Life Fitness C3 Exercise Bike (TRACK Console) Review

The new C3 Lifecycle is available with either a ‘Go Console’ or the more advanced Track console. Before now, older versions of these Life cycles had a similar option of Basic or advanced consoles; the main difference being that the ‘Basic’ was so basic that it really only left the advanced upgrade as a worthwhile buy!  Now the choice is a lot tougher as both consoles offer some nice features. We gave the Life Fitness C3 with Track console a thorough going over. Here’s what we found…..

Before we take a closer look at the console, let’s start with the C3 bike itself. Looks-wise the C3 has a substantial, club-style appearance. It feels like it has the sturdiness of a top-end bike and while you’d expect that from a bike with this sort of price tag it’s good to see in any case as we’ve come across expensive bikes before that feel rather less than premium, and that’s being kind! The C3 is clearly built to withstand lengthy training sessions, and some serious weight too. With a maximum user capacity of just under 28 and a half stone (180kg) this bike is a good choice for heavier users seeking to lose weight through cycling.

Whatever your size or shape, the C3 has plenty of adjustments to ensure you get a comfortable and biomechanically correct riding position. The seat adjusts vertically all the way up to about 43” with 14 stages of adjustment, plus there’s also an adjustment for the seat to travel horizontally back and forth.

Once the seat is set up, you can secure your feet into the pedals and it’s here that we find a nice design detail. There is a spring clip on the outer edge of each pedal strap which acts as a mini ratchet, so it’s quick to adjust and also tightens securely around any size of footwear. The principle is the same as any other bike, but the execution is better than most and the only thing that’s a possible concern is the durability of such a system.

The saddle is made from a hard-wearing vinyl and is big and sumptuous making it ideal for longer rides. Talking of rides, another important aspect that earns the C3 some brownie points is the 11 kg flywheel which delivers a smooth pedal motion that reaffirms the feeling of quality here.

As stated earlier, this bike is designed for serious sessions and that means plenty of resistance! There are only 20 levels mind which is far less than a lot of bikes out there but the changes are fast thanks to the electromagnetic resistance system of the type that you’ll find in commercial-grade bikes and the top-end of the resistance is enough for anyone, regardless of fitness levels.

The multi-grip handlebars allow for various hand positions and the angles allow the user to rest their forearms whilst in a tucked up aero style or if you slow the pace down and adopt the ‘sit-up-and-beg’ position there are pulse grip sensors conveniently located to take heart rate readings. As regular visitors to this website will confirm, we don’t like handgrip pulse sensors much. They always fall short in terms of accuracy so it’s a good thing that the C3 has an inbuilt receiver to take accurate, reliable readings from any compatible chest strap transmitter. Wearing one of these really is a must if you wish to make use of the heart rate controlled programmes.

Speaking of programs, there are 14 on offer as standard which is certainly not as many as a lot of rival models have. Though it’s possible to download additional workouts from Life Fitness. This means that the number of programmes you can choose from is huge as long as you have an internet connection. The track console is also compatible with a range of 3rd party apps that work in tandem with your ride. These are OK for the most part but tend to fall short of the sort of offering some of the C3’s direct competitors can boast.

Heart rate controlled programs comprise of 5 pre-set programs( fat burn, cardio, heart rate hill, heart rate interval, and extreme heart rate workouts.) but you can also create your own custom session too. The computer also allows up to 4 people to store their personal details for enhanced training feedback. In addition, there are also goal-oriented workouts too. You can choose a calorie, distance or target heart rate goal workout which is a great way of helping to ensure a consistent training routine.

There are two good-sized storage holders on either side to keep your drinks bottle and accessories close at hand. Plus, if you want to cycle whilst reading, there is a handy holder to prop a magazine, book or tablet device.

In the unlikely event that there are any problems, the warranty of 3 years parts and labour provides a good back up and peace of mind.

Best Price

Currently available for £1695.00 from John Lewis

Review Summary - In Brief

The Life Fitness C3 with Track console is a great bike. The build quality is excellent, the riding position comfortable, and there's a huge selection of workouts to choose from. The electromagnetic braking system is fast and responsive and the bike oozes quality. If you buy one we're sure you'll love it. All this does come at a price of course, and that's OK, but we're going to point out that the very same things could be said about the DKN EMB-600. It too is of excellent build quality.  It too provides an incredibly comfortable ride. It too has an electromagnetic braking system. And it too oozes quality. But the EMB-600 comes in at just under a thousand pounds bringing it in at around just half the price of the C3, with the differences coming down to a few bells and whistles. 10 years ago we'd never have thought a DKN bike could seriously rival a Life Fitness product. How times change......

Life Fitness C3 (Track Console) Specifications

    • 11kg (24.3lbs) flywheel weight
    • 20 levels of magnetic resistance
    • TRACK console with LCD display
    • 14 workout programs plus unlimited programs online
    • LFconnect app available to download from Life Fitness website
    • 4 users profiles
    • Feedback: time, level, speed, heart rate, calories, distance, target heart rate, MET’s
    • Heart rate measurement via pulse grips and a wireless receiver (chest strap included)
    • Non-slip and self-balancing pedals
    • Cushioning and upholstery seat
    • Standard racing handlebars
    • Conveniences: front transportation wheels, dual water bottle holder, accessory tray, Polar compatibility, iPod/iPhone compatibility,  compatible with Zwift, USB connectivity, seat adjustment, ergonomic design
    • Dimensions (L x W x H): 114cm (44.9″) x 69cm (27.2″) x 142cm (55.9″)
    • Weight of the product: 53kg (116.8lbs)
    • 180kg (396.8lbs) maxiumum user weight
    • Power: supplied
    • Guarantee: 3 years (parts and labour)

Life Fitness C3 (TRACK Console) - Console / Display Unit

Life Fitness C3 (TRACK Console) - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Superb build quality
  • Suitable for heavy users (over 28 stone)
  • Comfortable saddle

The Cons

  • Interactive training is not the best out there
  • The price
Life Fitness C3 (TRACK Console) Reviewer Ratings

 

Appearance - 9
Smoothness - 9
Comfort - 9
Programmes - 8.5
Ease Of Use - 8
Warranty - 9
Value for Money - 7
Best Price

Currently available for £1695.00 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

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