Solana Beach engineer designs ElliptiGO

The world’s first elliptical bicycle was designed and built in a Solana Beach garage.

“When I’m riding out on 101, people say, ‘What the hell is that?’ ” mechanical engineer Brent Teal said of his new creation, called the ElliptiGO 8S.

The bike has long drive arms and foot platforms to stand on. There is no seat, and the rider stands tall — eye level with sport utility vehicles. The rider propels the bike by emulating a walking or running motion.

Strange as it looks, people seem to be excited about it. On Nov. 18, there was an ElliptiGO launch party at the Del Mar Marriott and more than 300 people attended, many lining up in the parking lot to take a test ride.

Bryan Pate, a former Marine and triathlete, approached Teal in 2005 with the idea of creating an elliptical bike. Pate could no longer run due to joint problems and was forced, instead, to use an indoor elliptical trainer.

“He liked the exercise he got from the elliptical trainer but wanted to be outside,” Teal said.

Teal first sketched the idea on a piece of newspaper at the Java Depot Cafe and went home to further design and craft a prototype. Soon “Alfa” was created in Teal’s garage with parts from a triathlon bike, planks of wood and skateboard wheels.

“I used whatever I had available,” Teal said.

Pate took the prototype out for about 20 miles on his very first ride.

After four years and three more prototypes, Pate and Teal have quit their jobs to concentrate on “the bike project” full time. They procured investors, connected with a professional bicycle fabricator in Taiwan and plan to distribute their first shipment of 300 production models early next year.

To start, the ElliptiGO 8S will only be available in the San Diego area.

“We’ll have a few hundred people riding these things around San Diego and we’ll take really good care of them … and then we’ll move up the West Coast,” Teal said.

As Pate used the first ElliptiGO prototype, the 8S is being marketed primarily toward injured runners who would like to be running but can’t.

The price to buy the ElliptiGO 8S is comparable to that of a midlevel road bike. And there are mixed reactions to that price.

“Bike riders say, ‘Only $2,000!’ And then runners say, ‘But my shoes only cost …’ ” Teal said.

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Posted by on Dec 10, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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