A Comfortable Exercise Bike?
It’s not such a crazy idea. There are comfort bikes for the road, so why not a comfortable bike for your workout?
We at Horizon know that you’re more likely to stick with your fitness plan when it invigorates and inspires you. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but it does mean that it shouldn’t cause you pain or discomfort. When your exercise bike feels good, you’ll ride it longer and more often.
That’s why we created the Comfort series. The name really says it all. Our new line of exercise bikes was born out of our commitment to designing equipment that is, well, comfortable.
To do that, we needed to figure out what about a bike made it feel good and what didn’t. So we compared comfort bikes to road bikes to see how we could alter dimensions and features on our frames. We had people of all shapes and sizes try out our handlebar prototype to make sure the final product would fit whoever climbed onto the seat. And we added storage for towels, water bottles and other accessories so that you would have everything you need within reach.
When we were finished, we had a brand new kind of exercise bike. It still delivers a great cardio workout. You can still adjust the resistance or ride hard. It just feels good while you’re at it.
Evolution of Comfort
One of our goals with the Comfort series was to create a handlebar design that would satisfy a wide variety of users. That meant we needed to be able to approximate everything from a long training ride to a cruise around the neighborhood. This illustration shows how the varying body positions of riders—particularly posture and grip—can be accommodated by our new handlebar design.
A Thoughtfully Featured Bike
All Horizon Comfort bikes offer a thoughtfully selected slate of features that enhance the workout experience. When it comes to accessories and extras, Horizon doesn’t pack on every one. Just the best ones.
Hover over a different part of the bike to learn more about what makes the Comfort 8i different from other bikes on the market.
Behind the Bike
Redesigning a bike series takes teamwork. Product managers, industrial designers, engineers and many others worked for months to reconceive what an exercise bike could be. Bob Najduk is one of those involved from the beginning, and he agreed to share some of his insights on how the Comfort Series came to be.
Q: You’re not just a Horizon product manager. You’re also a cyclist yourself. Does that matter?
A: I think it does. I know how a bike is supposed to feel, and I know what it’s like to get started. I’ve been riding for several years, but I remember the advice I got when I was buying my first road bike. More experienced cyclists cautioned me against buying something very expensive or something geared toward competition. They told me that I wanted something that wouldn’t make my back hurt. Performance bikes, for example, can be uncomfortable, and that can be discouraging.
We kept that in mind when designing the comfort series. We want exercise to be a good experience for our customers right from the start. We want people to be able to get on and focus on riding. We don’t want them to focus on things that don’t feel right.
Q: Are the comfort bikes really that different from other exercise bikes on the market?
A:I think so. They certainly look different, and that’s because they are different. They aren’t just a modification of our previous bikes. We tried to do that. We tried using the old frames and just updating the look. It wasn’t good enough. We had to start from scratch.
Q: Of all the bike features or marketing positions you could take, why did you settle on comfort?
A: At Horizon we focus on the customer. When you do that, you realize pretty quickly that comfort is the most important factor in a good exercise bike. Customer reviews of previous models spoke to the way the bikes felt. We took those comments to heart and made an exercise bike that was more comfortable all around from the handlebars to the seat to the stability during the ride.
Ultimately, this should lead to better results for our customers. If the bike is comfortable, they’ll be able to work out longer and reach their goals faster.
Q: Why is a comfort series a big deal?
A: Traditionally, you get more features, like programs and more durable components, as the price increases on an exercise bike. The components are always important at Horizon, because we care so much about quality. But we do look at features a little bit differently.
For this series, we focused on things that improved the comfort of the bikes instead of features that added program options. For example, we put the Ergo Fit hand grips on our entry-level Comfort upright bike, and you wouldn’t normally find something so unique at an affordable price point. To do that, we had to make some trade-offs. Instead of loading our bikes with every possible gadget out there, we weighed our options carefully. We made choices that we thought would provide the best workout experience possible.
Q: It sounds like you are going against the grain of the industry. Is that risky?
A: Yes, it is a paradigm shift to go from talking about specifications and upgrades to talking about a whole family of bikes built around comfort. It’s always a risk to change strategy, but I’m confident that we’re going in the right direction. In a way, we are just getting back to our roots. This company got started by producing high-quality exercise equipment that was stable, easy to assemble and durable. Now we’re just adding comfortable to that equation.
Q: How can you be sure that this is the right direction for Horizon?
A: I am confident because we are making decisions and designing bikes for the customer. I truly believe that focusing on the customer is never wrong. Ultimately, when you do something right, the customer will be successful. And when the customer is successful, we will be successful.