Peloton Bike vs Peloton Treadmill (Which one is better?)


Choosing between peloton bike and treadmill is an important decision to make, especially if you’re just getting started with exercise. In this article, I will help you decide which one is better.

As a whole, you should get a Peloton bike because it offers more variety of classes that work on both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. It is also beginner-friendly because it has less impact on the joints, has a lower injury rate, and is less strenuous on the body.

However, the peloton rides don’t burn as many calories as running. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of owning a bike or a tread.

What’s Better Peloton Bike or Treadmill?

To help you decide if a peloton bike or treadmill is better I will start by focusing on the physiological differences between cycling and running. Both types of training are proven to deliver effective cardio workouts but they come with some limitations.

You also wanna consider things like your training history, current fitness level, as well as personal preferences.

As a whole, the peloton bike is better than a treadmill, especially for beginners, because it offers low-impact training that can be done daily, even by untrained individuals.

Peloton bike is also an assessment tool that helps to track and measure the power output, which is a valid indicator for intensity. Unline the tread, the peloton bike offers power zone classes that are driven by the individual fitness level – your FTP score.

Learn more: Click here to learn more about the “peloton FTP test” and how to use it for optimal performance.

This means you have more personalized feedback from each of the rides and can gradually work to improve your fitness level.

On the other hand, peloton tread is better for maximizing things like speed, exercise economy, or VO2max. If your goal is performance-based and involves running faster, longer, or more efficiently, the peloton tread is the way to go.

Peloton Bike vs Treadmill for Weight Loss

First, let’s start from the energy expenditure and calories burned between peloton bike and tread.

Is the Peloton bike or tread better for losing weight? As a whole, the peloton tread is better than the bike for losing weight because running elicits higher energy expenditure than cycling. However, the peloton bike puts less stress on the body, which allows for a longer exercise duration.

This means you can ride for longer, which adds up to calories burned. You just need to be OK with spending more time on the bike to have the same effect.

Do you burn more calories on a peloton bike or treadmill?

In general, you burn more calories on the peloton treadmill than on the bike because of higher maximum oxygen uptake and maximum heart rate. When you compare minute-by-minute, running does surpass cycling with calorie burning.

Here you can see a video from Global Triathlon Nation where they compared calories burned on the bike vs treadmill using the indirect calorimetry method at the University of Bath.

Also, remember that the number of calories will be adequate to the intensity you train. Below you can see calories burned on the treadmill for a 150-pound individual.

Keep in mind that many peloton classes include a mix of different intensities and without a heart rate monitor is difficult to know the exact number.

RunningKcal burned in 60 minKcal burned in 20 min
5 mph (12-minute mile)594198
6 mph (10-minute mile)702234
7 mph (8.5-minute mile)787262
9 mph (6.5-minute mile)916305
10 mph (6-minute mile)1038346
12 mph (5-minute mile)1360453
Calorie burned during running

As you can see, with higher intensity on the tread the kcal burned increases. However, you need to be realistic about your fitness level because being able to maintain a speed over 9 mph is not easy.

Next, have a look at a similar table for a stationary bike. The intensity was measured in watts, which perfectly corresponds to the power output on the peloton bike.

CyclingKcal burned in 60 minKcal burned in 20 min
30 – 50 watts 25184
51 – 89 watts 344115
90 – 100 watts 487162
101 – 160 watts 630210
161 – 200 watts 787262
201 – 270 watts 1002334
Calorie burned during cycling

Multiple studies have shown that fat oxidation is significantly higher during running than cycling even at similar intensities (Capostagno 2010).

What I like about peloton tread is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time to get a good workout. I feel satisfied with my running sessions that last between 20 to 30 minutes.

But please remember that running is much tougher on the joints. And while calories burned from 9 mph may look impressive, you need to be realistic about many days per week you will run.

Novice runners need to gradually build up the running intensity to be able to run fast. If you feel sore after running it’s better to consider doing a peloton bike because you can be more consistent.

NOTE: Peloton offers 5 running programs designed for newbie runners. To check out the full list of “best peloton programs“, check out my article here.

I think that beginners can do more training sessions on the bike because the Peloton bike has less impact than running.

Can you lose weight using only a peloton bike? As a whole, you can lose weight using only a peloton bike because it allows you to train daily with minimum impact on the joints and tendons. Less loading on the joints helps to maintain a higher intensity for a longer period of time.

Losing weight is all about consistency. It’s not about doing one hard run on the weekend. It’s about doing short but frequent daily efforts that combined lead to body transformation.

Will I lose weight if I do peloton 30 minutes a day? Overall, you will lose weight if you do peloton 30 minutes a day, as long as you stay in a calorie deficit and have a high-protein diet. Doing 30-minute rides every day helps to burn calories, improves energy and mood, as well as increases satiety.

Another thing that I like about the peloton bike is the class selection. For the bike, you have almost 4 times more classes comparing to tread. The classes include 12 categories like climbs, HIIT, recovery, power zone, heart rate zone, intervals, and more.

Peloton cycling has 83 new classes each week added to the library, where the peloton tread has 26 (that’s including walking and running).

Having a great variety of classes helps to keep the process interesting, more fun, and diverse enough to not get bored.

Is the peloton bike or running better for glucose oxidation?

Glucose oxidation is basically part of the glucose metabolism process. Basically, it’s how effective your body is using glucose to provide energy to the body.

Aerobic exercises help to improve glucose oxidation, however, some exercises are better than others.

Overall, running is more effective in glucose oxidation comparing to cycling because running (at relatively low intensities) elicits higher carbohydrates oxidation rates. This helps to balance glucose levels in the blood and extract energy (Pfeiffer et al. 2011).

Peloton Bike vs Treadmill for Performance

Now let’s talk about performance, which is another reason to keep in mind before you decide between bike or tread.

Performance is all about being stronger, faster, training for longer and just being more efficient in any given sport. At the same time, performance is strongly related to prior training history and your personal goals.

Is the Peloton bike or tread better for endurance?

In general, the peloton bike is better than tread for endurance because it allows for longer rides with less impact on the joints. It also elicits higher blood lactate concentration, therefore, it leads to greater anaerobic threshold and training adaptations.

Please remember that cycling with fast cadence and high resistance for a long period of time isn’t easy. It often requires skill and months (or even years) of experience.

Another big factor of endurance is exercise economy, which is about getting fitter with less amount of time. Exercise economy is the amount how much oxygen you use to maintain the intensity. The more oxygen you need, the lower your economy.

Think about exercise economy as a fuel for the car. If you can drive more with less fuel, that’s a good economy.

Is the Peloton bike or tread better for the exercise economy?

As a whole, the peloton tread is better for the exercise economy because running not only improves the running economy but also the cycling economy. On the other hand, cycling-specific training doesn’t influence running performance.

In other words, running on the tread will make you better at both running and cycling. Doing a peloton bike will make you better only in cycling (Swinnen et al. 2018).

Is the peloton bike or tread better for productivity?

As a whole, the peloton tread is better than the bike for productivity because running at higher intensities (between 65 to 95% VO2max) improves cerebral blood flow, which helps to supply more oxygen to the brain. However, lower intensity shows similar results for both disciplines.

A fascinating study done by (Furlong et al. 2020) compared cycling with running, and the effect in the blood flow to the brain at the higher intensities. The results showed that running at 95% VO2max (near-maximal intensity) improved blood flow by 13%.

Running vs cycling for productivity

However, those results were only noticed with a near-maximal intensity which limits those types of benefits only to fitter individuals. At least in the beginning.

Peloton Bike vs Treadmill for Health

Another important aspect to remember before you get a peloton treadmill or bike is the health aspect. In general, both running and cycling go head to head when it comes to health benefits, including positive effects on blood lipid or reduction in anxiety and depression (Mersy 1991).

Is the peloton bike or tread safer?

As a whole, the peloton bike is safer because running has a higher injury rate. The meta-analyses from over 800 abstracts revealed a weighted injury incidence of 17.8% for running and 2.4% for exercise bike classes (including spinning).

Studies have shown that beginner runners seem to experience a significantly greater risk of injury, comparing to competitive or recreational runners (Videbæk et al. 2015).

Is the peloton bike or tread better for bone health?

As a whole, the peloton tread is better than a bike for bone health because cycling is classified as NWB (non-weight-bearing) exercise. People who do non-weight-bearing sports have much lower bone mineral density, despite having similar age, weight, activity level, and nutrient intake.

In fact, studies have shown that cyclists were 7 times more likely to have osteopenia of the spine, comparing to runners (Rector et al. 2008).

That’s because running has a greater bone-loading impact on the spine than cycling. Of course, there is a time and place for NWB exercises, especially for people with weak joints, lower back pain problems, or overweight individuals who may struggle to run.

Is the peloton bike or tread better for recovery?

As a whole, the peloton bike and tread are similar when it comes to recovery capacity after high-intensity interval exercise. Training with higher intensities produces exercise-induced changes and inflammatory responses equally in both running and cycling.

In other words, you won’t get more sore from doing one or another.

Studies have shown that running and cycling induce the same inflammatory response. However, the overall post-exercise soreness was a greater increase in men than that in women (Kouvelioti et al. 2019).

Peloton Bike vs Treadmill Pros and Cons

Here you can see a quick summary of the pros and cons between peloton bike and treadmill.

ProsCons
Peloton BikeGood for beginners and seniors.
Good for people with knee and lower back issues.
Good for overweight people who cannot weight-bear.
It has a full spectrum of classes from low-impact to HIIT rides.
Thousands of classes to choose from.
Lower injury rate.
Require a longer time to burn an efficient amount of calories.
Requires proper bike setup (that includes seat and handlebar adjustment).
Requires using the cycling shoes with delta cleats.
Hard to activate the glutes.
No weight-bearing effect.
Peloton TreadTime-efficient.
High-calorie burn per minute.
High muscle and brain perfusion.
Higher EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
Hard on the joints, tendons, and ligaments.
Requires skill and previous experience to train at high intensity.
High injury rate.
Requires practice to maintain long workouts.
Peloton Bike vs Treadmill for Weight Loss

Other Things To Keep In Mind

Other things need to be taken into consideration before you make a decision.

  • Price. Each of the peloton machine comes with regular and upgraded version. The difference in price between then is significant. The peloton bike+ retails for $2,495 and tread+ for $4,295. That’s a $1,800 difference.
  • Who else is using the peloton. If you live in the house with a big family then its wise to consider everybody in your decision.
  • What equipment you currenty have. Depending on the exercise equipment you have, it may be good to recosider you options. If you have already a spin bike, then its maybe better to get a tread, position it next to the bike and you can use both.
  • What type of exercise you prefer. That is the most important factor. If you feel like getting a tread is better, but you don’t really like running, then is better to go for what you like.

Conclusion

As you can see, the peloton bike is more beginner-friendly thanks to its low impact. It doesn’t burn as many calories as the tread but you can easily add more duration or frequency to the rides to match the calorie burned.

It also comes with a lower price, better class selection, and is suitable for people of different ages. This means it can be used by the seniors as well as by the adolescents.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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