Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Magnetic Recumbent Bike Review
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Magnetic Recumbent Bike is one of the most affordably priced recumbent exercise bikes on the market. But the tradeoff is that it has not many bells and whistles.
However, it meets all the basic requirements of a fitness enthusiast user, such as a computer that shows all the necessary workout metrics, hand pulse sensors to monitor heart rate, and an adjustable seat to allow users of various heights to use it.
Published: March 23, 2021.
Features of Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Magnetic Recumbent Bike
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Dimensions
- Height: 37.50 in
- Width: 24 in
- Length: 53 in
- Weight: 53 lbs.
- Maximum User Weight: 250 lbs.
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Assembly
The CHB-R2101 comes partially assembled and the rest of the assembly should be done by the users. Users will need to fit on front support, handlebars, seat assembly, seat, backrest, console, pedals and stabilizer bars. The assembly instructions are poor because it’s explained only in the form of 5 small diagrams with no written instructions.
However, thankfully the assembly is uncomplicated and can be done easily within a couple of hours. The parts and holes line up well making the process easy.
Although it’s recommended by the manual to be done by two people, it can be done alone by a user. It can only be slightly heavy and awkward while a user tries to hold a piece in an attempt to bolt it on. Tools required for the assembly are included.
The CHB-R2101 features step-through design which enables users to easily get on and off the bike.
The CHB-R2101 is surprisingly durable and strong especially considering its low price and weight. It’s quite firm and shakes or wobbles only slightly while users exercise, thus making the exercise an enjoyable affair.
Footprint and Portability
The bike has a footprint of 24” x 53”. It features two small wheels on the front stabilizer bars which help users move the bike easily. Users can just tip the bike by lifting it from the back. Tipping up the 53 lbs. weight of the bike is easy even for only one person.
The transport wheels work well on hard surfaces but may get stuck on a thick carpet where the user may have to drag the machine.
CHB-R2101 has levelers on the back stabilizer bars to achieve a balance and prevent any side-to-side rocking if the machine is kept on an uneven surface.
The bike can be adjusted for heights between 5 feet and 6 feet 3 inches.
Users have to use a little strength to adjust the bike and the adjustment involves not just the bike, but the back too. There is a knob on the center bar at the bottom of the bike which users have to undo and pull up. This will enable users to slide the rear of the bike to a position they want.
Users have to line up the holes and insert the pin to secure the position. All this process needs more muscle power than it is required to adjust seats on other models.
However, this helps in avoiding the wobbling of the seat as might be the case with other models.
Also, with both types of models, users have to get off the bike to adjust it.
If users are shorter than 5 feet, they may have to stretch to reach the pedals at the far endpoint of the pedal stroke sitting forward on the seat. However, people of this height can be comfortable if they have a longer leg length.
On the other hand, users with more than the maximum height may find themselves cramped up and missing out the full range of motion of their knee that is not straightening out as it should (but a little bent) at the far end of the stroke.
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Console
The LCD console on the CHB-R2101 is basic and measures time, distance, speed, odometer (cumulative distance), calories burned and heart rate (when hand pulse sensors are gripped tightly at least for 10 seconds).
It’s a common problem of all the bikes which use hand pulse sensors that they can’t give an accurate reading. Hence if the heart rate reading is very important to users, they can buy a heart rate strap separately and monitor the heart rate.
The console needs 2 AAA batteries for power (users have to buy these separately. This is the only power needed by the machine. If the batteries are drained, the bike can still run and adjust the resistance, however, users won’t receive the feedback on the console).
The size of the display is good making the numbers legible in good light. However, it’s not backlit and users may find it difficult to see the numbers in poor light.
Only one measurement is displayed at a time. The measure users want to see can be chosen by pressing the mode button below the display. The scan function rotates the measures every 6 seconds.
The measures can be used as a guide but are not very reliable and accurate. They are just useful as a motivation while users exercise and compare results from different workout sessions.
Tracking of progress should be done manually since there is no way to upload the results to a fitness account.
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Resistance Levels
The CHB-R2101 comes with 8 levels of resistance. They are marked on the tension knob which is placed on the front post. Users can use it easily. They don’t have to lean forward to make adjustments.
Turning the knob to the right will increase the resistance and to the left will reduce it. The resistance is created by magnets that move closer to/farther away from the flywheel to adjust the load users push against. Components don’t touch each other giving a very quiet operation and also eliminating the need of any maintenance.
Resistance at levels 1 and 2 is almost nil. As user turns it up, it increases but without any jerk or large jump. In general, levels up to 6 are enough to break a sweat. Users may notice some slight changes in the pedaling motion and may feel the need of putting more stress on their knees than they may want.
Levels 7 and 8 are quite hard, but not difficult. These levels won’t provide the required resistance for those who are looking for more challenging workouts.
At these top levels, the cycling motion can become a bit choppier, slowing down at the top/bottom of the cycling motion since the resistance works as a brake on the flywheel. This means it can add some impact to the workout.
The flywheel of the CHB-R2101 is two-way and thus offers backward and forward motions which help users strengthen various leg muscles. The cycling experience is quite smooth due to this and it’s very quiet.
The CHB-R2101 has two sets of handlebars – a small one located at the front and the other located on both sides of the seat. For a comfortable grip, they are covered. The front handlebars can offer support while getting on and off the bike and while adjusting the console. They can also be used when users want to take a different position but they have to lean forward for this which is not very comfortable.
The handlebars on both sides of the seat are higher up than the seat i.e. around the elbow height. So, they can be used to rest arms. However, they are not padded and so, cannot actually be used to get support. Also, leaning and exerting too much weight on them is not advisable as they may break.
Heart Rate Monitoring
The hand pulse sensors in the handlebars on both sides of seat give users their heart rate when they grip the handlebars.
Cranks and Pedals
The CHB-R2101 has a three-piece crank system that enables a smooth and consistent pedaling. Pedals are equipped with padding for comfort. They are even textured and feature plastic straps to hold users’ feet securely while pedaling.
The straps have holes along their length so that users can fit the straps over a knob on the pedal to secure them. The process of securing the straps in this way can be a bit tough when they are new and can be easier once they soften up. Users can even exercise without using the straps and their feet stay on the pedals.
The seat and backrest of CHB-R2101 are padded however, they are flat. The seat is oversized though, measuring around 16” x 10” offering reasonable support.
Some users may not like the seat as it is not simply suitable for everyone. Some users may find it too small and may not like the gap between the seat and backrest. In that case, cushions or a folded towel can add to the level of comfort.
The backrest is slightly reclining backward to provide comfort and support to the lower back. The angle cannot be changed but for most users it’s comfortable.
As mentioned earlier, the bike is very quiet to the extent that users can listen to the TV during the exercise and also others in the home and even neighbors cannot get disturbed.
The CHB-R2101 doesn’t require a lot of cleaning. However, some additional cleaning may be needed when any sweat drops on it. This should be done to prevent any corrosion resulting from the salt and water content of sweat. But this won’t take much time.
CHB-R2101 comes with a 5-year warranty on frame, 90-day on monitor and 30-day on parts.
Pros of Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Magnetic Recumbent Bike
- Strong and durable
- 8 levels of resistance
- Bike can be adjusted to accommodate heights between 5 feet and 6 feet 3 inches
- Provides a low impact cardio workout
- Smooth pedal stroke
- Levelers to balance on an uneven surface
- Backrest to support back
- Easy assembly in spite of poor instructions
- Compact size
- Affordably priced
Cons of Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Magnetic Recumbent Bike
- No add-ons
- Adjusting the back to fit people of various heights can take some effort
- No support to lower back due to the gap between seat and backrest
- Top levels of resistance are not tough enough for those who want challenging workouts
- Basic console which doesn’t enable users to upload results to a fitness account
- Console has no backlight
- No preset workout programs
- Seat is smaller for some users causing too much pressure on sit bones not suitable for longer workouts, but this can be resolved to some extent by using an extra cushion or folded towel
- Poor assembly instructions
- Heart rate sensors in the side handlebars are not reliable (although this is common with this kind of sensors)
- Poor customer service
The Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Magnetic Recumbent Bike is strong and solid with a smooth, noiseless operation although the seat adjustment process needs extra effort and can be annoying. Also, its seat is not very comfortable for prolonged workout sessions although users can use an extra cushion.
However, if users are not going to adjust it often for various heights and won’t exercise for long durations without an additional cushion, the bike can be just great to help users achieve their fitness goals such as building up and toning up muscles, improving energy, increasing walking or running speed, weight loss and feeling healthier and stronger.
Thus, the CHB-R2101 is great for those who want a budget-friendly bike to start exercising and those who want just a moderate and short-duration exercise and not a very strenuous one.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Magnetic Recumbent Bike Amazon link (link opens in the new window).