Peloton arrived on the scene as one of the biggest cycling trends last year, as it brought its New York-based workouts directly into consumer’s homes. To no one’s surprise, other brands are now looking to cash in on this trend.
Bkool, a company previously known for its training software, has unveiled a new exercise bike. The Bkool Smart Bike is takes all of the experience the brand has accumulated over the years and compiles it into one at-home training solution. But don’t call it a Peloton copy just yet, as there are a few key differences, most notably price.
Unlike Peloton, Bkool leans on your own iOS or Android device heavily to help craft the riding experience. A handlebar mount gives users a place to hold their smartphone while riding. From within the Bkool app, the entire exercise session can be customized, including changing resistance, setting difficulty, and it even serves as a pair of digital shifters.
As you’d guess, the smartphone app also serves as a hub for tracking data over time. Riders can see how their sessions have improved or changed over time, which will hopefully help motivate progress. There’s no word at this time if data plays nicely with third-party tracking software like Apple’s Health app.
The heart of Bkool Smart Bike is connected to the internet. Although you can disconnect it and connect it whenever you want. That’s why you do not need controls or screens: you control your bike with your smartphone, tablet or PC and see the image on your screens (or on your TV).
Leaning heavily on its roots, Bkool is of course compatible with its own simulation software. In fact, its library has over three million different cycling routes that can be selected. When used in conjunction with a smartphone, tablet or computer, riders will see the actual terrain in front of them change for a virtual outdoor experience.
Bkool’s smart bike will automatically adjust its resistance and settings throughout the ride to emulate the route chosen. Much like Peloton, users can also jump into a wide variety of spinning classes, but it does lack the immersive experience of basically having an iMac display attached to the handles.
The Bkool Smart bike has a list price of $1,250 which includes a one-year subscription to the Bkool Simulator. It weighs in at under 100-pounds which also makes it easier to move, and deliver. For comparison, the entry-level Peloton experience comes in at $1,995.