Fitbit adds bike tracking, multi-tracker support to Surge, Obama spotted wearing one

By Aditi Pai
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Fitbit Surge smartwatch Fitbit Surge smartwatch

Fitbit has added two new features, bike tracking and multi-tracker support, to its most advanced wristworn activity tracker, the Fitbit Surge. In unrelated news, last week, President Obama was seen wearing a Fitbit Surge. That's not entirely unexpected since he mentioned a month prior that he was planning to try out the Apple Watch to track his workouts and that he hadn't tried a Fitbit yet.

"Our users are passionate about fitness and have consistently requested a way to track their outdoor cycling activity," Fitbit VP of Interactive Tim Roberts said in a statement. "We are delivering this feature on Fitbit Surge for active consumers looking to track and better understand performance during rides, in addition to their other workouts. Our goal is to provide users with the tools it takes to track their exercise and reward them for doing the activities they love to do most – like biking and running."

Surge's new bike tracking feature, which supports road biking, mountain biking, and BMX, monitors distance, duration, average speed, heart rate, calories burned, and time while biking. These metrics are sent to Fitbit's in-app dashboard so that riders can review routes, speed, and elevation after their rides. 

The Surge, which commercially launched in January, offers eight sensors — a tri-axis accelerometer, a gyroscope, a compass, an ambient light sensor, GPS, and a heart rate sensor. It also offers multi-sport identification, which means it will pinpoint when users are running, cross-training or doing another type of workout. From there, users can access summaries that analyze their workout intensity based on heart rate and calories burned.

The other new feature Fitbit added, multi-tracker support, allows Fitbit users to pair up to six Fitbit devices to their app. On top of that, users on iOS can use a feature in Fitbit's app called MobileTrack, which is a passive tracking feature that can fill in the gaps of their activity record for times when they're not wearing a Fitbit device.

The company explained that one example of how a user would take advantage of the multi-tracker support is if a user who wants to wear a Fitbit One to work, for discretion, then switch to Fitbit Surge when they go on a run, and then wear a Tory Burch for Fitbit tracker when they go out for the night.