Currently available for £199.00 from Sweatband.com
ProForm 245 ZLX Exercise Bike Review
One of the most venerable and trusted names in home fitness, Proform have been producing exercise bikes for longer than a lot of people reading this review have been on this planet. With a reputation for bringing bikes to market that offer excellent value, whether that be at their lowest or their highest price points, their products are usually on the short list when purchasing decisions are being made. In this review we’ll be looking at one of their entry level bikes, the ProForm 245 ZLX to see what it’s got to offer. There’s stiff competition at this price point so how does it stack up compared with some of the big hitters out there at the moment?
Assembly is more or less as easy as it’s possible to get without Proform actually pre-building the bike for you! They’ve done a really good job of keeping the number of assembly steps down to a minimum and what steps there are, are very straightforward with clear and easy to understand instructions. It took just 35 minutes from opening the box to having a built bike ready to use. The 245 ZLX is advertised as a battery operated bike but it can also run on mains and according to the manual the power supply is a paid for optional extra, so it came as a surprise (a very nice one!) when we realised that the unit we’d received came with the power supply included. It appears that some retailers include the power supply while others do not – if you’re planning on running the bike off the mains this something probably worth checking with your retailer as to purchase a power adaptor from Proform is around £25. The battery only option is a good one to have as it means you can put this bike in any location without having to consider how you’re going to plug it in.
Looks-wise this is a does what it says on the tin bike and while it’s not going to win any awards for artistic endeavour it does look nice and rugged, well put together, clean and simple. We have to say it also looks attractive from a less obvious point of view. It’s not something you can see, but the 245 ZLX is a Neutral Carbon product which is something we’re expecting to see more of in the future but this is the first bike we’ve ever reviewed that’s got a Carbon Neutral classification. A big well done to Proform for leading the way!
Adjusting the bike to get a comfortable position was straightforward. The saddle adjusts horizontally and vertically and while the handlebars on this model are not adjustable, getting a comfy position was no problem at all. The gel saddle is nice and wide and well padded and there’s enough adjustment in it for even the smaller members of the team in the office to be within easy reach of the handlebars. It might be basic but it’s obviously been thought through and is a example of Proform’s know-how.
For an entry level bike the console is packed with a surprising amount of features. Usually at this sort of price point basic is the name of the game but here Proform have completely bucked that trend. At first glance the console looks basic but there’s a lot going on here. For starters there’s a fan designed to keep you cool during your workout. There’s also a small shelf on which you can place your music player/phone and built-in speakers so you can plug your music player in and listen to music as you workout. Nice bells and whistles to have, for sure, and certainly not something you’ll find on many (any?) other bikes at this price but more importantly are the different workouts available.
In manual mode the screen is divided into three sections. On the left the display toggles between approximate number of calories burned and time elapsed, the centre shows the resistance level whenever you change it and then reverts to a 1/4 mile (400m) virtual running track (which is something we’ve never seen on an entry level bike before) and the right toggles between distance covered and current speed. Away from the manual mode there are 14 personal trainer designed preset workouts that are divided into Aerobic and Performance categories by way of two buttons labelled Aerobic and Performance (easy eh?). Selecting a workout is simply a case of repeatedly pressing either button to scroll through to the workout you want. When the workout you want is on the screen, just start pedalling to get started. Your progress is displayed by the flashing segment of the workout and to the left and right all your training data is shown. The left hand display toggles between approximate number of calories you have burned and time remaining in the workout, the middle of the screen shows your progress through the workout, while the right hand side of the display indicates a target RPM speed which you try to match in order to get the maximum benefit of the programme. Changing the information in the three sections of the screen depending on which mode you’re in is a really clever use of such a small screen and it works very well.
In addition to the manual and preset modes there’s also an 8 week weight loss training mode. This is nothing less than a proper 8 week weight loss training regime designed by a personal trainer. Each week there are 3 workouts to perform, each one different from the last. The way it works is again really simple and it’s impressive how Proform have taken what could be a complex all singing, all dancing thing and, with just a little manual input made it something really simple. To get started just press the ‘select week’ button to select week 1, then press the ‘select day’ button to select day 1 and start pedalling. The next time select week 1, day 2 and perform the workout, then next time week 1, day 3 and that’s your first week completed. Continue like that for the following 7 weeks and you’ll have participated in a full on 8 week weight loss programme. Really good stuff and a feature that’s bound have wide appeal.
It’s clear to see Proform’s know-how at work here from the style and size of the seat, through to the riding position, through to the console and the set up of the bike. There’s even a water bottle holder which is always nice to see, it’s possible to run it off batteries alone and it’s covered by Proform’s 2 year parts and labour warranty (if registered within 28 days of purchase).
There are other, very good, bikes available out there at this price. When put side by side with the best of them the 245 ZLX really holds its own. For the money being asked it gives you training options that few of its direct competitors can match and it’s built well to boot. Yes, it’s missing a wireless receiver and the handlebars aren’t adjustable as they are on some other models but nevertheless this is a very strong offering indeed from one of the best in the business.
Yes, the handlebars don't adjust - yet with Proforms know-how at work this is still a very comfortable bike and yes, it's missing a wireless heart rate receiver which we'd normally see as a negative. However, the truth is that given the sheer amount of everything else you DO get with this upright bike, things few bikes in the price range offer, we're in the mood to forgive Proform for these minor indiscretions. With a 7kg flywheel, 14 preset workouts, an 8-week personal trainer designed weight loss programme, comfortable saddle, cooling fan, speakers, water bottle holder and a 2-year on-site parts and labour warranty the Proform 245 ZLX represents great value for money. A cracking bike at a 'no-brainer' price.
ProForm 245 ZLX Specifications
- 7kg (15.4lbs) flywheel
- 16 digital levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance
- Blue backlit LCD matrix display
- Feedback: Calories, distance, pulse, resistance, speed, time, a track representing 1/4 mile (400m)
- 16 programmes (manual, 14 pre-set including 7 aerobic and 7 performance workout apps + 8-week weight loss programme)
- Heart rate measurement via EKG hand pulse sensors
- Conveniences: Music port, iPod compatible, Intermix Acoustics™ 2.0 Sound System speakers, CoolAir workout fan, water bottle holder
- Oversize, cushioned and adjustable saddle
- Ergonomic pedals with adjustable straps
- Transport wheels
- Eco-friendly, Neutral Carbon product with Love the World’s partnership
- Product Weight: 25kg (55.1lbs)
- Max User Weight: 115kg
- Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 89cm (35”) x 53cm (20.8”) x 140cm (55.1”)
- Power: 220V/50/60Hz to 6V 2 Amp transformer (optional), 4 D batteries (optional)
- Warranty: 2 years parts and labour (must register within 28 days of purchase for 2nd year coverage)
ProForm 245 ZLX Exercise Bike - Console / Display Unit
Currently available for £199.00 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