VirZoom Virtual Reality exercise bike review

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Posted my thoughts here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/4tchsa/just_got_my_virzoom_holy_crap/

In a nutshell:

1. This is a portable exercise bike that hooks up to a PC-based VR gaming system (Rift & Vive-compatible). You pedal on the bike to move something on the screen (a kayak, tank, race car, etc.) & lean left or right to turn. So you're basically "in" the game thanks to virtual reality.

2. This is NOT a cheap setup. The bike alone is $400 shipped. You will also need a minimum of a $1,000 gaming PC & a VR headset ($600 to $800 depending on the model). Final price is between $2,000 to $2,300 (with tax & shipping). This is more of something you'd buy as an add-on to your VR system rather than just going out & buying it just for the biking system, unless your budget allows dropping a couple grand on some exercise equipment.

3. There's only 6 games available right now, as it's pretty new. They have simple graphics & basic gameplay, but are surprisingly immersive. That's the big thing I love about this...it completely distracts you from the realization that you're exercising (at least until you start feeling sick from exercising TOO long haha). Indoor cardio in particular is really boring for me & this really helps to make my mind off it.

4. I think I would equate this to the equivalent of HIIT combined with a spin cycle class. You go fast & slow over the course of some of the games. Like in the helicopter game, the Apache flies forward as you pedal, and the height is controlled by the pedaling speed. So if someone fires a missile at you, you pedal faster to fly up to avoid them, and if you want to drop down to pick up a power-up like a gas can, you pedal slower. Like I said above, you can start getting sick from pushing yourself too hard...the F1 game, for example, is pretty simple - you pedal & lean - but when other cars pass you, you go nuts & start pedaling like crazy to pass them and it's really easy to let the hours go by playing it & not realize how long you've been playing for lol.

TL;DR: A fun but expensive exercise system. If you loathe cardio & budget allows, pick one up! :thumbsup:
 

cbrunny

Diamond Member
Oct 12, 2007
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holy cow. talk about products that have no reason to exist. Zwift/trainerroad do similar setups though without actual "VR" - just on screen - and not "games".

Does it come with replacement straps for your VR headset so your friends don't have to wear disgusting sweaty pads and straps and get funkified?

I'll be intrigued if anyone actually loses weight as a result of this product.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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holy cow. talk about products that have no reason to exist. Zwift/trainerroad do similar setups though without actual "VR" - just on screen - and not "games".

Does it come with replacement straps for your VR headset so your friends don't have to wear disgusting sweaty pads and straps and get funkified?

I'll be intrigued if anyone actually loses weight as a result of this product.

Quite the opposite. This is an immersive 3D system, not a passive 2D system. You control the speed through pedaling, you can look around in all directions, you have interactive buttons to do things like fire tank shells or turbo-boost your race car. It's entirely different than just pedaling along to a video or even a videogame on a television. You feel like you're IN the game, not just watching the game on a flatscreen. So much more fun than anything else I've tried!

They do sell water-resistant bands aftermarket to keep things hygienic if you plan on sharing your headset with other people. Some standard alcohol wipes would be fine to keep it clean.

Weight (fat) loss is controlled primarily by food, not exercise. I suppose if you turn into the Michael Phelps of cycling you can burn off enough calories to offset diet, but it's so much easier to follow a program like IIFYM to manage your daily caloric intake & subsequently experience pretty easy fat loss. As far as exercising goes, here is the American Heart Association's recommendations for physical activity based on studies:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Healt...cal-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp


AHA Recommendation

For Overall Cardiovascular Health:

At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150

OR
At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

AND
Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

For Lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
An average 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week

I can understand the negativity towards a new & seemingly silly exercise system, but for me at least, I am not a natural athlete nor I am outdoorsy. Aside from biking around with my buddies or going swimming, I don't really enjoy cardio at all. The best I've been able to come up with in the past is parking my elliptical machine in front of the TV to distract me from my 30 to 45 minute daily cardio routine. This system is far more effective...it actually makes indoor exercising FUN! The only real downside I see is the cost of the system. If you're not already into VR, then it's a hefty up-front fee. If you are, then it's a +$400 add-on to your existing system, which isn't too bad for a nice little portable exercise bike.
 

cbrunny

Diamond Member
Oct 12, 2007
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Hey, don't get me wrong. If it gets you moving, go for it. Just seems impractical for anyone outside of the "sure, lets give it a try" or "exercise isn't for me" demographic.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Hey, don't get me wrong. If it gets you moving, go for it. Just seems impractical for anyone outside of the "sure, lets give it a try" or "exercise isn't for me" demographic.

Oh, I definitely agree. For anyone who is actually active, it's going to seem like a pretty silly device. Problem is I am not a naturally active person...I'm 100% content to lie on the couch all weekend binge-watching Netflix :biggrin: So for me, this is a real lifesaver because I'm already looking forward to my next cardio session tomorrow morning :thumbsup:
 

SP33Demon

Lifer
Jun 22, 2001
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Nice review Kaido. I don't do cardio but this would probably sound like a fun way to do it vs going to the gym and pounding a bike/elliptical.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Nice review Kaido. I don't do cardio but this would probably sound like a fun way to do it vs going to the gym and pounding a bike/elliptical.

Yeah - and it's hard to explain how awesome it is without experiencing it. Every single person who has tried it has yelled "AWESOME!" haha. As far as cardio goes, my digestion is terrible (SIBO), so unless I get in about 45 minutes of exercise a day, I don't feel so great. My calisthenics routine is only like 15 minutes, so I've been doing 30m cardio + 15m calisthenics on weekdays & then 45m cardio on weekends. This definitely makes it something to look forward to!
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Referencing a post in the gaming section, there's an interesting article on "augmented exercise", i.e. using VR to burn calories:

http://forums.anandtech.com/showpost.php?p=38380309&postcount=768

And just for discussion here, the BPM & calories burned-per-hour snippet:

Audioshield w/o weights – 96.75 bpm – 413 calories/hr
Audioshield w weights 118.2 bpm – 610 calories/hr
Hover Junkers w/o weights – 105 bpm – 487 calories/hr
Holopoint w/o weights – 168 bpm – 764 calories/hr
Thrill of the Fight w weights – 144 bpm – 851 calories/hr
Spell Fighter w/o weights – 86 bpm – 314 calories/hr
Orc Hunter w/o weights – 105 bpm – 500 calories/hr
Quiver Aplha w/o weights – 87 bpm – 322 calories/hr

I played Audioshield last night (without weights) & it definitely made me work up a sweat! VR really amps up exercise through immersion, which distracts you from realizing you're exercising & makes it waaaaaay more fun.
 

magomago

Lifer
Sep 28, 2002
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looks interesting, but I really want to use my own bike; I've never really been able to get into using those gym bikes. i'm surprised there is nothing that puts you on an actual bike of the 6 game demo options...

I tried zwift too but it couldn't keep my attention - indoors I find I'd rather watch fast paced/up-beat content that keeps me going and zwift becomes a little of a bore. Maybe when VR and Zwift can merge I'll be interested again. Until then, when I ride longer than 1.5 hours, I simply have to do it outdoors.

edit: however, for those who struggle to get in any activity, riding a unicorn while cycling just may be the ticket LOL.
 
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Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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looks interesting, but I really want to use my own bike; I've never really been able to get into using those gym bikes. i'm surprised there is nothing that puts you on an actual bike of the 6 game demo options...

I tried zwift too but it couldn't keep my attention - indoors I find I'd rather watch fast paced/up-beat content that keeps me going and zwift becomes a little of a bore. Maybe when VR and Zwift can merge I'll be interested again. Until then, when I ride longer than 1.5 hours, I simply have to do it outdoors.

edit: however, for those who struggle to get in any activity, riding a unicorn while cycling just may be the ticket LOL.

Yeah that's the thing, it's a first-gen product. Even with the resistance cranked all the way up, I still have to use my training mask & ankle weights to make it feel like a real workout & not juts a spinning class. There's been talk of a recumbent bike & possibly a rower, so I'm sure the future will hold great things if this technology takes off, which I am hoping it will. I'm sure a cycling game will come out eventually (I'm hoping for Paperboy VR myself, lol).

I can get into outdoor cycling really easily, but my schedule doesn't always work for that (or the weather) & with this I can be consistent at it every day, so there's that. I wish they had demos setup at Best Buy for people to try because it really is a very engaging experience & is hard to accurately describe without using it yourself. I just had my cycling buddy over to try it out & he had a blast - and he does century rides on a regular basis!

Big picture though, I think one of the problems it hat most people don't realize food makes you fat & exercise makes you fit, and those are separate things. Yes, you CAN get skinny by exercising a ton, but it's so much easier (and healthier) to simply manage your diet & then at minimum get some cardio in every day.