Would you pay more if you had the option to spend less time on an exercise bike? That is, roughly, CAROL’s sales pitch for her at-home spin bike. It’s the anti-Peloton, with a workout time of only 8 minutes and 40 seconds. CAROL smart bike even reminds you at the end of its basic program that you can go to the gym if you want to, rather than because you have to. However, reclaiming all of those hours from the fickle gods of exercise costs $2,395, plus $12 a month beyond the first three months. It’s up to you to determine whether that astronomical charge is worth skipping all those aerobic sessions.
CAROL isn’t your typical Silicon Valley story: it’s not every day that a company founder announces the existence of their product due of a BBC documentary. Ulrich Dempfle, a co-founder, worked as a management consultant for businesses like McKinsey and PWC, advising the UK’s National Health Service. One of his responsibilities was to find ways to persuade individuals to exercise more, despite their claims that they didn’t have the time to become gym rats. He didn’t become a REHIIT convert until he saw the 2012 film The Truth About Exercise.
Dr. Michael Mosely, who is credited with popularizing intermittent fasting in the United Kingdom, hosted the documentary. Mosely’s schtick has always been to find more efficient ways to feel healthy, and this was an ode to REHIIT. Dempfle and his team reached out to the academics whose work was showcased in order to see their equipment. Dempfle claimed that one of the professors regulated the intensity of the bikes while a person exercised on them, and that the price was exorbitant. It was here that the concept of creating a low-cost REHIIT bike was conceived.CAROL would later appear in Mosley’s 2018 follow-up documentary, The Truth About Getting Fit, however her identity was changed due to BBC restrictions prohibiting product placement.
CAROL might be mistaken for almost any at-home exercise bike at first appearance. It has a huge, rear-slung flywheel and a strong motor unit, which holds the REHIIT program’s secret sauce: an electronic resistance control system. Below the display enclosure, which houses a 10.1-inch screen, are a pair of short handles with the standard heart rate-monitoring electrodes. For pro riders, the seat height and distance, as well as the height of the handlebars, are all adjustable, and there are toe cages and clips on the pedals.
After you’ve registered, you’ll need to log in to the bike, which will be a process you’ll have to go through each time you use it. You can just tap on your initials on a list of stored users after the first attempt, but there’s no way to keep logged in by default. Given the bike’s size and the fact that it’s intended for both at-home and professional use, I believe it’s more suited to workplaces and gyms than to people’s homes. This might easily be seen in the corner of a small firm, with employees using their daily 10 minutes as a break from their job.
Art & Smart & Health
Art of design
We found the CAROL Exercise Bike to be a lot less cumbersome than other spinning bikes we’ve used. It includes a black steel frame, a small touchscreen tablet, and two wheels, making it quite easy to move even if it is quite heavy.
It’s small enough to fit in small rooms, measuring 42.5 × 22 inches and weighing 130 pounds. Its footprint is reduced despite the lack of additional capacity for water bottles and other items.
The bike’s built-in software, which incorporates computer-controlled breaks, is by far its most notable feature. In fact, the bike’s whole design is centered on your safety, from the software’s safety algorithms to the heart rate monitors on the handlebars and sensors to detect your cadence (how quickly you’re pedaling, measured in rotations per minute, or RPMs) and resistance level.
The Carol Bike has a toe cage on the pedals for solid footing whether you’re wearing ordinary training sneakers or – as the company says – any footwear (even high heels). Alternatively, SPD bike shoes can be used to clip in.
CAROL uses the principles of Reduced Exertion, High Intensity Interval Training (REHIIT), a modification on the Tabata method of high-intensity interval training. Simply put, you’ll be expected to workout at a very high intensity for a very short length of time rather than at a steady condition for a long period of time. Carol claims that the normal sub-nine-minute workout is equivalent to a 45-minute jog in this instance. This entails going all-out for 20 seconds and then recovering for the better part of three minutes.
That 20-second frenzy is supposed to deplete your body’s glycogen stores while also raising your heart rate. The extended rest period is intended to reset your body, allowing you to extract significantly more strength from your muscles than you would in a typical Tabata workout. In addition, studies have indicated that a six-week REHIIT program can improve insulin resistance and oxygen consumption in male participants.
Stuart Moore, trainer and CEO of Wheel Fitness, a specialist cycling company, adds, “One of the things I enjoy about REHIIT is the great length of the recovery periods.””This allows folks who don’t have much expertise to recover appropriately between bouts of heavy effort before starting another cycle.” He went on to say that “any interval training can be beneficial,” but that potential adopters should “get the crucial checks with your doctor” before getting started. “I’d recommend that full newcomers to interval training start with something more gentle than modified versions of HIIT,” he said, “as this could help with building a foundation before moving on to the more intensive workout later.”
Andrea Speir, co-founder and lead trainer at Speir Pilates, adding that newbie exercisers’ psychological advantages were critical. “Because it increases heart rate and enhances VO2 Max, cardiac output, and metabolism without being overly difficult,” she explained. “Committing to it three to five times a week, which is where you really see big results,” she continued.
Perfect workouts, tailored to your needs
Do you want to get in better shape and live a healthy lifestyle?CAROL is the most efficient technique to increase your aerobic capacity, resulting in leaner, fitter, and healthier results.
Do you want to shed some pounds?The ‘after burn’ feature on CAROL burns more calories after you get off the bike than it does while you’re on it. Insulin sensitivity improvements help you become more metabolically versatile and efficient at burning fat for energy.
Do you want to take control of your health?CAROL’s workouts are shorter than other forms of exercise, putting less effort on your body while yet giving various health advantages.
Do you want more variety in your life?CAROL may be used with Peloton Digital and Apple Fitness+ programs, and it will soon allow you to participate in a Zwift or Kinomap race.
There are two schools of thinking in the at-home fitness business when it comes to screens. Because of Peloton’s widespread use, buyers may soon expect all machines to be equipped with a gleaming, enormous HD display as standard. Companies like Wattbike, Concept2, and others, on the other hand, are content to sell machines with old-school LCD head units. (On a personal note, I think the Wattbike PMB’s Polar View is one of the best training tools I’ve ever seen.)
Carol bridges the gap by giving a 10.1-inch color touchscreen with the same data as an LCD display, but in a cleaner and more colorful format. When you reach the high intensity phase, the UI turns an angry red, and the graphics of your power output are fantastic. During my evaluation, a software upgrade arrived, making the user interface more cleaner and smoother than before. Even better, you can use the display to watch live lessons through Peloton’s own app, but you’ll have to pay for that separately.
When you turn on the bike for the first time, you’ll see a Lenovo splash screen because Carol’s display is a Lenovo tablet in a housing. This is brilliant on paper: A tablet based on Android should live longer, be less expensive, and be easier to replace than a proprietary solution. Furthermore, you may (and Carol does) take advantage of Google’s built-in accessibility tools for altering screen fonts and voice overs, which would require time and money to duplicate with little to no benefit.
Not to mention that, because it’s an Android tablet, you can use the Play Store to run third-party programs, though only those that Carol’s creators have approved. So far, Peloton has been the only app to appear on this screen, but there’s no reason why your favorite exercise or entertainment app couldn’t do the same. Despite all of these advantages, putting an Android tablet onto a bike and calling it a day feels a little underwhelming for a bike that costs $2400.
Easy to use
After completing the medical assessment, you must complete six bike taster sessions to determine your overall fitness level. Following that, you’re free to try out the bike’s features, which include four different REHIIT exercises. I mostly followed the conventional program, which is why anyone would buy a Carol cycle in the first place, but there are other possibilities. There’s an Energiser ride with 10-second sprints, as well as a 15-minute or 25-minute Fat Burn program with 30 or 60 sprints, depending.
You can also choose between a Free Ride, where you control the power, and an Endurance ride, where the resistance gradually increases beyond your ability to cope.
After you’ve picked a program, you’ll be given a list of generic audio options to choose from, although the company’s personnel urged me to remain with the default. (It’s probably for the best, given the other choices are all musak.) A soothing voiceover explains how neanderthals never jogged; instead, they strolled slowly or ran as if their life depended on it.
Simultaneously, the on-screen coaching instructs you to breathe in for four seconds, hold for a beat, and then exhale for six seconds, which might be difficult to coordinate if you’re not used to multitasking. You’ll be requested to bike at a low level the entire time, with an output of no more than 20 watts.
There’s a countdown timer (along with a timeline) on the screen, so you’re not left in the dark about when the sprints are going to start. However, the narration plays it as a surprise, talking about the scenery until she abruptly informs you that a tiger is rushing out at you! and you must cycle for your life.Three seconds before the sprint begins, the screen becomes red, allowing you to spool up as you prepare to run like crazy to escape your predator. Because the resistance is adjusted to your fitness level, it keeps increasing after your initial burst of energy, ensuring that you’re completely spent by the time the sprint is over. I was sagging at the 10-second mark, and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t go back to my original output high.
You may scoff at the notion that 20 seconds of bike may completely exhaust you and improve your fitness. You start to feel your legs go as your body starts to wuss out, and you’re racing on fumes for the final quarter of the sprints. As far as effective exercises go, the method delivers, and you’ll need that long recuperation period to reclaim whatever sense of humanity you may have lost. The screen will graph your output (and compare it to your output on the second sprint, if you hit it) and show you how much time has passed between runs.
I believe my fitness improved throughout the time I was using Carol, as did my mood when I was aiming to accomplish one of these almost every day. (To avoid injury, the bike and its representatives continually advise you to conduct only one sprint session every 24 hours and only three times a week.) You certainly feel more energized when you wake up, and I can’t say that this has taken up a significant portion of my day when it hasn’t.
But the expense is holding me back, especially since it’s only built to do one function, one workout program, to the exclusion of most others. Do I want to pay $2,399 plus $12 per month on an item that I’ll only use 30 or 40 minutes each week? Yes, that’s less than a Wattbike Atom or Peloton Bike+, but it’s still a substantial sum. The statistics make my eyes swim in that philistinic sensation of understanding the cost of something but not its value.
It’s a bike that just does one thing, and it does it well, but I have a feeling I’d be more enthusiastic about it if it were priced just around $2,000 dollars.It’s a strange psychological barrier, to be sure, and perhaps you’re mocking my fictitious austerity. However, despite the fact that this device is aimed at a broad audience, it is now priced at a level that only fanatics can afford.
CAROL bike reviews from trustpilot -Excellent
We purchased this bike at the beginning of the season and have thoroughly enjoyed it! Changes are made as needed, and it’s been wonderful to have it in our house! Also, excellent client service.
One of our bikes (we have two!) had a problem with the plug, which was our mistake. Carol Bike was contacted, and they promptly sent us a replacement by courier at no cost to us! Excellent service. Thanks!
The bike is one of my favorites. It is used by the entire family, and we enjoy competing against one another. For MAF (Maximum Aerobic Fitness) training, I prefer the intense, but I also utilize the free ride. I also use free ride with AppleFitness+ classes; it would be fantastic if the CAROL could be fully connected with AppleFitness+, allowing the resistance to be automatically set and me to use a single screen.
I was hesitant at first, but because my gym was closed, I decided to give it a try in April 2020. It’s been almost a year, and the bike is still in excellent condition. In 2020, despite the ups and downs in my hectic routine. The bike was quite beneficial.Highly recommend.
This is the greatest bike available. My physical fitness has skyrocketed. In only a few weeks, my waistline has shrunk drastically, and my blood pressure has dropped significantly.
This bicycle and AI training program, which is constantly updated, is one of my favorites. I didn’t give it four stars since the pedal clip mechanism is poorly constructed and has already bent multiple times, making clipping in impossible.
Many aspects of my Carol bike appeal to me. I had my doubts that it could give me such a good exercise in less than ten minutes. I appreciate being able to go for a bike and then get on with my day. After a ride, there is no need to shower. When I ride first thing in the morning, I adore how I feel the rest of the day. The customer service has been outstanding.
In the year that I’ve owned it, my Carol bike has never let me down. I especially like their customer service team’s prompt and professional responses whenever I contact them with questions. After a year, I’d say the tablet is my main issue. When I’m ready to ride, it seems to take longer to open the app.
I don’t just like my CAROL bike; I adore it! My relationship with her is second to none. She pushes me and looks after me when I’m in need! You can’t beat the peace of mind of doing the exercise at home, and the time commitment is well worth it! I just gave five stars since six isn’t accessible, lol!!!
The bike is wonderful and performs just as stated. All of the suggested rides are fantastic (10-12 minutes ). The AI that always pushes me to achieve new goals has been wonderful.
Carol has been a Godsend. Cardio used to be something I dreaded, but now I don’t even think about it; I just do it.Thank you very much!
What a fantastic bike! It’s something I’d recommend to everyone who’s interested.