LifeSpan R3i Recumbent Bike

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LifeSpan R3i

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400 lbsEddy
16 levels
17 pre-set
2 user
2 HR
USB port,
Frame: 5 years
Parts: 2 years
Labor: 1 year

Frame: Lifetime
Parts: 5 years
Labor: 2 years

If you’re looking for a commercial grade recumbent bike, the LifeSpan R3i is definitely one model to put on your list. Even though it’s an older model (has been around for a few years), this exercise bike continues to benefit from positive reviews to this day. That’s because it features an extremely solid construction, excels in micro-adjustability and comfort factors, and offers quite a consistent training programs set.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 70L x 27.5W x 44.5H inches (178L x 70W x 113H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 146 lbs (66.2 kg)
  • Flywheel weight: 18 lbs (8.1 kg)
  • Supported weight: 400 lbs (181.4 kg)
  • Seat: Adjustable
  • Backrest: Adjustable
  • Pedals: With adjustable straps
  • Resistance: Eddy current magnetic, 16 levels
  • Progress tracking console: 21 programs
  • Amenities: Sound system, USB data port, tablet holder
  • Warranty:
    Residential: Frame lifetime / Parts 5 years / Labor 2 years
    Commercial: Frame 5 years / Parts 2 years / Labor 1 year

Frame construction

Considering that the LifeSpan R3i is a commercial grade recumbent bike, it features an extremely sturdy frame construction. It is built around a steel frame and has quite an impressive weight capacity of 400 lbs (181.4 kg). The whole bike is also considerably heavy, which is a plus as this weight enhances its overall stability. On top of that, it has wider bases than other bikes, which are equipped with adjustable, rubberized stabilizers, giving you the possibility to level it perfectly on any type of flooring.

Although the fully assembled bike weighs 146 lbs (66.2 kg) its transport shouldn’t be too difficult because its front base bar features a set of transport wheels. By lifting it from its rear base and using the wheels, you will basically handle half of its total weight when relocating it.

The frame has a step-thru design, an aspect that can be quite a plus for users with disabilities as it facilitates the user’s positioning onto the seat. Also, the console mast is conveniently curved towards the seat, eliminating the postural awkwardness when exercising while holding onto the front handlebars.

Most of the metallic bars within the frame construction feature a corrosion and scratch-resistant powder coating, black in color. The seat adjustment rail has a chrome finish, though.

Compared to other recumbent bikes, the LifeSpan R3i is fairly large. It is 70″ (178 cm) long, and 27.5″ (70 cm) wide, while the top of the console reaches a height of 44.5″ (113 cm) above floor level. It’s also recommended to keep at least two feet of clearance all around it for safe and unhindered operation. This being said, the bike may not fit very well in a small room.

Seat and handlebars

As we’ve mentioned above, the LifeSpan R3i recumbent exercise bike excels in micro-adjustability. To begin with, the seat can be locked into position closer or farther in relation to the pedals. It actually offers an adjustment span of 14″ (35.5 cm) which means that it can accommodate comfortably users up to 6’5″ (195 cm), promoting a complete leg extension.

The backrest is also adjustable. It can be tilted backward for several angles, offering the possibility to achieve perfect lumbar support.

The seat itself is fairly large; it’s 18″ (46 cm) wide and 11″ (28 cm) long. It features a generous layer of foam padding and has a contoured shape in order to adapt perfectly to the user. The backrest is made of heavy-duty PVC material and has a vented structure, promoting a healthy blood flow during exercising and reducing overheating. It’s mounted on a metallic frame, which enhances its sturdiness. In fact, the seat with its backrest is rated for loads up to 400 lbs (181.4 kg).

This LifeSpan recumbent bike features two sets of handlebars, one attached to the frame of the seat, the other to the console mast. The seat handlebars are actually similar to the armrests of an office chair. They also integrate metallic pulse sensors. The front handlebar is “U” shaped and completely covered by a sheet of rubber foam material for a secure and comfortable grip. None of the handlebars are adjustable. However, since the armrests are attached directly to the seat, they will move along the rail with the seat when you adjust its position.

Drive and resistance

This LifeSpan exercise bike features a belt drive system, using a heavy-duty, endurance tested v-belt. Since it’s not a chain, it doesn’t require any lubrication; also, it considerably more quiet than a chain drive. 

The crankset is a commercial-grade 3-piece part, using solid steel crank arms. They’re equipped with large, self-leveling pedals with adjustable straps. The pedals have standard threads, so in case you want to replace them, other compatible models are largely available.

The flywheel is fairly large for a recumbent bike; it weighs 18 lbs (8.1 kg), being perimeter-weighted which means it can generate a steady, smooth, and consistent momentum. Considering that the bike uses a belt, not a chain, the pedaling motion is almost silent. Thus, if space is not an issue, the bike can be a great choice for apartment use. You can be sure that its operation won’t bother the neighbors, nor the other members of the family.

The LifeSpan R3i recumbent bike features an eddy current resistance system. It uses a motor-assisted brake, which means you have to connect it to a power source in order to operate the console, and the resistance can only be adjusted from the console.

This recumbent exercise bike makes available 16 resistance levels. The 1-3 levels of resistance allow you to undertake relatively light workouts, perfect for users who require recovery training. Conversely, the 14-16 difficulty settings promote high-intensity workouts, great for pushing your heart rate to the limits if you want, and to obtain a superior calorie burn.

Control unit

To begin with, the console unit of the LifeSpan R3i recumbent exercise bike has an Intelli-Key feature which prompts you through the console functions by using intelligent lights on the buttons, which automatically flash when they require being pressed. It’s equipped with a large, multi-color LCD display with LED backlight. 

The display covers the following workout metrics: speed, distance, time, RPM, calories, pulse. The distance can be tracked in both miles and kilometers, and speed can be calculated in both MPH and km/h. The unit can monitor your heart rate if you hold onto the EKG sensors incorporated into the armrests. However, it’s also telemetric and can read pulse wirelessly via an HR chest strap transmitter. This accessory is not included, though.

The console unit offers the possibility to input specific user data such as age, height, weight, name, and gender. This results in a more accurate calorie reading, and also offers superior personalization possibilities. This being said, the unit has two user profile settings, a great function to have if you want to use two separate custom settings, or if more than one person uses the machine.

Along with the custom user programs, the console also offers 17 preset programs and 2 heart rate programs. The 17 preset programs are divided into three categories, 5 for weight management, 5 for healthy living, and 7 for sports training. The workout program matrix is 16 rows x 20 columns. The columns of each program can be adjusted, in order to re-shape that particular program to your needs. For the two Heart Rate control programs, you will have to setup your target heart rate. The console will automatically adjust the resistance to maintain your heart rate either constant or alternating between low and high, depending on your choice.

One last aspect regarding the console fitness-oriented functions is the USB data port. This allows you to save your workout data automatically (every 20 seconds) on a USB drive, and export it into your free LifeSpan Club account, in order to monitor your progress.

In terms of amenities, there are two features that we can mention here with regards to the console. These are the sound system and the media shelf (or tablet holder). The sound system is compatible with most MP3 devices, smartphones or tablets. It has two connectors, one for your device and one for earphones. The tablet shelf is situated below the console display; it is wide enough to accommodate any tablet.

Last but not least, the console unit is easy to operate. It features Start/Stop buttons for pausing and resuming workouts and also for the quick initiation of the manual mode. The resistance is adjusted from the Up/Down arrow keys, but there also are keys for quick resistance adjustment, for the 4,8,12 and 16 difficulty settings. Also, each program category has its own key.

Assembly and Maintenance

The LifeSpan R3i recumbent exercise bike is fairly easy to put together. Its drive and resistance elements come already assembled and attached to the main frame. Thus, for assembly, you will only have to attach the base tubes, the seat with its backrest, the console mast, the console and the pedals. This shouldn’t take more than one hour. The manual provides all the instructions necessary for the assembly and the tools required for it are included.

Maintenance doesn’t require much. Basically, you just need to keep the bike clean, and periodically conduct an inspection for loose bolts and parts.

The Pros

  • Commercial grade construction;
  • Great user capacity (400 lbs);
  • Aesthetic design;
  • Large, comfortable seat, with a generous layer of foam padding;
  • Vented structure on the backrest promoting an excellent blood circulation and preventing overheating;
  • Multiple adjustment positions for the backrest;
  • 14″ of adjustment span for the whole seat assembly;
  • EKG sensors integrated into the armrests;
  • Automatic, eddy current resistance, with 16 available settings;
  • Very smooth, almost silent drive;
  • Large, multi-color LCD display with LED backlight which improves its readability;
  • Intelli-key function which simplifies the console operation; 
  • 17 preset programs, 2 custom user profiles, 2 HR programs;
  • Telemetric console (can read pulse via an HR chest strap transmitter);
  • USB port for workout data transfer into your free LifeSpan Club account;
  • Sound system included;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Consistent warranty plan.

The Cons

  • No bottle holder;
  • No cooling fan;
  • No Bluetooth connectivity.
  • A tablet placed on the media holder will partially cover the console display and the program buttons.


The LifeSpan R3i is a commercial grade recumbent bike, featuring an automatic eddy current resistance system, with 16 difficulty levels. It offers 21 workout programs, and the possibility to transfer your workout data into your free LifeSpan Club account via USB. It has an extremely sturdy construction, being able to support riders up to 400 lbs. It also excels in comfort factors featuring an adjustable, padded seat, and a reclining backrest.

It’s a fitness machine for users of all levels, great for recovery training, light cardio, but also for high-intensity cardio, interval training, stamina development, and weight loss. You can burn up to 5-600 calories per hour on this machine, depending on the programs or resistance levels you use. And finally, it may not be one of the most affordable trainers, but considering its exceptional sturdiness and its consistent palette of features, we can safely say that it offers excellent value for the price.

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