The Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Recumbent Exercise Bike is one of the most affordable recumbent exercise bikes available.
As you’d expect from that, it doesn’t come with much in the way of extras.
However, it does come with hand pulse sensors (for monitoring the heart rate), an adjustable seat for a range of heights and a computer to let you know how you are getting on as you workout.
When you have a bike at home you want it to be able to fit into your home and not end up causing you more issues than it’s worth, otherwise that price paid doesn’t seem such a good bargain.
In this review we look at whether it is more than just a good price and can be used to get good low impact workouts at home for those wanting to improve their fitness.
First up is looking at how well it will stand up to all those workouts
It is surprisingly well made considering the price and weight of the bike.
It holds pretty firm and there is very little shaking or wobbling as you exercise, leaving you to be able to “enjoy” your workout.
If you are using on a slightly uneven floor there are levelers on the back stabilizer bars to balance out the bike to stop any side to side rocking.
You turn the end caps to do this. It does cater for small variations only.
The warranty offered is:- 5 year frame, 90-day monitor and 30-day all other parts.
This is a good length on the frame but for the other parts seems a little short to me.
Most people seem to be getting good use out of the bike with a few exceptions discussed in the ratings section below (for these few people it seems to happen soon after purchase).
The bike can be adjusted for a range of heights between 5ft and 6ft 3 ins.
To make the adjustment takes a little strength and involves moving the back of the bike not just the seat. You undo the knob on the center bar at bottom of the bike and pull it up. You then slide the rear of the bike to the position you want and line up the holes and then insert the pin and tighten it up again. It does the job but requires some muscle, which is more than you have to use when you just adjust the seat as with other models.
This does avoid the seat wobbling as might happen with other bike models where the seat is moved as it is firmly fixed in place or having to tighten those knobs to keep the seat steady on a regular basis. Having said that, moving the seat is easier and requires less effort.
With both methods you do need to be off the bike to make the adjustment.
If you are shorter than 5 ft you are likely to find you are stretching to reach the pedals at the far end of the stroke and sitting forward on the seat. Some people below this height do manage to be comfortable as it depends on leg length so those with a longer leg length than average may be fine with it.
If you are over the maximum height you will likely find yourself cramped up and not getting the full range of motion of your knee with it not straightening as it should (should be slightly bent) at the far end point of the pedal stroke.
It has 8 levels of marked resistance which makes it easy to set the level you want to exercise at and return to a previous setting.
The levels are marked on the tension knob on the front post that is used to adjust the level of resistance. It works simply and is not difficult to turn. You do need to lean forward to make the adjustment.
You turn it to the right to increase resistance and to the left to reduce it. The resistance is provided by magnets that are moved closer to/further away from the flywheel (which is enclosed) to adjust the load you are pushing against. Nothing touches so it is very quiet and there should be no maintenance requirements.
It starts with almost no resistance at levels 1 and 2.
The resistance increases increments as you turn it up, there aren’t any large jumps or jerking.
Most people find that the levels up to level 6 are enough for them to get a sweat on. You may notice some slight variations in the pedaling motion and may find it putting more stress on your knees than you want.
Levels 7 and 8 are moderately hard, rather than difficult. These levels won’t be enough for anyone looking for challenging hill type workouts.
At these top levels of resistance the cycling motion can get a little more choppy with it slowing down at the top/bottom of the cycling motion as the resistance acts as a brake on the flywheel. It does mean it can add some impact to the exercise.
It has a 2 way flywheel allows you to cycle backwards and forwards to allow you to exercise and strengthen different leg muscles. It gives a reasonably smooth cycling experience and it is very quiet. It doesn’t require any maintenance.
The pedals have a little padding for comfort. They are also textured and have plastic straps to hold your feet in place while you pedal.
The straps have holes along the length of them that you fit over a knob on the pedal to fix them in place. When new this can be a little tough to do until they soften up.
It is possible to exercise without the straps on and people that do this find that their feet stay on the pedals.
Seat. The seat and back rest are padded but they are flat. Some people find the seat comfortable. The seat is oversized measuring 16 ins by 10 ins (approx) providing reasonable support for the most part.
However, you may not like the seat as with any of these type of seats they’re not just suitable for everyone. Some find it too small and don’t like the gap between the seat and the back support.
If that is you most people use a folded up towel or cushion and they find that adds the level of comfort need to use the bike as long as they want to exercise.
The backrest is angled slightly backwards for comfort and providing support to the lower back. The angle itself can’t be changed but most find the angle works for them.
Getting on and off the bike is easy with an easy step through the bike and then it is like getting on and off a piece of furniture.
The set of handlebars at the front of the bike can help with this too.
Handlebars. The bike has 2 sets of handlebars – a small set at the front and a set on both sides of the seat. They are covered which makes them a comfortable grip.
The set at the front can provide support when getting in and out of the seat or when adjusting the console. You can also use them while you workout for a different position but you do need to lean forward to do this – it’s not the most comfortable positions.
The handlebars at the side of the seat provide good support when you need it – they’re higher up than the seat about elbow height and can be used to rest your arms on but they’re not padded so can’t really be used to lean on for support.
Also I’d not advise putting too much weight on them as over time they may break as happened with other models although no one has mentioned this in the customer reviews I read for this model.
These handlebars also have the hand pulse sensors that you grip when you want to monitor your heart rate.
Cleaning. The bike itself doesn’t add much at all to a cleaning routine. However, there is some additional cleaning that needs to be done in keeping the bike clean from any sweat that may drop on it. This will help to prevent it rusting due to the corrosive effects of the salt and water content of sweat. It doesn’t take much time. The other place the sweat can drop on is the floor and you may want a rubber exercise mat to protect your floor.
Noise. The bike is very quiet and you can easily hear the TV while you exercise. Your exercising won’t disturb others even if they are sleeping. If you live in an upper floor apartment you are unlikely to disturb your neighbors – if you are concerned about noise or vibration transmitting through the floor a rubber exercise mat should also take care of that.
The bike needs an area of 24 ins by 53 ins for when it is being stored.
There are 2 small transport wheels on the front stabilizer bars to help you move the bike from place to place. To use them you tip the bike up by lifting it from the back.
It is easy to tip it up and one person can easily move the bike with most of the 53 lbs weight on the front wheels. This leaves you to navigate the bike.
The small wheels work well on hard surfaces but may get stuck on thick carpet where you may need to drag it. Also, if using on wood floors you should check that wheels don’t scratch it.
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Recumbent Exercise Bike Assembly
The bike comes partly finished leaving you to complete it.
The assembly instructions are poor to say the least with the process being shown in 5 small diagrams and no written instructions to help.
Fortunately the assembly is straightforward and can be done easily in 2 hours. The manual does recommend 2 people to complete it. But it can be done by one person it can just be a little awkward and heavy when trying to hold a piece while trying to bolt it on.
The tools needed for the job are included. The process involves adding the handlebars, front support, seat assembly, back rest, seat, pedals, stabilizer bars and console. The holes and parts line up making it an easy process.
The bike has a basic console that measures time, speed, distance, cumulative distance (odometer), calories burned and heart rate when hand pulse sensors are being gripped.
The hand pulse sensors are in the handlebars that are at the side of the seat. To get the best chance of a signal you need to grip both tightly. Like all bikes that use hand pulse sensors many can’t get a reliable reading – it is a problem common to this type of heart sensor.
It does make it difficult if you want to monitor it so you can exercise in a heart rate zone or check how well you recover. If this is important to you, it will be better buying separately a heart rate strap and watch monitor to do this..
You need to hold your hands on the sensors for 10 seconds to get a reading.
The console uses 2 AAA batteries (need to be bought separtely . This is the only power required by the bike. If the batteries are flat you can still use the bike and adjust the resistance you just won’t have any feedback as workout.
The display is a good size so you can read the numbers easily in good light. However. it is not backlit and you’ll likely find it difficult to see the numbers clearly.
It only displays one measure at a time. The measure displayed is chosen by pushing the mode button below the display. You can choose scan where it then rotates through the measures every 6 seconds.
The other measures besides time are good to use as a guide but shouldn’t be relied on as being accurate. They’re good for motivation as you exercise and comparing results from various exercise sessions.
If you do want to track progress over time this needs to be done manually as there is no way to upload the results to a fitness account.
The dimensions and weight of the bike are:
Height 37.50 ins
Width 24 ins
Length 53 ins
Bike Weight 53 lbs
Max User Weight 250 lbs
The bike doesn’t come with any extras over and above those discussed in the console section above. There is no water bottle holder or somewhere to put your tablet or phone while you exercise.
If you do want to have these close at hand you’ll need to hold them or exercise near a table.
The manual does provide some general guidance on exercise but not any sample workouts or where you should adjust seat to in relation to the pedals for the most effective workout.
- 8 marked levels of resistance
- Bike can be adjusted to fit sizes between 5 ft and 6ft 3
- An affordable price
- Has transport wheels at front for when you want to move it from place to place
- The pedal stroke is smooth and low impact with only some variation particularly when using the top resistance levels
- Has levelers for balancing out on an uneven surface
- Comes with a basic console to keep you motivated as you workout
- Seat has a backrest which supports the back and people do find it comfortable (not all)
- It provides a low impact cardio workout
- Easy to assemble despite poor instructions
- Doesn’t come with any extras
- You are required to slide the back of the bike to adjust to fit people of different heights which can take some effort
- Top levels of resistance is not going to be tough enough for those wanting a tough challenge
- The console doesn’t allow you to upload results to a fitness account
- There are no pre-set programs included
- Customer service is not where it needs to be at
- The seat is smaller than it needs to be resulting in too much pressure on the sit bones for comfortable long workouts
- Assembly instructions are very poor
- There is some small variation in the pedaling motion
- Some people find the seat to be uncomfortable
- Heart rate sensors on handles aren’t reliable (this is to be expected with this type of sensor)
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Recumbent Exercise Bike Consumer Ratings
The bike has reasonable ratings with customers.
Most customers in their reviews say they like the bike they get for the price – it allows them to get low impact cardio exercise for an affordable price. Adults from all ages including senior citizens use the bike to improve their fitness and health successfully.
But there is a good number who don’t get the bike they expected. Those that have had a mechanical problem have not been able to get good service from the company to sort their issue which is disappointing. It is the lack of response and help that is the issue as any manufacturer can have an issue with products either in manufacture or delivery.
The seat is an area where people don’t like – finding the seat too small to provide good support to get the amount and length of exercise they want. But this is not everyone
Those that do get a bike that works do seem to find it meets expectations for the price and they can exercise without having any issues,
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Recumbent Exercise Bike Price
The price is one of the benefits making it an affordable recumbent exercise bike that can fit into most budgets. It does offer value for money providing you don’t have expectations of a getting the functionality of an expensive bike at a real knock down price.
It is a solid and dependable bike without many frills.
The bike is solid enough with a reasonably smooth pedaling motion but one area that I don’t like in particular. This is the way you adjust the length of the bike to accommodate different sized users. It works it just is annoying and takes a little more work than those where you slide the seat even those that require 3 knobs.
Still if you’re not going to be moving it often or it doesn’t bother you, then this bike can help you in achieving your fitness goals ranging from losing weight and toning up and so on.
It won’t suit people who want to exercise for hours (the seat is not the most comfortable) or those wanting to really push themselves hard as the resistance only goes up to moderately hard.
It’s a good bike for those wanting to get started and/or have moderate exercise for improving fitness and lose weight and don’t want to spend a fortune.