7 Best ProForm bike in 2023 Reviews

7 Best ProForm bike in 2023 Reviews

There are a few things to consider when looking for the best exercise bikes for your home gym, the availability and high quality of the built-in exercise programs are high on this checklist. And in our opinion, very few brands meet both of these criteria as well as the best ProForm bike.

They’re affordable and come with iFIT software, which is one of our most popular fitness apps.

But which one is best for you? Our ProForm bike reviews hope to answer that question by looking at each model in detail and who they’re intended for.

We reviewed the ProForm line of exercise bikes, including a hybrid recumbent bike and an elliptical. Learn about the pros and cons, pros and cons of models from affordable to expensive.

Pros and Cons of ProForm exercise bikes

Pros

  • 10-year upright bike frame guarantee (5-year hybrid)
  • Quiet but powerful resistance
  • Adjustable seat (and handlebars on some models) that can be replaced with a standard bike seat
  • Transport wheels on every model
  • iFit enabled or includes a free iFit subscription for a limited time
  • Relatively affordable
  • Sturdy frames
  • A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating

Cons

  • Short return window
  • Limited workouts without an iFit subscription
  • Limited preinstalled programs on some models

We’ve researched, tested, and compared the best exercise bikes on the market, and here’s our 2023 breakdown. So hop on and give it a try! You may not be a professional cyclist, but you will definitely feel like one.

A quick look at the best ProForm exercise bikes

  • ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22-Best ProForm bike for taking classes
  • Proform 505 SPX exercise bike-Best compact design
  • ProForm 225 CSX Exercise Bike-Best quality even at a discounted price
  • ProForm 400 SPX Exercise Bike-Best perfect riding position
  • ProForm 500 SPX Exercise Bike-Best stability on any surface
  • ProForm Pro C10R-Best recumbent exercise bikes
  • ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT-Best ProForm bike for cross-training

ProForm, owned by iFIT Health & Fitness Inc., specializes in home fitness equipment including rowing machines, treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bikes.

The brand currently offers three series of indoor cycling bikes to meet different cycling needs.

The Studio Series is for those who want to experience indoor cycling studios from the comfort of their own home.

The C-Series includes upright and recumbent exercise models for more traditional cycling workouts.

The Hybrid series is the most unique as it includes a recumbent bike that converts to an elliptical trainer, making it easy to switch up cardio workouts.

Because ProForm offers several models of exercise bikes, you may be wondering which product is right for you.

How did we decide?

To help you with your decision, we’ve rounded up the best Proform studio bike wheels for each purpose based on the following criteria:

  • Cost: We’ve included bikes for different budgets and fitness needs.
  • Features and extras: We looked at the special features each bike offers, such as integrated touchscreens, multiple resistance levels, and programmed workouts.
  • Customer reviews: We looked at online reviews to find out which bikes offered the best value for money.
  • Verification: The indoor cycling bikes on our list have been verified to ensure they meet brand integrity standards and a well-being approach.

Here are the best exercise bikes of 2023 by awards

1. Best Exercise Bike Under $1500 – ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22

Specifications

  • 22″ touchscreen
  • Different handlebar grips vertically and horizontally
  • Magnetic resistance levels 1-24
  • Three adjustment points
  • Bluetooth enabled to sync with wireless headphones
  • 3lb kettlebells included
  • Heart rate monitor compatible

The ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22 features an amazing 22-inch touchscreen! This sturdy recumbent bike stands securely on the ground so it won’t rock or wobble while you ride.

We like the ProForm Studio Pro 22 because you get the benefits of a 22-inch screen at a great price with a sturdy frame. Currently priced under $1,500, this exercise bike is a fantastic deal given its content, features, touchscreen, and restraint.

As exercise bikes have grown in popularity over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion in technical improvements to the exercise bikes themselves. Old-fashioned spin bikes lacked the technology and were designed for semi-professional cyclists who wanted to train indoors during the off-season.

When it came to training content (personal process) and technology (an old television in the basement), you were on your own. Today there are hundreds of recumbent bike apps and many high-tech bikes to choose from. However, not all are of the same quality or content.

We love the ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22 because it builds on ProForm’s history of building quality bikes with the added iFit feature that created a massive library of workout video content.

ProForm studio bike pro 22 combines the best of both worlds, giving you a quality bike and impressive workout content in one affordable package.

Although NordicTrack exercise bikes have a motor that tilts and lowers the indoor cycling bike frame as you ride, not all cyclists may need this feature.

A motor can wear out or fail over time, and for riders who just want to get in and ride, the ProForm studio bike pro 22 offers a great 22-inch touchscreen with the full iFit library – but you don’t have to worry about any motor other than your legs!

Pros

  • Affordable but still offers many of the same features as more expensive exercise bikes
  • The multi-position handlebar has a light sponge coating that protects the handlebar and also increases driving comfort
  • iFit comes free for the first month, so you can use and enjoy all the activities and content before having to pay for a subscription
  • If you decide not to use iFit, the bike will still work with the preloaded programs that come with the kit
  • The screen rotates from side to side so you can see it when you get off the exercise bike
  • Both indoor and outdoor routes offer many training opportunities. There are HIIT rides, outdoor rides, mountain indoor cycling bike rides, and trail/gravel rides

Cons

  • The screen does not rotate forward or backward
  • No QuickTouch resistance setting buttons

Recommendation

If you’re looking for a reliable indoor cycling bike with a crisp touchscreen and good workout content, the Studio Bike Pro 22 is a great option.

It doesn’t have the added bells and whistles of a tilt or trigger motor; it does not tilt from side to side and has no other features. It’s just a good bike with a good screen and lots of video content.

You can ride indoors or outdoors anywhere in the world! iFit outdoor trips include road trips in France, gravel trips in upstate Utah, and even mountain indoor cycling bike trips in New Zealand.

iFit is included for free for the first month, which is also a big plus. We love the Studio Bike Pro 22 because it offers the best features at an impressive price!

2. Proform 505 SPX exercise bike

Specifications

  • Black color
  • Material: steel
  • Size: one size
  • Console display: LED display
  • Resistance level: 20
  • Resistance system: LED display
  • Workout: 20 program
  • Seat: Adjustable seat, cushioned
  • Pedal: Slide-Resistant pedals
  • Heart rate measurement: Hand grip sensors
  • Maximum. User load: 125 kg (275 lb)
  • Weight: 34kg((75 lbs)
  • Dimensions 43″ x 23″ x 61″

The Proform 505 SPX indoor cycling bike has a compact design and weighs about 110 pounds when fully assembled. It’s a wonderful combination of steel and plastic that can carry users up to 250 pounds.

With moderate use, you can enjoy this machine for a number of years. The HSN website offers the 505 SPX with a 5-year limited frame warranty and a 90-day parts and labor warranty. Remember that even adding an indoor cycling bike mat increases the durability of the machine.

Ranked in best buy 2021 at $399 and under, the Proform 505 SPX Indoor Cycle exercise bike offers some quality features, although any trainer in this price range is hit-and-miss.

It’s reasonably priced, heavier than other models at the same price, and offers access to the world after downloading the iFit app and renewing a paid subscription.

The 505 SPX Indoor Cycle bike features a 40-pound flywheel that allows users to enjoy smooth power and acceleration throughout all aspects of their workout, and resistance levels change with the simple twist of a knob.

It also includes a belt drive system that is more durable than chain drive systems which tend to fail more quickly.

The 505 SPX has a small LCD that displays relevant information during a workout, but the addition of an iFit membership opens the door to training for elite trainers and allows you to walk to remote locations with a quick download of the iFit app while cycling.

Other benefits of the 505 SPX include a step-by-step feature that allows users to easily hop on and off, attached wheels for portability when needed, and a convenient water bottle holder to keep you hydrated.

Pros

  • 40-pound flywheel
  • 10″ display
  • Belt drive system

Cons

  • Low guarantee

Conclusion

The 505 SPX exercise bike is reasonably priced and is a decent piece of equipment that would fit into any home gym. It’s built by a reputable company and despite the lack of warranty is a great working machine.

While the screen leaves a lot to be desired, iFit’s ability to stream through users’ own devices is still more tech-savvy than most models in the same price range, and even higher.

3. ProForm 225 CSX Exercise Bike

Specifications

  • Black color
  • Material: steel
  • Size: one size
  • Console display: LED display
  • Resistance: Level 20
  • Resistance system: LED display
  • Workout: 20 program
  • Seat: Adjustable seat, cushioned
  • Pedal: Slide-Resistant pedals
  • Heart rate measurement: Hand grip sensors
  • Maximum. User load 125 kg (275 lb)
  • Weight: 34kg (75 lbs)
  • Dimensions 43″ x 23″ x 61″

Offered by some cheaper retailers like Walmart, the Proform 225 CSX Upright cannot be expected to last as long as its more famous and more expensive family members.

While the warranty shows that Proform still offers quality at a discounted price, you won’t see this indoor cycling bike on their website.

The Proform 225 CSX sets itself apart from its competitors by not only offering the Proform name (the brand name means a lot to some people) but also a lower price on the indoor cycling bike warranty along with the ubiquitous iFit features.

Well-equipped to take your workout to the next level, this indoor cycling bike gives you the desire not just to meet your fitness goals, but to exceed them.

Proform 225 CSX offers cutting-edge technology through iFit classes membership. You can work with the best trainers, participate in global workouts tailored to your personal fitness level, and turn your living room into a world-class studio.

Proform studio bike has also increased the cargo capacity of this great value bike by a whopping 275 pounds compared to its 250lb capacity counterparts.

The well-padded seat ensures a comfortable ride during 20 different pre-installed training apps and tests your endurance on many levels.

The patented StepThru frame makes it easy to get on and off, while the adjustable pedal straps secure your feet for a confident transition to your desired destination.

A one-way clutch supports the ultimate outdoor bike simulation, while built-in heart rate sensors monitor you during your workout so you don’t accidentally pass out.

Pros

  • Load capacity 275 kg
  • Guarantee

Cons

  • Non-adjustable steering wheel

Conclusion

At this price point, you couldn’t have made a better choice than the 225 CSX. A quick Google search will show you the best value for money as some retailers offer it.

The additional 25 lbs weight capacity may add to the appeal of this machine along with various free shipping or installation offers depending on which dealer you buy from.

Keep in mind that if you want to unlock the full potential of this indoor cycling bike, you’ll need to pay a monthly iFit membership fee. This exercise bike packs some handy features at a reasonable price, so you can get your daily workout done without spending too much!

4. ProForm 400 SPX Exercise Bike

Specifications

  • 18 kg effective inertia flywheel
  • LCD screen
  • Adjustable non-slip multi-position handlebars with dip grips
  • Soft seat with vertical and horizontal adjustment
  • Quick-stop braking system
  • Commercial-grade welded steel frame
  • Water bottle holder
  • Pedals with toe clips and straps
  • Transport wheels
  • Maximum user weight: 115 kg
  • Dimensions: 107cm x 53cm x 107cm
  • Product weight: 45 kg

Warranty: 2-year parts, labor, and frame warranty. (To get the full 2-year warranty you must register your device within 28 days of delivery. Otherwise, the 1-year warranty will apply.)

Whether you’re an avid cyclist or a beginner on a stationary bike, the ProForm 400 SPX is packed with features to make every user’s workout more efficient.

With adjustable handlebars and a padded saddle that moves horizontally or vertically, finding the perfect riding position is a breeze.

The handlebars are coated in a non-slip material to ensure a secure grip on even the most intense rides, while the dip grips offer an alternative riding position. Complete with a 1 window LCD display, users can easily track their session.

Quick stop braking puts you in control of the ride with instant stops and starts, and you can easily increase resistance with a handy adjustment knob.

Additionally, the addition of an 18kg flywheel, chain drive system, and toe clip pedals means users can enjoy an ultra-smooth and stable ride on the 400 SPX.

This exercise bike is also easy to maneuver with front-mounted transport wheels and large-diameter adjustable feet for stability on any surface.

Pros

  • Excellent quality
  • Easy to assemble and easy to move from one room to another

Cons

  • It has resistance when you pedal

5.ProForm 500 SPX Exercise Bike

Spetcifications

  • Drive system: belt drive
  • Natural wool felt resistance system: with comfortable adjustment knob
  • Quick-Stop braking system: for extra safety
  • 1-window LCD display: keep track of your workout stats while you ride
  • Soft seat: adjustable vertically and horizontally
  • Non-slip multi-position handlebar: vertically adjustable
  • IFIT: Download the iFit® app to your device and enjoy studio classes, global workouts and more (including a 30-day iFIT family subscription). *iFIT does not control resistance at 500 SPX, manual resistance will need to be applied. The bike will not connect to the app, but users will still be able to follow instructors and workouts manually.
  • Water bottle holder: stay hydrated while traveling
  • Pedals: with toe clips and straps

Equipped with an 18kg flywheel and belt drive system, the ProForm 500 SPX offers a smooth and natural riding experience similar to that of a real road bike.

The natural wool felt braking system can be fine-tuned with a red dial located within easy reach just below the handlebars, with a built-in Quick-Stop braking system for added safety and peace of mind.

Track your workout stats on the 1-window LCD display as you ride, and keep yourself entertained and motivated with the built-in tablet holder to keep your device secure (tablet/smartphone not included).

Download the iFit®* app to your device and you’ll never be bored again.

With over 400 instructor-led workout videos, from studio sessions to global workouts and even cross-training options like yoga and full-body sculpting, your workouts are limitless (including a 30-day iFIT family membership*).

Sit comfortably in the padded saddle that adjusts to accommodate more users both vertically and horizontally.

The multi-position, non-slip handlebar features grips that easily move up or down to find your ideal riding position.

A water bottle holder is attached to the frame to keep you hydrated during those intense sessions, while the pedals allow you to either buckle on your cycling shoes or tighten the straps for secure foot positioning.

The ProForm 500 SPX bike is designed to be easy to move, with front transport wheels making it easy to move gear. *30-day iFIT trial included. A credit card is required for activation.

iFit membership will automatically renew unless canceled in advance. The 30-day trial only applies to new subscriptions.

Pros

  • Looks beautiful
  • Fairly quick setup (with two people)
  • The design of this exercise bike is very heavy and durable
  • The steering wheel is thick and strong
  • 40lb wheel
  • According to most users, a durable element of the home gym
  • The 500 SPX is quiet during use – even great for exercising in the same room as a sleeping baby – that’s how quiet it is!

Cons

  • The seat wobbles when cycling

6. ProForm Pro C10R exercice bike

Specifications

  • Size: 25.5 × 57 × 50 inches (57 × 145 × 127 cm)
  • Resistance levels: 25
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs. (136kg)
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 1-year parts, and labor
  • Features: 10 inches. intelligent touchscreen, built-in fan, ergonomic pedals, compatible with iFIT streaming classes, Bluetooth compatible
  • Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a low-impact exercise bike with access to live and on-demand digital activity

The ProForm Pro C10R Recumbent Bike is a great option for seniors or anyone looking for a joint-friendly exercise bike with tech features and amenities. Like other recumbents, the C10R features pedals in front of the user for a more comfortable ride by reducing stress on the knees.

But unlike many of its competitors, the C10R has a transparent design that allows the user to get on and off the indoor cycling bike with ease. This is especially helpful for those recovering from an injury and who have limited mobility.

In addition, the C10R has a large, padded seat and a ventilated back to keep you comfortable while driving.

While there’s a lot to like about this upright exercise bike, there are a few things we need to draw your attention to. First, there’s the asking price of $900, which is the top price for recumbent bikes.

The C10R upright exercise bike also has a lot of plastic parts, but that’s common with recumbents. The 10-inch touchscreen, while small overall, is larger and more advanced than the LCD variant you’ll see on similar models.

If access to iFIT workouts and comfort are your top two priorities, then the ProForm Pro C10R recumbent might be for you.

Pros

  • Comfortable seat with large cushion and ventilated backrest
  • 25 levels of silent magnetic resistance
  • Better screen than most recumbents
  • The step-by-step design makes it easy to get on and off the upright exercise bike

Cons

  • Has a lot of plastic parts
  • Materials not disclosed used in frame construction
  • Not the cheapest recumbent

7. ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT

Specifications

  • Size: 62 x 179 x 154 cm (24.5 x 70.5 x 60.5 inches)
  • Resistance levels: 16
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs. (159kg)
  • Warranty: 5-year frame, 90-day parts, and labor.
  • Features: Elliptical trainer and recumbent bike in one, 16 integrated workouts, heart rate monitor.
  • Who for: Anyone who loves low-intensity cardio and wants to save with two machines in one place.

Designed for those looking to add variety to their cardio workout, the ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT converts from a recumbent bike to an elliptical with simple pedal and console adjustments.

The machine is ideal when you need a low-impact workout as the recumbent design includes a supportive backrest, an padded adjustable seat, and large ergonomic pedals.

The Hybrid Trainer XT is not only a 2-in-1 trainer, but it also includes 16 resistance levels, handle-mounted heart rate sensors, transport wheels, a water bottle holder, and an adjustable LCD display that shows you your performance data.

In addition, the exercise bike is equipped with a tablet holder and is iFit compatible, so you can access the full library of iFIT activities on your own device.

However, one possible downside to this machine is that the elliptical trainer has a stride length of just 38cm, which may be too short if you’re 170cm or taller.

Pros

  • Save space with two machines in one
  • Compatible with iFit Live and On-Demand classes
  • Multicolor display for use without iFit

Cons

  • Requires own training equipment
  • Shorter stride length than other elliptical trainers
  • Assembly required

ProForm Policy and Reputation

Guarantee

All ProForm bikes except the Hybrid carry a 10-year frame warranty and a 1-year labor warranty. There are some differences in parts warranties between models: 1 year for 440 ES, 8.0 EX, and Carbon CX and 2 years for Studio Bike Pro and Studio Bike Pro 22.

Also, note that the ProForm warranty only applies to the original purchaser.

All repairs covered by the warranty must be approved by Icon through an authorized service center. If you don’t live near a service center to deliver the exercise bike yourself, you will have to pay the shipping cost to get it delivered there.

The warranty also does not cover damage caused by negligence, damage in transit, misuse, or improper use.

Shipping

ProForm requires a customer signature for all non-UPS shipments. Three delivery attempts with advance notice will be made before returning the exercise bike to the warehouse. If it is returned, you will be charged a $250 shipping cost.

Although the warranty doesn’t cover damage in transit, the shipping policy states, “If you receive a device that is beyond repair, we’ll be happy to send you a replacement or give you a full refund.” But to get damage coverage, you have to You may refuse delivery or call ProForm while the delivery company is still around.

Unfortunately, not all shipping damage is visible from the outside, so this can be an issue.

Return policy and trial period

You have 30 days from the delivery date to return the ProForm exercise bike. But you need to pay the $250 return shipping fee. The ProForm exercise bike also reserves the right to charge additional fees for damage caused by misuse, improper assembly, or accident.

Customer experience

Before moving on to the customer experience, let’s look at the ProForm BBB listing. The BBB not only analyzes company policies but also monitors how well companies implement their own policies and respond to customer complaints.

Icon Health and Fitness are not BBB accredited but still receives an A+ rating. What does that mean? They practice pretty much what they preach in their policies. They adhere to them, so read them before you buy them.

Although BBB gives Icon an A, the company’s customer rating is quite low at 1.2 out of 5. Many of the complaints come from other icon brands like NordicTrack, but it’s still not a surprising sign.

There are also reports of customer service not responding. Reviewers say it can be difficult to reach a representative and it’s no fun dealing with an authorized repair center when you need a repair.

But how, should you buy one?

Stationary bikes are a great, low-impact workout for almost everyone from seasoned veterans to fitness newbies.

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Recommends buying (at least) an exercise bike with a screen that shows you basic stats like cadence, heart rate, power, speed, and distance. These stats give you more control over your workouts and help you determine if you’re working hard enough to get the physical benefits you want.

All ProForm bikes get kudos for displaying the correct stats, although not every model includes cadence. It’s up to you to decide what kind of display extras (like the Pro 22’s large 22-inch screen) you want to spice up your ride.

Seat and handlebar adjustability

“Look for an exercise bike that’s sturdy but has a lot of customization,” says Barrons. She adds that adjustable handlebars, pedals, and exercise bike seats are key to working your hardest and limiting pain.

Every ProForm exercise bike comes with a solid adjustable seat, with the studio bikes offering the most adjustability (vertical and horizontal) and compatibility with standard bike saddles. The Carbon CX, Bike Pro, and Studio Bike Pro 22 also offer multi-adjustable handlebars for an even more comfortable ride.

Noise

Barrons points out that your neighbors or roommates may not want to ride with you, so quiet bikes are an advantage. Again, ProForm performs well. Their magnetic resistance is known for a smooth ride.

Upright vs lying down

Standing or lying down – what do you need or want?

Recumbents are the most beginner-friendly. They are particularly suitable for people with back pain or restricted mobility.” Basically, the backrest of the seat supports posture while driving.

But when you have the mobility to get on an upright exercise bike, you can put in a little more effort (like standing on the bike) and you benefit from more core engagement.

ProForm compared to other popular bikes

Not sold on any of ProForm’s bikes? How the Studio Series Bike Pro 22 compares to the competition?

Finding the Best Exercise Bike: Factors to Consider

So what to look for in an exercise bike? There are many features and components, so let’s take a look at the main ones:

Expenses for exercise bikes

The price of an exercise bike depends on the components and the frame. Look for the following characteristics:

  • When evaluating an exercise bike, pay attention to the frame. It should have steel stabilizers and support posts to keep it stable while driving. Most solid bikes weigh between 125 and 200 pounds. Leveling feet under the stabilizers also helps keep the exercise bike from rocking. Also, check the weight of the flywheel. Usually heavier is better.
  • You’ll also want to look for several customization points:
  • You should be able to raise/lower the saddle and handlebars. If you’re a tall person, make sure the exercise bike has enough vertical lift to get the handlebars off your knees.
  • Moving the handlebars and saddle forward/backward is also tremendously helpful in finding the right fit.
  • Make sure you know what you’re paying for. Some bikes are more expensive because they have an attached screen designed for subscription content. If you don’t want to pay a monthly fee for an app, look for an exercise bike without a screen—or one with a tablet mount for your personal tablet or phone.

Bike design/type

There are different types of exercise bikes:

Upright bikes

This design is similar to a beach cruiser where the seat is lower and the handlebars are higher. This design allows you to sit upright while driving, so your torso isn’t constricted.

Upright bikes typically have a wider, more comfortable seat and slightly upward-sloping handlebars.

Studio/Spin bikes

Your typical “spin” bike, where the seat is level with the handlebars for a more aerodynamic position. Riders lean forward from the hips so the torso is lower.

Handlebars typically extend horizontally, allowing riders to rest their arms on the handlebars. Studio bikes have narrower, less padded seats, similar to outdoor road bikes.

Recumbents

With a recumbent, you can lean back, behind the pedals, and not over them. This provides more lumbar support and less knee tension. Recumbent bikes also lie lower to the ground and are easier to get on and off.

These bikes work well for those with hip or spine issues, mobility issues, or those recovering from an injury. Recumbent bikes typically have a very wide seat with a backrest and wide, ergonomic pedals. Check out our list of the best recumbent bikes.

Rear flywheel

These bikes move the flywheel – or front wheel – to the rear of the exercise bike. This keeps the flywheel out of the “sweat zone” so you don’t get moisture dripping onto your flywheel while you ride.

It also allows the rider to sit up more like they would on an upright bike. Handlebars can often be adjusted to tilt up or stay horizontal.

Air bikes

Air bikes have large fans that are attached to the front of the exercise bike. When you use the upright exercise bike, the air is sucked into the fan and the fan’s blades push against the air to create resistance for you to kick.

Most air bikes have moving handles that move in conjunction with the pedals to exercise your entire body. The handles move forward and backward in a push/pull motion.

Typically, air bikes are used for short, high-intensity workouts like HIIT training. The fans make noise, so these bikes aren’t best suited for areas where noise might be an issue.

Flywheel

The flywheel on a bicycle is the heavy, suspended wheel that moves when you pedal. The heavier the flywheel, the more momentum it gains when you pedal it, causing it to spin evenly.

Bikes that feature a “perimeter-weighted flywheel” or an “inertia-enhanced flywheel” use the flywheel’s weight to create a smooth pedal stroke that glides with you. Weighted flywheels support the rider both in the saddle and standing when riding uphill.

Freewheels are much lighter and don’t offer the same fluid motion as a weighted flywheel. However, freewheels are safer. As soon as you stop pedaling, the wheel stops – there’s no inertia to keep it going.

This will keep the pedals from spinning out of control when you stop pedaling. Freewheels are a little harder to use if you like getting out of the saddle, and they can feel jerky if you don’t have enough resistance.

Pedal options

Exercise bikes typically have four different types of pedals:

SPD cleat pedals

These are the “clip-in” cleats found on indoor spin bikes and mountain bikes. You will need to purchase a cycling shoe and SPD cleats that “snap” into the metal housing attached to the pedal.

Delta LOOK cleated pedals

These are the cleats most commonly used by road cyclists. They require special shoes and cleats that attach to the sole of the shoe. These are larger than SPD cleats and snap directly into the pedal. Peloton bikes use LOOK pedals.

Hybrid pedals

Most indoor bikes (except Peloton) have hybrid pedals with a cleat on one side and a standard flat pedal on the other. Check the type of pedal on each stationary bike so you know if you need extra cycling shoes to ride.

Flat, ergonomic pedals

This is the standard flat pedal. It’s wide and textured to match any athletic shoe. Often, flat pedals also have a “cage” or “strap” that comes around the pedal to keep your shoe secure.

Screen/console

Screens are relatively new to exercise bikes and offer exciting features and content! A few things to look for in a stationary bike screen:

Full-color touchscreen

Many high-end Proform exercise bikes offer touchscreens that allow you to select a program or manage data and navigation through the screen. The size of the screen affects how well you can see each program.

Even if it’s a full-color touchscreen, it can be difficult to see at under 10 inches in size.

Also, check if the screen rotates side to side or swivels up and down. This helps eliminate glare from above and ensures you can see your screen when taking courses off the stationary bike.

Note, however, that most touchscreens do not allow drivers to access the internet while driving. Most screens are designed to contain specific apps and programs. So don’t assume that just because it has a screen, you can watch Netflix or surf the web – this is most often NOT the case.

Compatible screen

Some bikes offer screens that show a limited number of outdoor routes in color, even if you don’t have a subscription app. While many bikes with screens are designed to be used with subscription content, you may be able to access a number of onboard programs through the screen.

However, if you don’t pay for the subscription service, you won’t get all the classes and features.

LCD screen

This is the standard digital screen of conventional training equipment. It doesn’t show a subscription program with classes and trainers. It displays your metrics and stats as you drive.

LCD screens are typically found on more fuel-efficient bikes and typically offer few onboard programs.

Subscription Content

The best-known subscription app is probably Peloton. However, NordicTrack and Proform exercise bikes offer iFit, Echelon offers FitPass, and other companies are now following suit with additional fitness apps. Subscription content can typically be accessed in three ways:

Included or prepaid for a limited time:

Many companies offer their app free for 1 to 3 years with the purchase of an exercise bike. With a code, you can sign up and set up your free account which includes all classes and features. After the prepaid period has expired, you then have to pay for the service afterward.

Subscription app required

Some recumbent exercise bikes are built to include the app and if you don’t plan on using it or paying for it I would look for another bike. The Peloton indoor cycling bike is built around the app – the screen doesn’t really do anything unless you’re paying for the service.

Likewise, the NordicTrack s22i has a 22-inch touchscreen with iFit free for 1 year.

Some of the recumbent exercise bike features are built into the app – for example, the bike’s incline/decline function adapts to the actual terrain of the route you are riding. There are some really cool features with this subscription.

Subscription app supported

This option is often found on mid-range upright exercise bikes where the color screen plays a limited number of onboard programs if you don’t want to use an app. However, if you choose to subscribe, all features and content will be reflected.

Subscription app available via compatible tablet or phone

This option is found on cheaper bikes that have a tablet mount so you can view your favorite app while riding. Note that some of the features of certain apps are limited.

For example, you won’t appear in the Peloton leaderboard if you’re only using the tablet app because the coach can’t quantify how hard you’re working. Likewise, the auto incline/decline feature in iFit cannot adjust your exercise bike from a tablet.

Resistor Type and Calibration

There are several ways to create and measure resistance. Both affect how the exercise bike feels and performs.

Resistance type

Magnetic Resistance – This is the best type of resistance on an exercise bike. Magnets adjacent to the flywheel counteract the movement of the wheel.

The magnetic resistance is quiet and easy to calibrate. Since there is no friction with magnetic resistance, it is noticeably quieter; It also creates less wear on the wheel.

Frictional Drag – This type of drag occurs when a brake pad creates resistance as it rubs against the wheel to create resistance. Drag causes wear on the flywheel and the pads occasionally need to be replaced.

As the pads wear, it also affects the resistance on the flywheel, so measuring actual tension is not as easy.

Resistance calibration

Digital Level – The default digital resistance is the most accurate way to measure resistance.

With digital resistance levels, you can dial in and find the same voltage every time. There is no guesswork involved in increasing the voltage.

It’s also great for quickly switching between resistance levels. Digital resistance is measured using preset values that correspond to numbers on the console or screen.

Manual Knob Tension – Knob tension is typically found on friction drag bikes. This voltage is much more difficult to measure and there are no preset values that you can automatically select.

Chain drive vs. belt drive

Bicycle pedals are connected to pedal arms that turn the crank wheel. A belt or chain wraps around the crank wheel and is connected to the flywheel to create rotation.

Chain drive system

A metal chain wraps around the crank wheel and is connected to the flywheel. One benefit of a chain drive is that it’s a bit more durable. However, chain drives are noticeably louder due to the movement of the chain. Users often report hearing a rattle in the drive train cover.

Belt drive

A rubber or composite belt connects the crank wheel to the flywheel. This design is significantly quieter, but belts are known to wear before chain drives under heavy use.

Incline/Decline Functions

One of the most exciting features of newer proform bikes is the actual incline and descent built into the exercise bike. A motor on the rear stabilizer bar and an arm under the flywheel raise and tilt the exercise bike to mimic outdoor terrain.

Rather than just using resistance to simulate riding uphill, some of the new bikes actually pivot and tilt as you ride. This is a valuable feature and greatly improves the functionality of the exercise bike. Check out the NordicTrack and ProForm wheels for this feature.

Quality and guarantee

Exercise bikes are cheap, but check the quality and warranty before you buy. Read reviews on how the bike typically holds up and what warranties are offered.

In our reviews, we include warranty information about each exercise bike. An extensive warranty usually indicates a well-built exercise bike.

FAQ

Is ProForm a good brand bike?

ProForm exercise bikes are not the most durable exercise bikes on the market, but they offer more technical features than other models in the same price range.

What is the number 1 exercise bike?

The number 1 exercise bike is the ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22.

What type of resistance should I use on a stationary bike?

One of the most common types of resistance on exercise bikes is magnetic resistance as it is smooth and very quiet. With some bicycles, it is even almost silent. This type of resistance also requires less maintenance than others and allows you to view workout metrics like power output and resistance level.

Magnetic bikes tend to be more expensive. Friction bikes are generally cheaper but can make a little more noise and require a little more maintenance as they use the brake against the pad which can cause a little more wear over time.

Frictional resistance isn’t typically measured in terms like magnetic resistance, so it’s often not displayed on an upright bike.

Air resistance is another form of tension that uses air, which is louder than other types. Drag, however, offers unlimited excitement. However, each of these types of resistance has its advantages and disadvantages.

Is 30 minutes on a stationary bike enough exercise?

Depending on your health goals and exercise intensity, 30 minutes on a stationary bike can be enough to improve your fitness and lose weight.

Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week to reduce the risk of lifestyle-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

Are home exercise bikes worth it?

Riding a stationary bike is an efficient and effective way to burn calories and fat while strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles. Compared to some other types of cardio equipment, the exercise bike puts less stress on your joints while still providing a great aerobic workout.

Conclusion

Exercise bikes are a convenient and affordable way to train at home with low resistance.

A person can lose weight, improve lung and heart health, and improve muscle strength with indoor bikes. They can also customize their bike for themselves, and stationary bikes often have a high level of connectivity.

If a person cannot bike outdoors, indoor bikes offer the same benefits and may be safer for those with mobility issues.

If you need to read about ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT, please read our article.

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