Peloton's $4.3K Tread+ is now completely unusable without a subscription

“That’s like buying a car and then the manufacturer making it not usable until you pay to use the airbags.”

Brianna Wu, Tread+ customer

We thought Peloton was done making bad decisions after it initially chose not to recall the Tread+ despite children quite literally being killed by it. We were wrong.

This week a number of Tread+ owners have reported that the device can no longer be used as a regular-old treadmill unless owners are paying for a Peloton All Access subscription. Previously users were able to just get on the treadmill and start running — now it seems that’s simply impossible unless you’re paying $39 per month.

The Tread+ — which originally sold for $4,295, by the way — included a feature called “Just Run” that allowed owners to, well, just run. A Tread+ customer named Jennifer Strong went somewhat viral on Facebook this week after posting about the Just Run problem. “They’re basically paperweights now!” she wrote of her Tread+.

The disappearing feature is a complication brought on by the ongoing Tread+ recall, according to Peloton. But this doesn’t explain why the company blocked Just Run without first explaining its reasoning to customers.

The result of poor planning — Peloton confirmed to PCMag in an emailed statement that the Just Run feature no longer works for non-subscribers because of the ongoing recall.

Peloton recently locked down the Tread+ with a feature called “Tread Lock,” a four-digit passcode that should stop kids from starting the treadmill of their own accord and subsequently being sucked beneath it. The problem? Tread Lock is only available for Peloton All Access subscribers. Customers like Strong who prefer using the Tread+ without the high-octane pressure of a Peloton class — or who simply can’t afford the monthly fee — can no longer use their Tread+ at all.

An expensive paperweight — Peloton says Just Run should eventually be available to non-members again. The company told PCMag that it’s “working on updates to Tread Lock that will allow us to make Tread Lock and Just Run available without a Peloton membership.”

In the meantime, though, the Tread+ has become completely useless for these customers. Peloton’s lack of communication has been just as frustrating as the problem itself.

It’s unclear why Peloton would create a safety feature and then restrict it to paying members only. That doesn’t exactly seem… safe. But then again, this is the same company that watched a video of its product injuring children, saw the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issue warnings, and decided not to recall its product. Waiting months to finally recall the Tread+ wasn’t exactly safe, either.

“If Peloton is going to cite safety as the issue for not using it I completely disagree,” video game developer and Tread+ owner Brianna Wu told PCMag. “That’s like buying a car and then the manufacturer making it not usable until you pay to use the airbags.