Indoor Cycling Trends 2022

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Digitisation is moving forward

Peloton, Echelon Fit and Technogym 's concept in cooperation with the London boutique studio "1Rebel" are booming due to the Covid 19 pandemic. And cycling studios like "Swerve" in New York are now renting out bikes for home use. We give you an overview of the latest developments in indoor cycling.

Because of Covid-19, digitization in the fitness industry has accelerated extremely. In no time, many boutique and fitness studios went to offering classes online. Cycling classes have also long shifted to online platforms like wexer or Zwift and the offerings are becoming more professional. The wheel is unlikely to turn back. On the contrary, online offerings are expected to continue to grow in 2022. "The trend of digital support for group courses will continue to grow," also says Andreas Fischer, General Manager of ICG. "This is about optimizing training results as well as enhancing the training experience. In addition, the technical and personal skills of instructors will be more important than ever." During the pandemic, companies like Peloton, Echelon Fit and Technogym were booming. Their internet-connected bikes, which brought cycling classes live from hip boutique studios around the world into the living rooms of the pandemic-stricken, sparked a new boom. Suddenly it's chic to work out at home.

Train via livestream in London or New York

Peloton, based in New York, was founded in 2012. In the U.S., its internet-connected bikes, which broadcast cycling classes live and on demand from hip boutique studios in London and New York, were already booming before the pandemic and have grown rapidly - in part due to intensive marketing campaigns. During the pandemic-related lockdowns, sales soared once again. In some cases, the bikes were no longer available. In Germany, Peloton has been active since 2019 and currently has shops in 22 cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Munich and Frankfurt. There you can test the bikes. In Germany, however, Peloton does not have such a good reputation when it comes to service. In reviews on Trust Pilot, there is always a lot of criticism. Especially the customer service in Germany and defective bikes, which were not or too late exchanged, are criticized.

The price of formerly 2,145 euros has now dropped to 1,495 euros. In order to be able to participate live or on demand in courses in London or New York studios, an additional 39 euros per month are due for a membership. In addition, 340 euros is required for a set of equipment such as click shoes, dumbbells, a mat, headphones and a heart rate monitor. Those who order the bike get it set up and adjusted at home. Most videos and livestreams currently come from the English-speaking world. There are only a few German-speaking trainers, so the German-language offering is still limited. However, some cycling courses have German subtitles.

Train live with the community at "1Rebel

In the meantime, Peloton has received competition from Technogym and Echolon Fit. The "Technogym Bike" offers live classes and videos on demand from hip boutique studios like the "1Rebel" in London and the "Revolution" in Milan. The bike costs 2,950 euros including small dumbbells. A monthly fee of 29 euros is charged for the streaming service. The "1Rebel" is a very hip boutique studio with several branches in London. The rides are broadcast from the studio in the London district of Victoria. In the futuristic-looking studio, 86 bikes on three floors are ready to offer the participants pure entertainment with loud party music interaus of a 3-D sound system and disco lighting.

The first smart bikes are already in studios

Although the bikes with their live and on-demand courses were originally developed for the home training market, they can now also be found in fitness facilities. Technogym has already equipped gyms and Echelon Fit has also installed its first bikes. "We have now already delivered the first bikes to fitness facilities such as Fitness First," says Christian Halbig, sales manager at Echelon Fit GmbH in Hamburg. He assumes that streaming will also play a bigger role in fitness facilities in the future. "Live and on-demand offerings will expand the product portfolio of fitness clubs," Halbig says. The "Echelon Bike Connect EX5S" costs 1,999 euros. A monthly fee of 39 euros is charged for streaming. Live classes are filmed in Echelon Fit's studios in Germany or around the world and are available a few hours after recording in the app, where classes can be selected by course level, duration, music style and instructor.

Indoor cycling becomes hybrid

The sales director of Echelon Fit GmbH believes that "there will be a hybrid model in the future." The trend is that home and studio training will be combined in the future. Those who now have their own bike at home will continue to use it. However, many will also return to cycling classes at the studio, because the social factor and the actual experience in a class right there can't be easily replaced. Fischer also sees a trend that "many members will use training at home as a supplement to training in the studio - people want to be more flexible. There will be a symbiosis here, meaning an optimal combination of both."

Peloton now has its own studio in New York. There are 60 Peloton bikes set up there. Not only are courses broadcast live from the studio to riders at home from a control center in the basement. Those who don't want to buy the bike themselves can drop by the studio and join in directly. Fischer doesn't see the new Internet-enabled bikes as competition for studios: "Especially during the last 18 months, a lot has happened in the home fitness sector. Nevertheless, this movement can also be seen as an opportunity for the commercial fitness market, as a digital trainer cannot replace a real instructor as well as the experience in a class with other participants. But it does represent a good entry point, which could potentially remove the barrier of first stepping into the class space."

Streaming platforms and apps expand offerings

Alongside internet-enabled bikes, internet platforms and apps have emerged during the pandemic, initially enabling workouts at home, but now being used as solutions to further digitisation in gyms. The streaming platform wexer not only offers live classes and group fitness on demand, but also a special software called "Intelligent Cycling". Via a screen, wexer sends participants on a futuristic-looking journey. By using augmented reality, different recordings are automatically superimposed so that no two courses are the same, even if the riding profile remains the same. Intelligent Cycling" is not only used at home, but also in fitness facilities. There, the course is then broadcast live on a big screen. The cloud-based cycling program, which will be ready in 2019, comes from the Danish company of the same name, Intelligent Cycling, which was founded by Peter Møller Hansen, Brian Overkær and Anders Willemoes Hansen and which cooperates not only with wexer, but also with Schwinn, Bodybike, Kieser and Wattbike.

Trend towards individualization

The Danish developers focus on digital training solutions that meet the needs of club owners, trainers and club members both inside and outside the gym. The focus is on individualizing training and providing offerings for different target groups from road cyclists to mountain bikers and triathletes. "The trend toward individualization is getting stronger," Halbig says. "The consumer decides when and where to train."

In addition to the trend toward more customized offerings, the creators of Intelligent Cycling want to help maximize the use of bikes in studios by offering on-demand content, streaming of live virtual classes, and VR-enabled indoor cycling. Members can activate the online courses themselves via their smartphone using a virtual player. In addition to a number of pre-choreographed classes, the program allows exercisers to create their own workout from hundreds of pre-designed workouts, saving time in preparation. A new feature even provides real-time workout feedback via the accompanying app. The idea is not to replace the trainer, but to also use the virtual classes so that trainers have the opportunity to coach their clients individually. The Danes' software is now used in more than 1,000 gyms in 141 countries.

For gamers: playful competition scores points

Other platforms like Zwift additionally focus on motivation through game play. Zwift is an American streaming platform that comes from the gaming sector. The company's team consists of fitness enthusiasts and experienced video game developers. The platform uses multiplayer online gaming technology to explore 3-D worlds. Thousands of cyclists worldwide can immerse themselves in game worlds in cities such as London, New York and Paris. Performance in the real world drives one's avatar in the game. Users playfully compete against each other on various routes. They can ride off-road on a mountain bike or compete against other athletes in time trials around the world on a road bike. Similar to a video game, bonus points are collected, which can be used to unlock new bikes or tracks. The app itself can be used for 14.99 euros per month. For home or studio use, you need a roller trainer and can then get started with your own bike. Usually modern road bikes are used, but also mountain bikes and hybrids like gravel bikes. There are training plans for road cyclists, triathletes and especially for lovers of MTBs or gravel bikes. Regularly there are special events like bike races, sprints or enduro sessions.

Rent bikes for home

The boutique studio "Swerve" in New York also relies on playful competition between teams. The boutique studio has three branches in New York. Founders Eric Posner, Chelsea Kocis and John Henry McNierney came up with the idea of using team training to boost motivation and a sense of community. A class lasts 45 minutes; riders are divided into three teams (Red, Green and Blue). As soon as you get on your bike, you get to know your teammates. This encourages social interaction. During the session, participants are tracked. Everyone can see their own performance data. The team's data is then displayed on a large screen. According to the founders, the workout is more intense because the participants are more motivated as a team.

The boutique studio was an early adopter of the hybrid model trend. Instead of making its members exclusively interested in the studio, "Swerve" has already perfected its hybrid model. It has its own studio bike and the "Schwinn Power AC Indoor Bike." Both bikes are also available for rent. So if you don't want to come to one of the three boutique studios in New York, you simply rent your bike, which is delivered to your home and ready to install. This way, members have the same system at home as they do in the studio. They can then work out when and where they want, use what's on offer live or on demand, whether it's just at the gym, just from home, or both places combined.

Cycling and yoga or entertainment with karaoke

The corona pandemic has raised stress levels with homeschooling and home offices. Mindfulness meditation and yoga classes have taken off in 2021. Sales of yoga equipment have increased significantly during the pandemic. So why not just combine full-body exercises and strength training with cycling, but yoga as well. That's exactly what boutique studio The Cycling Yogi is doing in Colorado. If you don't know whether you'd rather do indoor cycling or yoga, you can simply combine the two here. A 30-minute session on the bike is followed by 30 minutes of Vinyasa yoga.

To make sure indoor cycling doesn't get too boring, there are more than just digital elements to keep you entertained. The New York franchise chain "Crunch" now relies on karaoke to train its customers' vocal cords as well. In cycle karaoke, one trainer leads the class while a second walks around with a microphone into which participants sing while riding. Even without a microphone, people are welcome to sing along.

The demands on trainers will increase

All of these developments basically follow two trends: that of greater individualization and that of maximum entertainment value. The expectations of consumers who come into contact with the best trainers in the world via online platforms will increase rapidly. Engaging, well-trained, knowledgeable and dedicated trainers are therefore a unique selling point for studios. Future indoor cycling trainers will not only offer classes in the club, but also online. They will need to respond to customers individually, be familiar with digital technology and, best of all, be DJs. As entertainment becomes more and more important, music will also become more important in indoor cycling. Digitization and gamification will also increase, as it's all about selling experiences.

New games paired with in-ear feedback from new high-end headphones that can integrate ambient sounds, augmented reality or mixed reality glasses that allow for interactions and real-time feedback will make indoor cycling more fun in the future. In addition, bikes will gain even more experiential features, such as tactile feedback on the handlebars, vibrations, and visual and audio cues that will then simulate cycling in a real-world environment.

Source: bodyLIFE

Image source: pixabay // valkovav

Published on: 7 December 2021

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