Peloton, Echelon, Mirror and SoulCycle test: the pros and cons of smart gym equipment


The pandemic convinced me: home fitness is the future. After the Grand Reopening, I’ll keep exercising in my living room, because I love it.

Why? The convenience, affordability and quality of training. Whether you’re at home or on the go, training for 15 minutes or 45, this certainly beats what you were doing before – fighting for a spot in a boot camp class and paying too much for the privilege.

I’ve already written about my favorite fitness apps and DIY exercise bike setup. I’ve recently wondered, given that hybrid work will still allow us to work, and exercise, from home: Should I take my workouts in the living room to the next level with high-end connected equipment?

In a quest to learn something about why people spend thousands of dollars on equipment and hundreds more per year on streamed workouts, I put together a smart gym: SoulCycle At-Home Bike ($ 2,500), Mirror Workout Display ($ 1,495). ) and an Echelon Stride treadmill ($ 1,300). Meanwhile, my colleague Joanna Stern has been testing the next Tread from Peloton Interactive ($ 2,495, on sale May 27).

Hardware connected to the Internet enhances the experience in several ways. Products often have a large screen designed to broadcast classes. Personal training metrics, captured by sensors, are displayed on the screen. Many have a social component, such as the ability to compete on a live leaderboard. All the models I tested require customers to sign up for a $ 40 / mo membership.

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