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Can a $2,000 bike make you exercise better?

Peloton Cycle broadcasts 12 spinning classes a day to homes around the world.

Amelia Krales for Recode

In most parts of the world, riding a bike is a pretty cheap way to get some exercise outdoors. But a company getting buzz in places like New York and Silicon Valley, Peloton Cycle, says it can do better — for a price.

Peloton charges nearly $2,000 for its namesake indoor exercise bike, which comes equipped with a large video screen. Buyers who pay a $39 per month subscription fee (one year of which is mandatory) can then participate in any of 12 spinning classes that are broadcast live every day from a studio in New York City.

"In a traditional broadcast, where you’re looking at exercises on the television screen, it’s more one-directional," Peloton CTO Yony Feng said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. "In our case, it’s that, but so much more."

Feng argued that being able to see real people in the New York studio, plus stats about how other Peloton owners are performing around the world, combines convenience and motivation into one package. Sensors on the bike collect and disseminate those live stats, organizing Peloton owners into a global leaderboard.

"It gives you a sense that you are part of something bigger," Feng said. "The leaderboard is doing that as well. You see people’s numbers climbing and you’re just like, ‘Oh my gosh, this person is beating me!’"

On the new podcast, he also explained why Peloton might one day be interested in emerging technologies like virtual reality, but noted that they need to go through "a few maturity cycles" before it can seriously consider an integration.

"I actually emailed Oculus VR a few times, saying ‘Is there something we can do together? I’ve always been interested in this area,’" he recounted. "Unfortunately, for myself, I can use a maximum of five minutes of VR before I get nauseated."

An experimental spinning class Peloton created on the Samsung Gear VR had the negative side effect of fogging up the virtual reality headset’s lenses, but Feng said on the plus side, "it really felt real."

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