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841 of 844 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2010
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.
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251 of 257 people found the following review helpful
I hate to rain on the parade of praise for the ProForm 290SPX Indoor Cycle Trainer, but my experience with this spinning bike is quite different from what most of the positive comments are saying.

Where to begin... I paid $274 for the 290SPX at Sports Authority. I've seen the bike as low as $259 at BJ's.

It has a good looking design and a quick glance will leave you with a very favorable impression. Once you really start using the bike though, you will quickly find out why this is a "budget" spinning bike.

First the pros for the bike.
1. It was mostly pre-assembled. Finishing off the setup was a quick affair which included removing the shipping brackets, installing the front and rear stabilizers and leveling feet. Attaching the pedals to the cranks. Inserting the handlebar post in the frame, attaching the handlebar to the handlebar post. Inserting the seat post into the frame, attaching the seat to the seat carriage and inserting the seat carriage into the seat post.
2. Seat and Handlebars have a good range of adjustment. Unless you are very short or very tall, you should be able to get a good fit on the bike.
3. The heavy flywheel results in the bike having a good inertia feel when spinning.

Cons:
1. The handlebar post has a significant amount of left-right play which is a nuisance during aggressive spinning. No matter how tightly you adjust the knob, it will not eliminate the side-to-side movement because the knob is only applying force to the front of the handlebar post, not the side. The only way to alleviate this movement would be to fashion some sort of sleeve or shim in addition to the plastic sleeve that is already present.
2. My bike and the bike of a friend of mine both have significant amounts of chain slop which results in a very noisy drivetrain. The chain slaps against the chainguard and is very noisy.
3. My bike has a clunk emanating from the right crank. On every downstroke at the 6:00 position I hear a clunk sound. I suspect it is a faulty or failing bearing. I've called for warranty service and the technician is replacing the crank and bearing set this week. I'll report back if that solves the problem.
4. The water bottle holder is cheap plastic and breaks very easily. You'd be best off either removing it entirely or swapping it out with a good quality water bottle holder from a bike store.
5. The bike generates a loud, high-pitched tone caused by the friction of the brake pads against the flywheel. It comes and goes depending on your rate of pedaling and amount of tension on the brake pad. I've ridden a lot of spinning bikes but have not heard such a loud squeal from the other bikes as what I hear with this bike.
6. The seat is OK but not great. For serious spinning, you'll probably want to invest in a better seat. Expect to pay at least $60 or more.

The ProForm 290 SPX is about what I'd expect for a roughly $300 spinning bike. In order to get an appreciably better bike you would have to spend at least twice as much and maybe three times as much. So for the money, it's an OK spinning bike.

Although it looks good, I am not encouraged by the fact that the handlebar has so much side-to-side play or that I am having the crank bearings replaced after just a week. I can deal with the seat but I wish the handlebars had a fore-aft adjustment. I also wish the drivetrain were quieter and that there was no noise from the brake pads at certain pedaling speeds.

I purchased a 2-year extended warranty from Sports Authority for $40 and have a feeling that that will be a good investment since I am not convinced this bike will hold up very well with hard use. Time will tell.

I'm not completely unhappy with the bike, it is about what I expected for the price I paid. I just don't think it's as good as some others think it is.

UPDATE: 1/26/2011 - Good news bad news. It turns out that the clunk that I hear on the right side is not due to a bad bearing, but instead due to a bent chain, possibly exacerbated by a warped crank wheel (sprocket). I completely removed the chainguard and noticed that that clunking sound stopped. Put the chainguard back on and the clunking resumed. Took it off again and turned the pedals by hand and closely observed the movement of the chain and noticed that it was not moving completely straight. Instead it was vacillating back and forth several millimeters. I also noticed that the crank wheel was slightly warped causing the chain to wobble in its path. I still can't quite figure out where exactly the clunk is coming from but it is not from the bearing since it goes away when the chainguard is removed. Seeing the poor quality of the sprocket really worries me for the long-term because once you spin the equivalent of a few thousand miles, you will eventually need to replace the chain and sooner or later the sprocket. That's a fact of life with bicycles (I ride competitively and replace the chain on my road bike every 1500 miles or so.) Sprockets will wear, chains will stretch. Eventually you will get to a point where this will result in a very expensive repair to the bike. According to the replacement parts sheet, a new crank arm/crank wheel will cost $77.16, a new chain is $25.87 and a new flywheel sprocket is $23.80. Plus labor and that gets you up to almost a $200 repair in just a few years if you ride the bike a lot.
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179 of 184 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2010
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.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2010
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".
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2011
We purchased this at a different store than Amazon, loved the quietness of the display model, got home and found out the bike is materially different than the original (made prior to Mar 2011 - not sure of date) of the same bike! The brake pads are replaced with a cheaper plastic pad off-center, the housing around the chain instead of being solid plastic is now a very cheap grade of plastic. It made a tremendous amount of noise - aka louder. If you don't mind the brake noise, and the chain hitting the plastic noise, it functions fine. Due to the redesign, I would recommend steering clear of purchasing this if you get any model manufactured after March of 2011! Please note the picture on Amazon.com is of the OLD (good) model and not the new redesign. Buyers beware!
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95 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2011
This is how bad it is. Use your speakers
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2010
I generally don't enjoy cardio exercises, so I was looking for something that I could fit in my apartment that isn't an eyesore, doesn't have to be folded or stored away, quiet (I live on the 2nd floor), and fun to use. I love the compact size of this bike because it fits in the corner of the living room. It is very quiet and extremely easy to get a good cardio workout on. I purchased a gel seat, a heart rate monitor, the digifit connect (which is also excellent) for iphone, along with the ispin app for iphone. With this set-up, I can create my own workouts, or use the ispin program guide. The bike was easy to put together, feels really solid, and is very well designed. I can get a serious cardio workout in my living room while watching tv or blasting music. I really love this bike and have finally found a cardio exercise that I enjoy.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2010
It's not a gym quality bike costing thousands, BUT IT FOOLED ME! The only exception are a few minor things - flimsy water bottle cage, cheap pedals, and yes that little wiggle in the handlebars. They'll do the trick but that's where they went low budget I guess. Other than that, this thing is a solid machine. I am 6'5" and weigh about 225. It is absolutely steady and is a great product so far.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2010
After reading the reviews on Amazon.. I decided to order this spin trainer for my in home workouts. I've used the spin bikes and classes at Golds Gyms for over 10 years but wanted something at the house so when I don't have time to drive to the gym, I can have a quick spin at home.. I could save over an hour of my busy schedule if I could do this.

free shipping from amazon took about a week. had a day extra because of thanksgiving. but I was emailed stating the shipping delay. the package came when scheduled and was pretty happy with time it took to ship.

box arrived a little dented up and had extra packing tape on box.
let me tell you.. this box is heavy.. thus the reason for the dented box.. I'm use the UPS guys bitched and cussed loading and unloading this item from the warehouse all the way to my house :) so for the weight of the box.. I'd say the box was pretty typical of other shipments of this size and weight.

un packing and assembly. strongly suggest a box knife for opening the box.. I cut off all the seam tape and the non stapled sides of the box. I made sure I didn't damage the box incase I needed to return. no problem. unfolded the box and pulled out the nicely insulated packaging around the bike. no damage was found and everything look good for assembly.

assembly took no time at all.. Maybe 15 minutes. the bike comes with assembly tools but they are cheap and flimsy.. I used my own tools so that I could do a decent job with tightening the bolts. one issue I found was the handlebar stem still had some side to side movement after it was completely tightened. the bike has a plastic bushing to snug the stem into the frame but there is a slight gap. I solved this my using a slim piece of aluminum as a shim to tighten it up. there are other ways to reduce the gap but this was quick and easy. you could also take a hammer and "shape" the side of the frame for the stem fit tighter... but.. I didn't want to do that just yet.

set up. bike set up pretty easy and the numbering and adjustment holes are pretty close to the same numbered adjustments I use on the bikes at Golds Gym.
though I think if you are under 5'2" you might be too small for this bike. at 5'11" the adjustments are right in the middle so this bike should fit a large range of peoples size.

Operation: bike is new so the adjustments are a little tight. and the adjustment knob is a little hard to turn.. I'll see how it is after I put a few hours on the bike to see if things loosen up a little.

Seat: what stock bike seat is comfortable?? I found this seat on the bike about even with the seats at the gym.. I'll probably get a gel seat cover so I don't have to wear my bike shorts to spin.. but overall. it was as expected.

spinning was good. push and pull spinning is pretty smooth and nothing that felt funny. standing was no problem after getting the bar stem gap fixed. bike feels really stable when cranking hard.

Pedals and straps are OK.. fit my size 11 mens shoe fine. but just at the edge of fitment being too short.. this is not really a problem as I prefer the clip pedals and will change the stock pedals out to the ones I like.

Overall.. I give this a good buy.. sub $300 shipped spin bike. close to gym quality build. I think if you are an average person to maybe a experienced bike rider.. this would work great..
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2011
I got the bike as a first bike after trying it for a minute and thinking it wasn't too loud and sounded quietish. Yea, that didn't last. First thing was the chain sound. Ok, I got used to that. Within 3 weeks of riding a couple hours a day 3 days a week, the right pedal broke off. It literally unscrewed it self as I was pedaling, almost hurt me, and damaged the groves on the bike making it hard to screw back in. The right pedal on a good bike will unscrew in the OPPOSITE direction of pedaling so it doesn't unscrew as you ride it. Still I screwed it back on (mostly) and just have to tighten the pedal every hour or so.

It was around the time the pedal coming off, the brakes started making a horrible screeching noise. Apparently that is par for the course with this bike. I use headphones now because it is almost as bad as nails on a chalk board. Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but wow I have never heard head a spin bike scream like I was killing it.

Today, as I started a climb, the brakepad came right off. It was like the bubblegum used to hold it in place went bad. I have superglued it back on and am about to try again, but I have had this bike for two months and it is coming apart. I can't tell you what bikes are good, but this is NOT one of them. I have lost all trust in the company. This is a pretty bike if you need something cheap for someone who will only use it for a week and then forget about it. That is the only reason it gets a star. Oh, and the handle bars don't seem bad either.
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