Pros: Rehab Heaven. Price, Sturdy, Compact, Simple. Works both arms and legs. Emulates an elliptical.
Cons: ONLY great for Rehab & stretching, light cardio.
This review will be most useful to someone looking for info on dealing with disabilities. I wish I could give you a full & comprehensive review as someone able to exploit this device fully, but I am no longer physically equipped to do so. I apologize in advance for this limitation. Being new to this world of Rehab, in my case Cardiac and Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clots in the leg, DVT), I suddenly find myself being forced into finding ways to stop blood clots from reforming. Now I find myself trying to stay alive a battle simply caused by too much sitting around & doing nothing. This is where this handy little machine come in.
I have had a multitude of gyms. Unable to use these any longer due to all the titanium rods, plates and screws in my body, nerve damage etc, I am discovering new forms of exercise. I bought the Bodylastics Gym (I reviewed this here at Epinions as well). I also bought 2 sizes of exercise balls, a re-bounder, and now this along with assorted light dumbbells. This arrives and I open the box to see what at first almost gave me another heart attack. I am NOT handy with tools. But as it turned out, once unwrapped it came with one simple Allen wrench and only 9 bolts, washers and essentially just attach 2 legs to the pedal assembly and snap the included timer onto it. A measly 3-5 minute task. It is extremely sturdy & strong, easily just slide it under my coffee table when done. It had anti slip "feet" at each corner but they aren't the very best on hard surfaces. Carpet has been no problem at all.
I sit in my now famous recliner and start to peddle. Pretty smooth. The idea for me, is just that I need to use my legs more since I can't walk much anymore and hopefully prevent any further blood clots. I find I can use this in complete comfort from my recliner, the couch or any chair. It has a knob you simply turn to add resistance to make the pedaling more strenuous if desired but that doesn't matter in my case as I simply need to have leg "movement", and have it every single day, several times per day. It comes with a warning about getting hot. Used long enough (over 20 minutes), it can get hot near the pedal assy. Also I find this is more the case as you increase the resistance level. No big deal since I only use it 5-10 minutes at a time so far, and at very low (if any) resistance added. Not even any warming when used like this. The other nice feature is that you place it on a table, and use it for upper body work, using your hands on the pedal assemblies to pedal with you arms now getting some work. Each pedal has a plastic strap to hold your feet in place. The idea of this little device is for use while sitting in a chair to use either your arms or feet for light exercise. It just is not able to really work you as an actual stationary bike would. But the beauty here is the portability & ease of storage for this tiny unit. I also find it nice to be able to reverse pedal directions back & forth (like back peddling a bike). It then has a kind of neat feel to it more like an elliptical machine probable due to the very short pedal stroke length. The more I do this switching around, the more I have the feeling of an actual workout. Kind of a unique & more fluid feel. I have discovered this machine is also handy to help you just keep "moving". If you have arthritis, it helps bt allowing you the movement without needing to hurt yourself. The added benefit of this is it just makes you feel better, like you actually did something instead of just laying around. That is a GOOD feeling when you've been in bed for weeks.....It helps to keep you limber & flexible. Nothing wrong with that.
I consider this a wonderful device for my particular need, or for an assortment of Rehab uses. As a purely fitness device, not very useful at all. I have to be honest, this is just NOT any sort of real "work out" machine! But again, for my needs, there couldn't be any better machine. It's important to understand that difference with this purchase. I watch TV and pedal a few minutes here, a few minutes there etc. Perfect for me. You also burn a few calories and I also get some cardio so I have myself a win-win.
A note that may or may not be of use but something that is to be considered is the "stroke" of the peddling motion. On a real or full on exercise bicycle, when you pedal, your legs move up and down probably close to 12 inches or so. These pedals are just on little arms about 4 inches long each. As a result, you do not have that nice BIG "arc" when you pedal so range of motion is limited. Hope I am clear on that? Now again, for me, that is fine, but even I sort of wish I had more distance in each pedal stroke? But then, that would possibly make it harder for my particular body and would definitely require more storage space so not sure which is better.
I am giving this a 3 1/2 star rating for the following reasons. This is VERY important to understand since it is rated (by me) totally different as a fitness device, compared to a Rehab device! Here is how I score this with 5 being perfect:
-For fitness or workout use:2
-For Rehab and mobility/stretching use:5
-Quality of components:3
-Price & value:4
If it used nice bearings in the crank-set, was more sophisticated in use of components, it would be 5 stars all around. But then it would cost over $300.00 plus too. And since I am not allowed to give it any 1/2 star rating, I have to average my overall review to 3 stars. But please know that for MY use, it gets a full 5 stars. I don't care it it gets hot, if I need to spray a touch of WD40 in it every so often to stop a squeak.....This thing is almost free, light & small, and may just keep me alive. Pretty good deal all in all in my case!