ProForm 425 ZLX Recumbent Bike Review

If you’re on the lookout for a recumbent cycle but are perhaps struggling to justify too much in the way of investment or space for one, then we’d like to turn your attention to the ProForm 425 ZLX!

It takes a short read of the spec sheet and a glance at the price tag to realize that this bike offers a lot of features for not a lot of money. What it also offers, is a well-built unit that can take up to 125kg WITHOUT taking up too much space. It’s approximately a foot shorter than other rival models yet it still remains very user-friendly to all shapes and sizes thanks to plenty of adjustment in the seat (around 12” of travel!)

If space in the home is a concern, then fear not as the 425 ZLX can be fairly easily moved if you need to. By lifting up the rear of the bike by its large welded handle it wheels along on it on the 3” front rollers that also double as end caps for the front stabiliser.

For hassle-free positioning around the home, it’s a great plus point that the bike only takes 4 x D batteries to power it, so there’s no need to be tripping over untidy cables or site it by a mains socket (although an optional power adapter is available if you’d prefer).

One of the biggest draws of choosing a recumbent bike over an upright cycle has to be comfort. The seat is around 18” wide at the bottom with plenty of padding, and a comfy back pad too, so you can be sure that your back and bottom will be well supported throughout your workouts!

This style of bike is often favoured by the elderly or those with limited range of motion so it’s worth noting that this model has a ‘Step-Thru’ design that means you only have to step over a 3” high base frame to climb aboard. Plus there are front handlebars as well as side ones to help with balance and support.

When the console is turned on it automatically starts off in Manual mode which is shown by a track appearing in the Matrix display. The track represents ¼ mile (400m) and as you start, the track disappears so that segments appear in succession until the entire track is visible and the process starts again with each lap.

To keep things challenging there are 18 levels of resistance. The bike has a 7kg (15lb) flywheel that generally feels fairly smooth in use. If the resistance is set at anything below level 3, it did feel a bit jerky as though the pedals are playing ‘catch up’ with the flywheel. However, above that, the ride was smooth and pleasant. On some models that we test, the top resistance setting is almost unusable (certainly for the majority!) but this bike has scope to be realistically challenging for many users. At it’s maximum it is certainly tough going but fairly manageable IF you have exceptionally strong and well conditioned leg muscles!

For even more challenges there are 18 pre-set programs to choose from. The workouts are divided into 2 categories – 9 are classed as ‘weight loss workouts’ and the other 9 are defined as ‘Performance’. Workouts vary from 20 minutes up to an hour and each workout automatically adjusts the speed and resistance.(The ‘goal speed’ gives you an ideal target and it’s your job to keep pace with it!)

Practically speaking, there is little to distinguish the various programs as being tailored to either Weight loss or Performance goals in particular , really they are just a good variety of course profiles that would work for either – and we like choices! To view the selection you simply keep pressing the respective workout button until the number of the workout appears in the lower display and a helpful picture of the course profile scrolls across the top showing you what’s in store and its duration underneath.

Although we are pleased that the console does a useful job of scrolling the profile across the display, we can’t help but think it’d be preferable if the whole course could have been visible at a glance on a slightly bigger screen. The empty space around the console certainly allowed room for one even if the budget did not. Also, because the screen is only 2” wide, it cannot display all of the important training feedback at one time, therefore it is necessary to press the ‘display’ button to view the different workout information.

The screen is roughly divided into three horizontal sections. At the top you have the matrix showing the graphical representation of your workout with feedback such as ‘Time’ boldly visible in the middle and ‘Speed’ across the bottom third. Press ‘Display’ and you can see ‘Time and Distance’, ‘Calories and Distance’ or Calories and Speed’.

The display will automatically show the resistance level for a few seconds each time the resistance is adjusted. Plus it will automatically show pulse readings when the console detects that the user is holding onto the pulse grip sensors on the handlebars or when the inbuilt receiver links with an optional chest belt transmitter.

By entering the ‘user mode’ you can alter the unit of measurement to either show miles or kilometres and see the total distance and number of hours that the bike has been used for since it’s purchase (Incase you were interested?!)

What should certainly capture the interest of most users is the iFit card compatibility via the SD slot in the front of the console. By purchasing optional iFit SD Cards you can keep on expanding your training options above and beyond the existing pre-set programs. Plus each card is designed to take you on a progressive routine with clear targets and timeframes in mind that should help keep training consistent. And if you need the motivation, the voice of a personal trainer will encourage you to keep pedaling through the speakers in the console!

If you’re not in the mood for coaching, then you can either utilize the volume control to turn the voice off (!) or pump up the music by plugging in your MP3 player into the jack plug. Plus, this machine is compatible with iPod too. The small, inbuilt speakers give a satisfactory performance; sure enough they don’t have the size or quality to rival a home stereo but then this whole machine probably cost the same as an average hifi!

 

 

Best Price

The ProForm 425 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

This budget ProForm recumbent offers plenty for a bike at £370! All told, when you combine the comfort, build quality and features of the 425 ZLX, it certainly represents decent value for money. For those seeking a recumbent bike, but with a budget that stretches to the typical price of an upright bike or where space is at premium, the 425 is a solid choice.

ProForm 425 ZLX Specifications

    • 18 levels of magnetic resistance
    • 7kg (15.4lbs) flywheel
    • Console with backlit lcd display
    • 18 programmes including 9 weight loss workouts, 9 performance workouts
    • iFit SD card reader
    • Feedback: speed/rpm, time elapsed, distance covered, theoretical calorie burn, heart rate and pulse measurement via dual grip sensors (optional chest strap)
    • Max user weight: 125kg /275lbs
    • Product weight: 47kg /103lbs
    • Dimensions (L x W x H): 124cm /48” x 57cm /22” x 133cm /52”
    • Conveniences: sliding saddle, stereo speakers, bottle holder, transportation wheels
    • Warranty: 2 years

ProForm 425 ZLX - Console / Display Unit

ProForm 425 ZLX - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Fantastic Value for Money!
  • iFit SD Card Compatible
  • Self-generating (battery powered)
  • Fairly compact for a Recumbent model
  • Plenty of ‘extras’ e.g Water Bottle Holder, MP3 jack and speaker system
  • 125 kg (19.6 Stone) Weight Capacity

The Cons

  • Rather small screen limits feedback display
  • No wireless heart rate receiver
  • No user profiles
ProForm 425 ZLX Reviewer Ratings

 

Appearance - 8
Smoothness - 7.5
Comfort - 8
Programmes - 7
Ease Of Use - 8
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 7.5
Best Price

The ProForm 425 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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