(Pocket-lint) - Peloton has received a lot of press in recent months.

Some of it is negative, due to that controversial Christmas ad that showed a husband giving a Peloton bike to his wife, but much of it has also been positive, largely because the company's flagship product is among the most highly rated at-home gym equipment you can buy. Those of you who want to know more about Peloton should look no further. We did the leg work for you (pun intended).

What is Peloton?

Peloton is a seven-year-old American company that makes at-home gym equipment, has an exercise app, and produces workout videos that customers can live-stream through Peloton products. It recently went public and is perhaps best known for its indoor exercise bike.

What can the Peloton bike do?

Peloton's flagship product, the Peloton indoor exercise bike, is a stationary piece of at-home gym equipment with a large touchscreen attached. It runs a custom version of Android, but you wouldn't recognise it because the screen will only let you view live or on-demand cycling classes. There are thousands of video sessions available for just $39 a month, including short clips for people with more limited schedules.

Peloton said there are over 20 fitness instructors to choose from for classes, and if you participate in a live stream, they may try to engage with you. If that's not your thing, then just watch the recorded classes and listen to the music - Peloton offers a robust music library. It's packed with plenty of other social features, however, like the ability to virtually ride with friends, as well as leaderboards with achievement badges.

The $2,250 bikes requires cleats, which are sold separately. And its handlebar only moves up and down, not fore and aft. The screen is also fixed in front of the handlebars, and it can't be used for other purposes, such as watching YouTube videos or accessing Android apps.

What else does Peloton offer?

Peloton Tread

Aside from the Peloton exercise bike, Peloton also offers the Peloton Tread, a $4,295 treadmill. It's a lot like the Peloton bike in that you can stream classes for $40 a month. But, this time, you watch via a 32-inch touchscreen and listen through a soundbar mounted at the front.

Bloomberg recently claimed Peloton is working on a cheaper treadmill for 2020.

Peloton Digital app

Peloton Digital is an app for mobile devices and some streaming media devices.

It provides access to Peloton's monthly subscription service of live or on-demand workout classes for cycling, running (both treadmill and outdoor), yoga, and meditation. It costs $12.99 a month and doesn't require Peloton's own workout products to work.

Is Peloton working on anything new?

Yes. Bloomberg said Peloton has been developing a rowing machine, expected to be available in 2020.

Best alternatives to the Peloton bike

You can use the Peloton Digital app with any indoor exercise bike or treadmill. It comes with a 14-day trial. However, if you subscribe to Peloton's subscription service through the app and don't own the Peloton bike or Peloton Tread, then keep in mind you won't get access to the leaderboard and on-screen stats like cadence, resistance, and other metrics measured by Peloton's equipment.

You can use accessories to achieve a more Peloton-like experience, too. Buy yourself a media device holder (like this tablet mount) or a cadence sensor (like Wahoo's) or even a pair of cycling shoes. As for alternatives to the bike itself, here are some well-rated options:

Writing by Maggie Tillman.