Peloton is back with a $90 heart rate monitor for your arm

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It’s not a rowing machine or the next Peloton guide, but Peloton today announced the release of a new Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Unlike its existing chest strap, the Peloton Heart Rate Band is intended to be worn on the user’s forearm and features optical heart rate sensors.

The heart rate band will be available in small and large sizes and will cost $90. That’s just under double the price of its existing sternum strap, which retails for $49 on Peloton’s website. It will also sport five LED lights that indicate the heart rate zone you are currently training in, battery level and Bluetooth connectivity status. It also has a rechargeable battery that gets around 10 hours on a single charge.

The device is meant to be an accessory that integrates with the rest of the Peloton ecosystem: the bike, the bike plus, the tread, the next guide and the Peloton app. The more expensive Tread Plus was not listed in Peloton’s press release as a compatible device. However, Peloton says that’s because it’s not currently available and existing Tread Plus owners should also be able to use the device. The heart rate band will also work with any third-party apps that support standard Bluetooth heart rate monitor profiles.

The heart rate band will also support Peloton’s Strive Score metric. The Strive Score measures the time you’ve spent in a specific heart rate zone to determine training intensity and progress. Typically, you will be able to measure this via the power output of a treadmill or bicycle. However, it’s much harder for non-equipment classes like HIIT and weight training. The same goes for Peloton’s bootcamp classes, which alternate floor exercises with biking/running.

The armband has been rumored for quite some time now. Bloomberg first reported that Peloton was working on the device in June 2021 as part of a clothing push. There are several reasons why a company like Peloton might want to expand beyond their existing chest strap. To begin with, chest straps typically rely on an electrical current to measure heart rate. While this usually results in better accuracy, chest straps can also be cumbersome to use. For example, while you can simply put on an optical sensor heart rate monitor, a chest strap requires wetting the contact point and positioning it correctly before beginning an activity. This can be difficult for people with mobility issues or limb differences, and wearing a chest-based device may not be comfortable for some people.

One caveat is that without testing, it’s hard to tell how accurate the heart rate band will be compared to other monitors. Optical sensors require good skin contact for accurate readings and localization questions. Each area of ​​the body has its pros and cons. Valencell, a maker of wearable biometric sensors, for example, notes that while the wrist is a popular area for optical heart rate sensors, it’s one of the most difficult places to get an accurate reading. A recent study also found that optical sensors are less accurate for people with darker skin or obesity.

Peloton isn’t the only connected fitness company exploring areas of heart rate monitoring outside of the wrist and chest. Polar has the Verity Sense, which is also an arm-based optical heart rate sensor. Meanwhile, Whoop has long sold armband accessories for its tracker and recently launched a clothing line that lets you wear its tracker on different parts of the body.

Peloton’s Heart Rate Band is available today in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Australia.

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