- Peloton has filed a lawsuit against one of its biggest competitors,Flywheel, accusing it of creating a copycat version of Peloton’s proprietary home fitness bike.
- Flywheel has historically offered studio-based cycling workouts. In November 2017, it launched its FLY Anywhere bike, which is designed to be used at home.
- A spokesman for Flywheel told The Wall Street Journal that it denies any allegations of patent infringement and that the lawsuit is “a classic example of a big business trying to intimidate a competitor out of the marketplace.”
Competition is heating up in the fitness world as two of the biggest names in indoor cycling go head-to-head in a new lawsuit.
On Wednesday, Peloton, the high-tech fitness company that is known for its popular home-fitness bike, filed a lawsuit against one of its biggest competitors, Flywheel, accusing it of creating a copycat version of Peloton’s proprietary bike.
Peloton claims that Flywheel’s FLY Anywhere bike uses Peloton’s technology to stream live and on-demand classes, track the rider’s performance, and compare it to other riders.
Flywheel, which launched in New York in 2010, has historically only offered studio-based cycling workouts. This changed with the launch of its home fitness bike, FLY Anywhere, in November 2017. The bike is designed to bring the studio experience into customer’s homes. A spokesperson for the company told Business Insider that its bikes have always been outfitted with proprietary technology that tracks and compares rider performance.
The bike starts at $US1,699 and functions in a similar way to Peloton’s in that it allows users to stream on-demand and live classes from their home. Customers have the option to stream these classes from their own device or pay extra to have a screen included on the bike itself.
Peloton’s most basic bike package starts at $US2,245. All of its bikes are fitted with a screen that streams its on-demand and live classes. When Peloton launched in 2012, it shook up the fitness market, offering customers who didn’t live near a studio or have the time to attend a class an opportunity to take one.
Both machines require users to pay extra to subscribe to the classes.
In a comparison of the two bikes from December, a reviewer from aSweatLife wrote that the biggest difference between the two bikes is the classes you can take on it.
Peloton claims in the lawsuit that months before Flywheel’s new bike was launched, one of its investors, Michael Milken, approached Peloton CEO John Foley, pressing him for details about the company’s technology and business strategy and presenting himself as a potential investor.
Peloton’s suit accuses Milken of providing this information to Flywheel, which allegedly used it “to facilitate the development, sales and marketing of the infringing FLY Anywhere bike,” the lawsuit says.
Milken, who is not named as a defendant in the suit, is best known for inventing the modern junk bond. He spent 22 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of violating securities laws.
“Mike is not a party to this action and any claim that he acted improperly is totally without merit,” a spokesperson for Milken said in a statement emailed to Business Insider.
Flywheel provided the following statement to Business Insider:
Eight years ago, Flywheel launched a unique and differentiated indoor cycling offering that utilises proprietary on bike FLY Tech tracking technology and signature features such as the Power Score and TorqBoard, allowing riders to personalise, view, and track their individual effort and performance. Riders choose whether to share their performance in-real time with other riders and, after class, riders’ personal stats are stored and can be retrieved on our website, and iOS and Android apps.
By comparison, Peloton introduced their home indoor cycling offering only four years ago, employing many of the features first pioneered by Flywheel. Flywheel firmly denies the claims raised by Peloton and strongly believes that its ANYWHERE product does not infringe any valid claim of Peloton’s patents. Peloton’s lawsuit is a classic example of a big business trying to intimidate a competitor out of the marketplace.
Flywheel is proud of our advancements and will not be intimidated. We intend to vigorously stand up for ourselves against Peloton’s claims, and any attempt to deny customers access to our ANYWHERE at home bike.
An attorney for Peloton declined to comment further when reached by Business Insider.
Indoor cycling has become one of the most competitive spaces in the fitness market, with many popular indoor-cycling studios vying for the attention of consumers.
In August 2018, Peloton was valued at about $US4.15 billion after it closed a $US550 million financing round with investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tiger Global Management and, GGV Capital. In February, it unveiled its latest product, a treadmill that will be available to buy this fall.
According to its complaint, it has delivered more than 250,000 bikes and has over 600,000 active riders.
Flywheel has raised $US120.9 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase. It has 42 studios across the US.
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