stretches. During an intervals session I had the speed maxed out and the incline up to 2% for several minutes and had no problems with the machine feeling wobbly or lacking power, and it ran smoothly for an hour averaging around 17km/h. One small thing to note is that though you can change the pace to show in miles or kilometres, your speed will always be shown in miles, so when adjusting the dial it runs from 0-12.5mph.
Overall I have nothing but praise for the running experience on the Peloton Tread, which is as good as any gym or home treadmill I’ve used.
Peloton Tread review: What’s the Peloton app like?
The Peloton app is chock full of on-demand guided workouts, and there is a schedule of live classes to join too. The options extend well beyond running, with strength, yoga, Pilates and manner of other types of training sessions to enjoy. There are also full training plans you can use to guide you towards completing a first 5K, and a marathon training programme.
There are a lot of companies now offering guided workout apps, but having tested several I still rate Peloton’s as the best. There is a fantastic range of sessions, with plenty of short, sharp HIIT workouts available, but also longer 60-minute endurances runs. The instructors also tread the fine line between motivational and ‘annoyingly over the top’ well, which is certainly not always the case with this kind of app.
During runs you can see the music playing, plus a leaderboard of other people who have taken the class (which can be hidden, if you don’t want to get too competitive), and your heart rate and Strive Score if you link up an external heart rate monitor. The Strive Score measures how long you spend in each heart rate zone so you get a useful comparable measure of how hard you’ve worked in different types of training sessions.
Beyond classes the app also contains scenic runs set around the world, with the longest being 60 minutes. You can stack several classes or scenic runs to run back-to-back if you’re planning a longer run than an hour though.
The app can be connected to Strava so your runs automatically upload there, and Apple Watch users get a high level of integration with the Tread so you can track your training sessions more accurately using the treadmill’s stats rather than those estimated by the watch.
Peloton Tread review: What features are missing?
The biggest gripe I have with the Peloton Tread is that you can’t show anything else on the screen aside from the Peloton app (there are workarounds, but these are fiddly and will potentially void your warranty). While the guided workouts and scenic runs are great, there are certainly occasions when I’d rather watch Netflix on that massive HD screen during a run, or even link it up to show Zwift, a training app with immersive virtual worlds your avatar can jog around.
Many cheaper treadmills will link up directly to Zwift and other apps, and with the Technogym MyRun you can actually run workouts in the background of the app while watching Netflix on it, though it’s worth noting the MyRun is even more expensive than the Peloton Tread at £3,450 and you have to use a table for the app because there’s no built-in screen.
Peloton Tread review: Should you buy one?
You do really need to make regular use of the classes to get the most from the Peloton Tread, because the high ongoing app cost isn’t really worth it just for the scenic runs. If you’re not using the classes you’d be better off with a cheaper machine like the DKN EnduRun, Echelon Stride or something from the JTX Sprint range as these offer a great home running experience and, in the case of the EnduRun, will also link directly to apps like Zwift. What’s more, most of these models have fold-away features which are helpful when space is at a premium.
That said, the Peloton Tread lives up to its price, which is really saying something given how high that price is. It offers excellent hardware and the best guided workouts I’ve come across for treadmill runners – I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with the machine. New runners and those just looking to get fit will get a lot from the classes and training programmes in the app, and runners of all levels will enjoy the spacious running area. If you have the space for it, the Tread is by far the best option on the market, offering a terrific all-round running experience.