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Interview with Otmar Rösch   27.04.2012

Professional soccer coach TSG Hoffenheim II, graduate in sports

When did you start varibiking, and what motivated you to start?

I started varibiking in 2011. I saw the bike and caught the bug straight away! I was literally ecstatic as soon as I rode one for the first time, and bought myself a varibike straight away. Rather than fading with time, my enthusiasm has even increased since then ;).

What other sports do you do apart from varibiking?

Sport is my profession as well as my hobby. I try my hand at all sorts of different sports, anything I enjoy. I play different team sports, and I also go inline skating, skiing, kiting or fitness training.

There are now numerous all over body workout outdoor trend sports. For instance Nordic walking or Nordic blading. What are the benefits of the new trend sport varibiking?

Well, it is totally unlike Nordic walking. Nordic blading is a bit more like it. However, varibiking has a much stronger locomotive element; it is also surface-independent and much easier than Nordic blading.

What satisfies you most about varibiking?

That I can exercise my whole body – if I choose to. Then the variety – as the name suggest, vari-ability, you can exercise your arms and /or (!!) your legs, that's just super! When I'm cycling on a 'normal' bike, I usually feel kind of 'nailed down' from the hip upwards. Inactive for no reason. That feels completely different on a varibike, far more satisfying!

What does varibiking mean to you? Fun, relaxation, getting from A to B or a workout?

Yes!! Exactly. All of those! I use my varibike every day to get about, but I obviously also use it for 'proper' training. Sometimes for a gentle basic workout, but sometimes I also do high intensity interval training on it. And I enjoy the thing, whatever I do on it! And, by the way, it seems other people do, too; people who don't know what it is approach me all the time when I'm out and about on it as they love it so much and want to know more.

What is it that fascinates you about varibiking?

Well, for a start the concept as such is already pretty fascinating. That I am exercising my whole body and not just one part of it. I am not a technology nerd, so I don't really care about that side of it. But the steering, wow, respect! That is a really brilliant idea and I just can't get enough of it.

As a professional soccer trainer, you are already actively involved in sports in your job. So do you still have any time and energy left for varibiking?

Not very much. That is why I use the varibike to ride to work on whenever the weather allows it. That is a distance of 26 kilometres, largely through built-up areas, so it does not make much difference in terms of time compared to taking the car ( 35 min.). And considering the current fuel prices, my bike has basically paid for itself within just a few months!

The varibike is steered by leaning it into the direction you want to go in. Was that easy to learn?

Yes! Getting the hang of it was no trouble at all. Of course, I had some wobbly moments when I started, but that was probably more down to being overawed by a completely new experience rather than to a lack of skill. I think people make the steering sound far more difficult than it is. Anyone who can ride a bicycle is also able to ride a varibike. And the current bikes all feature handlebars as well. So the varibike is totally idiot-proof, really! A lot of my friends have had a go on my bike and they were fine without me having to tell them what to do. Of course you should get a bit of practice in first before zooming around in heavy traffic with it! But, as I said...it's as easy as one-two-three.

Is the varibike safe in dangerous situations?

Since I've had it, I have tried quite a few adventurous things with it and as far as I am concerned: yes, it's absolutely safe. You tend to respond instinctively in any unexpected situation calling for evasive action, anyway, and the varibike follows your move automatically. In any case, as the varibike as such is extremely safe, you hardly encounter any dangerous situations.

What does it feel like to ride a varibike?

Phew, difficult to describe. It somehow feels like cycling, climbing and crawling at the same time, when you are just sort of riding along. But when you switch to full speed and you max out all four pedals with hands and legs – wow, that's just an amazing feeling! You can feel the power, there is a sensation of speed and you get a boost of energy that is incomparable to anything else I know.

As yet, we haven't seen much of the varibike on our roads. How do passers-by react when you are out and about on your varibike?

Well it is certainly a talking point! A while ago, I was riding along in Heidelberg (at full speed!) when a moped rider riding next to me sounded his horn and shouted across to me 'Wow, that's cool!'. Most pedestrians do a double-take when I pass, and watch me go by in amazement. People often approach me as soon as I stop. But their comments are always positive and they are really interested.

Have you had any funny or unusual experiences when varibiking?

As I mentioned earlier, the totally ecstatic moped rider. But apart from that, riding my varibike has become pretty normal for me by now.

And, last but not least, do you have any tips for varibiking beginners?

Ride it, ride it, ride it. The thing is just fun, so it is an incredibly motivating experience. I would much rather want to tell all those people who haven't discovered varibiking yet: switch to a varibike! After all, when you are walking or running, you also move the upper part of the body as well. It is simply the most natural way to exercise your body. And the workout is far more comprehensive and intensive. Add the amazing riding sensation to that, and the power... I just love everything about it.

However, I do have one piece of final advice to give: start slowly!!! On my first rides, I just pedalled in the normal way, with my legs, and then by and by, I started to use my arms as well. That's OK for a few minutes, but then your circulation goes up all of a sudden, or rather, your body soon tells you soon that it can't cope with the sudden exertion. Do not underestimate how many more of your muscles you use when varibiking, and that your cardiovascular system has to be in a condition to support all of these. When I first started, I was totally exhausted after 4 kilometres; I had to get off and push the bike for a while.


Professional athletic coach TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, graduate in sports science

„I use my varibike every day to get about, but I obviously also use it for 'proper' training. Sometimes for a gentle basic workout, but sometimes I also do high intensity interval training on it. And I enjoy the thing, whatever I do on it!“


Runner-up world champion in track cycling  


IDM Superbike-Pilot

Video Video

Interview with Max Nagl   25.07.2012

Runner-up world champion in motocross

How did you hear about varibiking?

My father saw the Varibike in a brochure.

Since when do you varibike?

I have used it since June 2012.

You are a motocross pro.

Are there other sports that you do?

Only for work out e.g. mountain biking.

What are the benefits of varibiking for motocross athletes?

The perfect thing in varibiking is, that I can exercise my whole body. I absolutely need this whole body workout for motocross!

Besides the training effect - does varibiking has also other advantage for you?

It is fun and a good alternation to the other work out!

What do you like most in varibiking?

That I can really exert myself and additionally exercise the sense of balance!

Did your workout became more effective with varibiking, or more diversified, or is it the fun?

It became more diversified and I could work out my upper body outdoors for the first time!

As motocross pro you spend many hours per week riding your motorbike. Do you still have time and feel like doing varibiking?

I work out about 2 - 3 per week on the motorbike. There is still much time to work out on the varibike. In average I varibike 5 hours per week.

The Varibike steers by leaning into the curve. Did it take long to learn it?

Only 2 units and I did it automatically!

Was the learning difficult?

No, it was quite simple!

Do you feel save on the Varibike?

At the beginning I wiggled a bit, but after a few attempts I immediately felt secure!

When you are around for varibiking in your hometown in Belgium, how do the people react?

I am often stopped by people and then they ask me what it is and how it works. In any case everybody looks when I am on the way with it :-)

Have there been funny or exceptional situations?

A car driver has overtaken me 3 times in order to see what I am doing. After that, he stopped me to inform himself about the Varibike!

Do you have an advice for Varibike beginners?

Start slowly, because the strain for your body is new!


Team world champion 2012 in motocross

„I work out about 2 - 3 per week on the motorbike. There is still much time to work out on the varibike. In average I varibike 5 hours per week.“

Horst from Fürth-Wilhelmsdorf

"Varbiking is the perfect balance for everyone who spends his or her workday primarily sitting. The back and neck muscles are sustainably trained and built up.

Varibiking is in no way comparable to conventional biking! Fun and a change of pace are guaranteed through the different use of the arms and legs.

The Varibike is optimally designed for off-road use (away from street traffic). It is also so much fun again and again!!"

Georg from Ulm

„Früher bin ich Mountainbike gefahren. Jetzt fahre ich nur noch Varibike. Es hat einfach so viele Vorteile gegenüber Radfahren. Dank Varibiken ist meine Rumpf- und Rückenmuskulatur stark wie nie und ich habe keine Verspannungen mehr im Nacken. Zudem ist das Fahrgefühl des Ganzkörperantriebes so kraftvoll und der Vortrieb einfach bärig. Es macht mir viel Spaß beim Varibiken den Fahrstil nach Belieben wechseln zu können - das ist für mich eine neue Freiheit.  

Ich nehme das Varibike zu jeder Gelegenheit, sei es zum Brötchen holen oder für lange Touren rund um Ulm oder in den Alpen.

Varibiken möchte ich nicht mehr missen!“

Richard from LaichingenVaribiker Richard

"Varibiking is the best sport which I know. Approximately 3 years ago, I started and now I have noticed at age 66 that varibiking is purely the fountain of youth for me. I train my whole body with Varibike and it is extremely gentle to the joints and muscles. During the trip, I can make variations as I see fit. An important factor for me is the high level of fat burning by using all muscle groups and the very positive effect on the cardiovascular system. The whole thing is still just so much fun for me. A traditional bike or even an E-bike is now out the question for me since I ride a Varibike."


Tamas aus London/England

„I commute every day around 60km from the outskirts of London into the city. For a long time I’ve been looking for a bike that would enable me to use my arms as well as my legs as it's such a wasted opportunity for fitness using a traditional bike. Varibike fits that bill superbly and I’ve been using it every day for the last year. I’ve really felt the difference and couldn't live without it. I can say it was one of my best purchases ever and would thoroughly recommend it.“

Stephanie aus Ulm

„Ich bin begeistert vom Varibiken. Wenn meine Beinmuskulatur anfängt zu brennen, setze ich die Armkurbeln ein, bis sich meine Beine erholt haben. Auch als relativ untrainierter Radfahrer, fällt es mir leicht, zeitweise volle Fahrt aufzunehmen. Varibiken gibt einem ein tolles neues Fahrgefühl. Man fliegt durch die Landschaft.“

Frank aus Nauen

„Als begeisterter Radfahrer habe ich nun unterdessen 4 Fahrradtypen im Keller stehen. Auf meinem Weg zur Arbeit und zurück fahre ich täglich 35 km. Das Problem der Vergangenheit: Dem Rücken geht es beim Radfahren auch nicht besser, keine Bewegung im Oberkörper! Beim Googeln nach Abhilfe, habe ich dann das Varibike gefunden und natürlich gleich getestet. Seit einem Jahr nun varibiken. Mein schönes neues, kurz davor gekauftes, Carbon Rennrad mit allen Extras habe ich seitdem nicht mehr angerührt, das verstaubt im Keller. Immer, wenn ich zwischen Rennrad und Varibike wählen konnte, habe ich mich fürs Varibike entschieden. Das sagt an sich schon alles. Trotzdem: Varibike ist Radfahren in einer neuen Dimension, macht super Spaß und ist Training für den gesamten Körper. Irgendwo habe ich gelesen: „Varibike, das rollende Fitnessstudio“ und das noch an der frischen Luft. Einfach nur toll.

Franz aus Peiting

„Bei uns ist die ganze Familie restlos begeistert vom Varibike! Für mich ist es nicht nur Sportgerät, sondern vor allem Therapiegerät für meinen Rücken. Beim Varibiken wird der ganze Körper trainiert - und zwar rückenschonend. Da meine Söhne sehr sportlich sind, nutzen sie das Varibike als Trainigsgerät. Im Winter, wenn es auf der Rolle steht, benutzt es sogar meine Frau mit Begeisterung. Ich fahre nur noch mit dem Varibike - ich habe kein anderes Fahrrad mehr. Es ist auf der Teerstraße genauso zu fahren wie auf Schotter oder auf Waldwegen und in der Stadt. Wir können es nur weiterempfehlen!“

Matthew aus Bloomfield USA

„I am not only an avid bicyclist, and Health/Fitness trainer, but love all things cycling.  That includes bikemobilia such as pictures of the old Penny-farthings (and the actual bikes themselves) and all the historical aspects.  While I ride for health as well, my primary reason for riding is for enjoyment. My two wheeled machines have been my "thinking place, my happy place, my safe place" since I was about ten years old.  I have a rather electric though small collection of two wheeled "bicycles". I'm a former competitor, and current big fan of two wheeled touring.  

My (near) daily regiment consists of a minimum of 12 to 18 miles of two wheeled work out laced with intermittent bouts of resistance and suspension workouts.  On leisurely weekend rides I will do between 30 to 80 miles of two wheeled travel at an average rate of 17 to 22 mph, max rate on the flats of 27 to 30 mph sustained.

I also am fortunate in that I am an indoor cycling instructor, and I have both a Indoor Varibike and an Outdoor Varibike at my disposal (I am the Varibike Distributor for the USA). And I enjoy it and use it to maintain my riding abilities year round when time or weather prohibit my enjoyment of the Outdoor Varibike FR3.  

I live in the USA, in New England which is hilly and mountainous and Connecticut which has seasonal snow all of which test ones riding dedication and abilities.   

I have actually gained a 3 to 5 mph increase, as well as upper body strength since starting to ride Varibike in March of 2014.  When I talk of this increase it is not only on the Varibike, but transfers to my experience when riding my 37 year old Motobecane road bike or my Rowingbike, or my latest carbon fiber steed.  

The real thrill though I have to say is that despite all I have written or you might imagine from my words, is that I have a terrible back, and it has been trouble free since late 2013 which I attribute to my riding my traditional bikes, my Rowingbikes and my Varibike.  There is no question that the Varibike has made my entire upper body happier and stronger.  It has also increased my power (WATT) output and given me greater endurance in all aspects of life.  

I'm a cyclist first, and a Varibike distributor second, so you can count on my words: for fun, competition or health why settle for one when you can have all three.  Varibike is amazing for enjoyment, improving your competitive advantage and creating health benefits far beyond traditional bicycling.  Varibiking is a whole new category of riding. Experience Varbike, experience joy!“

Gerda from Schweinfurt

"I use my Varibike for the daily trip to work. As a result, I have my back exercises for 15 minutes before and after work, which is definitely good for a computer workplace. I supplemened my Varibike with mud guard and a bicycle basket. I no longer use any other bicycle.

And I have never been approached by sporty men more than recently :-) "

Mario from  Herzogenrath

„"Hi varibikers or those who want to become one…

I would like to write a short experience report that can maybe help someone to make a decision who is still undecided.

I use the Varibike daily for my trip to work – that is approximately 30 km under all weather conditions and I have done this for 2.5 years so that I now have more than 10,000 km "under my belt" with Varibike.

For years, I have used a "regular" touring bike. However, what bothered me more and more was the fact that I wantonly neglected my upper body muscles, something which expressed itself it the form of latent back pain.

I just did not have the time or desire to go to the gym…so I looked for a "vehicle" which would train my entire body. That was very important to me as a physical education teacher.

After doing research for weeks on the Internet and after reading trade publications, I finally came across the Varibike. It seemed to meed my needs in terms of functionality, variability and appearance. All other solutions often seemed a bit risky and not really practice with a closer look or during the test run at the latest.

So I contacted Martin Kraiss on the same day. He made me the offer to try the bike once. He even personally dropped it by...that is what I call service!!!

This guy is just great because he is putting his heart and soul to fulfil his dream and he can genuinely convince people about his concept...you can certainly see that with the continuous further development of the bike.

After an initial test run, I then knew "This is the one!", although you should take a few days to become familiar with the "bike feeling" and the "flow"!

Here I should mention that the FR3 has some major benefits compared to the FR2 (with which I started) which I no longer want to do without. The variability and the handling simply cannot be beat for the FR3!

With just a little effort, I modified the Varibike so that it is traffic-appropriate with a mud guard, light, baggage carrrier and bag…now I am just simply thrilled. The previous "vehicle" has now become a daily "companion" to me.

Boring bike riding is now a thing of the past for me and my improved fitness also makes positively noticeable during my daily routine. I feel better and my body has visually not changed in a negative way…people are rumouring ;-)

I was simply convinced by Martin and Varibike, even though individuality and quality of course have their price. I do not want to forego this kind of "luxury" anymore….you only live once! Thanks, Varibike, thanks, Martin!

Michael from Allmendingen

„"Due to my office job, I really suffered from back pain. The physiotherapist did not really do anything. It was only when I started riding Varibike regularly did my back pain just vanish. In addition, the whole thing is good for the circulation and I am a few pounds lighter on the scale. In general, a really cool thing.“

Adam from London/England

Whilst performing a Google search I came across the Varibike. This is a road bike but with cranks by the handlebars enabling you to cycle with both your legs and arms simultaneously. You can the arm cranks on their own for an upper body workout. You can also use just one arm crank at a time or both together in sync or out of sync ( where the cranks are held at 180 degrees to each other).

I was intrigued when looking at the videos on you tube and contacted David the UK distributor to arrange a trial. I must admit I first took the bike to a quiet road and practiced for about 60 minutes before I felt totally confident in combining both legs and arms. However it was well worth this practice because I am now confident in handling the bike when travelling in traffic.

The bike itself weighs slightly more than a conventional road bike and is fitted with a 10 speed group set.

I have fitted my road bike with Rotator chain rings which are elliptical as opposed to round and therefore easier on my knees. However with the Varibike I found that by incorporating the arms the strain in the knees is reduced and I have had no problems. This provides a distinct advantage over conventional cycling.

A further advantage is by incorporating the arm cranks you can attain a higher heart rate and I would suggest a much better overall workout.

Climbing gradients is attainable either using the legs only or just one arm. However because of the slower speed on steeper gradients I don't feel in control of the bike trying to use both arms on the cranks. However this might change with further practice.

As with any new machine you have to build up gradually and there is a possibility of a back strain if you overdo your distances when combining both legs and arms. I have travelled 50km in one go so far and as I build up I am sure further distances will not be a problem.

The cost of the machine is over £3000 which is expensive but considering the engineering that has gone into the manufacture, the quality of the build and the fact it is not mass produced I don't think it is overpriced.


Soccer Super League team coach FC Zürich

"For me Varibike is the ultimate fittness machine, because I only have few time for work out and when varibiking I can work out my entire body."