Stand-Up Bike 'Like Running on Air'

Take an elliptical exercise machine and mount it on wheels — that’s the basic premise of ElliptiGO Inc.‘s namesake line of stand-up bikes. The kooky design is touted to deliver an exercise that feels like running “but without the pounding of running,” and also advertised to give users an experience that’s akin to “running on air.”

Popular culture has embraced the invention, which nabbed U.S. Patent No. 6,663,127, as ElliptiGO bikes have been seen on TV shows (“Biggest Loser”), in major news outlets, and for endurance feats, like Dean “Ultramarathon Man” Karnazes’ five-day, 500-mile ride in 2010 from San Francisco to L.A.

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No seat and no pedals, the ElliptiGO is powered with a running motion

This month, ElliptiGO Inc. announced a new model that would have better suited Dean on his long “run” last year — the ElliptiGO 11R model is a “high-performance, race-ready” bike with carbon-fiber arms and a Shimano 11-speed hub. Dubbed the lightest and “most capable” elliptical bike in the line, the 11R is still not light — it weighs about 40 pounds — but the company does tout it as fast, citing “comfortable pedaling at speeds up to 30mph.”

Bryan Pate, co-president at ElliptiGO, said the company’s bikes have already completed some of the toughest cycling events in the country, including something called the Death Ride in California.

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Carbon fiber parts, a Shimano hub, and Ergon grips come stock on the $3,499 bike

The new race bike from ElliptiGO will cost a healthy $3,499 when it ships to stores in December. It comes with Ergon brand bike grips for ascents and has a matte black motif with white racing stripes. One bummer for racers looking to bust a move on an ElliptiGO: As noted in the company’s FAQ section, a rider on a stand-up bike has a higher drag coefficient (higher air resistance) than a rider on a traditional bicycle. This extra air drag, ElliptiGO cites, helps “facilitate speed control” during steep descents, rarely allowing the bike to break 30mph.

—Stephen Regenold

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