“Recumbent bike”, “Upright bike”, “Semi-recumbent folding bike”, tons of scientific-sound title, it does not only urge me to buy the most multi-function machine but also leave me hundreds of confuse which one is really suitable for me. My purpose was looking for a home exercising machine, not too big and light since I have small apartment with my parents. And again, when I found this Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike, I had to do a lot of research and read plenty of reviews to get to know what semi-recumbent and foldable design is in fact. Let’s dig in.
What really build the reputation for Exerpeutic is its so-called Semi-recumbent and Folding design. Let’s dig deeper into each feature to see how special they are. Firstly, semi-recumbent bike may be one of the most renowned product line provided by Exerpeutic. It is the combination between an upright and recumbent exercise bike. Looking back to the upright bike, you have your legs pedaling with a downward motion, while they are stretched out horizontally with a recumbent model. The thing is that many people feel uncomfortable and stressed on their back while using upright bike, without a backrest. A large number using recumbent model say they lean too much backwards, which sometime cause a lot of stretch on their legs. Generally speaking, the semi-recumbent version is so far the best solution for these issues. It has backrest, seat cushion taller than the pedals so that the legs motion is in front of body and goes downward. This design enables trainers to easily get on and off the bike, in a comfortable way instead of the too-high upright bike or long-and-flat recumbent one. It again surely give you motivation to get off the couch and go exercising while stay watching your favorite Netflix show.
Another feature which might be mind-blowing is its folding design. In other words, the bike is foldable into smaller dimension after use. 20 L x 17 W x 54 H inches is the dimension after folded compared to 33 L x 19 W x 46 H inches in use; indeed, it does save a lot of space and fit to small corner wherever in your house. Folding the bike is quite easy, just by removing 2 safety pins and lock it later. Everyone could do it without any difficulty, even my 60-year-old dad take it quite simple after his workout.
This bike is easy to assemble, since the majority parts are pre-assembled already. One minus point for the too-complicated instruction. You might be freak out at first with thousands of items numbered, although it is not so necessary. The assembly take me only 45 minutes, which can be a bit quicker with one another since there is the main part quite heavy and need one person to hold it while putting together other parts. Luckily all supportive tools are included, so it is quite convenient for me as I don’t have them available at home.
Only weights 43 lbs, this may be one of the lightest exercise bike with 300-pound capacity. After assembling, my impression is that it is extremely sturdy. With a few biking tests, it stands perfectly steady on the floor (my test was at level 5). This works best for trainers aim at losing weight, cutting fat and toning muscle. Don’t worry if you weight a bit than 300 lbs, it would not come into part if there is a slight over-capacity. My friend used to be 305 lbs and it was still good for him. Now he is 290 lbs after 1 month by the way. I have been using this for almost 2 years now, every day use, so far so good. Again, I have to take it a plus for its sturdiness. I have severally hit the bike to the wall or table while moving around, but there seems no big problem to it. There are just some loose parts which need to be screwed afterwards. Otherwise, it still work steadily in every workout.
This Exerpeutic semi-recumbent bike offer 8 resistance level. Depending on training purpose that each level has its own role. Many people who are on their recovering of back problem may fit to level 1, with almost no resistance but still works for the improvement process. For the fitness starters, it is suitable with level 2 and get used to with the motion as well as basic function of the bike. People who intend to burn fat might concerning setting resistance as average, about 3 to 4, it is easier to pedaling for longer time and distance. For those building legs muscles, 5 or 6 is recommended. The higher the level, the more muscles will be teared and recovered bigger after that. I am symptom free, so I often take it 5 as my highest level for 20 minutes workout. However, it is a bit tough to get on to 6, since there is a big difference between 5 and 6 resistance level, while 1 to 4 is easy. Switching among levels is simple by rotating the tension knob under the seat, clockwise to raise level or vice versa.
The bike has a 3.3 W x 1.5 H inches LCD screen placed in front of the seat and a bit below their knees while pedaling. This item is quite different from other exercise bike version with the screen at the eye level due to the foldable feature. Therefore, the trainers have to look down their knees to observe the metrics showed while pedaling. It sometimes cause difficulty to people whose legs hide the screen, they need to slow down biking or even stop to see clearly and continue after that. Nevertheless, Exerpeutic makes up this inconvenience by displaying big number, so even people with glass could see easily. One more point I hope Exereutic can improve is adding a led under the screen. Since I often biking in places without direct light, such as kitchen or bed room, so it is hard to clearly read the screen and what is on.
There are basic metrics included such as distance, time, calories burned, speed and one more could be good news to people with heart-related problem: pulse. These metrics have quite enough limit, e.g 100 minutes limit time, 100 miles in distance. Each function is suitable for specific workout purpose: weight loss and muscles toning. For people trying to lose weight, they should focus on timer and distance biking, as the farther you bike, the more calories will be burned. The main idea here is to maintain the routine and keep on the diet. For those who want to improve stamina, time, distance and speed are the important one to keep track during exercising. You can choose only to show one metric at a time or use the auto scan function of the bike. With this turning on, every metric will be scan and displayed for 6 second each. It is easy to switch among function by pressing the button below the screen until desired feature is showed. After leaving the machine for 4 minutes, it will automatically turn off, no worry of eating battery.
In order to reset the measurement saved, just need to press and hold the button for 2 seconds. All are ready for a new training week. However, only the odometer, which collect the total distance biking will not be reset by this way but taking out the batteries. So make sure that you have all the metrics recorded or noted down before replacing batteries. The screen is powered by 2 AAA-sized batteries, not included in the pack. I’m not sure how long will it last, depending on your working intensity. My parents and I do exercise almost everyday and it has not run out of battery for 3 months now. Replacement is not difficult at all, just simple as remove the cover under the screen and install batteries in right order.
Seat and backrest
Another feature worth to mention is this exercise bike is its large and height adjustable seat, go with a backrest. The seat is oversized, fit to almost all kind of big wrist and butt. Together with a backrest, which is tilted 10-degree back, it is good for training program focusing on legs without any side effect or stress on back. People on a recovering treatment could be suitable to this back support and work well at resistance level 1 or 2. However, one negative about the seat is its hardness, which is not “cushion” as advertised. Therefore, it may cause pain and discomfort with long workout, especially for middle-aged people. Sometimes my parents need a pillow in between the backrest and seat prevent pain to their wrist.
The seat height is adjustable to fit 5 feet 2 inches to 6 feet 2 inches user height. Additional information, the lowest height from the floor is 25 inches, which is fit for teenage children and adults in your family. The adjustment works by rotating the height adjustment knob counterclockwise to move the seat up and down. When you get the perfect position, re-tighten the knob and get started. Be careful when adjust the height, make sure you don’t disconnect or pinch the pulse monitor wires with the display. Although it says “for 5 feet 2 inches to 6 feet 2 inches user height”, this bike still work well for those who are 5 inches or a bit less. In contrast, this Exerpeutic version isn’t seem an ideal one for long legs people, who are taller than 6 inches. Many complain they feel not so good when their legs could not really straighten out to feel the workout impact while pedaling. A combination with a yoga block might be a suggestion it gives your legs more space to straighten out without hitting the screen. Anyway, people with 6 feet inches height should concern this carefully before ordering. You won’t be happy to re-assemble the bike to send it back to the manufacturer after 1-hour assembly.
Hand pulse sensor:
One special feature of this Exerpeutic bike is called “Hand pulse sensor”. Basically, it is the sensor embedded the handle bars to measure trainer’s heart rate and show on display. In order to activate it, place both hands on the handles and keep biking as usual, the pulse will then show in Scan option or Pulse function when selecting. Remember to place and hold both hands on the bars, otherwise the measurement won’t work and lack some accuracy. This is suitable for people who have a heart-related symptom, such as previous heart attack, and need a specified training program to control the pulse. It is important to always pay attention to the screen, make sure that your heart beats at an under-controlled speed; if it exceeds, slow down your biking speed and breathe steadily. In my opinon, the hand pulse sensor has some limit on the sensor. It would not work from beginning of exercise, until my hands are slightly damp it starts to measure my pulse. I personally do not like it much cause I hate sweating and will dry my hands immediately.
Trainers get started by sitting and biking with two pedals, feeling they are cycling on the street, except there is no wind or outdoor sunlight. The pedals are designed to fit all size of foot with safe and adjustable foot straps. If you have small foot, a step to tighten the strap is needed for good biking experience. You could try pedaling forward or backward, both works well according to the “double drive transmission” system. Following any kind of pedaling which you feel the most effective and depends on the exercise you are working on.
The biggest advantage of this semi-recumbent bike is its extremely quiet and smooth pedaling experience. With the so-called “3-piece high torque cranking system” embedded, it would give you a non-noise training morning which does not wake anybody up. Pedaling with it is smooth and well self-balanced. At first, I might be thinking what would happen if I raise up the resistance level to 5, at high speed. Well it does its job very well. The precision balanced flywheel makes it steady and stick to the floor while pedaling, together with two handle bars gives you more feeling of “safe balance”. There is almost no feeling of wiggling or about to fall off the bike. I often take it out and bike in the morning while doing my freelancer work on a high table. Because it makes no noise so I can enjoy some good music and ending up get my legs in shape after 1 hour training.
One note is that due to a lot of training, I need to screw both pedals every week for about 10 minutes. Make sure there is no incidents postponing my next exercises.
Easy transportation is another core advantage of this Exerpeutic bike. First, it is foldable after using so it will become smaller and easier to lift up one side and move. The bike weight 43lbs, not so heavy for even my 60-year-old father to deal with. Second, there are two wheels attached underneath the bike to move it around. It can be well transported on well on hardwood, tile, berber, flat surfaces, but it becomes dragging with carpet. Consider this carefully if you have big carpet in your place and intend to make a space for training on it. I’m sure that you would not be happy with difficult moving this 43lbs bike after doing a hard exercise on your legs. Any small space could be a perfect storage. It could be your room corner, space under your dining table or even a space between your couch and window. Make sure it is out of direct sunlight, excess moisture and away from your kids. The further storage instruction is included in the manual with very detail information.
Maintenance and storage
Like other exercise machine, the Exerpeutic 400XL bike needs regular cleaning and maintenance to keep it at great condition. Do a simple cleaning after using with a soft cloth and mild detergent, in order to get rid of sweat and dust on the seat and backrest. You should also maintain the bike weekly, such as inspect all assembly bolts and pedals. Exerpeutic provides a section called “common troubleshoot” in its manual which I am really interested in. It mentions main troubleshoot such as no display, squeaking noise in use and of course, at least one solution for each for self-fix the problem. If there are other malfunction belongs to the company, as long as it is under 1-year warranty, its service will support you by their best.
Finally, there are some notice for you before making the decision. Although this bike is an relaxing training solution at home, mainly keep your body in shape but still, it is not the one for people with special pre-existing health problems. People are having chest pains, nausea, dizziness, or short of breath, should stop exercising immediately and consult your physician before continuing. This is especially important for the people who are over 35 years old or older. Again, do consult from your doctor or physician first of all. This bike is super saving; however, there must be at least 2×2 square meter for exercising, and remember to take it away from your furniture if you don’t want your couch or TV table to have a scratch.
Consumer rating: 4.4/5
About 2,500 reviews on Amazon rate 4.4/5 star for Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent bike. Most positive ones say they have good experience with quiet and smooth pedaling experience. They can both work and train at the same time. The foldable and space saving of the bike is another advantage to many people with small apartment or housewives with almost no time going outside for exercising. Nevertheless, others complain about the freak out instruction at a glance, together with hard seat without cushion as advertised.
At a price about $115, I evaluate it a low-cost training solution, even have to replace after a few years but it works well for my current health situation.
In general, this Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike has extremely quiet, smooth and steady operation. It is convenient to not just take 1 hour for only exercising but you can do your personal things simultaneously such as watching TV or doing your laptop work. It is foldable and wheels for easy transportation around your place, take very small storage space. The seat and backrest are supporting each other for a comfortable and relaxing training, especially for recovering people without side effect. However, the seat is quite hard which can cause slight pain after finish. Pulse rate measurement with hand sensor system is a noticeable feature in this bike, although it functions only well with damp or sweaty hands. In my opinion, I have so far a 3-month experience training by this bike and it improve my fatty legs a lot. I will give it 4/5 score.