If people can just exercise at home on stationary bikes, why does anyone even bother going to spin classes? Well, for two main reasons: they get guided through the workout by a fitness expert, and (perhaps more importantly) they receive motivation by being part of a group that’s sharing the same experience at the same time. Now, a New York-based team is developing a product that combines the best of both worlds. The Peleton Bike lets users ride in their own homes, while taking part in a spin class that’s being streamed live to a built-in Android tablet.

The sweat-resistant tablet is custom-made for the bike, and features a 21.5-inch 1080p multitouch display. It’s powered by a Texas Instruments 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and uses 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ allow user-supplied wireless gadgets (such as heart rate monitors and headphones) to communicate with it.

A 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and a microphone let the rider chat with fellow tele-participating classmates. Additionally, using integrated software, it’s possible to keep track of personal stats such as speed, resistance level, calories burned, cadence and power output – both for the current ride and as they’ve progressed over time.

Classes will be broadcast live from Peleton’s New York City studio, at numerous times (for multiple time zones) and for a variety of fitness levels and riding styles. The company is currently recruiting professional indoor cycling instructors to lead those classes. If users can’t tune in live for the session of their choice, they can still watch a recording of it on demand, at whatever time suits them best. A basic tier of classes will be available free to all users, although a monthly subscription of up to an estimated US$39 will be required to take advantage of the full package.

The steel and aluminum monocoque-framed bike itself utilizes an adjustable magnetic resistance flywheel, and a smooth and quiet belt drive.

Production funds for the Peleton Bike and its associated classes are currently being raised on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$1,500 will get US-based supporters a bike of their own – when and if they reach production – along with one year of free access to all of the classes. More information is available in the pitch video below.

Now, if only someone could develop a system where helmet-camera video from actual outdoor training rides were broadcast live to stationary bikes ...

Sources: Peleton, Kickstarter