Currently available for £995.00 from John Lewis
Life Fitness C1 Exercise Bike (Go Console) Review
Life Fitness offers two different console options for the C1 cycle. The most basic (and cheapest!) is the ‘Go console’ or for an extra few hundred pounds you can get the more advanced ‘Track console’. The upgraded console benefits from having more technological toys built in such as iPod compatibility and a USB port that allows you to use Life Fitness Virtual trainer and create personal workouts and track your progress on the Life Fitness website.
We tested the original entry level C1 bike (now discontinued) in the past and although we liked the solid build quality and smoothness of the bike, we were rather disappointed by the console’s lack of programs and recommended that if you’re considering buying the C1 then spend the extra cash on getting the more advanced console…but this is a new and much improved version of the C1 and even with it’s most basic ‘Go Console’ fitted, it certainly is MUCH improved!
First impressions were very favorable – The build quality is very impressive as are its commercial-style looks. These are 2 aspects that Life Fitness consistently gets so right! Yes, they produce expensive machines but it’s a slight consolation that they ‘look’ like they cost a lot too!
The heavy duty welded frame and high quality parts used, not only give the bike a very sturdy feel, they also allow for a maximum user weight of just over 21 stone.
Comfort is an all-important consideration and we can report that the saddle is of a good size with plenty of padding to keep you comfy! The seat is also fully adjustable both vertically as well as back and forth to ensure you can achieve the perfect riding position. Plus the seat can be elevated right up to about 43” meaning that the C1 is perfectly suited to even the longest limbs!
The flywheel weighs a meaty 11kg and the pedal motion is wonderfully smooth throughout the resistance levels. There are 20 levels in total and at it’s maximum, the resistance is tough enough to challenge even the most advanced users.
There were various subtle aspects of the C1’s design that appealed. The pedals are far superior to the usual type found on many other bikes in that they have a spring loaded clip on the outer edge that makes adjusting to different shoe sizes quick and very secure. Transport wheels doubled up as end caps for the tubular front stabilizer making the bike easily moveable. There is a ledge on the console to rest a magazine or tablet and there’s a water bottle holder and bottle conveniently placed just under the handlebars on the curved frame.
The chunky handlebars themselves deserve a special mention too as they are perfectly angled to allow for various hand positions, but we particularly liked the fact that you can have your forearms supported and adopt a ‘tucked up’ race style for more intense sessions. There are pulse sensors inbuilt but we were delighted to see that unlike its predecessor, the new C1 is compatible with a wireless chest strap for more accurate readings and use of the heart rate controlled sessions.
Where the new C1 shows the most dramatic improvements, is in its expanded array of programs. Here you have the choice of 13 workout options. There are 5 standard sessions such as ‘Manual’ – as you’d expect except it’s made more engaging by your progress shown around a track). ‘Hills’, ‘EZ resistance’ – which is a gradual rise and fall of intensity, and ‘Random’. At first glance these five sessions may well seem like a limited selection, but when you consider that ‘Random’ offers over 1 million possible combinations of course patterns, you can see that there is no shortage of variety!
The console also allows 2 users to each create a custom workout that can be stored and re-programmed in the future for added variety.
Monitoring your progress is made clear on the bright blue LCD display. Each piece of workout feedback, is boldly illuminated in white and has its own dedicated window. Your position during the session is also clearly marked by an arrow above the stage you’re currently at. If you have a competitive edge then there’s even a clever feature called ‘Race Mode’ which can be activated at any point during the sessions to give you motivation by keeping ahead of an opponent. It’s rather basic – it’s just the computer’s arrow marking its position as it progresses through the session, but it’s a nice little motivator none-the-less.
The C1 ‘Go Console’ also boasts a fabulous selection of heart rate controlled sessions. Whether you are looking to lose weight using the ‘Fat Burn’ option, get fitter with ‘Cardio’, or push your limits with ‘Interval’ training, all the choices are here in some of the most engaging and effective programs we’ve ever had the pleasure of using! (although ‘Extreme HR’ can hardly be described as a ‘pleasure’ – but it is perfect for the more advanced users!)
That’s just a brief overview of some of the programs offered. There’s certainly plenty to keep things fresh and interesting. Best of all is that setting up the programs and watching the feedback is all helped by the clarity of the display and the intuitiveness of the console.
As to whether the more advanced ‘Track console’ is worth consideration, really depends on whether you can justify the considerable extra investment of a further £300. There are many users that would want iPod compatibility and accessibility to Life’s virtual trainer software, but for those who want a Life Fitness machine that already has a good selection of features and programs as standard, we think the ‘Go console’ is well worth a ‘GO!’
Life Fitness equipment is synonymous with quality and this entry-level exercise bike is no exception. Whilst for Life Fitness, this is considered entry-level, the C1 would happily sit at the top end of ranges from most fitness equipment brands! It's a solid bike that will provide years of service. It is, however, quite basic given the price while the maximum user weight of 135kg is perhaps a little lower than we'd expect for something of this value. By comparison, the DKN EMB-600 has a commercial-grade electro-magnetic braking system for exceptional reliability and lightning-fast resistance changes. It also has a max user weight of 180kg reflecting its outstanding build quality - and THAT is currently available for around the same as the C1.
Life Fitness C1 'Go Console' Specifications
- Flywheel weight: 11kg (15lbs)
- Resistance: Eddy current system with 20 levels
- ‘Go Console’ with LCD display
- LCD Display size: 4” x 6” (10cm x 15cm)
- Feedback: speed, time, resistance, distance, heart rate, target heart rate, calories, METs
- 13 workouts (Manual, Random, Hill, EZ Resistance, Sport Training, Fat Burn, Cardio, Heart Rate Hill™, Heart Rate Interval, Extreme Heart Rate™, Calorie, Distance, Target Heart Rate)
- 2 user profiles
- Heart rate measurement via pulse grips, and a chest strap
- Bottle holder
- Adjustable seat (14 positions)
- Non-slip, self-balancing pedals
- Ergonomically designed handlebars
- Size (L x W x H): 114cm (44.9”), 69cm (27.2”), 142cm (55.9”)
- Weight of the product: 53kg (117 lbs)
- User weight: 135kg (297.6lbs)
- Warranty: 3 year frame, parts and labour warranty
Life Fitness C1 (Go Console) - Console / Display Unit
Life Fitness C1 (Go Console) - User Reviews
- That famous ‘Life Fitness’ build quality!
- Comfortable to use with exceptional smoothness
- Good array of programs inc. 5 fantastic Heart Rate Controlled ones
- Intuitive, easy to read console
- Despite the build quality, the maximum user capacity is surprisingly limited to 135kg (just over 21 stone)
Currently available for £995.00 from John Lewis
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