Functionality meets design: the new adaptive sport equipment Spike
Functionality meets design: the new adaptive sport equipment Spike
We asked Nicoline Saarisilta Bergh and Andre Haig Johnsen, Exero Technologies
Activities aiming at occupational therapy and rehabilitation are boring? Not necessarily! A new assistive exercise and sports equipment named Spike is not only designed to be fun, but also suitable for everybody who wants to get and stay fit. How this works for whom and what kind of history connects Spike with REHACARE? We asked!
Nicoline Saarisilta Bergh and Andre Haig Johnsen from Exero Technologies
So, REHACARE.com got to talk to the Exero employees Nicoline Saarisilta Bergh (CMO) and Andre Haig Johnsen (COO) about the new markets for their adaptive sports equipment Spike. Together they run the company Exero Technologies alongside Bendik Fon (CEO), Mathias Thorkildsen Berg (CTO) and Stian Kvalvik (CCO).
What makes Spike so unique?
Andre Haig Johnsen: Spike allows the rider to venture on various terrain while using poles for propulsion and tilting their upper body for steering. This way of steering strengthens the riders core muscles, upper body and balance coordination. Spike comes in one size that is adjustable to a variety of body lengths and adjustments can also compensate for any asymmetrical weight distribution or body shapes (i.e. amputees). A safe and comfortable ride is achieved through two separate brakes and comfortable pressure ulcer negating cushions.
What makes Spike so unique is its combination of functionality, adjustments and design. Spike introduces a fun and effective way to exercise with a design that helps lift the confidence of the rider. Spike is more than just a product, but a brand that riders can identify themselves with. What separates Spike from other adaptive sports equipment is a customer focused, interactive company behind it, along with a contemporary social media presence and community.
Nicoline Saarisilta Bergh: At Exero, we’ve had a great focus on creating an adaptive sports product in line with regular sports equipment. We wanted Spike to have the look and feel of a sports equipment that also "happened" to fit people with lower body disabilities.
Spike is designed for people with different lower body disabilities such as Spina Bifida, Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI), Polio, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Amputees and Paraplegics. Spike riders range from teenagers to senior citizens, but they all have one thing in common: the eagerness to stay active and venture outdoors in nature.
Johnsen: Spike has been available for Norwegian customers for almost two years and the feedback has been unbelievable. People who previously were limited by their outdoor surroundings are now able to join their friends and family on hikes through trail paths, paved and gravel roads. People who found exercise to be boring are now using Spike to strengthen their bodies in a fun and adventurous way.
Spike was designed to be suitable not only for top athletes but also for anyone who enjoys active exercise in nature.
You have just launched a new international web shop. How does Exero want to position itself with Spike in the European and international market and stand out from its competitors?
Johnsen: Aesthetic design and functionality are at the core of our product development. Exero will differentiate from its competitors by digitalizing the sales process, offering an interactive web shop with swift customer service and a focus on customers' individual customization requirements through modern production methods like 3D-printing. We want the customers to have the same reassuring feeling when ordering a Spike through our web shop as they would if purchasing it in a physical store. We offer free online demos and meetings along with an extensive amount of tutorial videos and information to help the customers determine whether Spike is right for them and their needs. We also offer a free 30-day return policy if it turns out Spike is not a good fit for the customer.
Internationally, we want to make a difference by simplifying the sales process of acquiring adaptive sports equipment. We would like to make that process easier for customers all over the world. The customers in this marketplace deserve not only high-quality products in line with the best sports equipment in the world, but a smooth and high-quality acquisition process.
Currently we’re underdogs in the adaptive marketplace, but don’t care about that. We’re a company focused on delivering the best products to the customers and continue to push and innovate the adaptive sports market.
People with disabilities were actively involved in the development of the sports aid so that Spike can meet as many requirements as possible.
How did (visiting) REHACARE help you in developing Spike and the whole internationalization process?
Bergh: REHACARE has been crucial for our internationalization process in terms of researching European and international markets and getting a wider understanding of the industry. We first visited REHACARE in 2018 and went back in 2019. Now, we are looking forward to hopefully returning next year. In 2018 Spike was still under development and REHACARE was a great resource for inspiration for further development and to learn about the international market. We have met so many interesting people and companies, and REHACARE has definitely been important to understand the criteria and expectations in international markets.
What does inclusion mean to you?
Bergh: Inclusion to us means expanding peoples’ perspectives and increasing collaboration. We reiterate this word in every process we do at Exero. When we first set out to make Spike, we wanted to create a product that would increase the inclusion of people with disabilities into society. Not only through practical usage and exercise but through physical appearance. To help us achieve this we involved more than 100 unique people with different lower body disabilities during the 2-year development process. Including the products’ intended user group throughout the entire development process gave us invaluable insight that we otherwise would never be able to calculate. Now, we continue to include the riders through our online community in social media.
We hope to see people all around the world experience the joy of staying active with Spike.
"I’m so happy that I got myself around to ordering a Spike from Exero this year. I’ve gotten much better control of my upper body and core muscles. It is a perfect exercise alternative for rowing and is also a great way to get out in nature."
Prominent para rower (30), Spike rider since 2020
"Finally, I see the boy and not the activity aid."
Mom of 13 year old boy with CP who has been a Spike rider since 2019
"Spike is awesome! I can't express enough how much I enjoy using it. Thank you so much for creating it."