Value for Money
Good all round recumbent, well made and nice features.
Lifespan Fitness are leaders in mid to high end fitness equipment. They have a justifiable reputation for quality, and we will see if this carries through in the Lifespan R3I Recumbent Bike.
We are big fans of the Lifespan Treadmills, and would expect to find the same quality with their bikes. The new R3i is designed as either a high end consumer bike, or even a light commercial bike, and comes in at about $1500.
Lets see what makes up the R3i Recumbent:
Buried away at the center of this recumbent bike is the Flywheel. This is where all the energy is stored. At 16lbs, this is not the heaviest flywheel on the market. They go to spin bikes, some have up to 40lb flywheels, the Lifespan S1 packs a 31lb flywheel.
The difference is that on a recumbent you are looking for a constant speed output, with light to medium resistance. The high flywheel weights on an indoor cycle are needed to overcome the high resistance placed on the wheel.
Most importantly the R3i has a smooth and well balanced wheel that turns quietly and with no vibration.
In common with other LifeSpan lines there has been a lot of focus on the workout programs. The manual has full details of all of them, but they all look good and will deliver results. In total there are 17 preset programs, including interval training, constant resistance and even the popular Fartlek workout (alternating high and low intensity workouts).
If you don’t like the fat burn, weight management or heart training programs there is the option to program in 2 custom workouts.
Best of all is the intelli key system, if you have different users on the bike each key lights up in turn to ensure that the bike is set up safely for each user.
Recumbent bikes are becoming more and more popular, mainly due to their easy riding position. Keeping your arms free, unlike say an elliptical, means that you can easily read or use your iPod while working out.
Of course this means nothing if the bike is uncomfortable. Fortunately the R3i has been designed with this in mind. You can see from the image that the priority is allowing cool air to get to your back. This minimises sweat while working out.
With its padded base and open back its a great place to sit for an hour or so.
To ensure that you maintain the best posture while riding the bike has a quick adjust back rest, with a hydraulic adjustment giving 14 inches of movement.
Overall this is a cool and comfortable bike to ride.
Lifespan have come a long way with console technology. If you are familiar with older generations of equipment you may remember small ugly displays and unresponsive buttons.
Going back to basics, the new console features a bright and clear LCD display showing all the key information: Time, Calories, Speed, Distance, RPM, Resistance. All this is visible at once, no more flicking through menus to see the data you need.
The R3i measures your pulse through the builtin handlebar sensors, and if you have one a standard chest strap. If you don’t have a chest strap I definitely recommend one. Keeping you heart in the training zone is the most important part of any cardio workout.
The console gives access to all the resistance levels, and allows for on the fly adjustment of the workout program. Best of all are the easy to use buttons. Waterproof and large, it makes changing the settings much smoother!
You will need to build this machine at home. The instructions are clearly printed, and if you have a spare pair of hands should take less than 2 hours.
Other useful Details:
Backed with a generous warranty this LifeSpan R3i comes with:
- Residential Users: Lifetime frame, 5-year parts and 2-year labor warranty
- Commercial Users: 5-year frame, 2-year parts and 1-year labor warranty
- Max User Weight: Up to 400 pounds,
- Dimensions: 70 x 27.5 x 44.5 inches.
What are other reviews saying?
This bike is brand new to the market, and we are one of the first to review. Overall we rate this highly, its technologically advanced, and comes from one of the most highly regarded makers of exercise equipment.
Our Verdict: Good but expensive!
Lifespan make some excellent products. You can see where the money is going though with high end build quality, the innovative features such as the intelli key console.
As to where to buy this bike, the best price is from Lifespan directly. We have never had an issue with their service, plus their prices are as good as any other retailer. Amazon has this bike at $1500, while you can pick it up for less than $1200 direct from Lifespan.