Expresso bikes take home cycling to a whole new level, offering 40 different HD destinations to virtually ride through to keep you motivated to push yourself to new levels.
Although out of reach price-wise for most individuals, reviews from those who have taken the plunge are very positive. These bikes definitely bring excitement to an oftentimes mundane activity.
Expresso is a division of Interactive Fitness, a Santa Clara, California based company that also makes the recumbent CyberCycle for older adults.
The Expresso bikes are quite expensive, but the level of quality as well as the customer service that comes with it are unmatched.
They currently offer an upright bike and a recumbent bike, and each offers three different ways to train.
Option 1: Road Racing
With road workouts, you have 40 different high-definition locations that you can virtually ride through. Some are quite easy, others are extremely challenging, but there is something for every fitness level.
Most riders agree that it's just like riding a real bike, with actual steering and shifting. Plus depending on what location you choose, the bike will automatically adjust itself to match the terrain, which is a very cool feature.
Option 2: Studio Cycling
This is similar to what you get with a Peloton bike, with in studio sessions featuring trainer Cat Kom and her team. The program is called Studio Sweat On Demand, and there are new classes every week that you can join along with thousands of other riders.
NordicTrack also has a version of this called iFit for their Studio Cycle lineup.
Most classes are around 30 minutes, but some last up to an hour or more. You'll find that some are more challenging than others, but there is plenty to choose from in case you find anything to difficult. There's HIIT Training, calorie goal, fat burn and more.
Option 3: HIIT Gaming
When you want take a little break from the regular outdoor courses or in-studio classes, you can choose from a variety of interactive games that are both fun and motivational.
You can compete against other riders, unlock new maps, earn achievements and rewards, all while working out hard and building up a sweat. It's a fun way to get into shape and challenge yourself.
The bike is hooked up to the internet through something called eLive, for which you need a membership. Oftentimes a few years are included in the price. You can use the bikes without eLive, but you get a lot more destination options and interactive games with the system.
One of the coolest features is the ability to race against yourself with a "ghost" that mimics one of your previous rides. It's a great motivational tool to push yourself harder.
The most popular current model is the Expresso GO Upright, which replaces the previous HD Upright model. It features a 26.5" touch screen display, over 3" larger than than the one on the older bike. It's powered by a Giada computer, known for its amazing graphics and processing power.
You also get motion control handlebars that mimic those found on an outdoor bike and 30 gears offering active resistance. The seat is comfortable and highly adjustable and you get 43 different courses to choose from ranging from 1 to 20 miles and varying in intensity.
There's a pacer, group rides, ghost rides as we mention above plus something called Dragon Fit that gives you 9 maps within which to play various interactive games, challenges and leaderboard competitions.
There is also the Expresso GO Recumbent, which replaces the previous HD Recumbent Exercise Bike, a much larger machine and almost 100 pounds heavier than the upright at 245 lbs. It offers 32 possible seat positions and great lower back support.
Other than the size and seat positions the two Expresso exercise bikes are pretty much the same as far as number of tours, features and interactive gaming.
The company used to offer an HD Youth Bike which is as you might have guessed a smaller version of the recumbent bike. Perhaps it will be reintroduced.
We've had many opportunities to ride the Expresso bikes, as a few of us are members of Retro Fitness, a gym that features these machines. You may have come across them at the Y, Anytime Fitness, Gold's or even at some college gyms.
They are definitely very cool, especially for those of us that need a little extra motivation to get on the bike every day. There's nothing more exciting than picking a challenging course and racing against yourself or someone else while the machine automatically changes the resistance to match the terrain.
Using your ID and password the Expresso bikes log you into the system no matter where you are, so you could use one at home or in any gym and it will track all of your workouts. It achieves this through a portal called My Expresso, which is basically your hub for everything.
If you are interested in buying one of these machines, definitely do it through a place like Amazon as it has a lot included in the price that might cost you extra buying it separately.
You can save a great deal of money with one of the older models, like the popular Expresso HD upright bike. It comes with a router, a surge protector, 3 years of eLive included free (usually $199 a year or $499 for three years), plus white glove delivery and installation and free phone support. Shipping is also free.
So you can really save a lot of money buying it this way, if the new Expresso bike is out of range for you.
These are very expensive bikes, so make sure that it's something you really think about before taking the plunge. People love them, heck we love them, but we use them at the gym where we only have to pay a small monthly membership fee. :)
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