If you’re a member of the Official Peloton Member Page on Facebook, you may have noticed a fairly common topic of conversation: the frequency – or lack thereof – of 45 minute cycling classes.
When Peloton first got its start, the 45 minute duration was the standard for cycling classes. As Peloton evolved, shorter class durations were introduced. Over time some members have observed a decrease in the number of 45 minute rides on the schedule each week. In fact, for almost an entire week from May 29 through June 3, there were no new 45 minute cycling classes released. This begs the question: is Peloton intentionally scaling back on the number of 45 minute rides, and if so – why?
When exploring this topic it’s helpful to start by taking a look at the period before the Covid-19 pandemic when the Peloton studios were operating at full capacity, complete with in-studio riders. There were approximately 14 live classes per day, from 6am ET to 8:30pm ET on weekdays, and 8am ET to 6pm ET on weekends. The classes before and after standard work hours were typically 45 minutes long, and shorter classes – such as 10, 20, or 30 minutes – were offered midday. These were known as “walk-in” classes that were free of charge for in-person members.
Overall, the cycling schedule as a whole was much more robust than it is today. In 2022 on a standard day Peloton has approximately eight cycling instructors teaching per day, oftentimes with a stack of shorter classes such as two 20 minute rides, or a 30 minute and a 10 minute ride.
In Peloton’s early years, they were still growing their at-home rider base and had a lot of in-studio regulars. These members were local New Yorkers who didn’t have a Peloton Bike at home, and would attend classes just as they would at any other fitness studio. It makes sense that Peloton’s class durations were on par with what places like SoulCycle and Flywheel offered.
It’s hard to pinpoint the average number of 45 minute rides per month before the studio closure because so many rides have been removed from the on demand library. Back in 2019, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) filed a lawsuit against Peloton, claiming that Peloton did not obtain the proper licensing for the music played in their classes. Peloton quietly removed approximately 65% of their on demand library when the lawsuit became public, and have performed periodic “purges” since then.
That being said, we can still examine what is currently available on demand from 2019. An look at the on-demand library from April 2019 (there are very limited classes still left in the library from early 2019) through March 2020 when the studio closed show that there were typically more than 100 45 minute cycling classes each month:
|Month/Year||Number of 45 minute cycling classes currently available on demand*|
*These numbers are correct as of June 2022 and may have changed since then based on rides that have been removed or added to the library.
**Note that the studio closed down on March 13, 2020.
Again, these numbers are low because so many classes have been removed and no longer appear in the on demand library, especially from April and May of 2019.
When you examine the library and look at April 2020 through May 2022, you quickly see that the number of available 45 minute cycling classes per month is drastically lower, averaging about 30-40 per month.
|Month/Year||Number of 45 minute cycling classes currently available on demand*|
This data illustrates that Peloton is still hovering around one 45 minute cycling class per day, give or take.
It’s also interesting to look at 45 minute rides by instructor. Numerous instructors haven’t had a 45 minute ride since April: Robin Arzón, Christine D’Ercole, and Mila Lazar (though Christine has one upcoming this week). Denis Morton just taught his first 45 minute ride since April; Bradley Rose just taught his first 45 minute ride since March, and Leanne Hainsby has not taught a 45 minute ride since February. When examining most instructors’ library of 45 minute rides, it appears that they will have one only per month throughout the course of 2022 (with exceptions, of course).
There are also ride formats that are no longer – or at least very rarely – offered in the 45 minute duration. Last year we reported that Tabata rides will be capped at 30 minutes moving forward. Live DJ rides used to take place twice (a class with Jess King followed by a class with Robin Arzón) every Friday before the March 2020 shutdown and were always 45 minutes. There has not been a 45 minute Live DJ ride in over a year; all recent classes have been 30 minutes.
Of course, there are even longer class durations available from Peloton, including 60, 75, and 90 minute rides. Peloton offers 60 minute classes approximately twice per week as of late, and 75 or 90 minute Power Zone rides taught by Christine D’Ercole or Matt Wilpers periodically (typically one per month with occasional gaps).
Yet, it seems clear from the data that Peloton has shifted towards shorter duration cycling classes since the March 2020 studio closure. There are a few potential reasons for this.
First and foremost, almost all companies had to make adjustments during the pandemic, and Peloton is no exception to this. Social distancing and health precautions could have made 45 minute rides more challenging to execute, especially in the earlier days of the pandemic.
Peloton also welcomed many new members in 2020 when people were stuck at home. A 45 minute class may have seemed daunting to some trying out Peloton for the first time.
Additionally, Peloton introduced one of their most highly requested features – stacking – in January of 2021. This feature allows members to build their workouts from start to finish without having to navigate separately in between classes. Instructors often plug this feature during classes, and Peloton has released specific content designed to be stacked (such as their “stacking stuffer” collection during the holidays last year). Many members will often stack numerous 10 or 20 minute classes together instead of taking one longer form class. Furthermore, Peloton often cites the total number of workouts taken in their quarterly earnings calls, and the stacking feature helps boost those numbers.
Finally, there is the popularity component. It’s probably a safe bet to assume that Peloton closely tracks what content is most popular with their members, and their data could be showing them that 20 or 30 minute rides attract the most users.
There are also a handful of other new 45 minute classes that aren’t accessible through the on-demand library. These are classes that were recorded for Peloton’s new programs, but are locked unless you take the program or have a direct link. You can find a handful of other new 45 minute classes in the Discover Your Power Zones program as well as the Peak Your Power Zones program.
It will also be interesting to see how the upcoming studio reopening affects Peloton’s class offerings. For the first time in more than two years, classes have members in them. Many of these members will have traveled a long distance and may be eager to experience a longer class.
Considering how much Peloton has evolved over the past couple of years, it is understandable that they have made shifts away from some things that were previously the norm. They started out by only offering cycling with a couple of coaches, and today members can choose from 14 fitness modalities and more than 50 instructors. There are live classes happening throughout the day across disciplines from studios in both New York and London.
Nonetheless, the data shows that there was a steep dropoff in 45 minute rides during the early days of the pandemic, and the numbers have never recovered since then. That being said, when you search the on demand library for 45 minute rides, you’ll see more than 2,000 results. There are plenty of long form rides on demand for members to choose from on any given day.
Share your thoughts in the comments: do you prefer longer duration rides, or are you glad that shorter durations are more frequently offered?
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