With Sole Fitness, you need to think heavy-duty, durable, and better built than anything else with a similar price tag.
Still, their tech sometimes lacks; you won’t find a large HD color touchscreen like you would with a NordicTrack recumbent bike, but that’s okay. I much prefer a company that puts most of its efforts into the build rather than all the techy stuff. If you want something that lasts, with a warranty that’s unmatched, Sole are company you should have at the top of your list
Near Commerical Grade Quality For Under $2k.
The Sole LCR recumbent bike is Soles top-of-the-line recumbent bike. This thing is a bit of a beast for the price point; it weighs nearly 150lb which isn’t far off commercial grade. It’s a solid machine. You also have a 30lb flywheel which will help keep that pedaling motion nice and smooth, 40 resistance levels, the desirable walk-thru frame design, a comfy wide seat, and wireless heart rate monitoring.
The LCR recumbent bike is about as close as you’ll get to commercial grade in this price range, I’ve reviewed a lot of recumbent bikes over the years, and the LCR is right up there with the best.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks, like the monitor being a little basic with not many workout programs, and the backrest isn’t adjustable, but overall this is a recumbent bike that delivers on all the essentials, and this is what’s most important.
So in today’s review, I want to take a close look at everything this bike has to offer, including those minor drawbacks. At the end of the review, I’ll also compare it to NordicTracks top of the line Recumbent the R35 as it will be interesting to see how these two bikes match up.
First, look at the Sole LCR recumbent bike’s product specs!
Product box dimensions – 57″ X 18″ X 30″
Weight – 145lb
Resistance Type – Magnetic
Resistance levels – 40
Pre-programmed workouts – 10
Folds for storage – No
Flywheel weight – 30lb
Weight capacity – 350lb
Why Do We Like The Sole LCR Recumbent Bike?
The whole point of a recumbent bike design is to provide a cardio workout for those who find an upright exercise bike difficult or painful.
So a recumbent must have easy access to the seat. You need a walk thru frame design. A walk-thru frame design removes that awkward horizontal bar you must step over to access the seat on an upright bike. And you have that with Sole LCR, access to the seat is easy.
Also, you don’t want the bike seat to be too low. I find the problem with many of these recumbent bikes is the seat is too low, and if you have bad knees having to bend down far to sit on the seat can be painful. Thankfully the Sole LCR bike isn’t as low profile as many I’ve reviewed, which is great to see. Sole really thought about the design of this bike.
And lastly, the seat needs to be comfy. Sole used high-density foam for the padding of the seat and backrest. This is the gold standing for padding, it’s not too soft to cause stability issues or too hard to be uncomfortable. It’s just right.
And because the seat is contoured, you get extra support for your butt. You won’t slip around when pedaling on this recumbent.
Solid 145lb Build
As I touched on in the intro, the build of this recumbent bike sells it. This machine is heavy. A heavy bike is a telling sign the quality of the parts used in the build. It’s not some lightweight, cheaply made machine.
Also, because it’s heavy, that extra weight helps keep the recumbent bike planted to the floor. There’s enough weight here that the machine feels solid. It’s not far off the feel of something commercial, and if you get that type of feeling from a machine in this price range, you’re doing well.
5 Year Warranty on All Parts
And the warranty is great, which is something that always impresses me about Sole Fitness; their warranties are as good as companies like Life Fitness, who make commercial gym gear. The LCR recumbent bike has a 5-year warranty on all parts, that’s unheard of for a recumbent bike costing under $2k, and you get two years on labor as well, which is excellent.
So yes, what I like most about this recumbent bike, is that they thought about the design, the seat is comfy contoured and uses the right padding, and warranty is excellent.
Smooth Pedaling Motion Thanks To Heavy Flywheel
Something else you should always consider when choosing any exercise bike is the weight of the flywheel. Because it’s the weight of the flywheel that determines how smooth the pedaling motion feels.
Low-cost recumbent bikes typically come with flywheels weighing under 10lb; this can result in a jerky stuttering pedaling motion, which is something you need to avoid.
Look for over 15 lbs, as this is enough weight to keep things smooth and consistent.
The LCR recumbent bike is equipped with a 30lb flywheel. 30lb is heavy, especially for a bike in this price range. The pedaling motion will be extra smooth because of this. Also, the weight of the flywheel is one of the factors that determines how strong the resistance is in the upper levels.
A 30lb flywheel will ensure very strong resistance in the top 5 or so levels. You won’t outgrow this recumbent bike any time soon
40 Levels of Frictionless Resistance
This brings me to the resistance system. The LCR recumbent bike uses a frictionless resistance system.
Frictionless resistance systems are ideal for home exercise bikes because they’re so quiet. The magnets of the resistance system never have to make contact with the flywheel and thus is smooth and whisper quiet. You can watch TV and listen to music without being disturbed by the sound of the machine.
The Sole LCR recumbent bike has 40 resistance levels, one being the easiest and 40 the strongest. It’s a bike suitable for most fitness levels, from beginners right through to advanced users.
Decent Monitor With Wireless Heart Rate Monitoring
The monitor of the LCR bike is where some people might feel a little letdown. There’s no HD color touchscreen, advanced features like VR, and no fitness app. And it’s always been like this with Sole Fitness. Their monitors feel a little dated.
Still, I like this monitor as it’s easy to use. I find over complicated monitors with too many features a headache sometimes.
I like the Sole monitor because it comes with those large one-touch buttons, so you can access everything with a single touch of a button. There isn’t a ton of menus to scroll through.
And it has got everything you need. It comes with ten built-in workout programs, built-in speakers, and cooling fans. Its tracks all your essential data like speed, time, distance, pulse, and calories. It’s not really a monitor that leaves you wanting.
And most importantly, this monitor includes wireless heart rate monitoring, which is a much more accurate way to monitor your heart rate than the built-in pulse sensors; plus, Sole provides the heart rate chest strap, something you usually have to buy separately.
You also have a 10″ LCD screen, so it’s easy to view all your workout stats while you exercise.
Overall it’s a good monitor. It just lacks that HD color screen.
14 Position Seat
The seat of this bike has 14 positions to choose from, which is four more than most recumbent bikes. This gives you a height range from 4’11” to 6’2″, so most people should easily be able to find the perfect cycling position to suit their size.
I’ve already mentioned you have the right type of padding for the seat. It’s not too soft or too hard, and it’s contoured for stability.
The only drawback of this seat is that the backrest isn’t adjustable. This can be an issue for people with bad backs. Still, it’s rare to find an adjustable backrest in this price range. You need to spend over $2k to find one with an adjustable backrest.
How Stable is The LCR Recumbent Bike?
Stability is all important when exercising on a recumbent or any exercise bike, and a few features are worth looking out for.
The first feature I always check for are adjustable levelers. These are usually built into the rear stabilizer bar. Adjustable levelers are handy because you can adjust them independently to keep the recumbent bike stable on uneven surfaces.
The Sole LCR includes four adjustable levelers, two at the front and two built into the rear stabilizer.
Next, we need to look for wide stabilizer bars at the front and rear of the bike, something you always need to aid stability, which the LCR includes, and lastly, weight. A heavy bike will feel much more sturdy than a cheap, lightweight machine as that weight helps keep the bike planted to the floor. The Sole LCR weighs close to 150lb, the heaviest in this price bracket, so no worries here about the weight.
Overall a sturdy, well-built machine with all the stability features to keep things stable.
Set Aside An Afternoon For Assembly
Assembling a recumbent bike isn’t particularly difficult because most of the complicated stuff, like the magnetic and drive systems, already come pre-assembled. What makes the LCR slightly more difficult to assemble is that it’s heavy. I’d recommend two people for assembly, at least to get the box in place.
Once unboxed, you’ll need to attach the base bars, the seat, the console mast, the front handlebars, the console, and the pedals. It shouldn’t take longer than a couple of hours, but setting aside an afternoon for the job is best. Take your time, and get it right the first time. A lot of the time, when people find fault with fitness gear, it isn’t the fault of the product its because it hasn’t been assembled properly.
All the tools for the job and illustrated manual are provided.
Sturdy near commercial build
Heavy 30lb flywheel keeps the pedaling motion smooth and resistance in the upper levels strong
Walk thru frame design for easy access to the seat
Contoured comfy seat with 14 adjustable positions – suitable for users up to 6’2″
Decent monitor with wireless heart rate monitoring and chest strap included
350lb weight capacity
Excellent warranty that includes 5 years on all parts and 2 years labor
Built-in transport wheels, cooling fans, speakers and BlueTooth
Backrest isn’t adjustable could cause issues for people with bad backs
Would have been nice to of seen a few more workout programs
Monitor screen isn’t backlit making it hard to read in lowlight conditions
NordicTrack R35 Recumbent Bike
NordicTrack doesn’t always get things right, sometimes, they focus way too much on the tech and their app and forget about the rest of the machine, but lately, these guys have really started to impress me. They’ve started to go heavy duty with their more high-end gear, and it’s impressive. I always wanted to see this from NordicTrack, so now, with products like the R35, you have a well-made heavy-duty machine that also boasts a load of the latest tech.
And it’s the build that stands out most about NordicTrack’s R35. This thing weighs 135lb that’s heavy for the price bracket and for NordicTrack; it tells me this machine isn’t some cheaply made recumbent bike, its made from quality materials, and best of all, that weight gives the R35 a sturdy feel.
You also have a heavy 26lb flywheel, so the pedaling motion is smooth, and the resistance is strong when you need it.
And just like the Sole LCR recumbent bike, the seat is wide padded and contoured for stability. With ten adjustable positions giving it a height range of 5ft to 6’1″.
And, of course, because this is NordicTrack, you have the best monitor, you’ll find on any recumbent bike in this price bracket. With a crisp 14″ HD smart touchscreen, it’s super impressive to use, and you get one month of iFit free.
The problem with this monitor is that the loverly HD screen can only be used with iFit. As with all NordicTrack products, the machine is built around the app. So if you want to get the most out of this bike, you’ll need to subscribe to iFit, which is something not everyone wants to do.
Still, iFit doesn’t have to be expensive. You can just choose the option for a single person, which is half the price of the family option and works out at just 50c a day, which is a great price considering what an excellent fitness app iFit is.
To Sum Up
The LCR Recumbent Bike is Sole Fitness’s top of the line offering, and it shows.There isn’t anything else out there with a similar price tag that can match it on build quality and warranty. It’s a heavy-duty, well made recumbent. It is a machine that has got all the essentials right. The only slight drawback is the monitor. You kind of expect a little bit more in this price bracket. However, it’s not a bad monitor; it includes everything you need for your workouts, just a little dated, but it’s more than made up for by the quality of the rest of the bike.
For an alternative, I’d happily recommend NoridcTracks R35. This is another well-built machine for around $1500. The R35 from NordicTrack is the LCR’s main competition and is almost as good. It certainly has the better tech, and surprisingly it’s very close in build quality too—a great choice, especially for people who love fitness apps.