The Lifecycle GX is a great looking bike and with the flywheel at the back makes its style standout even more. But there does need to be more to the bike than how it looks to make it a worthwhile bike for those wanting to do serious spinning or indoor training.
It has a number of features that could make it stand out as a premium bike for home as well gym use. It has magnetic resistance, a belt drive, dual pedals, a console and has a good solid construction. All things needed for intense and long workouts for those looking to improve their performance, training for an event or for general cardio fitness.
In our review we examine each of these features and more to see if it lives up to this potential and if there are any areas for improvement.
We spent a hours investigating the bike looking at the manual, reading reviews, looking at product descriptions to get the lowdown on this bike, so that we could provide a complete review.
The first point we considered is whether you can get a safe and stable ride from the bike when riding it frequently and over a period of time.
The bike is constructed of steel tubing that provides a solid base that doesn’t shake or flex at whatever level of intensity. Even though it is compact with the width of it being 23 inches it is enough to stop side to side movement.
The seat and handlebars are held securely in place with no wobbling when you are working out.
To help with the durability of the bike it has a zinc-oxide coating which helps to prevent it being corroded by sweat, water and dirt that keeps it looking good as well as damage free.
It has a light flywheel of 8.85 lbs which usually results in a choppier up and down riding motion as the momentum of the flywheel is not enough to pull the pedals through the pedal cycle. However, this is not commented on by people using the bike at home and they are happy with the ride saying how smooth it is. It is likely to be harder on the joints than bikes with a flywheel weighted 30lbs and over such as the Schwinn AC Performance Plus (the best selling club bike).
The back stabilizer bar as well as keeping the bike stable have been designed with a bump on them so you can stretch your calf muscles by placing the upper part of your foot on them and ankle on the floor. This helps with proper warm up and cool down. It also has a stretch platform for stretching the hamstrings and has guidance on what to do to get the most from the bike.
The stabilizers have leveling feet to stop the bike rocking on an uneven floor – you turn them to “level out” the bike.
The bike is fully adjustable with both the seat and handlebars able to be adjusted horizontally and vertically to fit the bike for comfortable workouts and preventing strains and other injuries.
The adjustments for up and down use pop pin knobs and adjustment holes that are 1/2 inch apart which helps to get the bike to fit properly. It prevents the feeling that the seat or handlebars position seems just too high or too short that you get when the difference between the holes is 1 inch or more.
The forwards and backward adjustment are continuous and you can fix the seat or handlebars anywhere you want as you tighten it where you want. This helps in getting the bike to your torso length for the best riding position for you.
It only takes a few minutes at most to make the adjustments so it can be used by multiple users.
The all the adjustment poles have markings to help with adjusting them back to a previous setting if they’ve been moved. You can also mark your setting with a felt pen
This speed of adjustment helps when you are in a rush and means you can quickly get started with your workout which is great if you are short of time, such as when working out in the morning before the day gets started.
It can be used and adjusted a wide range of heights and shapes, and should fit people between
4 ft 10 ins and 6 ft 4 ins making it suitable for most families.
It has a low step through height so you don’t have to swing your leg over like mounting a horse and it helps those of shorter stature get on the bike.
The Lifecycle GX uses magnetic resistance which has advantages over friction resistance. It is quiet and there is no maintenance required as there are no touching parts.
There are magnets positioned on either side of the flywheel and as it turns there is resistance that is explained by the eddy currents principle. The magnets are moved closer to flywheel to increase the resistance and further away to decrease it. The magnets never touch the flywheel.
The magnets position is changed by using the lever just below the handlebars. Up is for decreasing and down is for increasing. There are 20 different levels of resistance and these are marked by white lines on the lever and you also can see the level on the console when it is in display mode 1. This does make it possible to return back to prior setting within a workout or when you start a new one.
Resistance does increase incrementally and goes from very easy to difficult. The transition between the levels is smooth and you don’t feel any sudden increases or jerkiness. As you pedal faster in the levels you may notice a slight increase in resistance as this is one of the properties of the eddy current that the faster the movement the greater the resistance.
Although there is no day to day maintenance required at sometime in a few years time or so the resistance may need adjusting and that will require specialist knowledge to adjust the settings.
To stop the flywheel quickly when there is an emergency you press down on the tension lever to engage the emergency brake pad.
The multi-ribbed belt drive ensures a smoother and more efficient workout with more power transferred from the pedals to the flywheel giving a reduced risk of slipping. These belts are long wearing and don’t require ongoing maintenance. It is very quiet so it won’t be disturbing others in the house even in the middle of the night.
The negative you may notice when comparing a belt drive against a chain drive is that it doesn’t feel the same as when you are on an outdoor bike as there is no catching of the drive on to the sprockets. Against this is no maintenance and almost silent operation.
However, at some stage, in many years time the belt will need replacing because it will stretch and this needs to be done by someone that knows what they are doing.
The bike has a fixed gear so you can’t coast – when the flywheel is turning the pedals are turning too from the momentum of the weight. To stop the flywheel you can use the emergency brake or wait for it to slow down. Before you dismount the pedals should have stopped turning to prevent a risk of injury. It won’t take long to stop on its own due to flywheel being light
The dual pedals have fittings for clipping in your SPD shoes on one side and the other side has toe baskets with straps for use with athletic shoes. You get a good grip when you strap in your shoes properly so your feet are in there securely at all times.
If you want you can change the pedals for other standard bike fitting pedals if you have your own favorites.
The Q-factor on this bike is 170 mm which is good for spin bikes and indoor cycles – it’s not the best which is 158 mm (See Spinner NXT). It will make the transition from an outdoor bike easier and promotes better alignment of the hips and knees which is important when you are doing extended workouts over a long period of time. It can help in the prevention of injuries.
Lifecycle GX Comfort
Seat The seat is designed to be as comfortable as it can be with the cut out in the middle helping with air flow and reducing pressure on the sit bones. However, you may not like the seat. As with outdoor bikes you can swap it for one you like or add a gel cover or try padded bike shorts.
Handlebars. The design of the handlebars allows you to grip in the three spinning positions of resting hands in the middle, at shoulder width or at the ends. It also has an aero bar for when you are sprint training in the aero position. You can rest your arms on the handlebars but you may want to elbow pads. The bars are padded with a rubberized material that helps with a more secure grip, to prevent slipping and blisters but is not really enough to keep your arms from hurting
Noise This is a very quiet bike with an almost silent belt drive and silent magnetic resistance. You should be able to ride the bike in the dead of night or during the day while your children are having a nap (as can happen from time to time) without waking anyone in the house.
Riding Position. You ride this bike in a similar position to that of an outdoor bike, so if you have back problems you may not find this bike the right one for you. There are other bike types you can try that maybe more appropriate for you – see more here.
Dirt And Dust There will be minimal dirt and dust dropped by the bike, but it will drop some and you may drop sweat too – which can damage the bike long term or your floor. The bike can be cleaned as per the instructions to prevent it corroding and the floor can be protected by a rubber exercise mat.
Even though the bike is heavy weighing a 111 lbs it is relatively easy to move. It has 2 small transport wheels at the front of the bike you tip the bike onto that hold most of the weight leaving you to roll the bike to where you want it.
It does need a little more effort than most other spin bikes to get it on to the wheels because the flywheel is at the back but once up it is stable. Having said that you do need to take some care when moving so that it doesn’t tip over.
It isn’t the most compact bike these is but it only needs an area of 23 inches by 54.6 inches for storage. So when not in use it can be stored against a wall or maybe under the stairs. If space is more of a concern take a look at the spin bikes for apartments post, although these bikes are not as high spec.
The bike does come mostly assembled.
To complete the assembly should take less than an hour. Unlike spin bikes for made for just then home you need to supply your own tools. The recommended ones are open wrenches, hex driver socket and calibrated torque wrench needed to tighten to recommended tightness.
When investigating the Keiser M3 Plus also a gym bike, it also advised a torque wrench many people did ignore this and tightened using a wrench but it does means you can’t tighten up the nuts and bolts to the as advised level of tightness.
The steps required to complete the assembly are to attach the stabilizer bars, handlebars, saddle, adjustment poles, crank-pedal assemblies and the console.
The weight of the bike may cause you some issues as it totals 111 lbs when assembled and the shipping weight is 178 lbs, so it is advisable to have 2 people to help with it to prevent damaging the bike or injuring yourself.
There is some set up of the console to get it ready for use too.
The console gives you the ability to monitor speed, distance, cadence, calories, time, resistance level and heart rate when you are wearing a polar compatible chest strap.
The console sits nicely between the handlebars making it easy to see when on the bike.
The set up and calibration of the console is fairly straightforward and is described in the user manual. The set up involves choosing the language with 7 to choose from (includes English, Spanish and French), unit of weight (lbs or kgs), and distance and speed (miles or km)
Next you are in the configuration part of the menu where you can set the backlight time from 5 to 30 seconds after button pushed, button sensitivity or either high or low and calibration of the console to the magnetic resistance.
You can also set up the following in user settings: age and weight to be used for calculating calories and max heart rate to be used for following along to workout programs or setting up your own workouts and targets.
There is a choice of 2 display modes. They show:
Display 1 shows at the top of the LCD display you have resistance level, calories per hour, next is RPM, actual heart rate (with strap), under this is the calories burned in total, distance (miles or km), MPH (or KMH) and below that is time elapsed
Display 2 shows you at the top RPM Max, RPM Average, below is MPH or KMH max, MPH or KMH average, below is calories per hour expended, and the last portion shows heart rate max and actual % of heart rate max
Under the LCD display are the buttons needed to set up and calibrate the system. There are 4 of them – user mode, up, down and okay.
When you start to cycle the console switches on. After 5 minutes of no cycling the console turns off and your data is lost.
There are a couple of things to be aware that the console does not do:
– It does not include pre-set workouts that you can follow along to. You need to have your own or follow along to DVDs or YouTube videos.
– You can’t upload your results to your computer or a fitness account for tracking and monitoring progress or sharing with others. All this needs to be done manually
The console requires 2 D batteries and should last 800 hours before needing replacement which is easy to do. There is a battery indicator at the top to let you know when the charge is running low and they need replacing. When the batteries are replaced you will need to re-calibrate and set up the console.
The dimensions and weight of the bike are:
Height 39.5 ins
Width 23 ins
Length 54.6 ins
Bike Weight 111 lbs
Max User Weight 350 lbs
Despite the price it only comes with a dual water bottle holder for accessories. They are at the front of the handlebars putting them in easy reach. They hold the bottle using gravity so there is no need to slide them in which can be a nuisance when you are pedaling hard.
It is possible to place your MP3 player or smartphone in the water bottle holders to keep your music or audio books close.
- Low maintenance with belt drive and magnetic resistance
- Quiet bike that can be used at night or in the early morning
- Easy to move and store
- Provides a strong stable base for high intense workouts
- Easy and quick to adjust for a wide range of heights and sizes
- Comes with a console for in workout feedback
- Assembly is straightforward and takes less than 60 minutes
- Dual pedals to fit SPD or athletic shoes
- No pre set workout programs
- Console does not measure Watts
- You can’t upload workouts to your computer or internet account
- Heart rate monitoring only works with a polar heart strap (not supplied)
- Have to supply your own tools for assembly
- Does not come with somewhere to plug in a MP3 player or rest a tablet or book
- Maybe too expensive for beginners
- You have to supply your own chest strap
- Pedaling motion maybe too up and down if you have joint injury
Lifecycle GX Consumer Ratings
The majority of customer reviews are very positive about the bike. There are just 2 people being negative about a specific problem to them with one being about the pedal and the other the flywheel alignment. It is not mentioned by anyone else.
The customers like the feel of the bike – the stability, the natural riding motion (interestingly) and how quiet it is preferring it to a bike trainer. They also wanted a bike that was low maintenance and so far indications are that this is a bike that delivers that.
Lifecycle GX Price
This is a premium bike and it comes at a premium price. It is constructed to perform for years in the high use (and abuse) gym and club environment so if using at home if should last a very long time. It comes with the premium features of magnetic resistance, belt drive and a console.
When I checked if qualified for free shipping at Amazon.
This a very good bike with a lot of great features. The magnetic resistance and belt drive, construction all work for a stable and fluid workouts.
It can be used by beginners through to advanced riders for training and exercising, although beginners may not like the price.
The only real issue I have with the bike is the console. It doesn’t allow you to upload the information to your computer or an online fitness account to keep a record to track and analyse performance. Also, if you take your riding very seriously you’d like to measure power (watts) and that is missed out.
Aside from that this is a bike that delivers what you need for low impact cardio at whatever intensity you want for both spinning or indoor cycle training. It will help you to get and stay at your peak fitness and push on further for many years.