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Peloton is updating its treadmills to again be useful without a subscription

Peloton is updating its treadmills to again be useful without a subscription


A software update in June made a $40-a-month subscription mandatory

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Peloton owners will again be able to use their treadmills without a subscription to the Peloton All-Access Membership, according to the company. In June, Peloton released a software update that required its treadmills to be secured with a passcode, a feature the company said was only available to paying subscribers due to “technical limitations.” At the time, Peloton promised that another software update was coming that would enable the feature for everyone, and it provided three free months of the subscription that usually costs $40 per month. On Wednesday, the company told The Verge that “all Tread owners can now access Tread Lock” along with the “Just Run” feature.

According to Peloton’s support page, the Tread Lock feature locks the treadmill if you’re not in a class and haven’t used the treadmill in 45 seconds. You’ll then be required to put in your four-digit passcode before it can be used. The aforementioned June software update made using the feature mandatory, after Peloton recalled its treadmills following several reported injuries and one death.

The company seems to have bought itself enough time to work around the “technical limitations”

The Tread Lock requirement essentially made the treadmills unusable without a subscription. While Peloton may be best known for its classes (which require a paid membership), the Tread Plus’ Just Run mode allowed owners to use it as a normal treadmill, no subscription required. But because Tread Lock became mandatory and using Tread Lock required a subscription, Just Run was no longer available to owners who weren’t subscribers. The company did, however, provide all owners with three free months of membership after the change, which seems to have given it enough time to make the treadmills usable again without paying the monthly fee.

The update that created this situation served as a reminder that internet-connected devices can have their functionality changed — just because a feature was present at launch doesn’t mean it will stick around for the lifetime of the product. This case was, however, especially painful for users, as it made a subscription that was optional at the time of purchase a mandatory one (if only for a short time).

Internet-connected devices are always subject to change

Because of the recall issued by Peloton, Tread Plus owners are eligible for a full refund if they choose to return their treadmills by November 6th, 2022, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Those who choose to keep their Pelotons, though, should again have the choice to subscribe.