Currently available for £599.00 from Sweatband.com
DKN RB-4i Recumbent Exercise Bike Review
Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to test out quite a few models of CV machines manufactured by DKN. With a well established reputation for quality and an ever increasing use of hi-tech features in their machines, we were keen test out their latest recumbent bike, the RB-4i. It’s predecessor, the RB-3i was a hit and the question on everyone’s lips has been whether the RB-4i offers any significant improvements or if DKN have simply provided us with a face-lifted version of the same thing. While that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, we were hoping for more, so did it deliver?
The assembly process couldn’t really be made much easier than it is. Like most bikes the main body is in one piece out of the box, so once the front and rear stabilisers were in position (very, very easy) – the rest went together smoothly. In all, the bike was ready to use in about 35 min.
Visually, the RB-4i is strikingly modern and being black rather than white is quite a departure from its predecessor (which itself was pretty good looking). The sleek black and silver finish combined with the straight lines and some sexy curves makes for a really attractive bike that’d look great in just about setting. The impression you get when looking at it is that DKN has produced a really high-quality bit of kit.
When you first get on the RB-4i it’s impossible not to notice just how well-designed and comfortable the seat is. It’s brilliant. The base is very firm but really wide and the angle of the back of the seat can be adjusted just like a car seat by turning a knob while you’re seated. The difference this makes to being able to easily get a great riding position is hard to overstate. It’s a great feature that’s sadly lacking in many other recumbent models. To adjust horizontally, again it’s just like a car. Reach under the seat and pull the bar up then slide back and forth until you get the best position. The distance settings are determined by a series of notches of which are spaced very close together so you can fine-tune your position. All members of the testing team were able to quickly and easily get the perfect distance to the pedals in just a few seconds. As you can adjust the seat in both ways while actually seated it’s incredibly easy to get comfortable quickly with very little effort.
The open frame design looks great but is also very practical as it makes getting on a hassle free affair and easy even if your mobility isn’t what it once was. The top of the powder coated frame sits just 6 cm off the floor making this bike really practical for those with mobility problems or for elderly users. In addition to the low step through there are two fixed handles either side of the console. They’re a nice thickness and have a rubberised coating which provides a really great grip if you need assistance getting on and off the bike.
The console sits on a hinge that allows you to tilt it towards or away from you so that regardless of how short or tall you are the display is always in line with your natural visual angle so you always get a great view of the screen. If you want to use a wireless chest strap for monitoring your heart rate the console comes with a built-in Bluetooth Smart heart rate receiver that’ll work with any Bluetooth chest strap and you also have the option of the pulse sensors on the handles either side of the seat. The console itself is a big departure from what we’ve seen on DKN bikes before in terms of looks and feel. The robust large black casing even has an accessories tray which is ideal for setting down a phone, some keys and various other smaller items and also includes a lip for holding a tablet or smartphone (more on that later). The layout of the controls for selecting programmes, adjusting resistance, activating the Bluetooth functions and resetting the computer is well thought out and makes instant sense, even at first glance. The buttons themselves are large and easy to read making for easy control even during your workout.
The display itself is a two colour 5” (12.7 cm) affair with good contrast that makes for quite a wide vertical viewing angle. All the characters on the screen are large and easy to see, displaying time (elapsed or remaining), pulse, speed/rpm, watt, distance (elapsed or remaining) with a clear bright readout showing which point you’ve reached in the programme you’re on.
Speaking of programmes the RB-4i has plenty of them including, manual, beginner, advanced, performance (interval) and Watt. The interval training programmes work well due to the fast change of resistance on this bike. It takes just over 8 seconds to go from min to max and just over 10 to come back down again. While on paper this doesn’t sound all that fast, in practice during a workout we found it to be just right, providing a nice interval training experience. Using the Watt or cardio programmes you can set a target for each respectively, though use of the cardio programme does require a wireless chest belt in order to be effective. There are 4 pre-set programmes in each category of beginner, advanced and performance. Each of the programmes provides you with the option of increasing the resistance level from the base level. One touch up a notch and every section of the workout increases by the same amount. This means that the bike can provide a seriously testing workout on any given programme no matter how fit or strong you become, giving it great longevity. You’re simply very unlikely to outgrow it.
For additional variety, the console features a Bluetooth control module and a handy lip on the console to hold a tablet or a mobile phone. When the console is used in Bluetooth mode with a smart device and a compatible app, a whole world of variety opens up and this can help take away some of the boredom that can set in during longer training sessions. There are several apps available and our favourite is Kinomap which features rolling video footage. The app controls the resistance of the machine automatically to simulate the gradient of the terrain being cycled and speeds up / slows down the video based on your pedal speed!
As standard, the RB-4i console offers a choice of 4 user profiles. Each of these allows the age, weight, height and gender of a user to be stored and this data is used to increase the accuracy of feedback provided, such as calorie consumption.
The RB-4i has a hefty 11kg flywheel. This, combined with the quality of the internal components, gives a really comfortable and smooth experience. As you’d expect from a DKN machine the ride is also whisper quiet so the bike lends itself to use early mornings or late evenings without disturbing anyone in the household. The addition of a water bottle holder front and centre on the main stem is also a welcome addition.
The user-friendly design of this recumbent makes it a great choice for a wide range of users. So if you’re just starting out to get fit, or are already a seasoned fitness freak like us the RB-4i really does have a lot to offer.
DKN have produced a video showing off the RB-4i and we’ve included it below:
With the RB-4i, DKN have produced an absolutely fantastic exercise bike with a heavy 11kg flywheel for a smooth feel, a great resistance range, user profiles, heart rate control, tablet connectivity and a brilliant, comfortable seating position. This is a great recumbent at a price lower than we'd expect for the quality on offer and comfortably sits above any other recumbent at this sort of price point that we've tested making it easy to recommend.
DKN RB-4i Specifications
- 11kg (24lbs) flywheel
- 32 levels of resistance
- 12 programmes
- 4 user profiles
- Large multifunctional colour LCD display
- Heart rate measured via hand pulse sensor or Bluetooth Smart wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
- Feedback: Speed, time, RPM, distance, calorie burn, heart rate, WATT
- Compatible with Kinomap, Vescape
- Max. User Weight: 150kg (330lbs)
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 150cm (59”) x 66cm (26”) x 112cm (44”)
- Product Weight: 50kg (110lbs)
- Conveniences: Large and padded adjustable seat with back support and hand rests
- Warranty: 2 years
DKN RB-4i Recumbent Exercise Bike - Console / Display Unit
DKN RB-4i Recumbent Exercise Bike - User Reviews
- Excellent seat and seat adjustment mechanism
- Bright, clear screen
- Solid as a rock
- Multiple difficulty levels for longevity
- Multiple apps for tablet connectivity
- Looks great, feels great
- It's not small, but then no recumbent bike is really, so we're nitpicking just a little bit
Currently available for £599.00 from Sweatband.com
Also see our Exercise Bike Comparison Table
Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer