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The Margin: Tread carefully: Peloton rolls out a redesigned $2,500 treadmill with new safety features

Indoor runners with money to burn can rejoice: Peloton’s less expensive treadmill is back on the market. 

The at-home exercise company best known for its pricey interactive stationary bikes recalled 1,050 Tread treadmills and 125,000 of its high-end Tread+ treadmills in May following more than 70 safety incidents involving the machines. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 29 children suffered broken bones, cuts and second- and third-degree abrasions from the Tread+, and one child was pulled under the machine and killed. There were also reports of Tread touch screens detaching and falling off of the treadmill. 

While there is still no timeline for when the Tread+ could return, Peloton

is rolling out the entry-level Tread again on Monday, complete with several new safety measures. 

Indeed, the Peloton Tread press release used the word “safety” no less than nine times. The new features include punching in a four-digit, digital passcode before the treadmill’s belt will run, which the company calls a “tread lock.” There will also be a physical safety key that a runner can insert to come to a quick stop, if needed. And the speed and incline knobs have been placed on the side rails closer to where a runner’s arm naturally swings, so it’s easier for users to change the intensity of a workout mid-run. Plus, there’s an “easy to find” stop button if runners need to shut the machine down fast, the release says. 

“The Peloton Tread press release used the word ‘safety’ no less than nine times.”

“Our goal is to be the go-to fitness solution and the largest and safest home fitness brand in the world,” said John Foley, Peloton’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “We’ve worked hard to make sure the new Tread truly earns its spot in members’ homes. We’ll always continue to innovate our hardware, software and safety features to live up to our commitment to member safety and to improving the full member experience.”

The redesigned Tread became available in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada on Aug. 30 for $2,495, and it will come to Germany sometime this fall. Owners will also need to pay a $39 monthly membership fee to access Peloton’s workout programming and live classes. Peloton hasn’t released a timeline for the return of the Tread+ yet. 

It’s been a mixed year-and-a-half for Peloton stock. While the stock jumped 434% in 2020 as the pandemic closed gyms and demand for at-home workout equipment spiked, the stock price has stumbled as COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. This led Wedbush analyst James Hardiman to back away from his longtime bullish stance on Peloton until it proves it can compete with reopened gyms and other at-home workout systems. The treadmill recall also sank the stock to an eight-month low in May, and CEO Foley later apologized for initially resisting the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s calls to recall the machines. Shares of Peloton

are down more than 30% for the year.

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