Peloton–the company behind the viral ad featuring a desperately anxious wife–is back in the news thanks to its campaign to offer replacement exercise bicycles for customers of its competitor, Flywheel.
Free Bikes–With a Few Caveats
Usually, companies offer a free replacement when they sell a product with a manufacturing defect. The vast majority of the items on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall database are there because of this type of defect.
However, Peloton is turning the concept of a recall into a promotional stunt. Here’s the story of how you can get a free (refurbished) Peloton exercise bike.
Peloton Vs. Flywheel
Peloton and Flywheel were the two main names in the high-end modern exercise bike market. Now, Peloton has completely crushed Flywheel through a lawsuit settlement.
Both bikes operate on a streaming service platform, where you essentially attend classes remotely on your home bike. They offer an alternative to trendy spin classes like SoulCycle at a comparatively lower price per class.
Peloton sued Flywheel for stealing their idea–allegedly, the Flywheel founder even approached Peloton CEO John Foley about a phony partnership before launching a competing project.
On February 3rd, Flywheel admitted that it stole core concepts from Peloton and agreed to shut down its subscription service as well as paying out an undisclosed settlement. Now, its bikes are little more than very expensive, uncomfortable furniture.
While you technically don’t have to pay the ongoing membership fee (which runs roughly $500 a year), these bikes don’t really work without the subscription. You can’t access any information about your workouts, such as speed or duration.
Many disgruntled Flywheel customers only found out that their fancy, digitally enhanced bikes would be all-but dead soon when Peloton announced their scheme. Customers reported being unable to reach Flywheel customer service and claim that they did not receive any kind of notice or communication from the company.
Considering that these bikes cost $2000–not to mention the monthly subscription cost–it’s understandable that they aren’t happy.
Through March 27, Flywheel customers can turn in their bike for a refurbished Peloton. But before you get too excited, you’ll still need to pay for a membership to the Peloton exercise subscription service. The very service that led to the lawsuit and put Flywheel out of business.
If you purchased a Flywheel bike, you can turn it in to Peloton for a new-ish model. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to pay $39 a month to continue using your bike.