By Parija Kavilanz, CNN Business
Just as its classes promise, Peloton itself has been getting quite a robust workout lately as it deals with a series of unfortunate events.
Peloton bumped up the cost of its bike and treadmill weeks after slashing prices. It had a damaging treadmill recall after the death of an infant. It said it might limit production of its machines and lay off staff. An activist investor has suggested Peloton should put itself up for sale and fire its CEO. And a fictitious TV character died while using the bike, and another TV character had a heart attack after riding a Peloton.
With Peloton’s pileup of problems, we asked Peloton users to tell us if they’re still willing to stick with the brand or are calling it quits.
Sticking with it
Many Peloton users are avid fans who aren’t going away anytime soon. A majority of responses, edited for space and clarity, showed overwhelming support for the company.
“The core product Peloton is putting out has not changed in the wake of its business performance and PR issues,” wrote Shawna Cohn, who owns a Peloton bike and has been a Peloton member since 2015.
“Unless someone is having issues with their equipment or access, has personally had a bad customer service experience, or joined during quarantine, didn’t like it and are now back at a gym, I can’t imagine anyone abandoning ship because of the stock price and PR,” said Cohn. “The bigger risk to me is my favorite instructors leaving or the company drastically changing the content,” which she considers unlikely.
Lee D. Baker, professor of cultural anthropology at Duke University, wrote in to say he uses his Peloton bike 20 days a month, a frequency that gives customers a virtual gold medal.
“I cannot believe I get sucked into the gamification of it all, but it works,” said Baker. “It’s also fun to ‘follow’ friends and former graduate students and see how they have been working out, which keeps you motivated to keep up with the Peloton.”
Anna Kuehn said her Peloton treadmill helped her lose 127 pounds over the last year.
“It helps support my mental and physical health while working from home as a child protection social worker and being a mom to five kids during a pandemic,” she said.
Kuehn started using her Tread+ machine in December 2020. “Winter in Minnesota is a real thing and getting outside at almost 300 pounds was not an option for me. Initially, my goal every day was to walk to the treadmill…then I started by walking just 5 minutes on the treadmill.”
She said she now does 5K runs regularly on the Tread+, and bought a Peloton bike a few months ago.
Emmeline Leggett, a pre-med student at Northwestern University, bought her bike last August.
“I use my Peloton subscription every day and I am not sure where I would be without it.. Its presence is unwavering, even as everything else shut down, giving me consistency and tangible goals to follow each day,” she said.
Melissa Evans had been a member of health clubs and gyms since her mid-20’s and never thought she’d give that up.
“Now on the cusp of turning 50, I have found in Peloton a level of challenge that I have not ever found during in-person classes,” she said.”It’s hard not to seem like I’m overstating this, but the Peloton bike has been a wonderful addition to my life that I would be disappointed to give up.”
In a statement to CNN Peloton said it was grateful that its customers are sticking with the brand.
“Putting members first is a core value at Peloton and we’re so thankful for the community,” spokeswoman Amelise Lane said in a statement. She noted CEO John Foley recently blogged about the company’s thanks to Peloton fans.
I barely used it once the gym opened
Peloton’s appeal has diminished for some users, however.
Sasha Korobov, who lives in Surrey, England is looking to part ways with her bike, which she bought 16 months ago, now that gyms in the United Kingdom are open again, she said.
“It just sits there. I hate it,” lamented Korobov. “It’s a reminder of an impulsive regretted purchase and also our lack of motivation to use it.”
Anjum Koreishi still loves his Peloton bike and the accompanying classes but has advice for the company.
“Their customer service and repairs leave a lot to be desired,” said Koreishi. “It makes me wish I had never bought it. For $3,000 up front and $49 a month, it’s got to be better,” he said.
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