Easy Rider At launch time, the elliptiGO is already a stand-up success
By Kris Grant
Bryan Pate, 36, is about to go big time and he’ll be “going there” on the power of his own invention – the elliptiGO.
On Nov. 18, the world’s first outdoor elliptical road bike, the elliptiGO, made its debut with a gangbuster party at the Del Mar Marriott, amid of large gathering of friends, family and financial backers cheering on the duo of “Bryan and Brent” (that would be friend and mechanical engineer Brent Teal) who developed the novel invention and brought it to market.
Pate describes the bike as providing the “best low-impact substitute for running outdoors.”
Pate is a four generation Coronadan, the son of two judges, the grandson of former Mayor Paul Vetter “In fact, my great grandparents came here in the late 1800s from St. Louis to help build the Hotel Del Coronado,” he said.
Pate went to Stanford on an ROTC scholarship, then served in the Marine Corps as an infantry intelligence officer, which is when he started participating in Ironman triathlons and doing endurance running.
In 2004, Pate’s legs couldn’t sustain the pounding of running but he found cycling uncomfortable and too time consuming to get a good workout.
Instead, Pate started using an elliptical trainer at the gym. “I really liked the workout, but found the gym environment too confining.”
So Pate thought he’d simply get himself an outdoor elliptical bicycle. “I went home and Googled it and was shocked that one of these things didn’t exist.”
That’s when he teamed up with Teal who took Pate’s idea and built a prototype in his backyard.
“Brent’s a guy who runs 100 miles at a time, ultra-marathoning,” says Pate. “He placed in the top 20 in the Angeles Crest, and he does mountain biking. He totally got it.”
“The first model was comfortable,” Pate said. “There was no pounding; it felt like running.” They built a second model, and for a “proof of concept” Pate rode it in the 50 mile Rosarita to Ensenada bike ride where he passed a bunch of cyclists on the climbs.” The bike climbs hills really well,” he said of the eight-speed elliptiGO, which balances and brakes like a bicycle.
Then in April 2008 Pate and Teal were invited to the Stanford Cool Products Expo where they were featured alongside products like Tesla Motors’ electric car and manufacturers like Logicon and Toyota. The San Jose Mercury News ran an article naming the elliptiGO one of the top five products at the show and 5,000 people suddenly found their way to the elliptiGO website. “People wanted to know, ‘how do I get one?’ And that was really where we got launched in bringing a product to market,” Pate said.
Further affirmation was attained when three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond met Pate and strongly expressed interest in joining the team, but found his bike, owned by Trek, presented an insurmountable conflict of interest. But LeMond’s enthusiasm for the product was all that Pate and Teal needed to quit their “day jobs” in May 2008. Since then they’ve raised two rounds of funding and built four more models.
At present the bikes are sold online. Half of their first order of 250 elliptiGOs, arriving just after the first of the year, have been presold.
Twice each week Pate and Teal host test rides in San Diego. And yes, they’re still taking orders. The price: $1,999. Test ride dates and locations are at the company website at www.elliptiGO.com. z