Its Running. Its Cycling. Its the ElliptiGO!
If you haven’t heard about the ElliptiGO yet, you are probably stuck under something heavy in the desert/jungle, in which case you should stop reading my blog and call for help. For my non stranded/lost readers, you have probably seen a pic here and there of this unique marriage of cycling and running, but have never had an up close and personal experience. Well today, I had the pleasure of finally getting my hands on one at the ACSM conference and I’ve got all the juicy pics you need.
According to the official website, the ElliptiGo is “a fitness device that emulates running outdoors without the associated impact.” Essentially, its an elliptical machine that goes somewhere, and boy do they go. Some of the events the ElliptiGo has conquered include The Death Ride in 2009 and the climb up to Mt Evans in 2010. Here it is in action:
The site goes on to say that the product is intended to serve as a cross training method for healthy runners and a tool for injured runners. I’ts fascinating that they go on to say that they are not attempting to change the bicycle. Rather, the ElliptiGO is designed “to deliver an experience that is much closer to running than to cycling.” Relax folks, they have nothing against cycling. Far from it; the two founders are both Ironman triathletes. But enough of that, check out their site for more info. Lets get to the unadultered pictures!
Here is a shot of the central frame portion. As you can see, there is welding going on. The manufacturer website has the material listed as “7005-T6 Aluminum.” Depending on which model you choose, total weight is between 19.1kg or 20kg.
Here’s the crank assembly. The rep mentions that you can choose what size crank arm you would like. I don’t imagine it would be too hard to change out the chain rings if you desired, but as of now, it looks like it comes with a 52 or 53, again depending on the model.
Here’s another view of the assembly. Of note is that the hub is internally geared. On the 3 speed model, the manufacturer is listed as Sturmey Archer R-SRF 3 while on the 8 speed ride you get Shimano Alfine SG-S501. You can also change your stride length.
Here’s the cockpit view.One thing I noticed was that, as far as I could tell, there was no waterbottle cage mounts. Sure, they are trying to mimic running, but it would be nice to have a place to store some water for later. After perusing around the website, it looks like you can get an “enthusiast kit” that includes water bottle mounts as well as other goodies.
From this angle, you can appreciate the amount of aluminum it takes to get this to work. Despite the weight numbers though, the rep stated that hill climbing is actually easier with the ElliptiGO versus cycling secondary to the device mimicking a rider being out of the saddle. I’ll admit, I would have to try that for myself.
And yes, if you’re like me and just love riding indoors, you can convert your ElliptiGO into an ElliptiNOGO via indoor trainer. The website specifically states that it is compatible with a Cycle Op trainer with an adapter for a 20inch wheel.
I know what your now wondering. How did it ride….or stride…or GO? Well, as you can imagine, letting a bunch of conference attendees cruise around on this in a crowded exhibit hall was something ElliptiGO was not too excited about. Alas, like many things in life, it was all look and no touch. I will try back tomorrow and see if I can at least get on the trainer with it towards the end of the day.
What I can say is that the product looks like its built tough. The gears move freely, much more smoothly than the gelatinous feel of ellipticals at the gym. With this being a triathlete blog, the other question I’m sure is on everyone’s mind is whether or not you can upgrade the parts. I asked about putting in a powermeter, either in the crank or the hub, and the response I got was that anything was possible. With the founders being triathletes, I’m sure it wont be long before a carbon, ceramic bearing, 20 inch Zipp wheeled version of this comes out.
All in all, I have to admit, this thing look comfortable. It looks well built. Most importantly, it looks FUN. I can already imagine how cool it would be to be able to cross train my run, while enjoying the distance coverage of a bike, while not having to deal with back or butt issues. I’m not saying, I would go throw out my Cervelo, but if I had 1800-2400 dollars to blow on exercise, this may just make my money GO.