Life Fitness R1-5 Lifecycle Exercise Bike Reviews

Life Fitness R1-5 Lifecycle Exercise Bike

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Sit Back, Relax and Cycle for Your Life.

Jan 27, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Made by LifeFitness; adequate programs, easy to adjust seat.

Cons:Just an average bike; water bottle isn't integrated; few bells.

The Bottom Line: This is an average bike with a slightly high price tag. If you can find it for less I'd recommend it more.


A review of the R1-5 Lifecycle Exercise Bike by LifeFitness is the second of my new reviews of equipment in my mom’s new fitness room.

General Information:

If you are new to stationary bikes you may wonder what a recumbent bike is and why I would use it over an upright bike. I will start by saying I use both types. Which one I choose really has more to do with how hard I want to work. I find my cardio vascular work on a recumbent bike easier and more comfortable. It is more comfortable on my back because it has a seat with a back. If my back is bothering me a bit from my workout the day before, then I might choose the recumbent. Or perhaps I am in the middle of a book that I cannot put down and just want an easy workout then I will want to ride casually and read. I find this easier to do on a recumbent bike. By the way the R in this model stands for recumbent.

Whenever I see a new piece of equipment I just look at it to see what is familiar to me and what is not. The seat on the R1-5 is fairly standard. It has nice padding but I can’t say that it was any more comfortable than other recumbents I have been on. The back is nicely padded as well. It felt like it went up a bit higher on my back than others do which I like. The higher the back for me the better.

The seat is easy to adjust. I saw a handle on the side of the bike. I lifted the handle while on the bike and moved back and forth until I felt comfortable. I made sure that there was a slight bend in my knees when fully outstretched on the pedals. There are thirteen adjustments on the seat.

Speaking of pedals they have the usual adjustable straps in which I put my feet. The strap has a spring loaded clip connected to the outer edge of the pedal. All I had to do to make it tighter was pull the strap and each time I pulled it locked into place.

The R1-5 has two sets of handles. One set was right in front of me. They were padded and comfortable. Under this set is a mounted water bottle holder rather than an integrated holder. The plus to an integrated holder is you wouldn’t have to worry about it breaking and have to replace it. The bike has a small magazine rack on the console. There are also a set of handles on the sides of the bike. This is where I found the heart rate sensors.

About the bike:

The bike sits on two long horizontal poles which make it really stable. I like the quality of LifeFitness machines. This bike is marketed for home use rather than commercial use. It seemed to be holding up to its use in a fitness room in a condo. It was there for about eight months according to my mom. I was there in April and the fitness room hadn’t been moved.

All stationary bikes on which I have been will not start unless you are pedaling. Please note that because if you haven’t been told and you are in a gym or tying one out and looking for a start button you might feel embarrassed (though you shouldn’t there is no way for you to know.)

This machine like others allows me to quick start once I start pedaling. What that does is start the time and then I can manually, by using the arrows on the machine, adjust any level change I want to make.

The console showed my heart rate, resistance level, speed, distance, and calories. There are 16 resistance levels which for me is quite enough. I found on the R1-5 that I reach my maximum comfort zone at about level 5. I can’t imagine going to 16 with resistance but if you are a regular biker then it is there for you.

I found three windows that lit up and easily showed the numbers for my workout. There was also a matrix that showed my workout in graph form. This matrix is 8 X 8 inches which is about average for a recumbent bike.

There are six workouts. They are manual, which can be changed at any time with the up and down arrows, hills/slope, random, intervals, challenge and peak. Peaks kept me at the same resistance throughout my workout. This is my least favorite workout and is also known as a fat burning program.

I liked the slope program. It gradually increased the resistance levels which seemed to allow me to go work a little harder than I usually do on a recumbent. The others should be self explanatory but if not leave me a comment.

Let’s use it:

Unlike most bikes the R1-5 didn’t require me to start pedaling before I could choose a program. I just hit any key and the machine started. Sitting on the bike I started pedaling because that’s what I am used to. I then decided on a program. One of them was challenge. I hit enter and decided on how long I wanted to work out. I hit the up button until the readout said 40 minutes. I then selected a level. I stayed at 1 in the challenge program, hit enter and was ready for my workout. I found the pedaling to be smooth and quiet.

The bike is 26" wide x 57" long x 54" high. It weighs 130 lbs. The maximum user weight is 300 pounds.

There is a lifetime warranty on the frame; 3-year on the parts and year on labor.

It will run you about $1100.

Your Personal Trainer’s Thoughts:

Although most companies in my opinion can’t compete with the quality of LifeFitness I felt the R1-5 to be an average recumbent. It is a basic bike that will do the job and be durable if you have a lot of people using it in your household. If you don’t care about contoured seats or ergonomic handles then this might be a good choice. It is in the mid range price range but I’ve give less expensive and more expensive higher ratings. If you can find this bike for less I would go with it. As an example if the bike were $500 less I might give it 4 stars.

Five stars from me:
ProForm Cardio Trainer C 55 Recumbent Bike for $300
Star Trac Pro Recumbent Bike 6430 for $2800

Other bike reviews:

LifeFitness LifeCycleStar Trac Recumbent BikeStar Trac Spinner Elite BikeSchwinn Airdyne BikePrecor C846 Recumbent

A fairly comprehensive list of my fitness equipment reviews can be found at on my profile page.



Recommend this product? Yes

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