Horizon Elite U4000 Exercise Bike Review

The dictionary definition of the word ‘Elite’ is “the choice or best of anything considered collectively” so out of all of Horizon’s range of cycles, we were especially eager to test their top-of-the-line Elite U4000! Here’s what we made of it…

The U4000 has the looks, feel AND spec sheet to indicate it’s a well-built, durable machine. The maximum user weight certainly proves it with a 25 stone capacity and it’s all backed up by a Lifetime Frame / Motor and Brake warranty with 3 years parts and 3 years labour.

The quality of parts extends to the very core of the bike with a 9kg flywheel, providing a smooth and fluid pedal motion. It’s good news if you are looking for a bike that you won’t out-grow anytime soon because the U4000 gives you 20 resistance levels ahead of you and we can confirm the ECB magnetic brake is silent, smooth and very capable of delivering tough resistance at those higher levels! We particularly liked the 10 quick keys that are spread across the console. These are organised in a neat curve from levels 2 to 20 going up in increments of 2 allowing you to make instant adjustments to the resistance levels with a single touch.

The ergonomics of the U4000 are equally impressive. The saddle is described by Horizon as having a ‘comfort arc’, if that’s an abbreviated way of saying that it’s contoured, generously padded and comfortable then it’s a fitting term! Better still, is it’s ability to be widely adjusted both vertically and horizontally using big chunky knobs that lock it firmly in place on all planes.

Combining the wide scope for seating adjustment with multi-grip, angled handlebars results in the U4000 being capable of accommodating users of all shapes and sizes and doing so in great comfort.

Once you’ve set up your perfect riding position, it’s just as easy to set up the console. Two permanent users and a guest can be programmed in. Storing personal data such as age and weight etc as a permanent user is recommended to increase the accuracy of the calorie consumption feedback but also the U4000 makes it possible to store your last workout as well as setting weekly goals of time, distance or calories.

Aside from the Manual session, the machine comes with a varied array of 10 preset programmes including Constant Watts, Muscle Toner, Cardio Boost, Mountain Climb,  weight loss and more.

Although there are pulse grip sensors on the handlebars which suffice for basic heart rate readings, we always recommend using a wireless heart rate transmitter that is compatible with the bikes inbuilt receiver for far greater accuracy as well as being able to enjoy the HRC programs. There is a heart rate intervals option as well as a standard Target heart rate workout.

The console also has the ability to create and store up to 3 custom workouts. It’s not only possible to set up programs of up to 99 minutes in duration, it’s also quick thanks to the one-touch resistance hot keys. These bypass the need to spend time scrolling up and down through various intensity levels, when it’s as simple as a quick tap on the desired level, followed by enter and so on through each minute segment.

The console is nicely laid-out with 5 orange LED displays showing the all-important workout feedback such as Distance, Time, Calories burned etc. You can also view data such as Watts by pressing the ‘Change Display’ button for an alternative view. In the middle is a DOT matrix display which shows the levels of intensity as well as the course profiles if a pre-set workout is selected.

Where the U4000 really earns it’s ‘Elite’ status is through an inconspicuous usb port on the console. By syncing the machine to an optional ‘Passport media player’ you can play downloadable video workouts on your home TV screen! A runner with a head-cam has filmed each video workout so that footage is captured in the first person perspective. The really clever part comes in the technology that makes the video speed up or slow down to keep pace with your pedalling PLUS the resistance through the pedals changes to mimic the effect of going over various terrains! By purchasing workout destinations online you can virtually transport yourself to loads of exciting locations such as the Piazzo San Marco in Venice, Italy or the Grand Canyon in Arizon, USA. There’s even ambient noises’ coming through the inbuilt speaker system to really bring the destinations to life!

Another technological treat that the Passport option brings is the way it overlays all of your workout feedback onto the TV screen too so you can really focus on the action. In addition to that, the ‘Passport Cinema’ option means you needn’t miss your favourite TV shows either as the feedback can be shown over those as well!

Obviously the extra investment of around £150 for the Passport package will not be affordable or justifiable to all so all credit to Horizon for making the U4000 feature-rich as standard. There are plenty of inbuilt programs as we’ve mentioned but there’s also some other nice ‘extras’ on board too. The bike is compatible with Nike+ and iPod and slap bang in the middle of the console is an iPod dock. The dock makes great use of the 2 inbuilt speakers and there’s a control panel underneath so you don’t have to get perspiration over your Apple device. If you don’t have an iPod then you can plug your MP3 player into the other jack plug. There is also a headphone input under the console so your workout won’t disturb anyone around you!

 

Best Price

The Horizon Elite U4000 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

During the course of our tests we really began to take a shine to the U4000 and after putting a tick in so many boxes we are struggling to find anything negative to comment on! Only time will tell how long this ‘Elite’ bike remains the best that Horizon has to offer, but currently there are very few competitors who can do it better at this price point.

Horizon Elite U4000 Specifications

    • 9kg (19.8lbs) flywheel weight
    • 20 levels of computer controlled resistance
    • Console with LED display
    • Feedback: time, speed, distance, calories, RPM, resistance level, watts, heart rate
    • 14 workout programmes including manual, weight loss, intervals, constant watts, muscletoner, mountain climb, pace, oregon trail, HR intervals, THR Zone, cardio boostand 3 Custom
    • Heart rate measurement via pulse grips and a wireless receiver (chest strap not included)
    • Conveniences: iPod compatibility, built-in speakers, Polar compatibility, ‘Passport’ compatibility, USB port, transportation wheels
    • Size (L x W x H): 102cm (40”) x 56cm (22”) x 145cm (57”)
    • Weight of the product: 41.5kg (91lbs)
    • 159kg (350lbs) maxiumum user weight
    • Guarantee: Lifetime frame and brake, 3 years parts and labour

Horizon Elite U4000 - Console / Display Unit

Horizon Elite U4000 - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Well-built and sturdy with a maximum user capacity of 25 stone
  • Great Warranty : Lifetime Frame / Motor / Brake, 3 years parts and 3 years labour
  • Plenty of Resistance (and 10 Quick Keys for instant adjustments)
  • A varied array of Pre-set programs and 3 Custom ones
  • ‘Passport’, Nike+ and iPod compatible
  • Good quality inbuilt stereo speakers

The Cons

  • Being Picky - A pre-set program menu may have speeded up selection
Horizon Elite U4000 Reviewer Ratings

 

Appearance - 8.5
Smoothness - 8
Comfort - 9
Programmes - 9
Ease Of Use - 9
Warranty - 9
Value for Money - 7.5
Best Price

The Horizon Elite U4000 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

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

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