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To unlock the feature, Tread+ owners need to pay for a monthly company subscription. The move is related to the Peloton recall, and the companys says it's working on a fix.
Peloton has removed a free feature from its treadmill products—the ability to just run. Instead, the company is requiring owners to pay for a monthly subscription to get the function, though it says it's working to once again allow the Just Run option.
It sounds absurd, given that the Tread+ once sold for $4,295. But the treadmills from Peloton are no ordinary exercise machines. The company also sells video exercise programs for the treadmills through a subscription service, which can cost $39 a month.
The removal of Just Run is related to a voluntary recall it issued last month for the Tread+ and Tread product after the machines caused injuries to multiple children. In response, Peloton created a locking feature to prevent unauthorized access to the equipment. But the change came at the expense of Just Run, which once sat as a virtual button on the Tread+ screen.
In a statement, Peloton told PCMag that "in our ongoing work to ensure our products are even safer, as part of our voluntary recall in collaboration with CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), we released Tread Lock, a four digit passcode to secure Tread+ against unauthorized access,” the company said. “Unfortunately, Tread Lock is not yet available without a Peloton Membership, which means Tread+ owners without a subscription cannot access Just Run at this time.”
Still, Peloton says it's "working on updates to Tread Lock that will allow us to make Tread Lock and Just Run available without a Peloton Membership," without elaborating.
The demise of Just Run made headlines after Jennifer Strong, a Tread+ owner, posted about it on the Peloton Facebook group. She bought her machine in January 2019. But after a few months, she lost interest in the exercise programs from Peloton. Instead, she began using the “Just Run” function on her Tread+, which didn’t require a subscription at all. It simply let her run on the machine like a normal treadmill.(Credit: Jennifer Strong)
“Unfortunately at this time, ‘Just Run’ is no longer accessible without a Peloton membership,” an email from Peloton’s customer support told Strong, who posted it to Facebook.
“How is this even possible that we cannot use the bike or tread anymore without a membership?! They’re basically just paperweights now!” she wrote.
Her post has since sparked both anger and support over Peloton’s decision to remove the free feature. “You buy a $3,000 treadmill, then after you’ve purchased [it], with a ‘software update’ they stop it from working until you pay them $39.99/mo? Sounds like Theft and Ransomware to me,” wrote one user on Twitter.
Other customers are questioning why anyone would buy a Peloton without a membership. “I’m baffled by the idea people use the Peloton without using the classes. Isn’t that what Peloton is mostly founded upon?” wrote one user in response to Strong’s post.
The lack of clarity is frustrating Peloton customers such as Brianna Wu, a video game developer and former Congressional candidate, who also publicized the removal of the Just Run feature for non-subscribers.
“I want Peloton to do the right thing here,” she told PCMag. “Because their long-term success hinges on people feeling like they provide a good value. If people are scared their $3,000 investment is going to end up a paperweight, we don’t help Peloton by excusing that.”
In the meantime, Strong hasn’t been able to run on her Tread+ machine for the last week. And she has no plans on purchasing a monthly subscription.
“If Peloton is going to cite safety is the issue for not using it I completely disagree,” she told PCMag. “That’s like buying a car and then the manufacturer making it not usable until you pay to use the airbags.”
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