In June, Peloton pushed out its Tread Lock feature, which automatically shut down inactive treadmills and required a 4-digit passcode. The update was part of Peloton’s promised safety measures following a voluntary recall of its treadmills (one due to injury reports, the other due to display issues). There was just one problem: Tread Lock disabled the ‘Just Run’ feature for anyone who wasn’t a paying Peloton subscriber. However, according to a Verge report, the company is now saying the feature should work for all Tread owners.
While Peloton hardware is essentially a vehicle for the company’s digital content, its bikes and treadmills also have a ‘Just Ride’ or ‘Just Run’ feature that allows you to use the device without taking classes. The June update caused a bit of an uproar, as Tread Lock was a mandatory update that effectively required people to have a Peloton subscription to use devices they had already paid for and owned. Some accused Peloton of using consumer safety as a way of coercing people to pay for a membership. However, the company said the problem was merely a temporary technical issue—it simply hadn’t figured out a way to enable Tread Lock for those without Peloton memberships. It then issued three free months of membership for all Tread+ owners.
The situation was a stark reminder that all connected fitness equipment comes with strings. While you may pay thousands for sleek hardware, Peloton owns the software. As with any IoT device, if it doesn’t run without proprietary software, you don’t really own it.
In this particular instance, Peloton decided to act in consumers’ best interest. Enabling ‘Just Run’ for everyone ensures that Tread+ owners aren’t left with a dead gadget in the event they can no longer afford a subscription or if Peloton ever goes out of business. However, it’s important to remember not every company in this space may do the same. Generally speaking, most connected fitness gadgets are locked behind some sort of subscription—and some, like the SoulCycle Bike, don’t offer a ‘Just Run’ option for non-subscribers.
While Peloton made good on its promise this time around, if the situation leaves you feeling uneasy, you can still receive a full refund on both the Tread and Tread+ through Nov. 6, 2022.
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