New Tech Features Enhance Stationary Bikes’ Value and Appeal

These are not your mother's stationary bikes. New offerings include streaming entertainment, bluetooth connectivity, and heaps of user data.

Technology continues to inform and transform commercial cardiovascular equipment, including the popular category of upright and recumbent stationary cycles.

“People of all shapes and sizes can easily use a recumbent or upright bike—for warm-ups, workouts, cross-training, or rehab,” says Ivo Grossi, a vice president of sales at SportsArt. “There’ll always be stationary bikes at health clubs.”

Interactivity, Connectivity, and Personalization

Popular technological features now include interactivity, connectivity, and personalization, which benefit both clubs and their clients. For instance, on Matrix Fitness’ upright and recumbent bikes, members can:

  • personalize streaming entertainment, such as Vudu, Hulu, and Netflix videos
  • listen to their favorite music via the console
  • post their workouts to Facebook
  • access their MyFitnessPal app data
  • customize their settings for cardio sessions

“Exercisers can view their workout data in the Matrix Workout Tracking Network, as well as in the third-party apps associated with their account, in the form of graphs that display various data points throughout the workout,” says Matt McConley, Matrix’s global digital product manager. “The system provides a comprehensive analysis.”

“People of all shapes and sizes can easily use a recumbent or upright bike—for warm-ups, workouts, cross-training, or rehab.”

Ivo Grossi, Vice President of Sales


Better Interface, Better Experience

Life Fitness’ new Discover SE3 console on its Elevation Series bikes offers similar ease of use and customization features.

“We’ve introduced Bluetooth and Near Field Communication, so exercisers can simply hold their phone near the console to log in automatically,” says Anthony Morelli, the company’s senior product manager for premium cardio. “With this new user interface, we’ve found that people explore more of the equipment’s options, rather than simply hitting Quick Start.”

By making use of Life Fitness’ LFConnect or Matrix’s new Personal Trainer Portal, staff trainers can create exclusive workouts for members and, moreover, ensure that they’re completed. In the case of the Personal Trainer Portal, for instance, the bike automatically adjusts resistance as stipulated for customized routines.

More Data for Clubs

Health club operators also are taking advantage of the more sophisticated data offerings that contemporary cardio affords. Life Fitness’ LFopen technology tracks machine usage so clubs can quantify equipment utilization, busy workout times, and the average duration of sessions.

“This information helps operators make decisions about such things as rearranging the cardio floor, adjusting the product mix, or altering staffing during peak times,” Morelli says.

And SportsArt has developed Eco-Powr, which helps clubs practice and promote sustainability—74% of the energy that exercisers generate while cycling goes back into the grid, creating utility-grade energy that offsets the club’s power consumption.

“This unique line attracts progressive and environmentally conscious consumers, particularly millennials,” says Grossi.

Learn more about bikes on Club Business Exchange.

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.