Among full-featured recumbent exercise bikes, the Vision Fitness R1500 impresses a couple of professional experts -- but it costs substantially more than the Schwinn 240 (*Est. $450) , which gets equally high marks. Both bikes strike reviewers as quiet and sturdy, with a weight limit of 300 pounds. Both include heart-rate monitors, adjustable seats and bottle holders. The Vision Fitness R1500 is unusual in that you can choose the monitor -- and price -- you want. The Simple console is a black-and-white LCD screen that shows watts, distance, time, heart rate, calories, rpm, program and level. The Deluxe model adds a blue backlight and speed, resistance and percent maximum heart rate readouts, and the Premier model adds a full color display.
But for less money than the Simple model, the Schwinn boasts a multi-color console with most of the Vision Fitness's Premier features. The Vision Fitness R1500 does carry a longer warranty than the Schwinn: lifetime for the frame and magnetic brake, three years electronics and parts and one year labor, versus the Schwinn's five-year frame, one-year mechanical/electrical and 90-day wear parts warranty. Both offer 16 resistance levels; 20 for the Vision Fitness Deluxe and Premier.
Bestcovery.com and Prevention magazine both briefly review the Vision Fitness R1500 and conclude that it's one of the best exercise bikes on the market. We found no owner reviews for this model, though.
Sporting goods expert Jeff Wilson picks the Vision Fitness R1500 as one of his top five exercise bikes. He says it's "ultra quiet and beyond comfortable," and he likes that you can choose the level of features that fits your budget.
Review: Best Exercise Bike, Jeff Wilson, June 2, 2011
2. Prevention Magazine
Megan McMorris chooses the Vision Fitness R1500 as one of the best pieces of fitness equipment between $599 and $1,000, but she writes only a couple of sentences explaining why. She says the seat is "so comfy, you may not want to get off," and the recumbent position means no hunching over the handlebars.
Review: Build the Perfect Home Gym, Megan McMorris, Dec. 22, 2010