“We want to appeal to people who want to invest in their fitness,” explains Pratik Sud, co-founder of Synq.Fit, the target group who might be interested in an indoor networked fitness bike that costs Rs 1.20,000.
The idea of bringing a Synq.Fit indoor bike to market came from Sud’s own efforts to follow a fitness regimen during quarantine early last year, when the Covid-19 pandemic had just entered our lives. “I tried a couple of options like downloading some apps that would allow me to do some form of exercise, but that was entirely without a base machine or something to have consistent output on,” says Sud in Indianexpress.com an interview.
Demand for home exercise equipment has increased during the pandemic as many people are reluctant to go back to gyms and fitness clubs, and Sud’s company is keen to embrace the concept of connected home exercise. “The idea behind the bike is that people are able to exercise in a more structured way and be more reliable, continuous and easier to do their daily workout,” he said.
From the very beginning, Sud knew that the Synq.Fit would be more than the stationary training device, an internet-enabled high-tech indoor bike with a 21.5-inch screen that offered live or on-demand courses directly into your device Home transmits and motivates sports shoes. Synq.Fit is India’s first connected fitness bike. At Rs 1.20,000 (available for Rs 85,000 as an opening offer) excluding Rs 1,500 for monthly on-demand courses, it may seem expensive, but Sud says the combined package offers a lot of value for those looking for an engaging and personal fitness solution at home search.
Sud, 37, who previously founded two health technology companies and also runs a cooperating firm and an incubator, said his experience in health technology helped a lot in understanding where the fitness market is going. Sud understands that fitness is a personal thing and when it is combined with technology and personal fitness classes and live streaming classes, people become more interested.
As Sud pointed out, Synq.Fit is different from the exercise bikes that are commonly used in gyms or at home. It’s a high-end exercise with a modern look. The bike is maintenance free and the moving parts are completely closed. It is a magnetic wheel, meaning it has no friction parts to decrease or increase the speed.
“Our main focus was on being maintenance-free and silent so that people could even have it in their bedroom and work out while their partner sleeps in the morning,” explains Sud the reasons for concentrating on both elements while designing the bike, which simply is easy to use and compact. “We wanted to offer fitness-quality cardio training to everyone at home,” he said, adding that the existing home exercise options are inconsistent because there is no one-on-one approach.
To make Synq.Fit a connected fitness bike, Sud and his team decided to add a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled 21.5-inch HD screen. The touchscreen monitor is based on Android, but runs proprietary software that is tailored for training and fitness. The system works just like Netflix, where you can choose your profile and see all of your stats and last trip, not those of your other family members.
Premium indoor fitness bikes have been around, Sud had another idea. He and his team decided to broadcast live or on-demand training courses for clients for which they would charge a separate fee from users.
“We have our own studio, we have our own coaches who do the content every day,” he said. “We have hand-picked coaches from all over India and all of them are certified and experienced coaches who mainly train in the cycling format.” Sud added that the company currently broadcasts about six unique sessions a day, ranging from cycling, stretching, yoga to functional training.
On-demand live workout classes, in case you’d like to subscribe to them, offer some key benefits. Sud says they designed sessions that appeal to the broadest possible audience. The sessions are short and each of the six trainers is well trained. More importantly, the subscription gives you the option to book a live session. In case you missed this, a customer can watch the recorded session again. According to Sud, a single subscription covers a family of four.
A subscription model puts the Synq.Fit indoor fitness bike in a unique position like no other company in India does. Sud is aware of this but insists there is no need to pay for on-demand live classes. “If I pay for a subscription, it doesn’t mean that the bike will be completely unusable without that subscription. You can always watch a free YouTube video, but if you want to do studio classes with a gym there is a subscription element as it requires quite a lot of production on our part, ”he explains. In the future, the company may offer a free subscription where customers have added a few training sessions per day but nothing is planned yet.
Sud has a bigger vision when it comes to subscription, but adds that the content needs to be strong to support the business model. “Until the content is good quality or fresh, we will not make any progress in the market,” he said.
Sud has realistic expectations of the Synq.Fit bike for the first year. The company plans to sell 1,500 units of Synq.Fit motorcycles in India. Customers can log in to the official website and buy the bike. Initially, however, the company is limiting availability for Delhi-NCR as it plans to launch the bike in other parts of the country over the next four to five months.
It’s early for the Synq.Fit bike, but Sud and his team are already working on a number of features to improve the experience. For example, Sud announced that they are working on a new feature that will act as an interface between Google Fit and Apple Health and allow the bike to sync all of your fitness activities with the two apps. Sud also stated that they will launch an attached treadmill at some point in the future.
Sud, who founded Synq.Fit together with other partners last year, wants to transform the startup into a networked fitness brand. Peloton comes closest to what Sud and his team want to achieve here, a US-based “networked fitness” company that has a cult following. Peloton was founded in 2012 and has made working from home exciting and motivated. Perhaps the company has millions of paying users. It offers expensive high-tech fitness bikes with a monthly subscription to the live workout classes. US President Joe Biden is a big fan of a peloton bike, as is Hugh Jackman.
“Nobody combines hardware and software like we do,” says Pratik, who consists of 17 members, including two other co-founders. “You like the bike for the hardware it is, but after a month you should be raving about our coaches and how you feel after a workout,” he said.