Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ElliptiGO Test Drive and Review

Ever since I saw the ElliptiGO outdoor elliptical bicycle at The Death Ride last year, I've been fascinated with the idea. At first I thought "why on the world would anyone put an elliptical trainer on wheels"? It seemed just one step away from putting a treadmill on wheels. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was quite practical - you could race around outdoors without the pounding of running, yet be more upright and comfortable than a road bike. It fits a nice little niche right in between running and cycling, and presents a chance to get a helluva workout.

I was able to go out on a test drive in Woodside, CA, with inventor and co-founder Bryan Pate. Bryan came up with the idea after his hip and knee injuries prevented him from pursuing a passion in Ironman and other endurance events. After a 60-second overview in the parking lot of Robert's Market, we headed off into my favorite hills.

(Inventor Bryan Pate shows me the ropes)
 I was surprised at how quickly the motion of the ElliptiGO felt natural. As long as your legs are in motion, it's easy to balance and crank away. The eight gears give ample options for climbing or going fast (I got up to about 24 mph on the flat), and since they shift in-the-hub, you can even find a gear when you're idle or at rest. Within blocks I wasn't thinking about the ElliptiGO at all, and yapping away with Bryan how he and his partner have developed the company behind the invention.

The cross training appeal is evident, and Bryan let me know about the many elite athletes that have used ElliptiGO's and sung their praises. Brian Pilcher, 5k National Champion Lauren Fleshman, Dean Karnazes (who naturally took one 500 miles down Hwy 1 to the start of the LA Marathon to set an "unofficial" record), and more. Each cited similar high points - a way to work the major core and leg muscles with no jolting impact, all while feeling the breeze in your hair. As we cut our way through Huddart Park and began the climb, I had to agree. The workout felt more like stand-up paddle boarding than running or cycling.

I think the ElliptiGO is a great option for the multitude of former runners forced to turn in their shoes to save their knees and hips. In fact, there are so many type A competitors turning to ElliptiGO that this year they had their first World Championship up Palomar Mountain in San Diego, CA. I couldn't find many complaints about the unit, aside from the obvious like "you can't sit down". ;-) I was pretty tired within 40 minutes of cranking on it; with all of the balance required, it's far more of a workout than a stationary elliptical (which, BTW, you can create by mounting the ElliptiGO on a stand).

The ElliptiGO retails for $2199, and is available on their Web site or at a fitness equipment seller near you. There are 21 left of the original 2,000...get it while you can!

- SD


  1. Scott -

    There's a classic picture of you in this months Running Times in Ian Torrence's article about ultrarunning. You're at the starting line of the Caumsett 50k smiling with your camera out! Now I know how you get those photos.


  2. We saw a guy in Santa Monica on one of these, and I thought now THAT looks like fun! Cool review, thanks!

  3. How much did they pay you to ride that fred-mobile? Lots I hope.

  4. Hey there! I'm Jeremy Stersky from Bingo-Room, this is so awesome. I was recently in Las Vegas on a promotion of casino gaming and the like and I saw one of these amazing multipurpose sports accessory bikes being showcased. I could hardly believe my eyes. And yes of course I'd love to get my hand (or legs) on one of these bad boys. They are totally cool. I'd expect that something like that must go for a packet - what's the retail price on one of those bad boys? This is really exciting. I'm into biathlon training so this sorta works the whole body. Take it easy - looking forward to some feedback - Jeremy

  5. I did a short test ride at Stanford shortly after Dean's ride to SoCal, but I'm still on the fence about buying.

    The price is scheduled to go up at the end of the year, I think by $300. It already seemed a little expensive, so I hope they can still sell them at that price, so eventually they'll have enough volume to lower the price.

  6. I'm feeling the ElliptiGo love up here in Canada, too! It's awesome!

  7. I took an ElliptiGO 8 speed test ride a while back and enjoyed the ride. I am finally going to plunk down the $2,400+ to get one (still cheaper than my nicest road bike), but am now trying to determine whether I should go for the 11S vs. the 8S. Can't find a dealer that has an 11S in stock, so can't answer this question without help.

    The question from this 45 year old average female cyclist and runner that still likes to ride in her big sprocket at 80-90 rpms and can still manage to run a 7-9 minute mile is: has anyone tried the 11S AND the 8S?

    Do you ever max out on the 8S where you would like to have additional gears? Do you ever run out of gears on a hill and if so does the 11S offer lower gears to help with? Is it worth the additional $1,000 for the 11 speed or is 8 all you need to feel the speed and keep in shape?

    My riding will be primarily flat trail, but I love to take area hills on the bike to be challenged a bit more.

    Would welcome any insight Thanks!

  8. I think a Trikke might be cheaper.
    I like the Elliptigo but the price point---meh--
    Great concept --I am just unclear at the rationale behind the pricing. The design is unique and appears wonderfully simplistic without the overwhelming complexities of electric bicycles (sorry I can't for the life of me figure out the supposed "easy e-bike kit" configurations).
    So, again--love it--am considering just unclear as to why $2400 especially since I am unable to commute 26 miles on it. What is the average human range? You stated 40 minutes (how many miles?).

    Great reviw by the way.

  9. Looks like an awesome machine but the price is just crazy. If this was 7-800 I would be buying one ...yesterday. I'll stick to the stationary elliptical.

  10. Eptigo is perfect but there are even better solutions for seekers of fitness. Just take elliptical machines of Octane Fitness that gave me the best experience of my life in complete effortless way. Visit Octane Fitness and become its superb fan.

  11. I was lucky enough to buy an 8s about four months ago after lots of research and finally a test ride in Sydney (a 4 hour drive from my mid north coast home) and I cannot express in words how much I love my elliptigo (otherwise known as Buzz!).
    Yes its a lot of money, but so is a gym membership for a year and personally I would much rather be outside with the breeze in my hair than stuck inside a smelly gym. This is a high quality machine and is the most fun you will ever have while working out hard It just feels like your flying. My Buzz is the best purchase I have EVER made and I cannot reccommend it highly enough for any fitness/adventure enthusiat.

  12. Living in Ireland I first came across the Elliptigo when reading one of Dean Karnazes ultra running books, was captivated by it's possibilities as I love to run marathons and ultras. This week after much consideration I purchased the 8 speed Elliptigo model. The first time i took it out for a spin i covered 26.2 miles in 2 hours 5 minutes, next day i was off again on my elliptigo this time covering 33 miles in 2 hours 25 minutes. What I love about the Elliptigo is the super workout enjoyed by legs, core and glutes, it's totally impact free allowing me to run next day with fresh legs as if I had taken a day off from running. It's a wonderful machine, certainly not cheap but it's so much fun !!

  13. know anyone in the Austin Texas or San Antonio Texas who wants one?


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