Top positive review
3 of 3 people found this helpful
For the price it can't be beat
on September 14, 2013
I should start by saying that my frame of reference is limited when it comes to in-home stationary bikes. I haven't used one since the 90s so the technology this bike uses is new to me. I am 33 years old, an avid outdoor cyclist, and wanted a small indoor bike that I could put in front of the TV for the winter. I looked at buying a bike trainer but my outdoor bike is big, dirty, and not something that would look great in my TV room so I thought I'd give the A10 a try. In short: I didn't really know what to expect and I didn't want to spend much more money than I would on a trainer.
I'll break this down into sections:
Assembly: Super easy. There are only half a dozen main parts, all of the tools you need are included in the box, and the assembly manual is very visual and makes it easy to understand where everything goes. I did the assembly in 30 minutes with no help. Others have said it takes an hour and requires a second person - there is one point where you have to lift the ~40lb base while simultaneously putting bolts through 2 holes underneath - but I think any able bodied and reasonably coordinated person would be able to do it on their own. Heck, you could probably even prop the base up on a couple of books if you had trouble holding it up with one arm for the minute it takes to line up and tighten those bolts. Final thoughts: If you can put together an Ikea bookcase you can assemble this bike.
Console functions: The built in programs are straightforward, the screen guides you through selecting a program upon startup, and there is decent variety for someone who just wants to be able to get a bit of exercise in at home when the weather outside isn't cooperating. There is also a fully manual option that let's you adjust the resistance on-the-fly using simple up/down button presses. The built in fan is totally useless. You could lay a tissue over it and it wouldn't blow away. The screen is not backlit so you need a decent amount of light to see some of the smaller labels but after you get to know where things are you can pretty much just glance at it and know what's happening without worrying about reading the tiny labels. I wish they had left the fan out and backlit the screen instead as it would have made the console much better. Everything is functional, but the fan is a marketing gimmick. Final thoughts: The display looks and functions like a calculator from 1985, but once you get used to it you can work with it.
Heart rate sensor: You have to place your hands on the console to read your heartbeat and it can take over a minute for it to display accurately. Since you can't lean on the console and you have to position your hands "just so" it can be annoying. When you're waiting for your heart rate you're not sitting in a natural biking position which is uncomfortable for me as an outdoor cyclist. Once I get a reading the numbers match up with my watch-style heart rate sensor so it's accurate, it just takes a long time to get a steady reading. Not a deal breaker and if I didn't have a separate heart rate sensor I would appreciate the inclusion of one on the console. That said, I'll still be using my watch-style sensor since the one on the bike takes so much longer to register an accurate reading. Final thoughts: If you feel like you're having a heart attack call 911, if you wait for the heart rate sensor to confirm it you will already be dead.
Pedaling action: Feels closer to biking outdoors than I expected. The action is very smooth, so silent that you could hear a pin drop, and when you change resistance levels it feels very natural. This bike has 8 levels of resistance whereas the more expensive ones have 16 but I find them to be well spaced, and switching from level 3 (what I would consider to be like flat-ground outdoor biking) to level 8 takes me through the range from flat-ground to a steepish hill gradually, and in a well paced manner. Since this is the most important part of the bike for me I'd like to give it a 5 stars based on this alone, but the other small issues I found are what brought it down to 4.
Comfort: Okay, this is going to be *very* subjective so take what I say here with a grain of salt. The handlebars are well padded and can be adjusted. After the first time I used it I made a small adjustment to them and found it much more comfortable to lean on them. The seat is...not great, not terrible. Other reviews have said it's hard as a rock - it's not. It's well padded, but the general shape seems off. Again, it will depend on your body, but I find that if I sit forward on the seat it feels like I'm going to slide off yet if I sit farther back I feel like I'm only making contact with 50% of the seat. It's just a weird shape and I can't tell where the designer expects people to actually sit when they're on it. I would prefer a "normal" bike seat rather than this wide overly padded seat, but that's just me. I've read elsewhere that you can buy an adapter (~$20) that lets you use any normal bike seat and I will probably order that adapter soon. Final thoughts: Other people may prefer this seat to a normal bike seat just as some people prefer a soft bed to a hard bed.
Final (final) thoughts: The fact that this bike requires 4 D-cell batteries is annoying. The manual sets the expectation that they will last a year on 1 hour of use/week but only time will tell. I plan to order an AC adapter ASAP, there are plenty of AC adapters here on Amazon (and elsewhere) for ~$10 which is the same price as 4 D-cell batteries. It seems really cheap of them to not include the AC adapter, I wouldn't have cared if this bike cost $10 more since it's already one of the least expensive bikes out there. Just keep in mind that if you want the seat adapter and AC adapter that will add $30-$40 to the overall cost of this bike in the long run.
Would I buy it again? Definitely. Were my expectations met? They were exceeded. Are there problems with this bike? Yes, but they are mostly superficial or may only affect some people.
EDIT: I should have mentioned that because of the way the magnetic resistance system is designed you can't use it without the batteries or wall adapter. If the console is off the bike defaults to the highest resistance level which would make it very difficult to use for an extended period of casual biking.