Amazon Price: $599.99 $269.00 You save: $330.99 (55%). (as of July 14, 2012 4:47 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
19July 2010: I purchased this item in mid-June, and have owned it for several weeks. I got it as a replacement for the used StairMaster PT4400 I had and loved, but it broke down on me. I paid $1200 and did not want another used one at +$4K, so I looked for other options. I never even considered a “spin” bike, because I did not know what they were! However, I wanted to keep costs under $400. One day in a Sports Chalet, I tried one—BLADEZ FITNESS JET, a solid bike. I exercised for about 5 minutes and knew the spin bike would meet my need for cardio. However, the JET was $599, over my budget.
RESEARCH: I did a LOT of research on the internet, and boy, these spin bikes have been falling like rocks! I finally found the Proform 290 SPX at a store called the Sports Authority for $299 (regularly $399). They just put one together that was not even on the floor yet, so I had to go in the back to test it. After a couple of minutes, I again saw that a spin bike would work, so I purchased it. My experience at some spin classes at 24 Hour Fitness taught me that the standard seat would be too uncomfortable, so I also purchased an old-school wide seat with jell padding, which turned out to be a good decision.
ASSEMBLY: I am NOT a mechanically inclined guy, and this thing was easy for me to put together. The only things to attach were the handlebars, peddles, and the feet, and the tools were all supplied, although I used my ratchet wrench because it was faster.
WORKING OUT: The bike is pretty stable. My weight was about 250 when I started out, and the Proform 290 SPX is rated at a max weight of 250lbs, but I know items like these have a “safety factor” and can take more weight than 250lbs. I get a great workout with this bike.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SPX 290 AND THE STAR TRAC AT 24 HOUR FITNESS: I am comparing the SPX with a more expensive bike, the STAR TRAC, because for those who are new buyers (like me) it will show one does not have to spend big money to get an effective spin bike.
The Startrek is an outstanding bike made for commercial use. The big difference is the Startrek has more resolution in changing resistance; in other words, it takes more turns to vary the resistance. On the Proform 290 SPX, as I turn the knob where I can feel resistance, I only have about a half turn to get to the maximum resistance, and I cannot turn the knob anymore. However, this is not a problem. The main point is that the user knows the “sweet spots” of resistance settings for the bike.
Once I get going, I only turn the resistance knob in one quarter to eighth inch increments throughout the entire exercise, and I easily maintain 77-81% of my heart rate. Other differences between these two bikes is the because the Star Trac is a commercial bike, it will take a 350lb person, and the cabling on the Star Trac is covered by the frame, so getting sweat on the cables and fasteners is greatly minimized. I overcame this by putting clear RTV over the screws and foot pedals (not the handlebar) and I put a hole in a small towel and put it over the resistance knob to keep my sweat off the break cabling. This is important, for water and salt from sweating will eventually corrode the fittings. On a final note, the STAR TRAC SPINNER PRO is about $1000 compared to the price of $299 I paid.
SETTING THE PACE: I have seen reviews on these bikes where people say it should have a computer. Well, that’s fine, but this will add to the price. All I use is a clock, the countdown timer from my watch, and a heart-rate monitor (the most important tool). The clock I use to track my workout time. I have the countdown timer on my watch set to repeat every 90 seconds. Moreover, the heat-rate monitor I use to pace myself.
THE FIRST TEN MINUTES, I go in 90 second intervals, alternating between sitting and standing, increasing the resistance in eight-inch increments.
THE REST OF THE EXERCICE, I go in 10 minute stretches. I maintain an even pace at 70-75% of my heart rate. At the end of the 10 minutes, I do another interval standing up and pedaling (also known as a standing hill climb) for 90 seconds with more resistance and get my heart rate up to +85%, then level back down to 72-75%.
Thus, in a 45-50 minute routine, I start with a 7-10 minute segment of intervals increasing the resistance to get my heart rate going. After that, I do 2-3 segments of 10-minutes each at a constant pace, and end each of these segment with a 90 second standing hill climb. The final two minutes I wind it down.
MINOR ISSUE: The only thing about this bike (not enough to rate it lower), is that there is a high-pitched “hum” I get from the flywheel, but it disappears after after about half-way through the exercise while I maintain an even pace. The “hum” has no effect on the flywheel operation or resistance settings.
TRAINING: It benefited me to go to spin classes at 24-hour fitness to learn how to setup and ride the bike. They offer a week free trail, so it is a great low-cost way to learn. In addition, YOUTUBE has some great videos on how to ride spin bikes. Just type in “spin bike setup,” and a bunch of videos will pop up.
GOOD ON THE KNEES: Although I loved my StairMaster PT4400, there were many times my knees felt a bit weak, but never enough to force me to stop using it. However, there is NO issue with the knees on the SPX 290. At my age (51), this means a lot!
CONCLUSION: This review was long because I know there are people out there seeking information. I have benefited greatly from the many reviews on various products, and wanted to get my “two-cents” in. This bike is a great buy, and one does not have to spend +$800 for the high-end bikes to get a good workout.
I’ve been researching spinning bikes for home use for several months. Wanted to find something that is solid and good quality. Reading the original review about this bike on Amazon.com was extremely informative and important. I kept coming back to it to get more details. It was a great reference for me when I went shopping. So when I found the bike in a local sporting store, I knew what I had to look for & look at closely. I tested it and found that I had to look no further. I purchased it & brought it home on 7/30/10.
Here’s what I found:
Budget-friendly. Simple as that.
Made by a division of Ion Fitness which also makes several other bikes including Nordictrack. Proform has been around a while so the quality and reputation are there.
Bike is heavy, solid, & very good quality. All parts were well wrapped & assembly was a snap. From reading reviews, I knew that there would be very few parts because the main body of the bike is one piece. Comes with enough bolt/screws, washers and tools. I didn’t find the instructions confusing but I had done so much research that it was pretty easy to figure out. It was handle bars, seat, & bottom braces. That was about it. Took us 30 minutes tops. IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to really tighten the seat when you get it attached. I’ve read some reviews stating this was difficult. Same goes with the handle bars. The knob on the front of the bike by the handle bars works to both adjust the height of the bars as well as tightens them so they don’t wobble.
I once had a computerized magnetic resistance bike & it was a hassle to assemble in comparison. I love the simplicity of this bike.
Handle bars & seat are very smooth adjustment for both height & length of your body. The handle bars cannot be adjusted for pitch but I found that just having them a bit higher was a perfect fit. I’m 5’3″ & my husband is almost 6′. It will be easy for each of us to readjust the seat.
Bike rode very smoothly & quiet in the store when I tested it. Exact same ride when I assembled the new one at home. Very smooth & very quiet. Oh I can hear the wheel turning & I can hear myself pedaling…but there are no squeaks or creaking. I went for a 40 minute “ride” as soon as it was put together.
Resistance lever is sensitive but that’s OK. Just a slight twist increases tension gradually. Very smooth transitions. Just reach down and twist a little bit to suit your workout.
When I stood up on the pedals, I found it almost rode like an elliptical. The bike didn’t wobble or jiggle and I was able to put full weight on the pedals with no problem. I felt the workout when I finished too.
To move it, just tip it up at the handle-bars and it rolls very smoothly and easily. Ease back down to settle into a new spot.
It is a sleek looking bike in a nice black enamel finish with red flywheel and red/black seat. Has kind of a high tech look. It’s very pleasing to look at if that matters to you. Remember to wipe it down if you have a rigorous workout to avoid any damage from moisture.
I do realize there is no coast feature on most spinners. I read that as a con in other reviews. However, I really like the red brake lever that is part of the resistance knob. When it’s time to slow down, I just sit back on the seat, press down slightly on the brake, and it slows me down or stops me. Or you can just ease up the resistance to a very light level and slow down your pedaling. It’s pretty much just like a regular outdoor bike. When you want to slow down, you press on your hand brakes. IMPORTANT NOTE: When I get off, I screw down the resistance knob tight so it locks the pedals & wheel. ***This is one safety feature that is important if you have small children in the house who may be curious. You’ll want to avoid pinched fingers.***
I’m not going to say anything negative about the seat. It’s a typical bike seat. I’m a 50-something female and I found that bike shorts work just fine. I may buy a new seat or a seat cover eventually. But, seriously, I didn’t find it all that bad. We ride outdoor bikes and the seat isn’t really all that different from my mountain bike.
Pedal straps are just a tiny bit cumbersome but that’s just me. I can’t seem to slip my feet into them real easily. But I’m also wearing regular fitness shoes not spinner shoes. So it may be just because they were stiff & new. I owe it to the bike to give them time to break in. They can always be substituted or removed.
Wish it had a speedometer. I have a simple wireless bike computer for my outdoor bike and I’m currently researching whether I can find something similar to attach to this indoor bike. I didn’t want a bike with a big huge screen. Not only does it add unnecessary cost, but it will get in the way when I lean forward on the handlebars. I love the simplicity but I would like to measure speed, distance, and calories/fat burned somehow. That’s it. I don’t need fancy stuff. For my first ride, I just used a timer. A heart monitor would be a great solution for everything for except RPM/speed.
Sorry for the lengthy review. But I want people to know that this is a good quality bike that won’t break your bank account. I’m very happy with it. We now have a great way to stay toned & fit during bad weather (rain, sleet, humidity, and blizzards) without having to drop a small fortune on a gym membership. No contracts, no waiting in line to use one. We’ve got everything we need right here at home. Overall – I rate this bike a solid 5 stars. It’s worth every penny.
First off, this bike should not be compared to bikes in the gym – those cost $800+ and this only costs $300, so there are obvious differences. Here are the ones I see:
- The seat tilts slightly (not to the extent of wobbly), but if you push down on it on either front or rear, it will tilt to that direction. I have the screws about as tight as I can get them.
- The handle bars are a bit wobbly. They won’t break or fall off, but if you are in an “uphill” riding position and when your body starts to move, the bars will move with you.
- The wheels will make sounds when the tension is increased. But if there are background noise, you will not hear it.
Those are about the only negatives on the bike. Everything else is great.
- Bike arrived with all parts necessary for assembly.
- Easy to follow assembly, with pictures that you can follow along. Took me about 45 min to build. It is heavy (100+lbs), so if you are not used to handling heavy objects, make sure someone is there to help you.
- The handle bars, seats can all be adjusted to your physique. I would say min. height of 5 ft required.
- The small front wheels allow you to move it around the house. Once tilted on the wheels, it does not feel like 100 lbs. It’s very easy to maneuver.
- The tension knob is great, turn it slightly and you feel you start to struggle with the peddling.
- The seat is comfortable, but we’re all a bit different, so it’s something that you would have to try. However, you can always purchase your own cusion, so this is no biggie.
Bottom line: This bike does what you want. It will give you a good workout in the comfort of your own home. No, this doesn’t have a heart monitor or a clock. People complaint about this. How about if those people just keep riding until they start sweating and heart rates beats faster. These are things you can feel, you don’t need gadgets to tell you this…
I highly recommend this bike for people who are just looking for a simple bike and aren’t picky about the “extras”.