Value for Money
With a quiet chain this would be so much better.
Ok I am going to be upfront here. I don’t like this bike and struggle to recommend it. Save your money and go for a bike that has a belt drive. The chain on this is old technology that is outdated and outclassed now. There are no drop handlebars, and finally (this might be me!) it looks old fashioned.
Alternatives to the 490 SPX are:
Everything starts with the flywheel. In this respect the Proform 490 is actually not bad at 48.5lbs its one of the heaviest ones I have seen. My only concern with this is that its so heavy that it is really hard to balance and needs an extremely strong frame to support it. The reason heavy flywheels are on high end bikes is because they need more metal around them to provide support.
Linking that massive flywheel to the pedals is of course the chain. In this case its actually a chain, similar to that on a road bike. The issue is that its really noisy, clanking over the cogs its not a comfortable sound. If you were to have a room full of these bikes it would be unbearable!
I would like to see a belt drive, the advantage of this is that its exceptionally quiet, easy to maintain and smooth to run. Having owned a chain drive indoor cycle I promised myself never again!
Connecting the rider to the bike is the saddle. This is a love hate thing. As it happens the stock saddle is actually fairly comfortable. If you happen not to like it then a gel saddle is an option.
Personally I prefer not to use gel saddles, as they are a little to thick and i find that they rub to much. When riding one of these I always wear a pair of chamois lined cycling shorts. They give me the comfort as well as the cooling needed to pedal for an hour or so.
I feel I am putting a real downer on this bike, but here we have another issue. While the saddle is adjustable, the handlebars only go up and down. The lady in the picture seems quite petite. Believe me when I get on this thing my knees will be hitting the handlebars, either that or I will be sitting bolt upright!
The final element of the drive train. The pedals on the ProFrom 490 SPX are OK, they consist of a large flat side for those that don’t like the clips. The other side has a toe clip/cage that will allow more effort to be transmitted to the pedals on the upstroke. Again this is personal choice but I wear SPD’s when riding these. They are not an option here so if that is your preference I would add a set of SPD pedals in at the check out. Or take them from another bike! The attachment is universal.
At this price you won’t get magnetic resistance (the Keiser M3 is about $1500!), on the 490 SPX it is delivered using a felt pad pushed against the fly wheel. Resistance is increased by turning a convenient knob on the frame. This gives resistance from none to really cannot turn the pedals any more – or legs of steel mode!
OK its basic, but what else do you need? It shows tracks time, distance, speed, and calories burned if you have a chest strap it will measure your heart rate.
What are others Saying about the Proform 490 SPX?
It seems I am not alone with my criticism. In a world where most things get 4 out of 5, the 490 rates a rather poor 3.4 out of 5.
The main issues are the chain, and assembly problems.
On the positive side the bike was commended for its heavy weight, and that you are actually getting quite alot of bike for not much money.
James’ Buying Tip:
If you are into your indoor cycling I would recommend that you add these to your birthday list: SPD pedals and shoes, Cycling Shorts, Heart Rate Monitor. And whatever model of indoor cycle you choose get a heavy flywheel, you will thank me later!
Really I summed it up with the opening statement. This should be a good bike, if ProForm can fix the chain and add a little more adjustment options to the handle bars they would have a winner.
As it stands if I had $450 for an indoor bike I would choose the Horizon M4, while the handle bars are still not adjustable the chain is at least quiet.