A CYCLE OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
From industry to industry, every successful business understands one undeniable truth: If you’re not getting better, you’re falling behind. So, despite the success we’ve had co-developing indoor cycles in the past, we knew in our hearts that we could do better. This simple impulse sent us back to the drawing board in 2015 and into the minds of the people who matter most, our customers and their end users. After asking questions, studying every aspect of the cycling experience and experimenting with a variety of designs, we developed a line of training cycles that are set to appeal to a wide range of users and breathe new life into cycling classes everywhere.
Our first step toward rejuvenating the cycling experience was to find out what motivates club members to saddle up for a ride — after all, the most effective exercise is the kind that you enjoy. In a survey of members, some of whom had participated in group training and some of whom had not, we quickly discovered that tracking a range of measurable metrics was essential to creating an engaging experience. Though some class participants were laser-like in their focus on watts or power generated, others were more interested in tracking their heart rate, calories burned or distance while taking part in an exciting group exercise experience. Those who cycled alone also included time elapsed in the metrics important to them. The pivotal learning for our team was that people want to be able to see some form of quantifiable progress with every pedal stroke. The answer seemed obvious: create an indoor cycle that could capture all of these metrics.
STUDYING THE INTERFACE BETWEEN MAN & MACHINE
Once we had a sound idea, our next job was to make sure that it was grounded in the very best design. To begin, we studied users of different body types and ability levels interacting with a wide range of existing indoor cycles. We soon realised just how far indoor cycle design still had to go: what worked for a user who stood 6'3" (190.5 cm)didn't always work for a user who was 5'3" (160 cm); everyone wanted a sturdy, stable design, but added weight made the cycles harder to move and rearrange; adjustment points were often unintuitive, difficult to manage and prone to failure; handlebars often served one riding position well, but failed when the user transitioned into a different phase of the ride; resistance controls and extras like water bottle holders were often inconveniently placed; and the biggest, softest seat was often far from the most comfortable. While these user insights were invaluable to our development process, they didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the challenges we heard about from the service technicians responsible for keeping rooms full of heavy-use indoor cycles up and running. Our team kept on digging until we felt confident that we had identified and addressed not just the major shortcomings common to indoor cycles, but also the minor inconveniences and frustrations that chip away at the value of the cycling experience.
REFINING EVERY ANGLE & TOUCHPOINT
By investigating ergonomic needs and examining the user interactions with the cycle’s touchpoints, a more evolved design quickly took shape. We started with a narrow Q-factor to optimise the position of the feet and mimic the feel of a real outdoor riding experience. We built a seat post that could comfortably accommodate users as short as 4'10" (147 cm) and as tall as 6'8" (203 cm). We eliminated gas shocks that are prone to failure and developed intuitive four-way adjustment with quick-touch operation and easy seat-tilt, so even novices could approach the cycle and adapt it to their unique body. We created multi-grip handlebars that provide an ergonomically sound grip across different riding styles while always keeping the user’s water bottle close at hand. We developed a frame that had a stable feel no matter how intense the ride, and we included integrated wheels and handles so rearranging them was still easy and intuitive despite the ultra-solid construction. We added dial levelers to the CXP and made sure that everything could be adjusted with simple tools to make setup easy for club operators and trainers. To streamline resistance changes, we developed a strong, textured lever that was easier to manipulate than a tension knob and moved the lever into the user’s natural field of vision. A new concept for the pedals included refined toe cages and quick-pull straps that make it easy for riders to jump on and go. As for the seat — perhaps the most important touchpoint on the entire cycle — we knew we had found the design perfectly sculpted to relieve pressure when user after user began to tell us how comfortable it was without us even asking. We continued to refine our design until we knew beyond a doubt that our cycle was unmatched in ergonomics, adjustments, comfort and convenience.
INVESTING IN MANUFACTURING
With our forward-thinking design finalised, our next task was to bring our new training cycles to life on a mass scale. Part of our inspiration for this phase of development came from our opportunity to tour a Toyota manufacturing facility. Leveraging a similar combination of highly skilled technicians, automatic assembly and robotic welds, we were able to elevate the quality of our product to new heights. The addition of the robotic welding process in particular enhanced the final product because every weld was perfectly consistent, never affected by a shaky hand or a distraction, and this helped us build the industry’s most stable, solid-feeling frame. It also meant that we could produce cycles 24 hours a day, seven days a week without interruption, helping us serve the needs of clubs large and small all over the world. Furthermore, a new BED paint application process was introduced to better protect the welds from corrosion and help each frame maintain its strength and stability for longer than ever. We also teamed up with Velo, an acclaimed manufacturer of high-quality seats in the cycling world, to produce the industry’s most comfortable seats. Like everything we manufacture, our cycles were tested against the most stringent international standards, assembled solely from parts we design and evaluate ourselves to ensure superior value.
SERVING THE SERVICE PEOPLE
Creating cycles that satisfy the diverse needs of facility operators, trainers and end users is no small task, but our will to innovate didn’t end there. As we developed our new line of cycles, we also devoted thought to the needs of the service technicians responsible for maximising the uptime of products that are used both frequently and vigorously. Our flywheel includes a protective shroud that keeps the moving components safe from sweat, cleaning solvents and dust, prolonging product life and averting problems before they ever occur. Two quick-release service panels featuring a single fastener each help technicians get to the instantly identifiable internal components in a matter of seconds. This speeds up service, especially in crowded cycling rooms full of tight rows, and technicians can even take off the main shroud without removing the pedal cranks. Our single-piece, weld-free drive system with an adjustment-free Flexonic belt provides consistent performance and will never warp, and our magnetic resistance system virtually eliminates internal friction and failure points to take cycle durability to a whole new level. In the end, our new design means that service technicians can devote far less attention to our cycles, even in heavy use facilities, and when our cycles are in need of maintenance, the process will be easier than ever.
PUTTING A COLOURFUL SPIN ON GROUP CYCLING
Once we were confident that we had developed the industry’s best indoor cycle, we just needed to create the right console to help end users track the important metrics that keep them going. Our generator-powered target training display (available on the CXP) offers intuitive navigation and engaging graphics while capturing essential workout data and enhancing the cycling experience with a colourful dash of camaraderie and competition. Integrated FTP testing and a sub-max heart rate test help members establish personalised targets just right for their ability levels, and an LED wrap that lights with vibrant colours helps members maintain effort and reach goals whether they’re tracking watts, calories, RPMs, heart rate or powering through an HIIT workout. Using a German-made torque sensor that has been tested and proven in Formula 1 PCME technology to communicate with the console, our ingenious new cycles can even measure watt production within 2% accuracy, helping serious riders get a more precise training experience and giving those new to cycling a clear picture of their progress. When used in coordination with our signature programming, trainers can put forth a variety of metric-based goals to keep classes fresh and create an exciting group environment that brings members back again and again.