Reviewing ElliptiGO, The First Elliptical Bike
What is the ElliptiGO? Many haven’t heard of it unless they happened to catch it on the news (after its extensive media coverage), or happened to otherwise hear about the advent of the world’s first elliptical bike.
The ElliptiGO is, in fact, the world’s first elliptical bike – with few, if any, other contenders on the market. Unlike the typical stationary elliptical bikes that may be found in the local gym, this is an actual bike that can be used either indoors as a stationary, indoor elliptical machine, or outdoors like a more traditional bicycle.
Many call it an outdoor elliptical machine, and essentially that’s what it is. Runners and famous ultra-marathoners have called it the “runner’s bike,” for good reason: it was created by Ironman Triathletes, Bryan Pate and Brent Teal.
Differences in ElliptiGO Models
Before getting to the short story of how it was developed, in case you want the cold facts up front, below is a table that compares the two models of the ElliptiGO – the ElliptiGO 8C and ElliptiGO 3C. Note that there is a third model, the ElliptiGO 8S, the main differences between the models will be explained below the table.
|Model / Features||ElliptiGO 3C||ElliptiGO 8S|
|Colors||Black, Orange and Green||Same|
|Speed Available (Gears)||Three (3)||Eight (8)|
|Easy to Transport?||Yes - Removable Steering Column and Front Wheel||Same|
|Grips||Velo Ergonomic Grips||Ergon GC3 Ergonomic Grips, Various Positions + Integrated Bar Ends.|
|Hill Climbing Ability||Gentle, Rolling Hills Up To 5% Grade||Steep Hills, Up To 30% Grade|
|Workout Resistance||3 Levels, 177% Total Range in Resistance, 33% Step Between Levels||8 Levels of Resistance, 306% Total Range, 17% Step Between Levels|
|Wheelbase||54" or 137 cm||Same|
|Length||75" or 190.5 cm||Same|
|Height||50-58" or 127-147cm||Same|
|Weight||42 lbs or 19.1 kg||44 lbs or 20 kg|
|Storage Height||32" or 81 cm Without Steering Extender, 27" or 70 cm With Steering Extender and Front Tire Removed||Same|
|Stride Length||16-25" or 41-64 cm, Adjustable||Same|
|Gear Ratio Range||.75 - 1.33||.527 - 1.615|
|Gain Ratio Range||2.8 - 7.6||1.6 - 7.5|
|Fork||20" Butted Chro-moly W/ 1.5" Seerer Tube||Same|
|Drive Arms||Aluminum W/ Composite Nylon Foot Platform||Same - 8S Has Carbon Fiber Foot Platforms|
|Cranks||Custom Forged Aluminum W/ Variable Stride Length (VSL) Technology (Patent Pending)||Same|
|Chainring and Sprocket||52- tooth, 130 BCD, 6061-T6 Aluminum, 13-tooth Sprocket||53-tooth, 130 BCD, 7075-T6 Aluminum, 16-tooth Sprocket|
|Hub||Sturmey Archer R-SRF 3, 3 speed hub internally geared hub||Shimano Alfine SG-S501, 8-speed internally geared hub|
|Steering Column||Removable & Telescopically Adjustable||Same|
|Handlebar||Aluminum MTB Riser Bar, 50 mm Rise, 670mm Wide||Same|
|Shifter||Sturmey Archer S30 Trigger Shifter||Shimano Alfi ninet eSgLr-Sal5 b0a0r t eringdgser shifter|
|Brakes||Avid FR5, 2-Finger Levers; Linear Pull Rim Front and Rear Pull Rim Brakes||Same|
|Tires and Wheels||Front: 20" Aluminum Aero Profile Rim, 28-spoke; Rear: Same, But 32-spokes; Tires: Kenda Kwest 20" x 1.5" 60 TPI, 100 PSI||Same|
|Cruising Speed||15 mph or 24 kph on Flats||Same|
|Sprinting Speed||23 mph+ or 37 kph+, on Flats||Same|
- The Gears: 3C has 3 gears, 8S and 8C have 8
- Handlebars are upgraded on the 8S and 8C (see photos)
- Foot platforms on the 8S and 8C are longer, allowing more adjustability during the ride
- Carbon Fiber foot pedals on 8S
- Handlebars on 8S fold for transport, vs. telescope.
Of course, the price is different, see the “More Information” or “Buy Now” buttons for that information direct from the company website.
Benefits in the Different Models
The benefits of the handlebars on the ElliptiGO 8S/8C is that you can grip them easier for hill climbing or descent, when you naturally want to grab the “horns”, or when your hands simply want an adjustment on a longer ride.
Other benefits are that the more gears you have, the easier hills are to climb and descend, so the 8S/8C has the advantage. The 3C is better on mild grades (like an overpass) and the flats.
Finally, the foot platforms on the 8S/8C are longer, giving you an advantage of stride adjustment.
When cross-training, it’s a good idea to get your feet into various positions (like on the Yowza Captiva for example). This allows you to target various muscle groups and not put too much stress on any one particular group.
Remember: When choosing between the ElliptiGO 8S, 8C or 3C, the 3C is better for those living in primarily flat country, with gradual hills, 5% grade – typical of most cities with few exceptions. The 8S/8C models can climb up to 30% grade.
You might wonder why the need for an elliptical bike in the first place, when there are already bicycles ad nauseum and same with elliptical trainers? Why one more model or gadget on the market?
The way this elliptical bicycle was created was out of sheer necessity. Former U.S. Marine, avid Ironman triathlete, runner and otherwise athletic junkie, Bryan Pate, was injured at 32 years of age. With his fit lifestyle it’s hard to imagine the injuries, but his story is not unique by a long shot.
Many runners in their 30′s and beyond find their knees, ankles, lower spine or their cartilege in general are thrashed after the high-impact lifestyle. Miles and miles of pounding the pavement puts a strain on soft tissues and joints.
The end result is that many who enjoy the “runner’s high” are now left to find other sports to recreate with, like swimming or other low-impact workouts. In Bryan’s case, he found the elliptical machine in his local gym, and loved it, but for one glaring problem:
He missed running outdoors.
He felt confined in the gym.
The rest is history: he called up his fellow Ironman Triathlete, Brent Teal – a mechanical engineer and also avid fitness fanatic.
After four years of prototypes, development and working long hours, ElliptiGO was ready for the market.
Far from a mere gadget, ElliptiGO answers the need for runners to cross-train, to get outdoors, and to enjoy a low-impact workout without fear of injury.
And the bike can be used indoors with the CyclOps stationary trainer, readily available at various retailers or at the company website. This greatly extends the use of the bike during winter weather.
But it’s not just about super-athletes, either – many stay at home moms, people commuting to work or those who want something different, something ergonomic and safer for their bodies to ride – are grabbing their ElliptiGO’s and loving it.
Buy yours, now – or keep reading for some customer reviews.
Benefits of the ElliptiGO
The first and obvious benefit is getting out of the home gym to enjoy the outdoors – only if you want to, of course: it can be used as a stationary elliptical trainer, using the recommended CyclOps Fluid Stationary Trainer.
Not to be mistaken for a mere “fitness gadget” to line the halls of shame of notorious fitness gadgetry, here is a quick video to showcase the impression ElliptiGO made on world-class athletes:
Elliptical Features of the ElliptiGO
Overall, this is mainly a bike that is propelled with elliptical motion, using the patented Elliptidrive (TM) technology. One of the noticeable differences between a more traditional elliptical trainer and this elliptical bike is the lack of upper body integration.
This is not ideal for a total body workout since the upper body is largely stationary, this is more for a runner’s workout. That’s one of the differences, but here are some elliptical-like features of this elliptical bike:
Adjustable Stride length
As discussed on our Elliptical Machines for Sale page, stride length matters on elliptical cross-trainers. The longer the stride length, the more similar the action is to running.
The ElliptiGO’s stride length adjusts from 17-25 inches, making it ideal for a range of body types and workouts. Adjustments are made manually by adjusting the drive arms, easy enough to do.
Another unique feature of the ElliptiGO in terms of stride is how narrow the distance is between the crank arms. On most elliptical machines, the distance between the drive arms is 7-11 inches. This distance is actually greater than normal – people don’t run with their legs spread that far in most cases.
To re-create the running experience, the distance between the foot platforms was minimized. On the 8S/8C models, the distance between the inner edges of the foot platforms is 3-1/2 inches.
Overall, the ElliptiGO makes it seem like you are running on air, gliding along.
Professionals Review ElliptiGO
There are a number of marathoners, ultra-marathoners, official Iron Man athletes as well as everyday people that have weighed in on the ElliptiGO. It’s not simply a fad, like the elliptical exercise machine itself, ElliptiGO’s are here for the long haul.
For example, take what Dr. Michael Leahy had to say.
Who is Dr. Michael Leahy? He is the renowned developer of the patented Active Release Techniques (ART) which is a professional medical technique to treat soft tissue injuries.
After riding ElliptiGO, he had this to say [source: ElliptiGO.com]:
As ART providers, we all have patients who face challenges with running due to back, knee, or foot pain. Some athletes and patients can’t run for periods of time or simply need another way to cross-train that will not cause additional trauma from the pounding that comes from running or jogging.
Dr. Leahy has been studying soft tissue trauma and ways to treat it with therapeutic massage for decades, and in 1989 developed his own patented “ART” treatment, which also holds a Federal process patent, one of the few medical processes so distinguished.
In other words, Dr. Leahy, who trains other medical professionals to treat soft tissue damage – speaks with authority on the subject of ergonomic design and what’s healthy for the human body. He went on to add:
As healthcare providers, we are often asked for training advice from patients and I can honestly say that I strongly recommend the ElliptiGO as an excellent, impact-free cardiovascular training device. It’s also fun!
That coming from a former Ironman World Championship triathlete, and a man who provides services and consults for the Denver Broncos, Ironman Triathlon, the US Weightlifting Federation among other well-known associations, means a lot. This elliptical bike delivers a low-impact workout that’s excellent for cross-training athletes, or for simply staying in shape regardless of knee or back pain.
Dr. Leahy isn’t the only one in the know about the ElliptiGO – take Coach Jenny Hadfield as another fine example. Just a quick introduction to Coach Jenny Hadfield, in case you haven’t discovered her yet:
- Writes for Runner’s World and Women’s Running Magazine
- Co-Authored Marathoning for Mortals and Running for Mortals
- Composes Training Guides for Runners at ActiveTrainer.com
Clearly, she knows running. She’s passionate about it, and any Google search for “Coach Jenny Hadfield” will paint a picture of her inspirational story (I like how she began running overweight, now running is her career in many ways).
The reason she’s important is that she’s primarily a runner – and she runs miles upon miles every week. Her body’s taken a beating in the knees and joints, so what she says about ElliptiGO means something:
I began using the ElliptiGO while training for the 3-day, 54-mile Transrockies RUN3 Challenge because I found it enabled me to increase the intensity of my training while minimizing the risk of injury. [...] I feel that the hard work I put in on the ElliptiGO will give me an advantage during the event because I’ve improved my cardiovascular stamina and built additional core and leg strength that I otherwise would not have.
[Emphasis mine.] She went on to place third in her age group for that race (2011), that’s saying something for someone with her busy schedule. But that’s only part of what she said about ElliptiGO, she also adds:
The bottom line is that I wholeheartedly believe that the ElliptiGO will revolutionize the way runners prepare for events because it’s a fun and effective way to train.
[Emphasis mine.] Source for the quote is ElliptiGO.com, under the “Company” and then “News & Media” tab. Read more testimonials there (there are a number of great quotes from users and athletes alike).
Better yet, the CyclOps stationary trainer (which is an additional option) makes sure you can use your elliptical bike as an elliptical trainer indoors during cold winter months. In short – you get a tremendous value for your money, a year-round elliptical machine, made for runners.
Customer Loren Walden, an everyday “average Joe,” who loves to run, had this to say about ElliptiGO:
I used to run almost every day to stay fit. When that was taken away from me because of injuries, it was a big change for me. I really missed the runner’s high and that feeling of freedom that running delivers.
His story is one that hearkens back to the development of ElliptiGO, which I’ll explain briefly next – but many find out they’re “too fit” in a manner of speaking. They run so much that they damage the soft tissues around their knee, or pull a tendon, and can’t run.
This was Loren’s story. It’s all-too-common, but can be prevented using elliptical cross-training, or other forms of low-impact exercise. He continues,
My favorite part about riding the ElliptiGO is the endorphin rush. I get the runner’s high again. It’s just like running [...] I come home, throw on my shoes, hop on the ElliptiGO and ride [...] for about an hour, take on the toughest hill I can find, and [...] I get that post-running blissful feeling again.
There are a number of advantages that ElliptiGO has over other workout types.
ElliptiGO Vs. Running
- Low Impact Workout: Less Damaging to Joints, Fewer Injuries
- Fast Recovery From Workout: Less Perceived Exertion – High Intensity Workout Possible
- Elliptical Biking is Faster, More Enjoyable for Speed
- Elliptical Biking Emulates Running More Than Any Alternative
- ElliptiGO Delivers the “Runner’s High”
- Use Same Workout Clothing
- Core Workout From Balancing Bike
- Similar Conditioning, Target Muscle Groups Slightly Differ
- Running is a More Efficient, Exerting Workout
- Running Requires Little Equipment (Shoes, Outfit)
- ElliptiGO Requires Pavement of Some Kind, Runners Can Take Trails
- More Skill And Balance Required of Elliptical Biking
- Mechanical Concerns (Like Flat Tire Possibility)
ElliptiGO Vs. Bicycling
- No Seat Or Saddle Sores Or Other Complications Common To Bike Seats (e.g.: Prostate Problems In Men, Or ED)
- ElliptiGO Is A More Efficient Workout
- Dramatically Reduced Neck And Shoulder Stress And Pain
- Greater Visibility And Position Of Head Means More Enjoyment Of The Ride
- Weight-Bearing Workout Helps Maintain Bone Density
- Upright Position Makes It Easier For Drivers And Pedestrians To Spot The Elliptical Bike, Allows Rider Clear Visibility During Rides
- Similar Speed to Regular Cycling, Similar Distance Traveled in Time
- ElliptiGO 8S/8C Climbs Hills Easier Than Many Mountain Bikes, Due To Standing Riding Position
- Highly Maneuverable, Similar to Bikes
- Similar Parts to Bikes And Easy Maintenance
- Aerodynamics Are Lowered on Elliptical Bikes, Thus Harder To Maintain Speeds Greater Than 18 MPH
- Heavier Than Typical Bikes
- Different Size Parts on ElliptiGO vs. Standard Bikes
ElliptiGO Vs. Elliptical Trainers
- Ability To Get Outside
- Actual Transportation Vs. Stationary Workout
- More Like Running Due To Recovery Angle and Stance
- Need To Balance Incorporates Core Muscle Group
- Similar Workouts On Both: Low-Impact, High-Intensity Cardiovascular
- Both Ergonomic In Design
- Traffic On Roads Can Be Hazardous
- Dependent On Fair Weather Unless Stationary Trainer Purchased
- Balance Is Required, Unlike Ellipticals
- Not A Total Body Workout, But Close: Arms Not Engaged Too Much
ElliptiGO Workouts Available
As mentioned above, Coach Jenny Hadfield of Runner’s World approves of the ElliptiGO, and has went so far as to provide a number of workouts for runners using this elliptical bike as part of their workout.
Coach Jenny is a serious marathoner in her own right, and herself incorporates low-impact exercise into her routine.
For more information on the various workouts available, by Coach Jenny and others (including cyclists’ workouts).
For its versatility, value and intuitive, patented elliptical biking motion, this elliptical trainer bike gets a full 5 out of 5 stars from us.
Have you tried this bike yourself? If you have anything to add to the ElliptiGO review, please tell us in the comments below and leave a starred review of your own.
If you’re ready to buy now, as more than half of those who own one buy directly online every month, then click below to get your own ElliptiGO shipped right to your doorstep!