How Peloton Changed Me From Evangelist to Disgruntled

Matthew Fenton
6 min readMay 20, 2021

“If the big boys are doing it, it must be working.”

~ a former boss, who could not have been more wrong on this point

It hasn’t been the best few weeks for Peloton.

There was the treadmill recall in the first week of May. That’s been covered elsewhere, but suffice to say Peloton’s response was not what it should have been.

I’m not here to dogpile on that, though incidents like this do make one question one’s loyalty.

Meanwhile, Peloton has also made some inexplicable changes to its user experience — and, in particular, the Peloton scenic rides that were the favorites of many members, myself included.

My Experience With Peloton

Our Peloton bike arrived in April of last year. Since then, I’ve averaged a little more than 22 miles of riding per day. I took my 1,000th ride earlier this month.

So I’m a heavy user, but also not really like the people in the Peloton ads. I prefer not to do the instructor-led classes, because pop music is not my jam, and most days I don’t want to be yelled at. If Peloton wants to be a mass brand (and it does), it needs to appeal to many kinds of users.

I’ve primarily done Peloton scenic rides, in large part because there’s no instructor. Up until recently, Peloton had a large library of these, allowing you to “ride” through the hills of French wine country, the streets of San Francisco or wherever. I’d put one of my favorite playlists on the Sonos, shut off the sound on the bike, and enjoy the view as I worked my way through my own exercise program.

The Peloton scenic rides, like all its rides, displayed a leaderboard which shows how you stack up against other riders and your own personal best output (PB).

Importantly, if the leaderboard is not for you, you can hide it with the tap of a button.

Up until very recently, I’d been a huge fan of Peloton, and I’ve probably helped sell a few bikes to my friends. But overnight, Peloton managed to change me from “evangelist” to “disgruntled.” Here’s how.

Changes to Peloton Scenic Rides — And Member Reaction

Around May 1, without warning or explanation, Peloton:

  • Removed the leaderboards — not from all rides, only from scenic rides.

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Matthew Fenton

I write about brand strategy & freelancing. Ex-CMO. Music junkie. For brand leaders: https://matthew-fenton.com/ For freelancers: https://winningsolo.com/