On the heels last year of introducing several ellipticals and a rower, Bodycraft has taken the big plunge into cardio and has told SNEWS® it plans to have a line of treadmills ready to show this summer, not to mention new gym designs and a new multi-weight dumbbell system.
Yes, it's time to stop slotting Bodycraft into the niche of a boutique strength equipment manufacturer, which most seemed to do despite the three pieces of cardiovascular equipment unveiled last year.
"We never put any limits on this thing," said co-founder Alan Gore about what he and his business partner Randy Lundquist thought about the company, "but we didn’t have any grandiose projections either. It's been exciting, and it continues to be a blast."
The company will officially launch its treadmill line, including four models ranging from about $1,000 to $2,000 list, at the Health & Fitness Business Show in Denver Aug. 3-5, and said it expects to ship them in September. To complete the line, Gore and Lundquist collaborated with Bob Hebb and his Power First consulting company for the designs and specs. Hebb's brothers Bill and Joe founded Hebb Industries and the Trimline brand, which is now owned by Nautilus (Click here to see a May 26, 2006, SNEWS® story, "Trimline brand from Nautilus seems to be mothballed," on the status of the Trimline brand ). Bill Hebb has been consulting on treadmills with Fitness Quest for its New Balance-branded equipment line (See that Jan. 21, 2005, story by clicking here).
The Bodycraft team of Gore and Lundquist in their former lives as equipment sales reps knew Hebb since they sold the Trimline equipment prior to the company's acquisition by Schwinn in 1998 in a bankruptcy auction.
"I'm happy Alan and Randy are selling them," Bob Hebb told SNEWS®. "Do we need another treadmill? Like we need another model of a car. Can we sell them? Yes. We'll be competitive."
Gore said that the opportunity basically came to them, and "we forgot all the reasons we didn't want to do treadmills."
"It's a natural progression," Gore added.
As a part of its growth, Gore told SNEWS® that Bodycraft has hired a designer from outside the fitness industry who has been working on the aesthetics of all its products. The company realized it was good at function, but needed to work on how things looked since that's the way the industry was going.
"If we're good at anything, we're good at function and features," Gore said, "but none of us went to school in design, and we're seeing fitness equipment move out of the basement and into a showcase area of the home. That's a trend we need to follow AND lead."
Next up for the company are multi-weight dumbbells that Bodycraft will also introduce this summer. Gore said the dial to change the weights is in the handle, which rotates so you can select one or multiple plates. That allows the system to be smaller if a user selects lighter weights and larger for more weight.
"The cool thing is, it looks and feels like a dumbbell we're use to," Gore said, "and it only gets bigger as you go up in weight."
SNEWS® View: We too are guilty of thinking of Bodycraft as that home gym company that makes solid stuff that is pretty basic-looking. But the company has sized up its booth at the Health & Fitness Business Show in Denver in August – it better otherwise the company won't fit in all the new equipment – so it'll be a serious stop on a circuit of the show floor with all the new stuff Bodycraft plans to unveil. We have in the past really liked the concept of multi-weight dumbbells for the space-saving effect that they have, and several are out there – think Nautilus and PowerBlock – that sell well and do a very decent job. But nobody has really nailed down the engineering of them yet so a smaller weight actually is smaller in your hand. We do look forward to getting a look at these, if they live up to what Bodycraft promises.