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Tuesday, May 17th
Want to buy your fitness equipment from the original manufacturer of electronic stationary bikes? That would be Life Fitness, a household name in exercise equipment for about 50 years. Look around at a gym near you and you'll likely find at least one treadmill, elliptical or cycle with the Life Fitness name on it.
Indoor Cycling or Exercise Bikes
As you're shopping the Life Fitness site, you should be aware that they categorize their bikes in two different ways: Indoor Cycling and Exercise Bikes. Indoor Cycling models are more like what you'd find in a competitive studio setting, with seats that move forward or backward as needed, and grips that allow you to lean over the handlebars for out-of-the-saddle sprints or hill work. Exercise Bikes encompasses both upright and recumbent styles, still giving you a great cardio workout without looking like you just stepped out of a SoulCycle location somewhere.
Nice range of tech features
Even at the lowest price point ($1588), you'll find that Life Fitness exercise bikes are well-appointed with respect to technology. While you may need to bring your own smartphone or tablet to follow along with your favorite workout (or catch up on your latest TV binge), you can connect your bike to sync with most of today's apps like Fitbit, Garmin, and Apple Health.
Pay a LOT more for upgraded monitor
You'll have to move up on the price scale to get access to on-demand (not live), instructor-led classes through Life Fitness on Demand. For example, the Club Series + Recumbent Lifecycle was priced at $2,253 with the standard SE3 console; to stream classes, you'd need to upgrade to the S3HD monitor, bringing the base price all the way up to $6889.
On-demand access included with no time limit
They also don't come out and tell you if you have to pay for the LFOD membership. We had to search for it, and the website that came up was definitely geared towards gym owners who wanted to give members access to the platform. (Eventually we found that it's included with the purchase of the upgraded display, so figure that extra $4500-ish covers your LFOD...indefinitely.)
Disappointing return policy
Life Fitness doesn't offer the same generous trial period and return policy as they did previously. Their current policy states that returns may only be requested within the first 15 days after delivery, and they'll only be approved if the exercise bike was defective, damaged in transit, or the wrong product. If you're spending over $7,000 on a piece of exercise equipment, don't you want more reassurance than that?
Bye-bye, free shipping
Another disappointing change is their shipping fees. You used to get free delivery on all exercise bikes. Now you'll pay up to $300, depending on which bike you choose. There was no option at checkout to upgrade that delivery to include setup, either.
Excellent warranty and reputation
And yet, Life Fitness still has an "A+' reputation and nearly a half-century in business, with almost no complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau in the last three years. They provide excellent warranty coverage on all of their bikes, with a lifetime guarantee on the frame and anywhere from 3-5 years on electronic and mechanical parts. Their equipment can be found in fitness centers, gyms and studios around the world: if you want to replicate your experience working out there, these exercise bikes would be a great addition to your home.
Great bikes - at high prices
But you'll pay for it, in more ways than one. With no financing options, expensive shipping fees, and much higher than average prices, Life Fitness is going to be out of range for a lot of customers. We can't argue with the quality of the equipment or the solid reputation for customer service, but you might get more for your money with another exercise bike company.
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.
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:
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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