Pros: Great value, quiet operation, design feels "right", pulse monitor grips accurate
Cons: Seat slightly difficult to move, resistance adjustment knob feels iffy
My husband and I purchased this bike a couple weekends ago to give me a safe exercise option during pregnancy. At six months now I'm getting clumsy, and the wintry conditions here in Nebraska make outdoor activity uninviting. A recumbent cycle makes for a great combination of aerobic exercise, safety, and comfort.
We actually went to the sports store to look at a more expensive recumbent bike. After sitting down and trying all the models on the floor, we kept on coming back to the SR 30. The ride was smooth and quiet, and the positioning of the seat relative to the pedals and console just felt right. The console on the floor model wasn't working (probably had no battery) and the knob that adjusted the resistance seemed damaged through misuse though still operational. In spite of this the seat and the pedal motion felt superb. It was a rare and refreshing instance of the less expensive model being preferable!
We picked out the SR 30 (priced at $199) and added on the 1-year in-home warranty for less than $30, just to be sure (the manufacturer's warranty is only 90 days). We had no difficulty fitting the box with the unassembled bike in the trunk of our passenger car. For planning purposes, the box measures 35 ?" long x 16 ?" wide x 24" high, and my husband (who carried the thing) estimates it weighed 80-100 lbs. With the Christmas season in full swing, we didn't get around to putting it together until a few nights ago. Assembly was straightforward and took about 30 minutes (meaning don't pay for delivery and assembly unless you have a lot more money than time.) The only part that took a little time was threading the wire for the console through the metal tube that connects the console to the bike, and my husband solved that by using some speaker wire to drag the console wire through. Assembled, the bike is 62" long, about 2 feet wide, and 44" tall. The manufacturer's instructions state a weight limit of 250 lbs for the rider.
We situated the bike just offset from the couch in the living room with a great view of the television. We figured it would get more use if people could use it while watching a movie or listening to the stereo. It's only been put together a few days and is seeing plenty of use. My 14-year old stepdaughter seems to prefer it to the couch. The cycling motion is very smooth and quiet (just a gentle whirring), so one person can use the cycle while everyone is watching a movie and the operation is not noticed. While in operation, the scan mode continually switches between showing your pedal speed, elapsed time, distance traveled, calories, fat calories burned, and your pulse (if youve got your palms on the metal pulse contacts on the handle). Ive found the pulse readings to be very accurate. You can also set the display to continuously show one type of information rather than the constant scan. The console runs on 3 AA batteries and shuts itself off after several minutes with no pedaling.
The console comes with a 1 lip at the bottom for resting your reading material and a place up top to secure a water bottle, nice touches for such an inexpensive machine.
The resistance is set by a manual knob on the right side of the console. The instruction manual that comes with the bike does not say what the max resistance is, only that you should stop when turning becomes difficult, else you could damage the console. Ours would not set beyond '12' the two times I tried to set it to '13' the knob kicked itself back, so apparently 12 is our max. Fortunately, I don't think that for our uses we will want to use a resistance above 9 or 10. The range 6-10 seems adequate to give a normal human a decent aerobic workout--I'm not talking about a hard, pulse-pounding and sweat-dripping cardio session--I mean a nice, controlled, and safe "heartrate elevated to your target range while you amuse yourself with the latest DVD rental" kind of workout that you can do easily several times a week in the comfort of your own home. If you want an extremely strenuous workout, this machine is probably not for you. But coming from a practical person who still scores in the 90% percentile on all fitness tests and doesn't feel the need to compete against an exercise machine, this bike is the one for me.
As I mentioned earlier, the resistance knob on the display bike in the store felt damaged, though still operational, so this might be a weak point on the bike. We've already cautioned the kids against being to rough with it, so we hope it'll be fine. Also, adjusting the seat distance from the pedals is a bit clumsy, though very doable. The seat feels firm and comfortable and doesn't wobble a bit.
Overall, we're extremely pleased with this purchase. It fits our needs and our living room perfectly--it's quiet, feels good, and accomplishes the goal of safe aerobic exercise. If we have any experiences about the reliability of this cycle, I'll be sure to provide an update!