No question that the “buzz” around cycling studios is accelerating. I met with no fewer than 6 studio entrepreneurs at various points during the trade show, and the bike-makers confirmed that the steady stream of inquiries continues to grow. IHRSA is a useful event to visit. Only a small percent of the exhibit is indoor cycling related — but it’s all the latest stuff. Here are some quick observations.
While there were 9 or 10 indoor cycling bikes being shown in some way at IHRSA, there are really only 5 that I have seen cycling studio entrepreneurs show significant interest in: Schwinn, StarTrac, Keiser, Freemotion and RealRyder.
Might there be others that would be suited to a new studio? Maybe. But for studio owners who’s concerns are durability, reliability and broad appeal….these are the bikes that seem to come up again and again. I believe that for a studio….it’s much more about instructors than it is about bikes — so don’t get TOO obsessed about picking your brand. That being said, here are some quick hits from IHRSA:
- Schwinn AC Performance bike has comfiest handlebars ever, magnetic resistance which many are now loving, a cool white look, and as of this summer sometime a new wired console that will eliminate battery and other issues in the earlier console.
StarTrac finally introduces power console on the Blade Ion. It’s simple and elegant to read (and powered by the bike!)….and is available June-ish. Looks good in demos, but we need to see it “out there” in the real world for a while. Console not available on lower priced models.
- Keiser was the original bike with consoles to show power, and are still the only bike with an objective resistance number. They’re “bike in the rear” design is unique, but nothing new announced at IHRSA.
- Freemotion is a stylish bike with some cool touches such as the elegant mechanisms for tightening seat and handlebar adjustments. Magnetic resistance and power console have been key parts of their offering from the beginning. They also have that cool new Tour de France bike (more on that later).
- RealRyder continues to pop up in studios as a unique alternative to stationery bikes.
Other “stuff” we found interesting.
- StarTrac has a new “Trio” pedal that can fit on any IC bike. The Trio accepts Look or SPD clips and also has toe clips. Best, there is an amazingly easy mechanism for changing out the toe clip by hand.
- Performance IQ has systems to project power or heartrate data in your studio and they work with ANT consoles that are (or will be) on Schwinn, StarTrac, Keiser and Freemotion bikes. Still the best and only solution for those wanting to create the FlyWheel-type experience.
- Wexer is a company that seems to have a strong lineup of video content to rival the higher priced MyRide offerings. This kind of on demand video content has yet to break-into the US market as it apparently has in Europe, but at this price point it may be an option to consider.
We also made sure we got a chance to speak with the suppliers who can help studios get the best sound systems, flooring, insurance, supplies, lighting, online booking and other services. These may not be the sexiest parts of your studio, but they are important to your overall business and financial success.
For help with your studio development, contact Bill at email@example.com