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High-tech fitness: Elliptical bike gets you out of the gym and into the fun

Just in time for spring, FoxNews.com took for a test drive a high-tech fitness machine that you might recognize from the gym, now in bike form.  

It’s called the ElliptiGo, a modified elliptical trainer that rides the roads like a bicycle.

As warmer weather approaches, why not transition your indoor workout into the sunshine with the fun ElliptiGo contraption. Like the stationary non-impact elliptical, ElliptiGo mimics running outdoors, standing up on the pedals without feeling the effects of the concrete below.

The elliptical bike appeals to a diverse group of fitness enthusiasts, Steve Burton, the Eastern Regional Manager at ElliptiGo explains.

"We have Olympic runners actually using it, to just your regular exercise enthusiast who wants to take their workout outdoors, but wants to benefit from a low-impact piece of equipment."

The cardiovascular exercise is particularly beneficial to those with knee or joint issues, looking to get an efficient workout and stay active.

ElliptiGo offers a full-body workout. "You still benefit from the low-impact aspects of the indoor elliptical, with the added benefit of having an active core," Burton tells FoxNews.com.

The ElliptiGo is very similar to a bike in that you balance in the same way, can ride on an incline and climb hills, and make turns just as sharp. Maneuvering the vehicle is not hard to learn.

However, compared with cycling, your speed may be a bit slower. Average cruising speed on an ElliptiGO is around 15 mph, strong riders can reach about 25 mph on level ground.

"The top speed I have gotten up to is 39 mph going downhill on a mountain. It’s pretty comfortable if you are cruising around about 15 mph," Burton told Foxnews.com.

The caliber of workout does match up. "We actually did a study with UCSD (University of California San Diego) and showed where it burns 30 percent more calories than traditional cycling," Burton says.

And just like a bike, the ElliptiGo has gear shifts and handlebar brakes.

The original design was, of course, not as high-tech -- built with what supplies, founders Bryan Pate and Brent Teal had in their garages, like roller skating wheels. "The tires were actually full-size bicycle tires initially, the pedals were made of wood," Burton explained.

Pate came up with the ElliptiGo concept after being sidelined from ultramarathon competitions due to injury. He enlisted the help of his training partner, engineer Teal, to help with the design.

Since then, three different models were designed -- the 3C model has 3 gears and is designed for a recreational fitness enthusiast who wants to ride primarily on flat terrain, rolling hills, and moderate inclines up to a 5 percent grade; the 8C model has 8 gears and lets athletes challenge themselves on steep hills and inclines up to 20-30 percent grade; and the newest model, the  11R is the first ElliptiGo designed specifically for races and endurance events, with 11 speeds and carbon fiber components to make it super light weight.

So will we be seeing new ElliptiGo races across America? If you get as hooked as I am, I predict we will.

The team behind the machine hopes as it becomes more popular, there will be ElliptiGo competitive races, just like biking.

"We have a gentleman who is getting ready to ride cross country. You can easily take it out for a 5-mile spin if you’d like, but you can also push the pace," Burton says.

One downfall to the expansion of the craze is price -- the retail base price is $1,799, with prices going all the way up to $3,499, plus sales tax. You can purchase an ElliptiGo at www.elliptigo.com. Or contact your local bike rental shop to see if you can try one out by the hour.