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.
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