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Last Updated: January 3, 2023
The LifeSpan Fitness R5i Recumbent bike has a step-thru frame that is easy to get on and off and doesn’t require electricity to run. This lightweight recumbent bike has a vented seat, armrests for comfort, and EKG sensors to transmit your heart rate data to the LCD screen. The screen is battery-operated, so you don’t need to plug in the bike for it to run. Simply sit and pedal! This is a great option for riders who have mobility issues and need an easy, step-thru design.
Exercise Bike Award: Best Recumbent Bike For Larger Users
The LifeSpan R5i bike is a high-quality recumbent bike with a weight capacity of 400 pounds which is why it made our list of best recumbent bikes. Because of the features and easy to use design, we’ve award this the “Best Recumbent Bike For Heavy User” because it will support larger users.
Who It’s For: Riders who want the benefit of recumbent riding on an easy step-thru bike with comfortable armrests
LifeSpan’s R5i Recumbent bike is great for riders who:
- Appreciate a comfortable ride on a step thru frame
- Want higher armrests for support with EKG sensors on the end
- Don’t want extra programs or subscription costs
- Like a simple LCD screen that is battery powered
- Want a bike that doesn’t need to be plugged in
- Looking for something lightweight
Our Video Review
- Comfortable, lightweight bike
- Does not require electricity to run
- Console is battery operated and will light up as soon as you begin to pedal
- Armrests are elevated and have heart rate sensors on the end
- Comes loaded with 34 workout programs
- Great for rehabilitation conditioning
- Easy to use due to step-thru design
- Supports up to 400lbs
- LCD Console is easy to see, but it is not touchscreen
- No subscription option
- Heart rate chest strap not included
- 16 Resistance Levels
- The R5i features 16 digitally set resistance levels so you can find the same level of resistance each time. Levels are easily adjusted on the console
- Silent Magnetic Resistance
- LifeSpan uses eddy-current silent resistance so the bike makes no noise when riding. You can watch the news, listen to music or pedal in a room with others and the bike won’t disturb those around you
- Easy step-thru frame
- The step-thru frame is low to the ground so users of all abilities can easily get on and off the bike. This even works for those who may need to transition from a wheelchair as the height is comparable. The armrests provide added support.
- Battery operated console
- Simply begin pedaling and the console will turn on! Once you install the batteries the first time, sensors will automatically start the LCD screen whenever the pedals move. No need to plug it in or turn on a power button.
- Max User Weight: 400lbs
- The bike will support up to 400lbs so it is well suited for most users. The wide padded seat also provides extra width as needed.
- Bike weight: 146lbs
- While the bike supports 400lbs, it only weighs 146lbs, so you can move it when needed. There are two wheels under the front stabilizer so you can tilt and roll the bike.
- 34 preset programs
- The R5i comes preloaded with 34 programs that are good for weight loss, fitness and rehabilitation conditioning
- Contact heart rate sensors located on the armrests
- Unlike other recumbent bikes, the R5i has elevated armrests that enable a more ergonomic upright position and keep your spine in alignment as you ride. There are also contact heart rate sensors on the ends of the armrests.
- 18lb Flywheel
- Molded seat bottom with vented back and chair-style armrests
- Seat: 14” Micro-Adjustment Fore and Aft
- Backrest: Adjustable angle
- Magnetic Resistance Eddy Current
- 16 Resistance Levels
- Ergonomic self-balancing pedals
- 2 Front mounted wheels
- Footprint: 70” L x 27.5” W x 44.5” H
- Max User Weight: 400lbs
- Bike weight: 146lbs
- Multi-color LCD console with profile, personal metrics and exercise program readouts
- Program readouts include: Program name, date and time, workout time, calories, RPM, distance, heart rate, speed, resistance level and watts
- Preloaded with 4 heart rate programs
- 2 customized user programs
- 34 preset programs (10 weight management, 10 healthy living, 14 sports training)
- Contact heart rate sensors located on the armrests and chest strap receiver
- *Chest strap not included
- Large, soft-touch keys — start, enter, up/down arrow keys and QuickSet™ button
- Frame: Lifetime
- Parts: 5 Years
- Labor: 1 Year
In-depth Review of LifeSpan R5i Recumbent Bike
The R5i stationary recumbent bike is designed to provide both comfort and durability to support home or commercial use. The R5i has an oversized molded seat bottom, ventilated seat back, and extra lumbar support. The seat also includes full armrests with integrated heart rate sensors, so you can monitor your heart rate constantly throughout your workout without needing to move your hands or wear a chest strap. The bike is lightweight, which makes it easy to move, but there are also a lot of plastic parts that could wear or break if not treated properly. We recommend this bike as a great option for rehabilitation conditioning or mobility training by those who want the cardio and strength training benefits of cycling on a recumbent style frame.
The LifeSpan R5i Recumbent bike has elevated armrests that make the bike feel more like a chair. The armrests are not only comfortable, they help users sit upright rather than slouch forward or down — which reduces strain on the lumbar spine and keeps your torso erect. It is easier to breathe when you sit upright, so this is a great system for anyone who may need a bit more support while riding. The armrests also feature heart rate sensors on the end which will transmit your HR to the console screen. You do not need to wear a chest strap or watch to sync with the bike. The armrests are gently padded for just a touch of comfort. Our only concern would be if someone is transitioning from a wheelchair, the armrests do require you to be right in front of the bike and sit backward onto the seat. You cannot simply slide from the side since the armrests do not swivel or pivot out of the way. This would only be an issue for a small number of users, but it is something to be aware of.
The R5i features wide, flat pedals that will accommodate any athletic shoe. A wide strap connects with the pedal to hold your foot in place. This strap also allows you to pull up at the top of the pedal stroke which recruits more muscles in your legs so you have balanced muscle engagement as you pedal.
The seat is padded and contoured for comfort. It is plenty wide and should support most users. There is lumbar support and the seat can be adjusted toward or away from the pedals depending on your size. A vented backrest is comfortable so you can sit upright while pedaling. The venting keeps airflow moving through the back so you don’t get sweaty as you ride. There are adjustment levers for both the seat (fore/aft) and backrest (to change the angle). The R5i has been designed to accommodate riders of all sizes and abilities.
The LifeSpan R5i recumbent bike has an LCD screen which displays readout for different workout programs. Five tactile buttons on the console allow you to select a workout program from the follow categories: Custom HR program, Healthy Living, Sports Training, Weight Loss, or connect your Bluetooth device. This is not a touchscreen, but the console buttons make it simple to toggle through various settings and programs. The screen displays: speed, calories, RPM, clock (time elapsed), target HR, distance and watts. There is a start/stop button on the console as well as ENTER to select your desired program. Quick change buttons will quickly jump the resistance to levels: 4, 8, 12, or 16, or you can use the up/down arrow buttons to select other resistance levels. A wrap-around handlebar is also a nice addition since it offers various hand positions for stability when navigating the console.
Console layout is simple. This machine doesn’t have extra bells and whistles you have to work through to find the program you want. Simply begin to pedal and the console will light up. You can toggle through the 34 program options which are displayed via a graph that indicates the workload. Resistance is automated, so as you follow a program the digital resistance level will adjust for you. This allows users to ride hands-free and keep your arms on the armrests as needed. You can also increase or decrease resistance as desired during your ride.
There is no fan on the R5i, but the vented backrest helps riders stay cool.
Water Bottle Holder
There is a small water bottle holder under the console. This is a shallow cut-out where you can place a lightweight water bottle during your ride. It isn’t large or deep, but it is sufficient. Since the bike is so low-profile, you could always set a water bottle on the floor to the side of you as well.
There is a yellow bar on the console that is designed to hold a tablet while you ride. However, if you do place a tablet here it will block the screen. We recommend adjusting the bike for your comfort so you can reach the pedals to turn on the screen, select your desired program, and then place your tablet on the shelf after you’ve started your program. The bike will automatically follow the program and keep track of your metrics while you ride. This way, if the tablet does block the screen, you are all ready to go beforehand. The tablet holder is a nice addition because many people like to read a book or watch a show on their personal device while riding to make the time go by faster.
The LifeSpan R5i recumbent bike is a smooth, comfortable ride. We appreciate the upright seat design with elevated armrests for comfort. This also makes it easier to maintain good posture while riding for better oxygen flow. The vented backrest is a nice addition that keeps your back cool (or at least cooler). The contoured seat is also wide and supportive. The fore/aft adjustment on the seat makes this a good option for multiple users since you can adjust the seat as close or as far from the pedals as needed. The pedals are wide and the strap holds your foot in securely. The bike is also relatively lightweight and can be moved when needed. This is a good option for those who want the benefits of cardio exercise and strength training on a low-impact recumbent bike. The EKG sensors on the end of the armrests make it so you don’t have to wear a chest strap to get a HR readout on the screen. While the screen is simple and easy to use, it is a bit small and this could be an issue for some riders who need larger digital numbers. However, you can always place your phone or tablet on the front ledge just in front of the screen to read or watch a program while you ride. The bike will automatically track your calories and metrics for you.
One of the main benefits of magnetic resistance is it is absolutely silent! Magnetic eddy current resistance is created by magnets that oppose the motion of the flywheel without any friction or contact points. This means you can work at any resistance level and you won’t hear rubbing, squeaking or other noise that often occurs from friction resistance. Magnetic resistance also requires less maintenance over time since there are no friction pads to be replaced.
16 Digital Resistance Levels
When riding an indoor bike, it can sometimes be hard to know how hard you are actually working or how high the resistance is. Bikes that use friction resistance that is adjusted via a knob often do not transmit data to the user about the level of tension. This leaves riders to assess resistance simply based on how hard it feels. Digital resistance uses preset resistance levels, so you always know exactly what level you are on and each level is consistent over time. As you get stronger, you will notice the lower levels that seemed very hard at the beginning begin to feel easier — which provides another way of tracking your strength and conditioning.
There are 34 pre programmed workouts on the R5i. These include programs for Healthy Living, Sports Training, Weight Loss. There are also 4 Heart Rate training programs and 2 custom user programs that you can design your own workout. This makes the R5i great for all levels of fitness and age groups since there are so many different programs to choose from.
The LifeSpan R5i recumbent bike does not offer any subscription classes or content. All functionality is within the console. Users who want a simple screen without a monthly subscription will enjoy all the R5i has to offer.
As mentioned above, the R5i uses magnetic resistance that is practically silent. There is no noise while riding the bike. You can sync your phone or tablet via Bluetooth to listen to music, a podcast or even a movie while riding, but this is the only noise that comes from the bike.
Storage / Folding
The LifeSpan R5i recumbent bike doesn’t fold, but it does have wheels under the front stabilizer so you can tilt and roll it as needed. It is too large to roll into a closet, but you could roll it into a corner or behind a couch when not in use.
Bottom Line: LifeSpan R5i Bike
The LifeSpan R5i stationary recumbent bike is designed to support home and commercial use. It will work for riders of all sizes and abilities. The oversized molded seat bottom, ventilated seat back, and extra lumbar support keep you comfortable while you ride. And the seat fore/aft adjustment as well as angle adjustment on the vented backrest make it so all riders can find the right position. We particularly like the full armrests with integrated heart rate sensors, so you can monitor your heart rate constantly throughout your workout without needing to move your hands or wear a chest strap. Plus, the bike is self-generating, so it produces its own power, making it both green and convenient. You can place the R5i anywhere in your home without having to be near a power outlet.
Multiple adjustment points on the R5i make it ideal for riders at all conditioning levels. The office-chair-style armrests and adjustable seat back are perfect if you experience low-back pain. Most bikes have a fore/aft adjustment under the seat, but not many allow users to modify the angle of the backrest. The R5i has been specially designed for riders who may have joint issues or mobility limitations and would be a great option for rehabilitation centers or those who need gentle conditioning that is low-impact and comfortable.
We also like the 34 pre-programmed workouts that are easy to understand and use. This bike works well for those who want sufficient but not excessive tech. There is no monthly subscription or other ongoing costs relating to the R5i. Magnetic resistance also keeps it quiet as you ride and requires little to no maintenance over time.
We are impressed with the R5i recumbent bike and recommend this as a good option for any rider who wants to gain conditioning and muscle strength in the convenience of their own home.
I am 76 years old with heavy workout regimen. I use RI5 for 20 minutes each day at Level 8.
I maintain 60 RPM at average of 12.4 MPH and pedal a distance of 4.1 – 4.2 miles. Is this an acceptable effort?
This is an impressive effort! Well done!