Charles Murcott - the founder of Lumex
The original Cybex was founded as a division of Lumex, Inc. a therapeutic health
and hospital products company that acquired the patent for the first Cybex product,
an isokinetic testing device, in 1970. Lumex developed into a major designer and
manufacturer of performance measurement and rehabilitation systems, with the Cybex
brand becoming known nationally and internationally. Sports teams, such as the Dallas
Cowboys, and individual athletes, including boxer Muhammad Ali and baseball pitcher
Tom Seaver, used Cybex equipment in their athletic training programs.
In 1981, Lumex relocated the Cybex division operations to Ronkonkoma, New York as
the company prepared to expand the Cybex product line into the medical and fitness
markets. The Cybex division of Lumex continued to produce rehabilitation equipment
in Ronkonkoma and in 1983 Lumex acquired Eagle Performance Systems (a fitness equipment
manufacturer based in Owatonna, Minnesota) and established itself as a supplier
of variable resistance strength systems to health clubs. Along with the Eagle acquisition
came a 100,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Owatonna.
The plant in Ronkonkoma, New York, was built in 1980 and the square footage doubled
the following year.
The Cybex facility in Owatonna, Minnesota, manufactured fitness and strength systems.
In 1988, a stationary bicycle, rower, upper-body ergometer and Cybex Strength Systems
– a line of free weight exercise machines were launched. The year 1994 saw the introduction
of the Plate Loaded series of weight training equipment which allowed for both the
controlled resistance of the state-of-the-art training equipment and the feel of
a free weight workout. The Cybex brand’s international presence expanded and developed
in the late 1980’s with sales agents in more than 40 countries. In 1995, Lumex sold
its medical supply business and changed its name to Cybex (AMEX:CYB).
In May 1997, Cybex merged with Trotter, Inc., a company founded in 1973 by engineer,
Edward Trotter. Trotter Treadmills were first produced in the early 1970’s in the
basement of Ed Trotter, engineer-turned – entrepreneur and the founder of Trotter.
A pioneer in producing treadmills that were motorized, the earliest designs monitored
speed with an analog speedometer. There was no elevation.
Bending hand rails
Much of the early manufacturing process was a tribute to creativity. A muffler bender
(pipe bending machine) was used to bend hand rails. Trotter made its own dies because
muffler pipes were larger than hand rails. The rails were hung on racks during each
phase of the bending process.
Trotter quality testing in the mid 1980s, was done by “Big Foot”. The machine, complete
with sneakers, ran 24 hours/day 7 days/week to test the durability Trotter Treadmills
were known for.
Big Foot - 1983
Trotter moved from Holliston to Hopedale in 1983. The new manufacturing facility
was in the old Draper Mill plant – 2,000,000 sq ft of vacant space. As Trotter grew
and more space was needed, a new chalk line was drawn on the floor and the landlord
was notified that Trotter would pay rent on the additional square footage.
In 1992, Trotter manufacturing moved to its current headquarters in Medway. Then
Massachusetts Governor, William Weld attended the grand opening of the new facility.
Although primarily a manufacturer of treadmills, Trotter entered strength training
with the acquisition of Pyramid (a small strength company near Pittsburgh) shortly
before it merged with Cybex. Trotter was owned by UM Holdings, Ltd. at the time
of the merger and, in the merger transaction, UM obtained 51% interest in the publicly
Governor William Weld tried out the Trotter 545 Supertrainer treadmill.
In late 1997, Cybex decided to focus even more strategically on equipment for the
fitness industry. The Cybex isokinetic business was sold and in 1998, Cybex acquired
Tectrix, a California-based manufacturer of primarily bikes and steppers. Production
of bikes and other Tectrix cardiovascular products was ultimately moved to Medway.
In an expansion of the company's international presence, in 2001 Cybex acquired
Forza, the prior Cybex dealer in the United Kingdom. This acquisition established
direct sales and distribution in the UK. Cybex has distributors in 87 countries
around the globe.
Now a manufacturer of strength, treadmills, bikes and steppers, in 2002 Cybex introduced
the revolutionary Arc
Trainer – a unique offering in the elliptical category. That same year,
the Eagle line
premiered and re-affirmed Cybex leadership in strength training. The company now
offered three complete lines of selectorized equipment in additional to the plate loaded and
lines of equipment. A pioneer in developing equipment for persons with physical
limitations, Cybex introduced the first of its several generations of Total Access fitness equipment in
2004. Although used by all exercisers, Total Access was the first to comply with
IFI (Inclusive Fitness Initiative) in the UK.
In 2009 Cybex introduced a new concept to functional training with the debut of
Stabilization – offering the advantages of both cable-based and selectorized mechanisms
in a single machine – was another Cybex first in the fitness industry. The following
year, 2010, Cybex introduced its
series for pro athletes requiring the most demanding workout.
Next-generation powder coating is the reason Cybex leads the industry in color customization
with reliable lead times.
The Arc Trainer and all strength training equipment are built in the state-of-the-art
Cybex plant in Owatonna, near Minneapolis, Minnesota. This facility, brought on-line
in 2007, is 340,000 square feet (eight football fields under one roof) and sits
on 36 acres. The company’s commitment to manufacturing excellence is evident in
the durability and reliability that characterizes Cybex products.
In 2011 Cybex introduced the
770T, the latest in a complete line of premium treadmills. Cardio equipment,
including both the upright and recumbent exercise bikes, is manufactured in the
Medway plant near Boston, Massachusetts, adjacent to the Company’s Corporate Headquarters.
Medway is also home to the Cybex
Research Institute which encompasses the research and education
functions that the company believes are critical to the scientific foundation for
design of Cybex exercise equipment.
Cybex continues to introduce innovative new products that reflect the company's
heritage of exercise science and currently offers over 175 individual fitness machines.