The benefits of staying active extend beyond keeping fit to feeling happier and more fulfilled. To help us stick to our routines and stay active, many people turned to brands like Peloton and Zwift. Two indoor cycling trainers that engage users with virtual spin classes and competitive racing.
These two home fitness solutions boomed in popularity during the pandemic and have only continued to grow in popularity, making way for a new age of home workouts. But which is better?
Well, we’re glad you asked.
In this edition of our lifestyle guides, we explore the ins and outs of both home fitness giants. Of course, it makes sporting sense to crown a winner at the end, too.
A Brief History of Peloton and Zwift
In 2011, John Foley pitched an idea to his colleagues at Barnes and Noble in New York. The basic concept was that Foley believed there was a market for equipment that gave a complete cycling workout experience to people without the time to go to classes.
Peloton was founded in 2012, the word being a cycling term for the main field or group of cyclists in a race.
Fast forward to today, the company has gone from strength to strength, hiring over 3,000 people and selling over 2 million bikes worldwide.
At a similar time, in 2014, Zwift was founded. It's also a similar story to Peloton: Eric Min, a lifetime cyclist, had found himself often confined within his home due to his busy working schedule. He wanted to change the standard of at-home cycling technology, so he decided to take it upon himself to start making his own.
The concept was an instant hit, taking the team at Zwift by surprise. Zwift’s first virtual world setting was invite-only, yet had over 13,000 applicants for the 1,000 spaces available.
Currently, Zwift has around 1 million subscribers on its platform, meaning it has roughly half the user base of Peloton.
Peloton vs Zwift: Which Should You Choose?
With vast amounts of funding going into the company over the years, Peloton has had time and resources to make its product as robust as possible. For the most part, Peloton delivers a fantastic home fitness experience, designing its products to look good and ensure a comfortable workout.
There's no denying that Zwift is a fantastic concept. The additional parts have been made well, offering a robust and reliable experience in your home gym.
With few bad reviews on equipment quality, the main criticism comes when discussing the software. Some users have reported drops in streaming quality, lagging and technical difficulties with the software in recent years.
Peloton score: 8/10
Zwift score: 8.4/10
You'll always have to part with some hard-earned cash for a top-of-the-range product. With a price range from £1,300-£1,995, it's fair to say that the price tag on Peloton means it is not a product that's immediately available for everyone. With this being said, this nifty bit of kit could make your gym membership surplus to requirements in no time.
Additionally, once you have bought a Peloton bike, you can choose to pay a subscription of £24 per month for a Guide membership or £39 per month for the All-Access package. While these are optional, they offer many features and classes that are not available for free.
Fancy getting outdoors more this year? You’ll need the right gear: read Rab vs The North Face to inform your next pickup.
Zwift functions by connecting to your existing indoor trainer or smart bike. If you don’t already have one of these, you can buy one from Zwift for upwards of £349. You’ll also need to join and download the Zwift app, which costs either £129.99 per year or £12.99 per month.
The Zwift app is available on iOS and Android devices and Apple TV and enables you to participate in races and explore Zwift’s virtual world.
In short, if you're looking for a slightly more budget-friendly option, a Zwift indoor trainer might be a safer bet.
Peloton score: 7/10
Zwift score: 9/10
When it comes to extras, Peloton focuses on adding products to the workout to push its users to get the most from their workouts.
Alongside the standard bike set-up, Peloton has a thriving range of sports clothing and accessories like dumbbells and exercise mats to help users get the most out of every home gym visit. The brand’s gear is of high quality, too, so you can enjoy outdoor riding and be the envy of other riders.
Having said this, a T-shirt can cost £88, so dressing in Peloton’s performance gear doesn’t come cheap.
Zwift has a decent variety of items in its catalogue, with cycling gear, water bottles, and purpose-built socks to help users feel their best while they work out.
In comparison, Zwift falls short regarding accessories, as Peloton offers a larger selection of gear that is more helpful in the grand scheme of things.
Peloton score: 9/10
Zwift score: 8.1/10
Peloton has swept the globe with its exercise bike. You take part in a complete, satisfying spin class from the comfort of your home, thanks to this smart trainer. With real-time stats and an interactive online community, the world of Peloton feels alive and tangible. If that isn't innovative, we don't know what is.
Zwift thought outside the box, and they’re reaping the rewards. They've turned cycling into an arcade game. What's not to like?
You can't help but give out some kudos to Zwift, whose gamified approach to fitness tech has made the product oh-so-addictive. With Zwift, you can race fellow cyclists worldwide, taking on challenging inclines at different resistance levels on the trails of gripping cycle-scapes.
Over the years, Peloton has invested time and money into its product, ensuring it doesn't stray too far away from its origins of classic indoor training. The beauty of an exercise bike is simple: you just get on and peddle. People want to stay as close to that in an ideal world.
Peloton equipment has a navigable touchscreen interface, allowing you to jump between different classes and train seamlessly. You don't need a degree in computer science to use this software!
Zwift is like having an arcade game right in your house; we mean that as affectionately as possible. The solid graphics and clear data presentation make for a simple, user-friendly experience.
Zwift hooks up to smart devices, like TVs and phones, via Bluetooth, through its app making the whole process super-easy. Similarly, Zwift’s smart sensor technology makes connecting your Zwift to your indoor trainer seamless, so you can focus on beating your PBs.
Peloton score: 9/10
Zwift score: 8.2/10
Of course, when two giants of any industry come head to head, there can only be one true winner. Drum roll, please?
Peloton score: 42/50
Zwift score: 42.9/50
In a nail-biting bout, the underdog comes out on top. Zwift won it by 0.9! As you can tell by the scores, there is very little to set these guys apart, and they’re two very different experiences.
If we’re being totally honest, this isn’t the be-all and end-all. Weigh up your financial situation, lifestyle and interests into a final choice before making the purchase, and we’re sure you’ll be happy with the bike trainer you choose.
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Understandably, these guys know how to level up your fitness from the comfort of your own home. If you’re getting FOMO from group rides you see on your social media, there’s a way to get yourself on one of the fantastic smart bikes mentioned above.
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How much is a Peloton bike?
You can get a basic Peloton bike package for £1,995 at current rates. From here, you must pay a £39 monthly subscription to access the company's classes and exercises.
At the top end, premium Peloton bike packages come in at £2,400, including Cycling shoes with cleats, light weights, a water bottle, a bike mat, a reversible workout mat, and three dumbbells for a complete home workout experience.
Are Peloton bikes worth it?
Peloton bikes are a great choice for beginners, given their range of available classes and the comfort of being able to carry out a proper workout from home.
The team at Peloton have crafted their classes intelligently, curating a range of sessions that help beginners and intermediate cyclists alike build stamina and strength on their fitness journey.
How much is Zwift per month?
You can sign up to Zwift for a monthly subscription of £12.99. This gives you access to the Zwift world and its companion app. Zwift differs slightly from other at-home cycling companions, so you must pick up a bike to partner with the equipment.
How do you cancel your Zwift membership?
It’s simple to cancel your Zwift membership. To start, simply log in to your account on the Zwift website.
- Click on the Profile icon in the top right corner of the screen.
- Select My Profile.
- Click the Settings tab.
- Click the Billing tab.
- Under ‘Membership’, click on ‘Cancel membership’.
- Select a reason to cancel your membership and click ‘Confirm cancellation’.
What is the Zwift companion app for?
The Zwift companion app is an addition to your Zwift experience, which lets you track events, view results, and manage your workouts. What's more, if you're planning on cycling weekly, the app can help you organise your weekly group ride with fellow Zwifters.
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