Power’s Second Coming for Indoor Cycling

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I’m going to go out on a limb here (wow, that’s new for me right? NOT!) and say that we will see a resurgence of interest in Power this year. It’s not rocket science nor spooky soothsaying, it’s just logical from my point of view. When the Keiser & Schwinn made their initial power introduction to the market about 5 years ago, there was considerable interest and attention. Well, one or two Schwinn recalls later, and a Keiser journey that kept their data locked inside their smallest of on-board computers, we found interest slowly wane. About that time Flywheel and Soul Cycle started to become the talk of the town, and I do mean that in the most New York sense of the word.

The interesting thing about Flywheel is that their initial element of distinction was their custom “power” (or as they refer to it – torque) as represented on their group display called the “Torque Board”. It was neither power nor torque, and I wrote about my first hand experience in an earlier blog, but nevertheless it began to get some excessive PR as is often the case with things that are new or different in New York City.

As I watched from the sidelines, I think this actually helped Soul Cycle since the founder of Flywheel was originally part of the partnership that created Soul Cycle and the mere discussion of this fact helped both get more media exposure. These two female powerhouse entrepreneurs have been a veritable case study in seizing the market with savvy PR, branding and professional connections to the point that they have stayed the center of attention in the Indoor Cycling world for probably the last 3 years.

In the meantime, those that have focused more on the technology rather than on the experience have been quietly seeing more and more options for displaying power and all of its related metrics on not only the slew of new bikes, but also in the way of group displays.

Suunto may have started the group heart rate experience, but Polar, MyZone, and Performance IQ were quickly on their heels with similar offerings as well as adding power to the mix. With the bigger studios beginning to consider how they can compete with the Soul Cycle and Flywheel expansion, they are beginning to look at technology and other ways to differentiate the experience or even introduce real training in the mix.

As my dad used to say when he had an inside scoop, “A little birdie told me” that this March, at IHRSA we will see Keiser finally unlock their data with a couple options for getting the data out of the computer. Given that they sold more power bikes than any other manufacturer since power was introduced to the market, this should be the final element needed to pull the new technology players into the limelight and begin to turn soul cycle mania into a more power player movement.

Only time will tell if my “Spidey sense” is on target or if I’m just doing more wishful thinking. Nevertheless, I have begun to re-double my efforts to study how power is being represented in this Indoor Cycling industry, and how we can exploit it. To that end, this blog represents the first in a series that will be exploring power and how we can make it more accessible, more understandable, more reliable, and more straight forward to teach with.

Gino

Cycling Fusion & Global Rider Productions were founded by Gene Nacey, a former Entrepreneur of the Year for healthcare technology, fitness club owner, Indoor Cycling instructor app designer, cycling competitor, master indoor cycling instructor, and author of the first book written on training with indoor power bikes.
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Comments

  1. says

    Gino,

    Good intel and nice to see your name here once again. I hope your ‘spidey sense’ run true but there are mine fields to navigate.

    It will be interesting to see the results of John’s survey of instructors in this regard.

    I teach exclusively these days on Keiser M3. The great thing about bikes with power metrics is, wait for the drum roll, it is always there. No cajoling riders to strap on a a heart rate monitor. An instructor can teach a class using power at their discretion with no dependance on the rider to buy and supply anything.

    You know I’m an evangelist for Heart Rate training. I never teach or ride without it but getting indoor riders to buy in has been a losing battle. (Forgive me Sally)

    So enter power. AGAIN! It is always there. I’m referring to it and cueing easy ways for indoor cyclists to understand and giving them the option to buy in or just ride for the exercise. Soul cycle success has not been lost on me and to some extent give them that experience as well.

    As we began the new year I have had my riders complete a 20 minute FTP test and today we did climbing strength intervals. Both classes were full and the interest in the power numbers was, well, inspirational. I don’t think many riders will be racing soon but they were interested from an ability to track progress point of view.

    Your renewed study of power presentations in the industry will be closely watched by myself and I hope others.

  2. says

    I LOVE the ability to teach with power. And it’s definitely possible to use power in teaching without the need to get overly technical, or do any specific threshold testing.

    For example, this morning’s ride included intervals of varying lengths. My challenge to the riders was simply to notice their power during interval #1 of X duration, and try to beat that number for interval #2 or 3 of the same duration.

    The final hard effort of the ride included a very short (20 second), very high intensity effort. I had riders take note of their max power for the ride up that point, and their final challenge was simply to hit a new max power for the ride during the final effort.

    I find that teaching with power helps riders realize that maybe they haven’t been working as hard as they THOUGHT they were… It can be a real eye opener!

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