ProForm SB Exercise Bike Review

With everything from high-tech, high-spec models down to good old-fashioned basic, upright bikes the current Proform catalogue has something for everyone. Whether you’re just starting out looking to lose a few lbs or want to train for an event it’s very likely that you’ll come across Proform while doing your research. Whatever your budget you can usually expect a Proform bike to be loaded with features and represent excellent value. We took a look at the Proform SB upright exercise bike to see what you get for your money at the less flashy end of their range. Here’s what we found….

Assembly of the SB is simple enough and easier than many bikes thanks to a very good user manual that always makes the next step nice and clear. It took us around 30 minutes from start to finish to build it and while this obviously isn’t the first bike we’ve put together, we’d say that if you’re even remotely handy it won’t take you much longer than it took us thanks to the well thought out assembly process and clear manual.

Standing back to take a look at our handiwork the SB looks like a very traditional sort of exercise bike with a large main body reminiscent of a gym bike and classic black / silver colourway with a splash of red. Giving it a shake and trying to rock it when sitting on it tells you right away that while this might not be the most expensive model out there, it’s certainly one that’s well built and with a maximum user weight of 125kg (275lbs, 19.5 stone) this model is definitely suited to a wide range of users.

Getting set up and into a comfortable riding position on the SB isn’t difficult. The saddle is extra-wide and very well padded making it suitable even for posteriors that haven’t seen a saddle in a very long time! It’s adjustable vertically and horizontally via hand operated stop bolts so no tools are needed for different users to set things up to their preference before a session. The handlebars too, can be adjusted to tilt towards or away from the rider and there are several different available grips, including being able to place your elbows into a supporting position. Overall the riding position here is ergonomically good and whether you be a smaller or larger person, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to very quickly and easily get comfortable on this bike.

The Proform SB benefits from a nicely weighted 7kg flywheel and while this is by no means the heaviest flywheel we’ve seen on a bike, it’s enough to ensure that the action remains smooth and consistent throughout the whole cycle with no hints of speed differential past the point of no return. The whole riding experience is a good one with 16 levels of electronically controlled resistance that effects changes quickly enough to make interval training a realistic option. While having 16 levels of resistance to choose from is fewer than some other models we have to say that you’re unlikely to find that yourself outgrowing this model (unless you become a fitness fanatic) as the maximum setting is as hard as most users of this bike are likely to ever need.

The display on the console of the SB is a 5″ high contrast colour LCD that displays distance in KM or MPH, pulse, pace, calories , calories per hour, resistance, RPM, speed, and time elapsed/remaining. The characters on the screen are bright and large making them easy to see with the only downside being that the relatively small overall screen size means that it’s not possible to display all the training feedback in one go. That being said, there is a scan mode which can be switched on and off, or manually advanced by the rider and which can also be customised to display only the data sets you want to see. With the ability to remove the data from the scan that don’t want to see, it’s possible to set things up so that each time you look at the screen, you’re only ever seeing relevant information. It’s a surprisngly effective sytem that does a brilliant job of cleverly overcoming the inherent restrictions of working with a 5″ screen. Hats off to Proform on job very well done here as they’ve also added a handy button on the console that allows you to switch between MPH and KM with a single press. A feature we really like and one that’s sure to find favour with UK riders.

Preset workouts include 1 manual, 4 calorie based, 4 time based and 4 interval based programs. Using the onboard workouts is simple enough, just press the button that corresponds to the type of workout you want (eg calories) and press it repeatedly until you get to the workout you want and then start pedalling. That’s it. It’s hard to think of how this could be made any simpler making this bike one that’s bound to appeal to anyone who likes to keep things simple. That said, the Proform SB is also a bike that’s going to appeal to those who also like their hi-tech and that’s because this model is fully iFit compatible and more than that, it comes with an 12 month iFit subscription included. Bypass the main console by connecting your tablet to the SB, install the iFit software and this bike goes from being simple to having just about as much complexity and information as anyone would want. With iFit you suddenly get access to a huge amount of training options, including high definition personal trainer-led video workouts, Google maps rides, the ability to race against other iFit members over mapped courses as well as access to dietary and sleep advice, amongst much else. There are more training options and features than we can go into here but for full details go to www.ifit.com

Other features include, dual 2″ speakers plus music port for mp3 player, water bottle holder, adjustable tablet holder, handgrip pulse sensors and, thankfully, a Bluetooth wireless heart rate receiver, though no chest belt is included. The Proform SB also comes with an 2-year parts, labour, and frame manufacturers warranty (subject to product registration) for peace of mind.

Best Price

Currently available for £399.99 from Sweatband.com

Review Summary - In Brief

We've been quite impressed with the Proform SB. For the money being asked here this is really quite a lot of exercise bike. It's got enough built-in workouts to get you fit and keep you there and offers enough of a challenge to make it unlikely you'll outgrow it. It's easy to use too, with simple buttons carrying out straight-foward functions and that seat is definitely wider and more padded than you'll find on many other models. Add to that the flip-side of this bike in the form of iFit and all that it brings and what you have is an upright bike that's suitable both for people that haven't sat on a bike in years and are looking to just improve their overall fitness, as well as those who are replacing their existing bike to ramp up the intensity and variation of their training. Good job Proform!

ProForm SB Specifications

    • 7kg (15.4lbs) Effective Inertia flywheel
    • 16 levels of SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance
    • 5″ LCD display
    • Feedback: calories, distance, pace, pulse, resistance, RPM, speed, time, scan mode
    • 13 programmes (1 manual, 12 pre-set programmes including 4 calorie, 4 time and 4 interval workouts)
    • Interactivity: iFit Coach BLE Enabled – use the iFit Smart Cardio app on compatible tablets and smartphones (1-year iFit Coach subscription included)
    • Heart Rate Measurement via EKG hand pulse sensors + Bluetooth Smart wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
    • Audio: music port for iPod/mp3 player, dual 2” speakers
    • Extras: Tablet holde, bottle holder
    • Adjustable seat, handlebars and pedals
    • Self-levelling feet
    • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 109cm (43”) x 56cm (22”) x 143cm (56.3”)
    • Max. User Weight: 125kg (275.6lbs)
    • Product Weight: 39kg (86lbs)
    • Power Supply: Mains
    • Warranty: 2 years frame, parts and labour (if registered within 28 days of purchase)

ProForm SB Exercise Bike - Console / Display Unit

ProForm SB Exercise Bike - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Well built
  • Comfortable saddle
  • Good riding position
  • Customisable data display
  • iFit subscription included
  • Great value

The Cons

  • Most bikes don't come with speakers built in, so saying the speakers on the SB aren't the best we've heard might make us just a bit picky!
ProForm SB Exercise Bike Reviewer Ratings

 

Appearance - 7.5
Smoothness - 8
Comfort - 9
Programmes - 9.5
Ease Of Use - 8.5
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 8
Best Price

Currently available for £399.99 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

Exercise Bikes We Like

Under £250

£251 - £500

Over £500