Plus Size Peloton Bike Review: 3 Years Later

Three years ago I had a bike that goes nowhere delivered to my house. I made the peak pandemic purchase of a Peloton Bike+ and really hoped that it wouldn’t end up as another piece of workout equipment that collected dust or became a clothes hanger. I’m happy to report that it’s been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. As I hit my 156-week streak and 750 rides, I wanted to give an update on my initial Peloton Bike review.

Note: This is NOT sponsored in any way. I wish! If I mention other products in this post, there may be affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission on anything you may buy through that link. Thank you for helping support this blog!

My previous posts about Peloton (oldest to newest)

three years later: peloton bike review from plus size influencer Emily Ho

A note about joyful movement

To give you a baseline of who I am (if you made it here from Google, hello!) – I’m a 42-year-old fat* (*used as a neutral descriptor of my size) woman with a long history of dieting and all the exercise programs: We’re talking fat camp, a half marathon, compulsive exercise, and an eating disorder. After 30+ years of trying to shrink my body, I started to untangle fitness and weight. I live a Health At Every Size (HAES) lifestyle and consider my workouts “joyful movement.” I do not weigh at home, and will not be sharing anything about size changes while reviewing my experience with Peloton. I believe the key for me in being so consistent and enjoying Peloton so much is that I never approached it as a way to get smaller. I moved my body because it made me feel good, period. Without having an external measurement like a scale or measuring tape to tell me if I was “good” or “bad,” I was never led by my emotions or another motive other than to move. It’s not punishment. Instead of being something that I HAVE to do for some other goal, it’s something I WANT to do because I enjoy it.

Why do I still love the Peloton Bike after all this time?

I’m happy to report that after 3 years with the Peloton Bike+, I love it just as much as when I first got it. I know most people buy equipment like this primarily for physical fitness, but I’ve found it immensely helpful for my mental health. It’s a super-convenient way to move my body in the comfort of my own home. The factors that contributed to my consistency with the Bike might not be the same things you prioritize. I don’t think the bike is some magical piece of equipment that will be enjoyed by everyone, but for me, it hits all the right notes and eliminates barriers that have tripped me up in the past:

  • Convenience: Time is an issue for most of us, and having zero commute to a gym means I can shave off 30-40 minutes (round-trip) of added time that would take away from my workout. It requires very little planning unless I want to take a live class or ride with friends at a specific time.
  • Comfort: This girl is a big fan of climate-controlled environments! I can use the bike no matter what the weather. Having it in my home also means I don’t have to dress up in a way that I would if I were outside and might run into people I know.
  • Variety: There is SO MUCH variety in the Peloton library, both with rides and with so many other modalities. There are dozens of instructors that all have different styles of teaching, musical tastes, etc. They range from 5 minutes to up to 2 hours (coming in October – currently the longest is 90 minutes.) The intensity goes from super low to all-out max efforts. There are theme rides that are entertaining, or very structured training programs. It’s hard to get bored with so much variety!
  • Community: I have made so many friends within the Peloton community, and I’m so thankful for them. It’s fun to be able to commiserate about a class or plan to ride together (across the country) to share virtual high fives and encouragement. If you’re not feeling connected to other users, search out groups that ride under a hashtag you find interesting. There are so many Peloton-related Facebook Groups that unite people under shared interests. You also don’t realize how many people you already know that have a Peloton – when I share my rides on social media, it’s always fun to hear from people I already know and connect with them on the platform.
Plus Size Peloton Bike Review: 3 Years Later 1

Frequently Asked Questions about Peloton

I’ve done a few Q&As in different posts (see here and here) but thought I’d touch on a few of the questions I get most often, along with specific questions that people submitted on Instagram.

How does your butt handle the small seat?!

Time and patience! When I first started riding the bike, it was painful after 5 minutes. But you build up resistance over time. After about 3 weeks I had a lot less pain. You also learn as you go along that seat adjustments and body positioning have a lot to do with how the saddle feels on your netherregions. I do use padded bike shorts for rides longer than 45 minutes, along with anti-chafe cream (I have those favorites linked below.) If all else fails, you can always buy a wide comfort seat – there are so many out there and it’s easy to change out to something that will fit your anatomy better. I use the standard Peloton seat.

How did you start? Did you do classes before you bought the bike?

I had previously taken some one-off spin classes in the gym, but it’d been at least 5 years since I’d done one. As someone who has lingering pain from an ankle injury that surgery didn’t really fix, I was interested in movement that didn’t require a lot of weight bearing on my feet. Cycling is a great low-impact workout. It was peak pandemic time and I was restless, so I bought it knowing that I could use the return policy if I didn’t like it. I told myself I’d give it a good-faith effort for 2 weeks and I fell in love with it.

What has helped you improve over time? I feel like I’m stalled.

At first, I worked on adding time to my workouts. I’d do a 20-minute class and tell myself that if I still felt good, I’d add another 5 or 10 minute class on at the end. That helped build my confidence that I could do longer rides.

For improved performance, Power Zone training has been key. It’s based entirely on your fitness level and works to build strength and endurance through a structured program. I did the Discover Your Power Zones program and had tangible results in my output (you “test” before and after the program.) Now I do challenges with Power Zone Pack, which is organized by Peloton members and is not run as an official Peloton program. You sign up for challenges and are assigned to a team. You follow the rides outlined and earn points each week. I’m on a team that doesn’t count points and prioritizes listening to your body, but we still follow the program. The current challenge is 6 weeks long and I’m doing the “Time Crunch” version, which is 3 rides per week: 30/30/45 minutes. These programs have really helped me improve my performance.

How do you get the seat from not sliding down? No matter how tight I crank it, it still slides.

Totally hear this – it’s an issue for sure on some bikes. I contacted Peloton support and they had someone come replace the sleeve that the seat post sits in. It’s been over a year and right now I average a 1-point drop every 2 rides, which is pretty minimal. If you’ve not contacted them yet, I encourage it! You can also search the Peloton subreddit for other people’s experiences with this.

Do they have any fat instructors? (*fat used as a neutral size descriptor)

There is very little size diversity within the instructor pool at Peloton, and it’s something that I always hoped would improve. Peloton Row instructor Ash Pryor is curvier, but I think still falls into standard sizes. Many of us who have longed for size diversity were excited to see the addition hoping it might lead to more, but it hasn’t. Some of the hate the internet was spewing – even within a subset of the Peloton community – after Ash was announced as an instructor was really disappointing, but not surprising.

It’s a big investment – any regrets?

Yes, it’s a big investment and I wish it was more accessible to people. After 3 years, the cost per month between upfront equipment purchase and monthly subscription fee works out to about $110/month total for my husband and I to use. I previously belonged to a gym that was higher than that per month for 1 person, so for me, the cost hasn’t been more than what I would have paid previously and I have worked out so much more frequently than I ever did at a gym. That makes it worth it to me – no regrets.

Plus Size Peloton Bike Review: 3 Years Later 2

Peloton Bike Review: Favorite Recent Peloton Classes

There are too many classes to pick favorites! I will say that I’m currently loving Hannah Corbin’s Pick Me Up rides. They always lift my mood and are just so damn enjoyable without feeling like you’re pushing to exhaustion. Perfect for when you’re trying to get out of your head and just want to vibe.

And of course, I love the 3 rides that I did in person at Peloton Studios New York! You can read more about that experience in that post.

I keep an Instagram Highlight with some of my favorite classes, so you can always check there for some suggestions.

Plus Size Peloton Bike Review: 3 Years Later 3
With Camila Ramón at Peloton Studios New York

Favorite Products to use with the Peloton Bike

These are some of my favorite things that I use with my Peloton Bike:

  • Lavender cleaning wipes: They smell great and are easy to use to keep everything clean from sweat and dust.
  • Electronics wipes: You don’t think the screen would get very dirty, but all that sweat and hitting it over and over for high 5s means a lot of fingerprints. These wipes are really convenient.
  • Peloton Towels: They have loops to hook on your handlebar and are a nice size to drape over the handles without being too bulky.
  • Vortex fan: I love this fan so much that I have 1 in front of my bike and 1 in front of my Tread. Positioned on the floor, I tilt it up to blow me in the face. This thing is powerful and will keep you cool.
  • Wide width cycling shoes: I have wide feet and needed shoes that closed comfortably and didn’t constrict too much. I tried several pairs, but these have been my favorite. Of course, if you have standard width feet you have a much wider array of shoes to choose from.
  • Water bottle: The Peloton cup holders on both the Bike and Tread aren’t very large. This is a perfect size and I like that it’s lightweight.
  • Padded cycling shorts: I wear padded shorts for most rides over 45 minutes. It’s very hard to find them in a size 3X or higher, so I alternate between this brand that goes to a 5X and these that go to a 4X.
  • Anti-Chafe Cream: Again, for longer rides or if I’m having any kind of saddle soreness, this goes on anywhere that can get tender. It works really well and cleans up without a greasy mess. A bottle lasts a long time.

Peloton Referral Code – Get $200 Off or 60 Day Trial of Peloton App

Take $200 off your Peloton Bike, Bike+, Tread, or Row order with this referral code. The $200 offer ends 10/9, and will revert back to the standard $100 off.

Not ready for equipment, but want to use the great content on the Peloton App? Use this link to get 60 days of free access.

A note about the Peloton Tread

I also own the Peloton Tread, which I’ve had a little over a year. I mainly use the Tread for walking independently, either with my own playlist or watching a show (not doing Peloton classes) so I’m going to keep my main focus here on the Bike and the cycling program. Overall, I’m happy with the Tread. It is easy to use, the large screen is nice and has never given us any issues beyond being delivered a dud at first (it was quickly replaced.) As a non-runner with a lingering post-surgery ankle issue, I do wish the walking content started at a lower baseline. The callouts for speed on the walks can quickly get into a pace that I previously ran at. I adapt and do whatever I need to, but I think it’s still a missed opportunity for those recovering from injury or who are getting back into fitness. The bike has many more rides than the Tread has walks, and a greater range of difficulty.

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I hope this Peloton Bike review has been helpful. Have questions about Peloton? Let me know in the comments – happy to help if I can. Find me on the Leaderboard: #AuthEmmie

Other Peloton Posts:
Plus size on a Peloton Bike? My 3 month review
100 Peloton Rides – What “Century Club” means to me
Plus Size Peloton – 1 year review
Peloton Room Inspiration / Home Gym Reveal
Peloton In Person Class – How to book, studio experience

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