Stamina exercise bikes are very popular. One suspects this is because of price rather than quality. However, one or two bikes do warrant inspection and can be a useful piece of kit for giving you a good workout; knowing which models to steer clear of is the secret. Here are some reviews on what models that might be worth buying and those that should be avoided.
Stamina makes upright and recumbent exercise bikes that range in price from as little as $160 up to $900. Apart from one model, you are best to ignore the machines that cost under $400. It can be a good idea to make a cheap exercise bike, as not everyone can afford or can justify spending large sums of cash on a piece of fitness equipment. However, a point is reached when building too cheap actually produces something that has no benefits whatsoever. I’m afraid that is true of some of Stamina’s machines.
The Stamina Magnetic Resistance recumbent bike (15-4600A) retails for around $200. At first glance it looks good value for money – for some perhaps this is the case. But, upon further inspection it lacks features that are present in more expensive models. While it does have magnetic resistance there are only 8 levels and these need manually adjustment by use of a knob. The number of levels should be at least ten and it is much better that the adjustment is made by pressing a switch on the console. It also lacks a heart rate monitor, something that should always be used in conjunction with the bike. The monitor also leaves a lot to be desired, though you do get the usual readouts such as, speed, distance, time calories burned etc. And, there are 6 preset programs; Fat burn, Hill, Maximum fat burn, Interval, Aerobic and Mountain.
All in all, this bike falls short of being a good machine. If you do want to buy a cheap recumbent exercise bike, take a look at the ProForm GR 90 instead. You’ll need to spend another $150, but it’s well worth it.
Other bikes to avoid are the Silent Magnetic Upright (15-5300) and Silent Magnetic Recumbent (15-4800). However, there is one model at this low price range that might be suitable for some, and that is the Stamina InTONE Folding recumbent bike (15-0200). As its name suggests it can be folded and stored away, which is a great feature for those who are short on space. It retails for around $160 and lacks many features, but there is resistance (manual) and a LCD that monitors workout time, speed, distance, and calories burned. While being of no benefit for a serious user this machine would be perfectly acceptable to an occasional user who wants a bike that can be easily stored out of the way.
You have to look at the more expensive models before you find a Stamina exercise bike that is worth considering. The EMR Conversion II recumbent bike (15-9002) is an interesting concept. It doubles as both bike and rowing machine. There is an extruded piece of aluminum sticking out the back of the seat and the conversion is easily done by pulling a pin. For someone looking for both machines, this may be an acceptable compromise – I do mean compromise as ideally you should buy two separate machines. It retails for around $600.
If you really are keen on the idea of a conversion bike/rowing machine, then you should be looking at the more expensive Conversion II recumbent bike/rower (15-9003) that retails for around $800. This is a far more robust machine than the 15-9002 and fulfills its role better. However, the resistance is still on 8 levels – there should be more.
Finally, there’s the Elite Total Body recumbent bike (15-9100) retailing at around $900. I would not recommend this bike. Again, the resistance is manually adjusted by means of a knob; for this price you can buy other brands that do this electronically via a push button on the console. Also, the programs are minimal. Do yourself a favor and save some money, but the Schwinn Conversion II recumbent bike instead; it comes with far more features and costs less.
Stamina makes cheap exercise bikes and this is a plus point; far too many companies make machines with over-inflated price tags. Some of its machines do fall short but I like the folding model and the conversion bike/rower is an interesting idea. Basically, these bikes are for entry-level users – and some models deliver the goods at this level – but more serious athletes should look elsewhere.