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Universal R20 Recumbent Bike

UnitSizeSupported
weight
ResistanceProgramsWarranty
Universal R20

Check Discounted Price
L:61"
W:19"
H:40.5"
275 lbsEddy
current,
8 lvls
6Frame: 3 years
Mechanical: 1 year
Electrical: 1 year
Wear: 60 days
Labor: 60 days

The Universal R20 is not a commercial grade recumbent bike but does offer a decent array of features, being considerably more inclusive than a basic model. Its console is similar to the one on the Universal U10 model, including several pre-set workout programs, and also being MP3 ready. It’s a magnetic resistance bike, featuring an automatic resistance adjustment system.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 61L x 19W x 40.5H inches (155L x 47W x 103H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 67.5 lbs (30.6 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs (125 kg)
  • Seat: Adjustable
  • Pedals: With straps
  • Resistance: Magnetic, 8 levels
  • Console: 7 workout programs
  • Warranty: Frame 3 years / Mechanical 1 year / Electronics 1 year / Wear 60 days / Labor 60 days

Frame construction

The Universal R20 recumbent exercise bike features a frame construction slightly different than other bike models in this price range. The frame itself reminds more of the construction of a rowing machine, such as the Stamina 1402 ATS or the Marcy NS-40503RW. It’s made of two main parts, the front part with the resistance system and the seat rail which connects to the front part via several screws.

Although it’s made of steel tubing, the fully assembled bike is not extremely heavy. It weighs approx. 67.5 lbs (30.6 kg), which means the bike can be assembled by one person, also being quite easy to relocate it once it’s assembled. For relocation, its front base is actually equipped with rotating caps, which serve as transport wheels.

The bike’s rear base features polygonal, adjustable caps, which serve as stabilizers. Thus, it should be easy to perfectly level the bike on any type of flooring.

Despite the fact that the bike’s frame features a construction similar to a rower, it does not have a folding design. But on the other hand, it’s not an extremely large item of fitness equipment. Its assembled footprint measures 61″L x 19″W (155 x 47 cm), but Universal does recommend a usage space of at least 100″L x 60″W (254 x 152 cm) for safe operation. Also, the frame doesn’t have a step-through design, such as the Body Champ BRB3558, for example. This means that it may be a bit difficult for a user with a disability to take position on the seat.

All the steel parts in the bike’s frame are coated with a corrosion resistant and scratch resistant paint. The color is silver, this being the only available color for this bike, at least for the moment.

Seat and handlebars

The bike’s seat excels in comfort factors. To begin with, it features a long and fairly wide backrest, which provides great lumbar support. Both the seat and the backrest integrate a thick layer of foam padding, while the upholstery is made of a tough vinyl material. 

Needless to say, the seat is adjustable. Its rail features 10 adjustment positions and can be locked in a place closer or farther in relation to the pedals. This being said, the bike offers an adjustment span that can accommodate user between 4’10” and 6’0″ (147 – 183 cm). Taller users should be able to use it as well, but they may not benefit from a complete leg stretch during pedaling. Also, the seat and it adjustment rail are rated for a maximum user capacity of 275 lbs (125 kg), which is not bad for an exercise bike in this price range.

In case you’re wondering, the backrest does not recline, nor it can be adjusted in any way independently from the seat. It attaches directly to the metallic frame of the seat and will move along with the seat on the adjustment bar.

The seat assembly also integrates a set of handlebars or arm rests. They feature rubberized grips for optimal comfort and integrate metallic pulse sensors. This being said, the machine’s console can monitor your pulse if you hold onto these sensors.

This Universal recumbent bike does not have any handlebars for the console mast. Although this may be a minor inconvenience as most people would use the bars on the seat, it’s still a minus that we must mention here.

Drive and resistance

The Universal R20 recumbent bike features a belt drive system, using a heavy-duty belt, designed to last for many years of use. Since the bike uses a belt not a chain for its transmission, the pedaling motion generates less noise, being almost silent. Also, the belt doesn’t require lubrication as a chain. 

The bike is equipped with a perimeter weighted flywheel. This aspect plays an important role in the overall smoothness and steadiness of the pedaling motion. The flywheel is not very heavy; thus, the pedaling motion doesn’t have a very solid momentum, especially when it’s set to one of the lowest resistance levels. This being said, it makes a perfect choice for users who require rehab training, or users with disabilities.

A set of weighted, self-leveling pedals is supplied with the bike. Their surface offers superior adherence and they’re also equipped with adjustable straps in order to provide maximum stability. They have standard threads, so in case you want to replace them compatible sets are widely available.

This Universal recumbent exercise bike features an eddy current resistance system which consists of a magnetic brake pad and a small servo motor. This being said, the resistance can only be adjusted from the bike’s control unit. As you select as certain level on the console, the servo motor will adjust the position of the brake pad in relation to the bike’s metallic flywheel, increasing or decreasing drag.

Since it’s a motorized exercise bike, it requires a power source. Therefore, its control unit can be powered by 4LR20 batteries or a 120V 60Hz input, 9VDC, 500mA output AC power adapter. A set of 4 batteries should last for approx. 1 year of daily use. Batteries and adapter are not included, though.

The bike makes available only 8 levels of resistance. The first three are fairly light, perfect for warm-ups or recovery training. Conversely, the 7-8 resistance levels are designed to simulate an ascension, offering the possibility to undertake a more consistent workout.

As we’ve mentioned above, the bike’s resistance can only be adjusted from the console controls. However, if you choose to exercise by using one of the pre-set programs, the machine will auto-adjust resistance, depending on the workout’s segment in progress.

Console

The Universal R20 recumbent bike is equipped with the same console as the Universal U10 upright bike. To begin with, this console features a multi-panel LCD display. It keeps track of your workout time, speed, distance, RPM, Kcalories, and pulse. Each one of the four bottom panels of the console will alternate two workout metrics showing each one for 6 seconds. For example, the first one will show Results/Time, the 2nd will show Speed/Distance, the 3rd will alternate RPM/KCal, while the 4th will show the Resistance Level/Heart Rate.

There’s the option to set up the distance to be shown in miles or kilometers, and speed to be calculated in MPH or km/h. You can pre-set a goal value for your workout time, and have it countdown to zero.

The console is not telemetric; it can only read your pulse through the sensors integrated into the handlebars. You cannot sync it with a wireless heart rate chest strap transmitter.

The console offers six pre-set workouts, along with the Manual Mode. These are Fun Rides (Rolling Hills, Ride in the Park), Mountains (Pike’s Peak, Pyramids), Challenges (Uphill Finish, Cross-Training). The workout time for each workout is by default preset at 15 minutes, but you can always change it. Also, even if you use one of the preset workouts, you can still adjust resistance as you like, during the program. Of course, there is also the Manual program, which allows you to increase/decrease resistance as you like.

The console unit is MP3 player enabled. Its sound system consists of two speakers, situated in the bottom corners of the unit. The audio jack is in the middle of the console, right under the controls. This sound system, although it cannot be compared to a dedicated surround sound one, it does render a sound quality considerably superior to the speakers of any tablet or phone.

The media holder is situated right under the unit’s controls. It’s large enough to accommodate any tablet or phone.

The console operation is pretty much straightforward. The two arrow keys (up/down) on the right cover the speed adjustment function, but they’re also used to change the preset values for your workout, or scroll between programs. Each program category has its own key (being 3 in number).

The left side of the console features a Quick Start key and a Start/Stop key. The Quick Start button initiates the Manual Program allowing you to adjust resistance as you like. The Start/Stop button is great to have if you need to put your workout on hold, or if you want to alternate bike workouts with various other workouts, without losing the progress on the bike.

Assembly and Maintenance

This exercise bike is easy to put together. The front part of the frame with all the parts of the resistance and drive systems is already assembled. You will only have to add the seat adjustment rail, the seat, the front and rear bases, the console mast, the console, and pedals. This shouldn’t take more than one hour. The included owner’s manual provides excellent assembly instructions; the tools required for assembly are also included.

The only maintenance required by this exercise bike is the periodic check for loose parts and bolts, and retightening them if it’s the case.

The Pros

  • Sturdy frame for a light recumbent bike, able to support users up to 275 lbs;
  • Adjustable frame seat that can accommodate comfortably users up to 6’0″;
  • Lightweight, easy to relocate;
  • Transport wheels and rear stabilizers;
  • Padded seat and backrest;
  • Quiet magnetic brake system;
  • 8 distinctive levels of resistance;
  • Weighted pedals with adjustable straps;
  • Pulse sensors integrated into the handlebars;
  • 6 pre-set workout programs; 
  • Target settings for time;
  • Sound system included;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Bottle holder included;
  • Easy to assemble and operate;
  • Little to no maintenance required.

The Cons

  • No front handlebars;
  • No step-thru design;
  • AC adapter not included;
  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder may block the view of the console display.

Summary

The Universal R20 is a recumbent exercise bike featuring a motorized magnetic resistance system and a console with 6 pre-set workouts, sound system and tablet holder. Its frame is sturdy enough to accommodate users up to 275 lbs. The seat offers excellent comfort, its handlebars being equipped with pulse sensors. It’s a bike for light to medium cardio workouts, great for anyone who requires recovery training, but also for riders who want to lose weight. And finally, this exercise bike won’t break the bank, actually offering excellent value for the price.

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