Promised for months in quarterly earnings calls, Nautilus has launched its first Bowflex product without the Power Rod technology at the same time it announced it would partner with Sears' Great Indoors home chain with 13 SKUs.
The new product, called the Bowflex Revolution, looks like a cross between a traditional Bowflex and a home gym with stacks but has a sleeker and more high-tech appearance. It is also said to use a "new" type of resistance.
Actually, the resistance called SpiraFlex was used by Nautilus in a Schwinn product called RiPP that was introduced in 2001 to fitness instructors and personal trainers for group strength-training. The patented SpiraFlex technology was developed by a company from Kansas City, which supplied it for use on the International Space Station to be used by astronauts to offset muscle and bone losses caused by the lack of gravity.
The technology, according to a NASA memo, uses so-called "FlexPacks" of a proprietary elastomer compound that creates resistance. The amount and type of resistance can be altered by manipulating the size of the part, its spokes, and the number of FlexPacks connected, among other variables."
According to Nautilus spokesman Ron Arp, it is a "completely different application" of the technology. "Group rowing never caught on like group indoor cycling has," he said.
The RiPP station (see image to the right) was actually a strength-training unit, not a rowing machine, and it was about the size of a low step or bench that could be altered in incline and decline and had arms that could move or extend to achieve different positions. It was discontinued without much ado within a year or so of its introduction.
According to the Nautilus announcement, the Revolution gyms are available only in limited quantities and exclusively on a pre-order basis directly from the company. Pre-order applications and additional information is at www.bowflexrevolution.com. It will sell for $2,400, plus shipping and handling and has a 10-year warranty.
Sears and Nautilus partner
The deal with Sears will place 13 SKUs from Nautilus -- including home exercise gyms, exercise bikes, elliptical trainers, the TreadClimber, cardio trainers, treadmills, dumbbells, benches and accessory items -- at the Great Indoors decorating and remodeling chain, an eight-year-old division of Sears.
"Our customers have expressed a desire for high-quality fitness equipment," Mark Rubendall of The Great Indoors, based in Chicago, said in a statement.
Sears has also tested Nautilus equipment on the floor of its Sears stores, but so far no word has come about whether that will result in a permanent placement.