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Peloton recalls 2 million bikes over a dangerous seat

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that the broken bike seat could cause injuries like lacerations and bruises.

A Peloton bike.
Peloton, the company known for killing the fictional character Mr. Big, is facing a nonfiction recall of its bikes.
Getty Images
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

It turns out that a bike that goes nowhere may send you to the emergency room.

On Thursday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Peloton, the company that made exercising from home both addictive and fancy, was recalling roughly 2 million bikes due to a faulty seat. Peloton, according to the release, has received 35 reports of the seat breaking, which has resulted in some 12 injuries that include “fractured wrist, lacerations and bruises” caused by falling from the bike.

This is the second recall that Peloton has faced. In 2021, the company recalled 125,000 of its treadmills and offered full refunds because of safety hazards, mainly “adult users, children, pets and/or objects” were “pulled under the rear of the treadmill.” The treadmill was linked to a child’s death.

This bike recall, while larger and affecting bikes made from January 2018 to May 2023, seems less severe. People with the recalled stationary cycle are urged to stop riding and to contact Peloton. The company will then send consumers a bike seat that can be self-installed. Based on the release, it doesn’t seem like bikes will need to be taken in to be repaired.

Peloton’s bike recall is the latest chapter in what seems to be a slew of bad breaks for the once unstoppable fitness giant. After gyms and group fitness studios shut down in 2020 during the pandemic, Peloton bikes and at-home workouts became blazingly popular. It was virtually impossible to get a bike in the spring of 2020.

But as gyms and studios opened up again post-vaccine, the demand for Peloton’s goods — treadmills and bikes — began to slump. The 2021 treadmill recall hurt business, and in January 2022 it announced it would stop manufacturing bikes.

Other factors hurt the company too. Culturally, the bike became infamous for killing Sex and the City’s Mr. Big (Chris Noth) in the revival series And Just Like That. The company made quick moves to recover by releasing an ad with Noth, only to see sexual assault allegations against the actor come out the same week. (The ad was immediately pulled.)

In February 2022, Peloton announced it had lost $439 million in the second quarter which was followed by a layoff of around 2,800 people. There would be four rounds of layoffs that year, with the most recent one of about 500 employees coming in October.

Earlier this year, in February, Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy told investors that the mounting losses and waning demand for the company’s bikes and treads didn’t concern him. He claimed that the company’s path to financial sustainability would be its subscription-based mobile app. Another recall certainly isn’t what he or the company envisioned.

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