You may be new to Peloton or have just purchased your treadmill or bike. It does happen, and it is not always obvious for most.
One of the most confusing features of the screen is the right side, which is filled full of numbers and names. Even worse, half of the names are difficult to pronounce, except for the hashtags or cities under them.
After using my Peloton bicycle for a while, I have gained a better understanding of certain aspects of the platform as well as areas where there could be improvements. The Peloton leaderboard and how it calculates total output is the main problem I have with the platform.
The Peloton leaderboard’s main purpose is to compare your output with other members of the class (if you are live) or all those who have taken the class (if online). You can filter it by your Peloton tags (gender, age, etc. On-demand classes allow you to choose between “Here Now”, “Overall” and “Overall.” The output of the class is determined by your resistance and cadence.
What is wrong with total output?
My problem with the calculation of the leaderboard by total output, is that there will always be people at the top and people at the bottom. Even if your cadence is half the speed of someone else, you’ll have an easier time climbing up the leaderboard if you have strong legs. A person who is in great shape but has no leg strength can’t sustain the class for an entire class. They will not be able to reach the top of this leaderboard.
The flip side is that if it were just about cadence then people who kept resistance low would easily win, since they could keep above 100 on cadence long enough.
There must be a better way.
What is the right side of Peloton?
The Peloton Leaderboard Side
The Leaderboard side of the Peloton screen is the right side. It has so much to offer that it is hard to comprehend. It allows you to compete against other Peloton users with the same type of equipment and class. Peloton bikes and Peloton plus users will compete against you. Treadmill users, on the other hand compete against each other.
The Leaderboard names are Peloton Leaderboard usernames for people in the same class you. The class rankings are shown on the left side of the names. Your first name will be displayed, with your Leaderboard ranking at top. Peloton friends will have their rankings on your Leaderboard. You can click on a username to go to a friend’s profile and send them a high-five. You can also request your friend to join you on a video chatwhile you ride.
The Leaderboard ranking is not a ranking. It is true, it shows you your rank against other people in the class, especially if you ride or run live.
If it is an on-demand class, and you want to compare your ranking with others in the class, your Leaderboard will show? Here Now? By default. This means you will compete against other people who took the class at that time. The only difference is that the class duration will vary, as people take classes at their own pace. You can filter your Leaderboard from? Here Now? to? All?. You will be able to compete with anyone who has taken the class before and during your time taking it. You will be able to assess your competence level as the Here Now option is only available to a select few people at a given time.
The numbers are next. As mentioned earlier, the first numbers to the right represent your Peloton ranking based on the number of users in the class. The number at the bottom, right below the Leaderboard, represents your Peloton output. Your metrics are combined to create the Peloton output.
You will also see a number in brackets followed by another number. The number between the brackets represents your average output, and the number before it is your highest output. These numbers can change if you exceed the maximum output for a new class.
Is the Leaderboard Available for Digital App Users?
Yes, both digital app and the users of the bike and treadmill can see the Leaderboard. The ranking and output will not be visible to digital app users as their metrics are not recorded.
The Leaderboard is the only view that the app users have to see in order to view the class members. They can also high-five and interact with the Leaderboard members. Video chat is not available for them as the feature is limited to treadmills and Peloton brand bikes.
Rethinking the leaderboard
From a design and UX standpoint, I love everything about this leaderboard. Even while riding, it’s simple to navigate. However, it’s difficult to design a system that isn’t “gamed” to make it more popular. After considering all options, I realized that it was impossible to keep everyone on the same scale. A person who is 225 pounds will be able achieve a higher score than someone who is 135 pounds. There is no way around it.
Peloton should include weight and age variables. It would not only be fair, but it would also allow for an equal playing field. A person weighing 225 pounds would expect to have a higher resistance due to their greater leg strength. A person weighing 135 pounds would not be penalized for being unable to sustain a higher resistance. The total output would be calculated using weight and gender as a sliding scale.
The right side of the Peloton screen shows the competitive nature of Peloton. It shows your competence in comparison to other riders or runners and also indicates your output and ranking.
Next time you are on a treadmill or on a bike, think about the right side of your screen. It’s interesting and can help you feel better about yourself.
Peloton’s leaderboard is a powerful motivator for many riders. However, it’s time for Peloton to introduce a new twist to the platform and allow those who are unable to climb the leaderboard due to their leg strength to participate.