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CAROL Review

Monday, November 28th

2022 Exercise Bike Reviews

CAROL Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • 100-day home trial
  • Advanced technology
  • Connects to third-party workouts and apps

If you could improve your fitness with a workout that lasts less than 9 minutes, would you jump at the chance? That's what CAROL offers with their novel exercise bike system. With sprints at an intensity three times higher than the average HIIT cycling class, with scientifically-timed changes to resistance, you'll be doing all the work necessary to improve your cardiovascular health - in a fraction of the time.

Bike calibrates to your unique physiology

We can easily say that CAROL is the most unique exercise bike setup we've ever seen. It starts right away with the setup: your first three rides are known as "ramp-ups" and you'll only have access to the main workout, with sprints lasting just 10 seconds. On rides 4-6, CAROL calibrates itself to your efforts on 10-, 15-, and 20-second sprints, calculating the precise resistance you need to reach your specific maximum intensity. As you continue to use the bike after ride 6, the bike measures multiple metrics each time and recalculates to reflect any changes to your fitness (up or down).

Six main ride settings

There are six ride settings used on the CAROL bike: intense, energizer, fat burn, constant power, endurance, and free ride. Most of these programs get your workout done in about 8 minutes, though you have options to go longer. And, if you want to connect with a live or on-demand workout through a third-party app, CAROL has the capability for that too.

Best Exercise Bikes

Equipment overview:

  • Type of exercise bikes: Upright
  • Price range: $2395 to $2795 (1, 2, or 3-year warranty)
  • Different models: 1
  • Can stream live/pre-recorded workouts: Yes
  • Financing available: Yes
  • Weight capacity: 286 lbs. (130 kg)
  • Return policy: 100-day home trial
  • Warranty: 1-3 years, depending on which bike plan you choose
  • Shipping: Free

Not for users over 287 lbs.

This exercise bike might not be suitable for all users. It has a weight capacity of 130 kg (yes, the company is based in England; that's 286.6 lbs. for those of us on this side of the pond), so heavier athletes might have to look to a different brand if they need a capacity of 325, 350, or 400 lbs.

100-day trial: more details, please!

We think a 100-day risk-free trial sounds pretty awesome. There wasn't much said about the particulars, though. What if something breaks during that time? What if it's not exactly in like-new condition? Will CAROL pay for the return costs? Those are details that are usually offered by companies with similar trial periods, but we didn't find it on this site no matter how hard we dug.

Three pricing packages

Pricing for the CAROL bike is surprisingly competitive. Your price depends on the warranty coverage you prefer: starting at $2,395 for a 1-year warranty and going up to $2,795 for a 3-year plan. We don't necessarily love that way of doing things - a lot of exercise bikes give you that length of coverage or longer (up to lifetime on the frame and 5-10 years on everything else) - but it definitely simplifies the shopping process. The two packages above the base include goodies like a chest belt (heart rate monitor), tablet holder, bottle holder, and floor mat, depending on which one you buy. Your cost will also include a monthly membership fee of $12.

Still too new to decide

All of this aside, CAROL is still really new. At the time of this review, they said that there were 10,000 riders in their community: sounds like a lot, but compared with hundreds of thousands (or millions) of fitness enthusiasts on other platforms, it's pretty small. Beyond the handful of testimonials on the CAROL website, we only found a little under 100 customer reviews elsewhere. The majority of them had really positive things to say, especially about CAROL's customer service, and they like the efficient nature of the bike's programmed workouts. A few said that the bike doesn't pedal as smoothly as some comparable models from other manufacturers, especially when the rider is out of the saddle, and it's not always easy to change the resistance settings to follow a live workout. (It doesn't happen automatically because its controls aren't integrated with any third-party service you may use.)

Worth watching

CAROL absolutely adds something to the exercise bike world that we haven't seen before. We're expecting a lot from this company and we're pretty sure they're only going to keep trending upward. Expect to see CAROL rise in our rankings as more customer feedback (and praise?) rolls in as time goes by!

Where Can You Find the Best Exercise Bikes?

Fitness equipment is more popular now than ever, with so many people working, learning and doing just about everything from home. It can be challenging to find anything in stock near you, with no idea of when your preferred exercise bike will be available to buy.

Naturally, that's where the internet comes in, making it a lot easier to get the type of bike you want most. Looking for live and on-demand fitness classes on a machine that automatically increases and decreases resistance - or that even allows a coach to remotely shift your settings to give you an extra push (or a break!)? Shopping online gives you access to not just one company but several that offer that boutique-style workout experience.

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Exercise Bike FAQ

There are plenty of reasons that people buy an exercise bike for home use. For people with balance or mobility issues who still want a good cardio workout, bikes are a much better option than a treadmill or elliptical machine. They also take up much less room, are more portable/movable, and easier to maintain than larger pieces of cardio equipment.
That's up to you. Recumbent bikes have a seat like a chair, and the pedals are in front of you; they're the exercise bike of choice for people with joint and back issues. Upright bikes offer more flexibility in your workout: you can ride seated or pedal standing up for a more intense experience.
As with most products, the more features an exercise bike has, the more it will cost. You can get a basic, entry-level model for under $500 - or pay $7,000+ for one that has every bell and whistle imaginable (but it won't do the exercise for you!).
How does "free" sound? Many retailers include delivery in the price of the exercise bike. That definitely beats trying to lug it home from a brick-and-mortar store in your car!
Not necessarily. Most manufacturers have step-by-step instructions and even videos for how to put your bike together. You can also purchase professional installation/set-up from some retailers, either with their in-house team or through a third-party partner.
That depends on the store. Some offer no return policy whatsoever, while others give you 30-60 days to try your bike and decide if you want to keep it. Even then, you may still be responsible for return shipping costs and/or restocking fees.
Most bikes come with warranty coverage, usually with longer protection on the higher-end models. You may have lifetime coverage of the frame and brakes, 1-3 years on parts and electronics, and 90 days to 3 years on associated labor costs - but the specifics vary by manufacturer and bike model. Some retailers offer extended warranty plans as well.
That's one of the hottest trends in the fitness industry, and many bikes come with some kind of workout option with live coaching or on-demand classes. But, even if your bike doesn't, there are plenty of apps you can subscribe to and follow along on your own; you just need to have a way to see your phone, tablet or TV from wherever you position your exercise bike!
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Continued from above...

Or, maybe your doctor has told you that you can't do high-impact exercise anymore, but you still need something to stay healthy. Recumbent bikes to the rescue! There are plenty of models available from internet retailers, from basic models under $500 to high-tech designs with plenty of features for over $2,000.

There are even exercise bikes designed for use under your desk or with a tabletop/desk built in: no more using work as your excuse for not working out! Your coworkers can get in on the fun if you choose a model that has three bikes at the same round table, too.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you start your search for the exercise bike that's right for you. Studio style? Recumbent? Touchscreen or basic console? Fortunately, there are several criteria you can use to narrow down your options and find something that fits:

  • Number of Exercise Bikes. How many models does the retailer sell? The more bikes in their inventory, the more likely it is that one of them will have the features you're looking for - and that it will be in stock when you're ready to buy.
  • Features. Think about what features are most important to you when using your fitness equipment. Is it connectivity with your smartwatch or fitness apps? A weight capacity that accommodates each member of your household? Interactive displays with games and leaderboards to keep you motivated? It's not impossible to get a bike with everything you want, if you know what's on your must-have list.
  • Value. Is the exercise bike you're considering a good value for the money? That's not just a matter of price: some lower-end models actually offer a lot, while some of the most expensive models don't give you nearly what you'd expect.
  • Customer-Friendly Policies. Can you get a free trial with your exercise bike? How long do you have to return it if it's not working out? Is delivery free and/or will it include professional set-up? How about warranty coverage?
  • Reputation. It's a good idea to consider what customers have said about the particular bike you want and the company itself. Can you count on getting fast, friendly help from the customer service department if anything goes wrong? Even the most promising warranties aren't worth much if the retailer doesn't follow through on them.

TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best online retailers of exercise bikes available today. We're confident that this information will help you get the indoor ride you've been hoping for!

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