RIPROW Mountain Bike Trainer
Some folks think there smart phones spy on them by listening to what they say. Well I often feel that way too but now I will take it one step further, I think my phone can read my mind. Yesterday I was out mountain biking after an 8 week layoff due to a bum knee and bad weather I found that my stamina and strength was already reduced.
Prior to this I wrote about getting a Fox Transfer Dropper Post installed on my Ibis. I noticed with the new found territory behind the saddle that I was missing some key muscles that would improve my riding. These two things got me to thinking that someone should make a trainer for mountain bikes. Well in a strange turn today my iPhone showed me an instagram ad for the Riprow Mountain Bike Trainer. Ill admit I thought it looked silly until I watched the videos. All I can say now is I WANT ONE.
RipRow™ is the ultimate training tool for every mountain bike, BMX and motocross rider, and it’s one of the most complete workouts you can do.
What does RipRow™ do for you?
- Perfects the fundamental movements that underlie all great mountain bike, BMX and motocross riding. Teach the lizard who runs your body how to climb, descend and shred — all perfectly. Used by pro mountain bike and motocross racers.
- Improves your core strength, coordination and balance.
- Increases range of motion in your hips and shoulders.
- Develops deep endurance for long days on the bike, horse or playing field.
- Builds real-world, usable strength for your sport and Life.
- The world’s first pull-push machine. Press and row back to back.
- Burns tons of calories in a short amount of time.
- Gets you off your butt! You sit all day at work and in your car. Why sit on a stationary bike or old-fashioned rower?
Elevate your riding – big time
After a small amount of time on a RIpRow, you’ll feel faster on your bike. Your body position will instantly improve, you won’t get so tired, and technical trails will feel smoother and more flowy.
After lots of time on a RipRow, the improvements go deeper and deeper. You carry more speed everywhere, and new types of terrain (tighter switchbacks, bigger jumps!) feel easy. And, of course, your fitness is incredible. We now consider road climbs to be for rest days.
Right now on the Supercross circuit, some of the top racers are training with RipRow. They use it for shoulder rehab and to dial in their mechanics so they can race even safer — and even faster.
The only piece of workout equipment you need
Many professional trainers tell their clients to focus on these core movements when they exercise:
- Core stabilization
- Rotation and anti-rotation
With RipRow™ you can do all of these movements on one machine, at one time— in a tiny amount of space. Build endurance, strength, power and muscle mass. Get the body you want with RipRow™.
Available in three versions:
- RipRow – $999
- RipRow with movable pedal platforms – $1,049
- RipRow with movable pedal platforms and detachable seat unit – $1,249
Easily adjustable. Fits riders from XXS to XXL.
Push and pull resistance is provided by adjustable hydraulic dampers. Set your challenge anywhere from very light to very heavy. Ours go to 12.
Unstable. The RipRocker base encourages you to stay alert and balanced (unlike an exercise bike or old-school rower).
Lockable handlebars. Let the bars rotate to imitate bike riding or lock them straight for advanced core training.
Portable. Easily disassembles for transport and storage. Approved for #vanlife.
Feels like your bike. The optional seat unit mimics bicycle and motorcycle riding.
Universal. Wide handlebars with moveable RipRow™ grips fit more than 90% of adults, as well as many kids.
Versatile platforms. Stand on the deck or use the optional pedals to replicate your bike and moto stances. Practice with your opposite foot forward. Consider buying two pairs of pedals. This makes it easy to switch stances between left foot forward and right foot forward.
Sturdy. Built with strong 5052 aluminum. Dramatically over-engineered and over-built to last forever.
5-year warranty on frame and deck with normal use. 1-year warranty on everything (cosmetics excluded).
U.S. patent number 10,071,298.
All specifications are subject to change.
The free RipRow smartphone app, which is currently in development, helps you improve by giving you useful data:
- Workout time
- Current, average and max wattage
- Number of reps
- Average range of motion of each rep
- Current, average and max heart rate (via a Polar chest strap)
- Side-to-side balance
Weight: ~ 40 pounds
Deck: 36.3 x 24.1 x 6.9 inches
Frame: Fits riders sizes XXS to XXL
Handlebars: 780mm wide with moveable RipRow™ grips to fit almost all riders
Seatpost: One-piece BMX style with adjustable height
Dampers: Sealed hydraulic units with 12 levels of resistance
RIPROW MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAINER REVIEW
One day,” says inventor and company founder Lee McCormack. “Just one day of RipRowing is all it takes to improve your riding.”
Right. I’ve tried many new training methods and remained as relatively sucky the next day as when I started. CrossFit? Six or so weeks to feel real progress (and I never did embrace kipping). Hangboard training? Weeks, not days. Perfecting my back cast? A lifelong project.
Compared to a lot of shredders out there, I’m a pretty casual rider. That said, I love riding and have pushed pedals for 20 years. I’ve participated in a bunch of 24-hour races, including 24 hours of Moab when that was a thing, and I enter at least one race a year. (Last year, it was the inaugural Estes Epic.) I’ve bikepacked thousands of miles on my hardtail and chose the town I live in partly due to its proximity to my favorite local MTB trails (Hall Ranch). But my skills plateaued long ago, and I figured that continually smooth and fast descents and cleaning the most technical climbs were simply beyond my ability. Then I hopped on a RipRow.
Creating the RipRow
This 40-pound device is an unstable platform outfitted with a set of MTB handlebars atop a frame that you push and pull between your feet, like you’re on a mountain bike riding through bumps. Resistance is provided by adjustable shocks: one for pulling and one for pushing. RipRow’s inventor—Lee McCormack, a mountain bike skills expert based in Boulder, Colorado—describes it as a great strength- and agility-training device for many things, including but not limited to: “Mountain biking, BMX, cyclocross, motocross, skiing, horseback riding, furniture carrying, and baby making.”
I first met Lee when he and I were on adjacent tables at Revo Physiotherapy and Sports Performance in Boulder. I was working through an arduous shoulder surgery recovery, and Lee was trying to avoid one. We were like-minded junkies when it came to boosting fitness and learning to use our shoulders better. Lee had been mountain biking for 25 years and teaching MTB skills for ten, and he’s written a bunch of books on the subject. To make a living teaching and coaching mountain biking, you’ve got to be pretty damn good and draw from a deep well of experience—but, Lee says, he gradually had three troubling thoughts.
“My shoulders were being destroyed by imperfect riding,” Lee says.
He was also second-guessing some basic ideas about riding. “I always thought we should pull up and push down [over obstacles], but what’s actually happening is much more nuanced.” Look at a bike’s profile, and picture a circle with the bike’s bottom bracket at its center—Lee’s epiphany was that riders balance on their feet near that center, while the bike’s handlebars move along a radius from that center point, not simply up and down like a floor pump.
Plus, he hadn’t quite nailed his bike fit. What Lee learned was that when you find your ideal distance from the deck to your grips on the RipRow (the point where you have optimal range of motion and strength), you should set the same exact distance from the bottom bracket to your grips on your mountain bike. Lee dubbed this the Rider Area Distance (or RAD) and says that for most riders this will equal your knuckle height while standing upright and holding the grips on the RipRow.
The RipRow is the creation that remedied all of Lee’s concerns. “It showed me precisely how to set up a mountain bike for optimal handling and taught me how to move more perfectly, while improving my strength and confidence.”
Over the past five years, Lee’s device has been through eight iterations, with thousands of riders giving feedback, before arriving at the slick and sturdy production model I tested for two months.
Here’s how it works: the unstable platform improves your balance and core strength over the course of the workouts. The upright frame’s push-pull resistance mimics a bike’s motion, enabling you to build strength for railing corners, hopping boulders, pumping, and more confidently landing drops.
It’s easy to argue that simply adding rowing and deadlifts to your training program would suffice, but the RipRow mimics mountain biking in a way that nothing else does. There is no other machine that gives you push-pull in rapid succession, which is, I’ve learned, a key to great riding.
Testing the RipRow
At $999, the RipRow is expensive. Ever a passable journalist, I asked: Why would I buy this instead of just getting outside and riding more? Lee told me to use it for ten minutes daily for four weeks and see what I thought. After a quick lesson on fit and form, I headed home to check it out. Like the Shake Weight and Thighmaster before it, the RipRow puts you in some, let’s say, evocative poses. One in particular. Repeatedly. Mechanically. Thrustingly. On an elevated stage of sorts, no less. So, after I picked one up to test, I dragged it into my home office so I could RipRow in privacy. Then I called up some beginner training videos on the brand’s website. There are several moves, both suggestive and non.
“Wow,” my wife deadpanned when she peeked in. “What’s all this pumping and grinding doing for you?”
“It’s making me a better mountain biker,” I said. “I’m gonna shred.”
“Good luck with that.”
I began by learning the nine RipRow-specific movements, such as the high hinge, low hinge, and crazy-low hinge. “The primary ones come straight from the fundamental movements of mountain biking, which happen to be the fundamental movements of most activities,” Lee says. “All use proven biomechanics principles, and they’ve been OKed by real doctors who are also shredders.”
With the RipRow, you balance on your feet, engage your core, row and push (anti-row or “rip,” in RipRow parlance) in a variety of positions: upright, bent at the waist and knees, feet next to each other, feet in bike stance, one arm and two legs, one leg and two arms, one arm and leg (same side), one arm and leg (opposite side)—you get the picture.
After I nailed the movements, I branched out to the “Quick-Start Workouts” featured on the product’s website. Some were slightly longer with more intense exercises, and there were even a couple race simulations. Segments of trail for these were filmed by pro mountain bikers and “RipRow Factory Pilots,” like Syd Schulz and Macky Franklin. This POV footage is great for learning to read trails at high speed and mimicking moves for that terrain on the RipRow. In the bottom right corner of the race simulation is a person doing the move on the RipRow so you can copy them. In the bottom left corner is a stopwatch counting down how many seconds remain in that movement. These are fun—and hard.
Although Lee suggested I give the machine a month, I ended up testing it for two. I used it regularly on its own and as a warmup before rides—at my house, not the trailhead. (Still not sure how I feel about RipRowing in public.)
Grading the RipRow
The results were kind of mind-blowing, especially considering what little time commitment the workouts required (most are ten to 40 minutes). No matter how great a mountain bike rider you are, it’s really hard to feel and dial in perfect mechanics on a moving bike. There’s just too much going on. The RipRow distills MTB movements to their most basic form.
For me, the biggest gains were in descending. After testing the machine for one day, skeptical as I was at first, my descents felt smoother and faster. By the end of the two-month test, I felt comfortable riding lower and a bit farther back. I was better equipped to absorb impact or fight obstacles to maintain momentum, which grew into increased confidence and decreased lap times on my favorite local rides. I found the RipRow particularly helpful as a warmup. I didn’t gain an elite level of aerobic fitness—this thing doesn’t come with a bag of EPO—but I felt a greater awareness and control of body position and therefore better authority over my bike on chaotic (read: speedy, rock-laden) trails. I also had greater control on technical climbs. Put simply, I just felt more comfortable in the cockpit. I gained strength, endurance, and, most important, neuromuscular intelligence. Tons of reps allow you to hack the cheat codes of great riding into your subconscious. Gym work does not do that.
Professional coaches are taking note as well. Aldon Baker, an elite motocross trainer, is using the RipRow with his factory Husqvarna and KTM racers. At the last Supercross, four of the top five premier racers trained on one.
Todd Schumlick, owner and manager of Norco Factory Racing, has been using a RipRow for the past few months and says the device has proven to reveal a handful of weaknesses in his riders. “For one, hip hinge, potentially due to a lack of hamstring and glute flexibility, or simply incorrect biomechanics,” he says. “Secondly, shoulder mobility. RipRow can assist in addressing these weaknesses, along with complementary strength training and yoga.” This fall, Schumlick plans to test the machine on Aaron Gwin (current and multiple downhill mountain bike UCI World Cup champion) and Richie Rude (multiple Enduro World Series champion).
Lee has his sights on the RipRow going mainstream in gyms and CrossFit boxes across the country. He’s shown it to Denver Broncos strength coaches (“who dig it,” he says), and he has an app in development, so RipRowers can track and share workouts—it even boasts a new stat called the RipWatt. While I’m not sure I’d buy one (I’m somewhat minimalist and very cheap), I’d absolutely choose a gym that had a RipRow over one that didn’t. And I’d keep my giggles to a minimum.