With several months of tests now complete, The Nautilus Group has announced what everybody knew -- that the Bowflex was also going to be sold at both specialty and sporting goods retail in addition to through its until-recently-exclusive direct channel. However, the product has been renamed and appears re-engineered slightly to become the "Schwinn Comp" at sporting goods stores.
The Bowflex Power Pro, as seen on TV, would be the name and product sold at specialty stores, as it's been available in its test run at Chicago Home Fitness, for example, as well as in Texas, Detroit and Minneapolis. Its list price is $999. Now, it is available at more than 300 specialty retailers nationally, the company tells SNEWS.
The Schwinn Comp, with a list price of $799 and now on the Schwinn website (www.schwinn.com), also has the patented Power Rod technology. Differences between the two include a shorter warranty on frame parts and components (two years on the Schwinn model instead of five, while the rods on both maintain lifetime warranties). The Schwinn also has a larger footprint, both workout and folded. Its closest Bowflex models are the Motivator XT or XL (list prices, $899). HealthStyles Exercise Equipment of Colorado (www.healthstylesexercise.com) promotes both the Bowflex Power Pro and the Schwinn Comp on its website. In comparison, The Sports Authority sells the Weider Cross Bow Gym for $599. A number of full-line chains will carry the unit, including The Sports Authority, Dick's, Hibbett's, Copeland's, Academy, Gart's, Scheel's, and Dunham.
"The Bowflex product has been tremendously successful," Kevin Lamar, Nautilus president, said in a statement. "Everyone knows the Bowflex name, and now we are going to expand that success to the retail market. Consumers will be excited to learn that they can see and feel the product now before purchasing it."
On the market since 1986, Bowflex -- including its models called Ultimate, Motivator and Versatrainer -- will still be available through direct sales and at www.bowflex.com.
SNEWS View: Although the Bowflex has an established name even among many who don't exercise (thanks to google-worthy TV models), using the Schwinn name at sporting goods makes a lot of sense. For those consumers, the Schwinn name has a long-standing trustworthy reputation -- and is perhaps a little less intimidating. This retail move will likely bolster sales and stature in the next 11 months before the main technology patent expires in April 2004.