If you’re looking to buy an exercise bike you should have heard of Lifecycle. Quite simply, they are the Rolls-Royce of exercise bikes. However, what follows isn’t a glowing recommendation; instead, you’ll find out about what models are on offer, their features, price and whether or not they are a good buy.

Life Fitness has been making exercise bikes for over 30 years and is in the enviable position of being considered the market leader. The company’s client list speaks volumes about the quality of its machines. Clients include Gold’s Gym, 24-Hour Fitness, and entire sports teams such as The Los Angeles Lakers, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Astros, and Colorado Avalanche. A fitness company can’t get a better recommendation than when its machines are the first choice of professional athletes.

The company’s entry-level upright C1 model retails for around $1,000. It does sound rather absurd to say both entry-level and $1,000 in the same sentence when talking about exercise bikes but remember that we are talking about the best in the industry. For the same amount of money you could buy a high-end Schwinn exercise bike.

So, what exactly are you getting for your money? Well, you will be getting a very well-made bike. The company is so sure of the build quality that there’s a lifetime warranty on frame, 3 years on parts and 1 year on labor.

Another thing you should be aware of is that with each bike there is the option of the Basic Console or the Advance Console. The Basic Console comes with 5 programs; Manual, Hill, Random, EZ Incline and Sport Training. The LCD console displays the following information; level, time, speed, distance, heart rate, target heart rate and calories. The Advanced Console has the same 5 programs as well as 5 additional ones; fat burn, cardio, heart rate hill, heart rate interval and extreme heart rate. You also get 2 special workout programs; goal and custom. The cost of any Schwinn exercise bike will be an extra $300 for the Advanced Console, so the C1 model would cost around $1,300 fitted with the Advanced Console.

The next model up from the C1 is the C3 (C3-5). The bike is of stronger construction and has an increased user weight capacity of 400 lbs (the C1 has a weight capacity of 300 lbs). It’s also self-powered. With the Basic Console it retails for around $1,500.

The third and most expensive in the upright series is the C9i. This is the home edition of the health club model of exercise bikes from Lifecycle. It comes with its own console. Key features include wireless and LifePulse digital contact and special workouts; the programs include around the world, cascades, foothills, Kilimanjaro, speed training and interval training.

For each upright there’s a corresponding Lifecycle recumbent exercise bike. So, for the C1 the equivalent recumbent model is the R1, for the C3 and C9i the corresponding models are the R3 and R9i. You get the same consoles, programs and other features as the uprights.

All Lifecycle exercise bikes are excellent machines and it really is hard to criticize them. Perhaps one aspect I could find fault with is the seat of the recumbent C1 and C3 models. Whether or not a seat feels comfortable is a very subjective matter, but I own a Tunturi exercise bike and I find its seat to be more comfortable than that of the Lifecycle but I’m sure others would disagree.

Also, one could find fault with the price. They are good machines but the cost makes them unaffordable to many. And, it could well be argued that you could find a machine of the same quality, or better, for less money. For instance, my Tunturi E60R costs around $1,000 but it comes with motivational 8 scalable workout profiles and 8 user profiles to suit individual fitness goals, iFIT, and you can edit and adjust the preset profiles even when exercising.

A Lifecycle exercise bike is a great piece of kit; it’s well-made, comes with a choice of console, sophisticated programs and is made by a company with one of the best names in the industry. My advice though would be to look at many other manufacturers’ models and compare; you’re going to be paying a lot of money so you need to be absolutely sure that it’s the right machine for you.

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