Peloton's Official Stance On Calibration
I get a ton of questions about how Peloton feels about the calibration issues / challenges with the bike – I have no idea, you need to contact Peloton. The only thing I can find online that appears official is a Facebook Peloton post back from May 16th, 2016, the post is below, my comments in red.
Please keep in mind; there is only one possible reason for Peloton to not want you to calibrate your bike - you may have an entire riding history of a bike under calibrated and hence, if you ride a properly calibrated bike you will never reach your previous PR's - and some people are deeply demotivated by this, and demotivation leads to not riding the bike, and not riding the bike leads to no annual reoccurring revenue, etc, etc.
Last night, there’s a thread in regards to bike calibration posted on this page and we want to let you know that we hear you and understand the importance of calibration and metrics in your Peloton experience. We also want to make sure that we communicate to our community the facts around our sensor and calibration setup.
– All bikes are factory calibrated and Peloton bike sensors are accurate to within 10% of one another. So you should expect some variance bike to bike. An exception to this rule: the first 200 bikes ever produced (and shipped to early Kickstarter supporters) are on a different scale and will vary by more than the standard 10%.
– There are two physical sensors on your Peloton bike. One measures “Resistance” (by reading how far up or down the break is over the flywheel). The second measures “Cadence” (by timing the pace of revolutions of the flywheel).
– (Instantaneous) “Output” is derived from the two sensor measurements and is calculated by the sensor control board multiple times per second. This (instantaneous) “Output” measurement is based on data embedded in the sensor control board at the factory using a high-powered, industrial tool called a “dynamometer.” This is used to measure the bike’s actual output in watts at various permutations of resistance and cadence readings.
– Because of this step, (instantaneous) “Output” values are directly tied to specific resistance and cadence values and CANNOT be changed. For example, if you pedal at 90 cadence with 40% resistance and your (instantaneous) output value is 135 watts – your bike will always show 135 watts at that combination.
– Calibration only changes what a x% resistance FEELS like. Specifically, calibration tells the sensor control board where the magnetic break physically is when at 0% resistance, 100% resistance, and 30 points in between.
Note: It is possible for a rider to manually calibrate incorrectly and tell the sensor control board that the break has reached 100% resistance when it is physically only 50% of the way engaged. Doing so would cause the bike to feel much easier than a factory calibrated bike and allow you to achieve “Output” score unimaginable for even top Olympic cyclists.
– Every bike is factory calibrated to set the resistance scale in such a way that x% resistance should feel almost the same from bike to bike. Again, we expect roughly a 10% variance bike to bike due to minor mechanical differences in each bike and the level of accuracy expected from each sensor.
I am sure this is what you try to do but I can tell you during COVID, I have received hundreds of emails from riders stating that the bikes dropped off at their doorstep were not calibrated correctly.
– Home calibration is available to all riders but not recommended in most cases. Peloton only recommends at home calibration in the following cases:
1. If your Peloton bike does not reach 0% after turning fully to the left or does not reach 100% after turning fully to the right. If your brake or flywheel has been repaired (this should not need to happen) or your brake or flywheel receives a blunt force blow (i.e if your movers drop your bike).
The paragraph above sets a very low bar for reasons to calibrate your bike – if your screen doesn’t go to 100% or 0% with the turn of your resistance knob or you drop your bike? What about if you are ripping 1,500 outputs in a 30 minute class? Peloton, your better than this. You sold & sell the bike using the leader board function and the spirit of competition. You get all of our ride data; are you telling me you can’t identify those bikes that are producing fake output numbers? How about being proactive for the sake of the community and let those users know that something seems wrong with their bike and let them know how to fix it?
2. If you choose to calibrate — either out of curiosity or because you believe there is some mechanical misalignment, we recommend that you read the instructions thoroughly and walk through the process slowly. Again, Peloton rarely recommends calibration and Peloton does factory calibrate every bike so we believe you are best served NOT calibrating for any reason other than in the recommended cases.
There is no risk to calibrating your bike and as stated, I always say that riders should start with official Peloton communication channels for instructions, videos and calibration tools.
We want you to know that we are working on improving any and all of the bike issues you’re dealing with. If you’re currently having issues with your bike, please contact our support team immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-679-9129
You can’t fix the calibration issue until / if you change the construction of the bike and the manner in which you physically measure cadence and resistance. At a minimum I would like to see future bikes have the ability to be calibrated without having to remove pieces of the bike (sweat guard).
Thanks for your support as always and if you have any further questions or concerns, please email me directly at XXXXXXX@pelotoncycle.com