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Home ‘Smart Bike’ Sales Are Booming, But It May Not Last

Indoor exercise is spiking as millions of Americans self-isolate, but the industry is unlikely to avoid its underlying problems for long.

An exercise class is displayed on the screen of a Peloton Interactive Inc. stationary bicycle at the company’s Madison Avenue location in New York.

An exercise class is displayed on the screen of a Peloton Interactive Inc. stationary bicycle at the company’s Madison Avenue location in New York.

Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg
Corrected

Peloton and other home “smart bike” makers are experiencing a sharp increase in sales as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The machines, which allow riders to stream live spinning classes or compete with other users in immersive digital environments, are in sudden demand now that much of America can’t get to the gym.

The temporary bump is much-needed in an industry that has long suffered from intractable obstacles: the core product is an expensive one-time purchase, the number of potential consumers are limited, the market is saturated and competitors are seemingly more interested in exchanging lawsuits than broadening their customer bases.