ProForm 100 ZLX Upright Exercise Bike Review

Pro-Forms entry-level bike is positioned to compete in a market place replete with strong competition, so what’s special about the 100 ZLX to make it stand out among the sub-£200 crowd? For starters, it’s instantly impressive to find a bike at this price point with features like iFit SD card compatibility, the large console fan and the integrated speaker system. We were eager to see if things were as good in tests as they sounded on paper!….

The most important consideration when choosing an exercise bike has to be how it ‘feels’ in use. The budget price tag naturally throws up concerns about the quality of the build and the parts used in its construction but fortunately the 100 ZLX seems to have suffered very few noticeable compromises in these areas. The 7Kg flywheel does a good job at delivering a fairly smooth and fluid pedal motion and the machine feels quite stable in use. It’s certainly solid enough cope with users up to 17 and a half stone and has a respectable 2 year frame, parts and labour warranty for reassurance.

The magnetic resistance system was rather impressive. Not only is it silent in use, but the 10 levels of resistance offered plenty of challenges (number 10 was surprisingly tough for such a little bike!)

To ensure you of your correct riding position it is possible to adjust the seat both vertically as well as horizontally. The bike should prove comfortable for even the tallest of users being as the seat stem can go all the way up to 45” from the floor! In addition there are 14 holes spaced about an inch apart, giving loads of scope for adjustment.

The contoured saddle is generously padded and about 12” wide so your posterior is well supported! The seat can also move back or forth with about 3.5” of travel so that you can set the perfect distance for your arm length away from the handlebars. The handlebars themselves are fixed but comfortably angled for various hand positions and there are pulse grip sensors on the handlebars so that you can get basic heart rate readings. Perhaps it could be considered a shame that there are no heart rate controlled programs, however we must remind ourselves of the price and anyway – we’d rather have iFit card compatibility if budget forces the choice!

Besides, there is a good selection of 10 pre-set programs to choose from. As is common with Pro-Form machines, the sessions have been divided into the two categories ‘Weight-Loss’ and ‘Performance’. What is also typical is that they are all rather generic and so would all easily suite either goal! However, that is no reflection of how effective they are for either purpose – the courses are nicely varied and should you ever want more options there are loads more on offer by investing in the iFit SD cards.

The screen itself is a rather meager 5” x 1” display however it does do an adequate job of continuously displaying all of the necessary feedback such as Speed, time, resistance, distance and calories.

Despite it’s small size the screen remains easy to read by using bold LCD’s with the screen clearly divided into thirds. One third shows the time ticking down and then alternates to displaying Calories burned. At the opposite end of the screen is Distance covered or Speed. (This is shown in Km/h however it is possible to change the units to MPH by accessing the User mode).

All that leaves about an inch of spare screen space in the middle and this is used to show the current section of the course profile or the segments appearing in a track loop if you are on the manual program.

Setting up programs is fairly simple and intuitive. By pressing the up and down workout arrows you can view the preset profiles on offer as the course scrolls across the small middle section of the display. Thankfully it’s much easier to view the selection at a glance of the course menu printed at either side of the console display.

As you go through the selection the display shows the programs top level of resistance and the duration – which is always 30 minutes and unfortunately cannot be altered.

This bike is perfectly suited to a beginner starting out on a fitness program, so iFit SD card compatibility is a huge draw. iFit SD cards work by automatically adjusting the resistance of the bike at various stages of the session, and throughout the workout the voice of a personal trainer offers guidance through the integrated speaker system. The optional SD cards that are available online give scope for loads of long term training variety and have been specially formulated to achieve weight loss and wellness goals that should appeal to many users.

If you’re not in the mood for ‘coaching’ then thankfully there is a conveniently placed jack plug to hook up your iPod or MP3 player so you can listen to your favourite tunes instead! The speakers may be small but they delivered a decent sound and there should just be room to tuck your player into the recess by the iFit SD slot.

Unfortunately the ‘cooling’ fan proved rather useless. Despite being 4” in diameter (a decent size for a fitness machine) the air that it blows out is almost un-noticeable. We would say that there seems little point in having a dual setting fan when you can barely feel any breeze on the low-setting but then again, we are still struggling to reason why Pro-Form would devote nearly half the console area to a fan that doesn’t do much when you press the ‘high’ setting either?! Surely the space on the console would have been better utilized with a larger display screen? Looking on the positive side, the fan is clever enough to know when it’s not wanted and if the pedals don’t move for about 30 seconds then it will turn off automatically. One other plus point is that the fan is very quiet …you don’t even know it’s on (literally!?)

Thankfully, there is also a conveniently placed water bottle holder on the console mast which should allow for much more effective refreshment during hot workouts!

When your workouts are done, the bike can be easily maneuvered  when not in use thanks  to the two 3” roller end caps on the front stabilser. Plus its compact proportions and manageable weight of 37 kg make it fairly easy to store if space is an issue.
So what do we think overall? The Pro-Form 100 ZLX has got a lot to offer a beginner with budget and perhaps space constraints. It is small and light enough to ‘live’ and work in most homes without causing inconvenience, yet big and sturdy enough to suite users up to 17 and a half stone. It’s adjustable to suit different shapes and sizes and the riding experience is fairly smooth with that all-important comfy saddle! Perhaps one of the bikes best assets is it’s scope for new challenges and long term motivation that comes by way of the iFit SD card compatibility…but clearly best of all is the fact you get all these neat features on a bike at less than 200 quid!

Best Price

The ProForm 100 ZLX 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

The 100 ZLX represents a very respectable attempt by Pro-Form to offer a market beating budget electronic exercise bike. It's smooth, comfortable to use and and has iFit SD functionality in the console. If you're likely to make use of the 8 week iFit programmes that can be purchased, then this bike represents the perfect solution. If not, we'd recommend checking out the DKN AM-E which is available for similar money to the 100 ZLX.

ProForm 100 ZLX Specifications

     

    • 7kg (15lbs) flywheel weight
    • 10 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance
    • Console with LCD display
    • Feedback: speed, time, resistance, distance and calories
    • 10 pre-programmed workouts
    • Heart rate measurement via pulse grips
    • iFit SD compatibility
    • Size (L x W x H): 83cm (32.7”), 58cm (22.8”), 143cm (56.3”)
    • Conveniences:  iPod/MP3 compatibility, stereo speakers and line-in input, transportation wheels, adjustable seat.
    • Weight of the product: 37kg (82lbs)
    • User weight: 113kg (249lbs)
    • Guarantee: 2 year frame, parts and labour warranty

ProForm 100 ZLX - Console / Display Unit

ProForm 100 ZLX - User Reviews

The Pros

  • A lot for your money!
  • iFit SD compatible
  • iPod Compatible, MP3 input and Speaker system
  • A comfortable, smooth, silent ride
  • Plenty of resistance
  • Compact, light and easy to move

The Cons

  • A very small display screen
  • Nearly half of the console space is taken up by a useless fan!
  • Not suitable for users over 17 and a half stone
ProForm 100 ZLX Reviewer Ratings

 

Appearance - 8
Smoothness - 8
Comfort - 7.5
Programmes - 7.5
Ease Of Use - 7
Warranty - 8
Value for Money - 8
Best Price

The ProForm 100 ZLX 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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