We chat with the company boffins of Ashwa Pro about the brand and their indoor cycling rollers and trainers. It is an Indian company manufacturing indoor rollers for the domestic and international market.
If there has been just one silver lining in this global pandemic, it is that cycling has boomed across the globe and India has been no exception.
More folks are not just getting onto the saddles of their bikes, but also giving fitness priority. The increasing popularity of cycling has a few downsides though.
Global supply has been unable to match this phenomenal demand. People are queuing up to buy cycling products and the wait isn’t ending!
Added to these changed circumstances of cycling. Cyclists have rediscovered indoor cycling. With the lockdowns and general ‘stay at home’ advisories, training in the comfort of one’s home has become the norm. Every serious cyclist these days has an indoor trainer of some sort.
And if you are wondering why cyclists in India started indoor cycling. Then read this article, where we got cyclists from different backgrounds and experiences to share their thoughts on ‘Why You Should Start Indoor Cycling in India?‘
Ashwa Pro: Born in the Pandemonium!
In the midst of this topsy-turvy world, Ashwa Pro was born.
The cool founding folks of this company had been testing and contemplating manufacturing indoor trainers for some time now. But they were hard pressed to take time out from their busy schedule of running ‘Le Tour de India’. A bicycle travel company which has garnered trust from clients around the world since 2011.
With travel coming to a grinding halt in 2020, and the great outdoors not feasible. Their focus turned inwards… or indoors to be more precise!
Founded in Jaipur, Ashwa Pro, after rigorous testing started the manufacture and sale of their indoor rollers in the first half of 2020.
We were delighted to hear about this last year. There’s nothing cooler than seeing a homegrown brand manufacturing world class products.
A year down the line, it is time to know them better…
But why? you ask!
In the Indian market there was a massive space for indoor rollers. At one end, there were cheap no-name rollers made in China, with quality as you would expect! On the other end of the spectrum, you had big brands with their rollers, which were priced at a premium.
Not only were these imported rollers expensive, but supply was also a big challenge. As a result, cycling aficionados looking to buy an indoor roller were left stranded.
Galloping to the rescue was this Ashwa (horse in Sanskrit). As Khushal Rathore, founder of Ashwa Pro said, “The horse is a symbol of power, speed and strength. The animal upon whose back many nations rose to power over the centuries.” Using this indoor trainer, he hopes, you will also be able to unleash the beast within. Once you stop horsing around that is!
The logo has been designed with that thought in mind. A horse galloping away at full swing.
If you ever visit the cattle fairs of Rajasthan, you will see beautiful thoroughbreds, immaculately looked after by passionate enthusiasts. And you immediately see the inspiration for the name and product…
The peeps behind this brand are ardent lovers of the humble bicycle. They have been active in the cycling industry since 2011. As Khushal told us, “We have been in the cycling business since 2011. Ours is a team of cycling enthusiasts who chose their interest area to be their profession. As Le tour de India we have been touring entire India, on cycles helping and guiding people from across the globe to experience dusty country roads, mountain terrains, desert trails and jungle adventures. All this while taking people to help them explore nature and good old ways of life“
The sands of time wait for no man, and when you are in the desert you know how to deal with sand!
When push came to shove, as the pandemic did push the country out of its comfort zone, Ashwa Pro saw the light of day.
Their philosophy was simple and it is simplicity which succeeds in the long run:
“We have been in the trial phase since past few years. But the pandemic made it even more important for us to launch the company and product. Our team, clients, friends, clubs all were seeking a platform which can give them a wholesome cycling experience even in their backyard or living room of the home. The whole idea is to make something unique something which we can proudly say ‘Made In India’. Ashwa Pro Bicycle Rollers and Trainers proudly meets the best of the quality and standards followed worldwide“
With the company so new, things are moving super fast. Two of the major things currently being worked on are:
“Further R&D is in progress on few other products which can enhance the entire experience of cycling.“
“Our team is working towards creating international distributor networks and we plan to expand to create more outreach.“
The indoor roller is just the start for Ashwa Pro, the company is also working on touring handlebars, touring saddles and another model of compact light weight trainer. The last being targeted at professional cyclists, as it can be carried in their hand luggage.
The response so far received from the global market has been positive for the brand. Which is why they are actively building an international distributor network. They are now sure that their products meet global standards. This is heartening for any domestic brand, especially in a comparatively tiny cycling market like India.
We look forward to more cool cycling stuff from this Indian brand.
Expanding the User Base
Many a time we see small brands trying to grab a piece of the existing market pie. The modus operandi is to offer a product similar to what is available at a slightly cheaper price and then ‘hope’ people will like it!
And this is where the experience of the Ashwa Pro team comes to the fore. Rather than just trying to sell to the existing user base. They are pushing hard to expand this market. If the market is bigger, every brand will benefit. It requires a vision to pursue this path rather than just poaching another brand’s prospective customer.
To this end, in their hometown of Jaipur, Ashwa Pro began organising outdoor spinning classes. It was a pilot project, which helped them understand the requirements of people who aren’t hardcore cyclists. This also helped non-cyclists understand a product like an indoor roller.
The response to this initiative has been fantastic and they will try replicating it across the country as and when things open up.
This is what they actually did:
“This was first introduced for research in real life scenarios for people in general. To get insights about what is the need of a beginner. After achieving the goals of quality standards, targeted results and gaining experience. We started the World’s first Outdoor Cycling Gym with an exclusive concept of ‘cycling workouts on rollers’. It was launched at few residential societies, joggers park, clubs etc.
Core Idea: Your everyday fitness training will now be an exciting mix of Technology Driven high intensity cycling workouts with a fun dose of entertaining music and fresh air. A fun filled alternative to traditional gymnasium routines.
With the help of latest technology of ANT+ & BT speed/cadence sensors and mobile apps a digitalized form of workout system is developed. Where our members get to see their live workout in progress and daily performance is recorded, same as the popular cycling app, Strava.
With our good quality bikes, efficient rollers, digital performance evaluation system and personal trainers, the societies, clubs, parks can have their own open air cycling gym.
We are supporting many gyms and instructors who wish to start their spinning sessions with the latest technologies and more realistic riding experience to members.“
Rolling for Everyone
With this experience in hand, they developed the rollers not just to be used by experienced cyclists. But even absolute beginners.
“We first introduced the bicycle rollers that is the need of every professional cyclist. And then added a uniquely engineered bridge that allows anyone to ride and balance on rollers and still have that natural lateral motion. Keeping in mind customers from all walks of life, whether they are professional racers, kids, housewives having any fitness levels and any type of bike, the efficiency of our ‘rollers with Rocking Motion Bridge’ are fully tested to meet their desired fitness goals.“
Ashwa Pro Shadowfax: Indoor Roller
Currently, the model that the company manufactures and sells is called the Shadowfax.
This is what they had to say about their indoor roller:
What is different between Shadowfax and other brand rollers?
Every brand is good in itself and they have worked as per their research and design philosophies. We don’t compare. We did our best, be it the quality of material used, designing, look, feel, functionality. Ashwa Pro, in its segment will surely meet the quality and standards followed by top brands world over.
USPs of this roller?
We have gone a notch further. Based on our ground research and the desire of making indoor cycling closer to a realistic road riding experience, we customized a few things which no other brand provides.
4 inch Drums
Unlike most rollers in market which comes with 3 inch or 3.5 inch of diameter. We made the rollers in 4 inch (101 mm) diameter. This gives you more rolling (higher inertia to keep moving) and lesser resistance. So you get to ride at higher speeds.
The fancy looking small wheels shown in the picture, keeps you afloat when the front wheel of your bike comes to the edges. It reduces the risk of rolling off from the rollers.
Bridge with Rocking Motion
The uniquely designed bridge clamps the front wheel, which helps non riders use rollers and enjoy the amazing machine we call a bicycle.
The bridge allows the bike to move naturally with the left-right tilting motion in response to your pedal stroke. And since you control the motion through handlebars, it offers a realistic road-riding feel.
The “Rocking motion bridge” design and comfort allows anyone to ride on rollers irrespective of age and fitness level. The risk of falling off is eliminated and one can easily get on & off from the bike anytime keeping the bike on the rollers with the bridge.
Smart trainers are in demand with the on-going trend of virtual rides and Zwifting. After buying an expensive smart trainer one still compromises on the fact that the trainer makes the bike static as a gym bike. And the rider doesn’t get the lateral motion and fore-aft motion as when you ride your bike in the real world.
To improve this indoor cycling experience, we brought Rocker Plates to make the indoor cycling experience as realistic as it could be.
Rocker Plates are basically two plywood plates curved beautifully in rocket, aero etc. design. Between these two layers of ply, there are linear bearings to give fore-aft movement. There are also inflatable balls on each corner for sideways lateral motion.
This rocker plate is placed under the smart trainer for more realistic and engaging feel of virtual riding.
We customize Rocker Plates as per customer’s liking of colour and design with both lateral and forward-backward movement in our rocker plates.
Tell us about the frame construction and material used.
We use High Grade Aluminium- 6061 T6 for drums anodized to 30 microns. 6063 T6 frame powder coated.
Where are these rollers manufactured?
Do you have prior experience in manufacturing such products?
There was no prior experience of manufacturing; we started from scratch and learned/ tested a lot before launching the final product.
With a vast experience of cycling, deep and first-hand knowledge of needs of cyclists. By virtue of us being in the business of cycling tours since a decade. And having used various similar products we had a sufficient base to start R&D process for a platform suited to our and everyone’s need.
The product has been tried and tested over a period of time in various phases. Including final testing and proving in real life scenarios before initiating manufacturing process.
Who designed the Shadowfax?
A team of professional cyclists from various disciplines with their first-hand knowledge of cycling needs in conjunction with highly experienced engineers.
What is the price differentiation between Shadowfax and other brands in India?
Since the product is 100% made in India we are reasonably priced.
To bridge or not? What percentage of customers use the rollers with the bridge and how many use it without?
We have more demand of rollers with bridge as with the help of bridge anyone in family can ride on the rollers even if they have not ridden a bike in their lifetime. With the lateral motion of the bridge they also enjoy the same feel as if they are riding on the road.
Although it takes a few tries and anyone with basic cycling experience can easily ride on rollers without the bridge.
Do you assist the customers with setting up of rollers?
Yes. The customer just needs to reach us by any preferred means. We have a dedicated team who will help customer with video calls and live demo.
We also give free live workout sessions to our customers. So that they get to learn various techniques and technology used to make their indoor cycling experience better.
What does a customer need to do, if they have any issue with a roller?
We work extensively on customer care, any issue, be it mechanical or functional we try to resolve it in no time to the satisfaction level of customer. We understand the needs of the customers and value their concerns.
How has the feedback been so far from customers?
The response and feedback have been good and motivating. The operations and field teams are excited with the feedback. The cycling roller spinning sessions have also been highly appreciated and helped people to get rid of their obesity and to adopt active morning/ evening routines.
Excited by the results of our spinning sessions at few societies many others have approached us. People are liking the idea and appreciating the concept and product.
CyclingMonks is excited and delighted to see an Indian brand manufacturing cycling products in the country. We wish the lovely people of Ashwa Pro luck in their future endeavours as they learn, evolve and constantly improve.
And we can’t wait to try out these rollers… and the saddles and handlebars which are in the pipeline!
Photographs Courtesy: Ashwa Pro