Flywheel Sports studios across the country will roll out new performance bikes starting this month, and the company will release an at-home bike with streaming content platform toward the end of the year, according to Sarah Robb O'Hagan, the company's CEO.
Both offerings are designed to appeal to athletic fitness consumers, both at home and in studio, O'Hagan said. In November when she began doing consulting work for Flywheel, she worked on a strategy to connect with and grow this athletic performance market. She became CEO of the company in February, after having left her role of president of Equinox in February 2016 to write a book, "EXTREMEYOU," and create an accompanying content platform called EXTREMEYOU.com. Equinox is a sister company to Flywheel's competitor, SoulCycle.
The idea to go after athletic performance riders was a natural choice for O'Hagan, who said that Flywheel was already attracting this market more so than its competitors. O'Hagan suggested this was due to Flywheel's Torqboard, which tracks each of its 600,000 riders' performances. In fact, Flywheel's research showed that 70 percent of Flywheel's riders are working toward a specific athletic goal. The size of the athletic performance market is about 40 million American adults, according to the company's research.
The high-performance bikes launched this month in Flywheel’s newest studios in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and Santa Monica, California, with roll out planned across all studios throughout the next year. The new bikes are specifically designed for performance riders and are made to more closely proximate the feel of riding on an outdoor bike while the technology on the bike is now more accurate, O'Hagan said.
Flywheel will launch a series of online features for in studio and at home including an athletic intelligence engine that personalizes content, challenges and class recommendations based on fitness goals of each individual customer. The online features will also include medals that reflect both rides at home and in studio to benchmark performance within the Flywheel community and include Power Pro (the rider's power score), Road Warrior (mileage), Class Master (cumulative number of classes) and more. A refreshed iOS app with enhanced dashboard that enables riders to track progress, medals and performance also will be part of the offering.
The at-home bike and content platform will allow riders to have access to Flywheel’s studio experience through a streaming content platform that includes live and on-demand classes filmed in a production studio in New York, according to a media release from the company. Streaming classes will include Flywheel’s proprietary FLY Tech tracking technology and signature features, such as the TorqBoard, Power score and off bike precision training. Riders will have the opportunity to compare ride metrics with the entire Flywheel user community to track progress against themselves and others.
O'Hagan declined to share details about pricing and sales distribution channels for the at-home bike and streaming workout program, only saying that the offering is planned to roll out late this year and more details would be available then.
She said that the at-home and online platform offering did not mean the company was moving away from its brick and mortar stores. Instead, she said the purpose of the online and at-home offerings was to reach its current members outside the four walls of its studios and to attract new riders into its studios.
Flywheel Co-Founder Ruth Zukerman, said in a media release: “Extending the Flywheel experience to the home will help us spread our mission of accountable fitness to more athletes in more ways than ever before. It’s exciting to be rolling out new ways for our passionate community of riders to push themselves to the next level of their fitness – wherever they are.”
O’Hagan, who had stints in leadership at Nike, Virgin and Gatorade before joining the health club industry, delivered the announcement live last week as part of the programming agenda at The SALT Conference in Las Vegas. The SALT Conference is focused on facilitating balanced discussions and debates on macro-economic trends, geo-political events and alternative investment opportunities within the context of a dynamic global economy, according to its website.
Founded in 2010, Flywheel has grown to 42 studios and 1,200 employees in the United States. It is private equity backed. In addition to group cycling classes, Flywheel also offers FlyBarre at 22 locations alongside Flywheel studios.