It's a bike? It's an elliptical? It's both, actually. The ElliptiGo is an elliptical machine masquerading as a standup bike combining the motions of running and cycling in an outdoor setting. Although the ElliptiGo hit the market in 2010, they are still a rare sight on the streets these days. In fact, I hadn't spotted one in New York until several weeks ago. This should come as no surprise, considering the ElliptiGo's steep price tag: There are several models on the market right now, ranging in price from $1,800 to $3,500.
The ElliptiGo's rave reviews in hands-on testing may help justify the cost. Meg Baker at FoxNews.com took the ElliptiGo out for a spin and found herself "hooked." Steve Burton, the Eastern Regional Manager at ElliptiGo, accompanied her on this test. He explained that the bike provides all the benefits you'd get on an indoor elliptical, with the added perk of having to continuously work your core muscles, since balancing takes some time to get used to. Once a rider has a hang of it, Baker emphasized that the ElliptiGo is easy to maneuver and is ideal for exercisers of all levels. There are a few different models available, each with a certain number of gears suitable for a specific type of terrain.
Designed for individuals with knee and joint problems, the ElliptiGo was created by Bryan Tate, a former triathlete who could no longer participate in marathons due to hip and knee injuries. With the help of Brent Teal, his training partner and mechanical engineer, they conceived this low-impact fitness machine to simulate running and cycling. The pedals offer a far more forgiving surface than asphalt or concrete.
How does the elliptical bike workout compare with traditional cycling? You will have to sacrifice on speed as Baker notes, "compared with cycling, your speed may be a bit slower. Average cruising speed on an ElliptiGo is around 15 mph, strong riders can reach about 25 mph on level ground." Yet Burton assures out that the intensity of the workout is equal, if not slightly greater. A study conducted by the University of California San Diego (UCSD) shows you will burn 30 percent more calories on an elliptical bike than you would on a traditional cycle.
Becky Worley of Good Morning America is equally impressed with the ElliptiGo. She went on a ride with her friend Missy Park, a former competitive athlete who had to give up high-impact activities, like running, because it put too much stress on her knees. Missy said the ElliptiGo is her savior, allowing her to achieve that runner's high without having to actually pound the pavement. Worley notes two disadvantages: the ElliptiGo's high price tag and the amount of attention it attracts on the street.
Zelana Montminy, health and fitness host at Fitsugar.com, also took the the ElliptiGo on a test ride. She mentions many of the same benefits, including a full-body workout and outdoor fun. Montminy's interview with Bryce Whiting, chief enthusiast at ElliptiGo, reveals another distinct advantage: The same bike can be adjusted to accommodate any rider from 4'8" to 6'10" tall. Stride length can also be adjusted, allowing for a smoother ride.
Want to give the ElliptiGo a go but don't want to drop the cash? Check out your local bike shops. Some stores offer hourly elliptical bike rentals, so you can break a sweat without breaking the bank.