The Horizon Fitness RC-30 Recumbent Exercise Bike has an impressive collection of 5 star ratings on their website and on Amazon. It provides you with 8 workout programs and 8 resistance levels, to help improve your personal fitness.
These are two of the features that we wanted to pay close attention to in our review. This is in addition to the workout programs, assembly instructions, customer reviews, and display console design.
So is the Horizon RC-30 a recumbent bike worth buying?
If you’re looking for a form of exercise that’s low impact but can still raise your heart rate enough to burn calories and lose weight, a recumbent bike like the Horizon Fitness RC-30 is usually the best option.
The reclined seat position with an extra wide padded seat provides additional lumbar support which can help relieve stress on your lower back during longer workouts.
There’s also no need to worry about stepping over the frame or climbing onto footplates like you would with upright bikes or ellipticals, thanks to the walk-through frame design.
This makes it much easier to walk in front of the display console and adjust the seat position to the ideal setting for your height before you even sit down.
Unlike spin bikes, the weight of the flywheel isn’t so much of an issue with recumbent bikes, making it difficult to make fair comparisons between other bikes at the same price point.
But at 10 lb in weight, this seems to be enough to provide a smooth cycling motion at all resistance levels, regardless of the preset workout program you’re following.
This may also be influenced by Horizon’s FreeSPIN pedal-stopping technology, which has been used for the braking system.
If you’re not sure whether you will need to move the bike to another location after the setup or between workouts, having the handle attached to the rear stabilizer certainly makes it a little easier.
Horizon Fitness RC-30 – Features Summary
- Recumbent exercise bike for low-impact exercise in the home
- Programmable resistance system with 8 levels
- 10-pound flywheel
- 8 workout programs, including manual, intervals, weight loss, and custom
- Large LCD console for feedback
Display console design
When it comes to the display console, there are a number of features we loved, but also a few things we feel could have really improved the experience.
Firstly, the large LCD makes it easier to track your speed, distance, calories burned, resistance level, workout program profile, and even heart rate thanks to the integrated contact pulse grips.
Unfortunately the Horizon Fitness RC-30 doesn’t offer any form of goal tracking or data export functionality similar to what you would find on some of the Schwinn recumbents.
Although you can still maintain a written training log with your total stats for each workout, it would still have been nice to see some form of online software where you can track your progress.
You also don’t have the same level of entertainment features, with no display shelf, cooling fan, or speakers for listening to your favourite music directly through the console.
However, none of this stops you from having an effective workout, with quick-select button functions added to make it quicker and easier to switch between different resistance levels.
This is a console that has been designed with a strong focus towards workout efficiency and effectiveness rather than entertainment and technology, which has no doubt helped to keep the price down.
Preset workout programs
Although the range of workout programs isn’t quite as wide as you get with some of the Schwinn recumbents, the 8 that are provided have still been designed to help you achieve specific fitness goals.
This includes the Manual program, Intervals, Rolling, Weight Loss, Tempo, Random, and two custom programs.
Manual – Doesn’t follow a preset profile, but instead allows you to choose your desired resistance level and cycle for a pre-determined duration.
Intervals – Although Intervals is labelled as one program, it actually offers you 10 difficulty levels, which each one offering combinations of high and low intensity cycling.
While the lower levels switch between relatively low levels of resistance (levels 1 to 3), the higher difficulty levels see you switching between levels 5 and 8, which creates a much more challenging workout.
Rolling – In a similar way to the interval program, there are also 7 different difficulty levels for the Rolling program.
These generally offer much more gentle variations in resistance, and closely resemble the more conventional ‘Hill Climb’ style workouts you may have already experienced on upright bikes.
Weight Loss – Although all programs assist with weight loss to some degree, this has been custom designed to keep your work rate at a level that’s most efficient for fat loss.
Very similar to the Rolling programs and offering 10 different difficulty levels, the Weight Loss programs see you reach a single peak of workout intensity, rather than the multiple peaks you experience in a Rolling workout.
Tempo – Rather than being able to anticipate how your workout will progress based on a dot matrix profile display, Tempo workouts simply give you cues for when to adjust your pedal speed (6 difficulty levels to choose from).
Random – With 7 difficulty levels to choose from, Random workouts are essentially a combination of all the programs we’ve already mentioned.
The highest difficulty setting sees you progressing through all 8 resistance levels multiple times throughout your workout, usually in quick succession.
Custom – After entering your bodyweight (used for improving the accuracy of calories burned feedback), you can manually set the resistance level for each segment of a workout plan (15 segments to fill).
These custom programs will be stored when you turn your console off and on, and can be an excellent way to add some unique variation to your workouts.
Heart rate tracking is also available for all workouts, and can be activated by holding onto the heart rate hand sensors that have been built into the handles on either side of the seat.
Unfortunately this does mean that you will have to hold onto these handles throughout your workout if you want continuous feedback of your heart rate, as the console has no wireless receiver that’s compatible with external heart rate chest strap transmitters.
Ease of assembly
Before buying any new piece of fitness equipment, it can be useful to find out just how easy it is to put together.
While the customer reviews certainly do a good job of explaining any difficulties with missing parts or the quality of packaging, it’s the user manual that really describes the process best.
Unfortunately recumbent bikes do tend to require a lot more assembly than a bike that you would use for spinning workouts, but this is only really an issue in terms of the time it takes, and isn’t particularly difficult.
A quick browse through the assembly instructions in the user manual shows that Horizon Fitness have again chosen to combine instructions for two different bike models (RC-30 and RC-40) in the same document.
This isn’t actually a problem though, as the steps are actually exactly the same.
To make things easier, the main frame (flywheel enclosure) and base frame (support for the seat) arrive with many of their parts pre-assembled.
All that’s required is to connect them together and add the base stabilizers before the bike is stable enough to complete the remaining steps unassisted.
Horizon has even split the different bolts and washers into hardware bags that each relates to a specific step, making it easier to check everything you need before starting.
Due to the heart rate hand sensors in the handles, there’s a little more assembly required and a few more wires that need connecting compared to entry level recumbents.
That being said, the whole process shouldn’t take you much longer than 45 minutes to complete.
Whenever you go to look at the reviews people have left for a piece of equipment you’re considering buying, you always hope to find a high number of 5 star ratings, preferably from a high number of reviews.
Currently listed as one of the bestselling recumbent bikes on Amazon, the Horizon Fitness RC-30 manages to achieve both, with an impressive distribution of rating scores that rank this as one of the highest rated recumbent bikes online.
But it’s not just Amazon where this bike receives rave reviews – it’s also received dozens of 5 star ratings under its listing on the main Horizon Fitness website.
With so many people leaving their feedback on both sites, we decided to read through each set of reviews and combine the pros and cons into the lists below to act as a quick reference guide.
- Comfortable seat cushioning
- Magnetic resistance system is quiet to use
- You aren’t paying for features like a cooling fan or speakers that you might never use
- Easy to assemble (although can be quite time consuming)
- Long warranties
- Smooth cycling motion
- All the tools you need for the assembly are provided
- Excellent frame stability, even for higher user weights and resistance levels
- Low impact nature of the exercise makes it ideal for anyone with limited mobility or who suffers with knee
- Quick and easy seat adjustment caters for a wide range of user heights
- Variation between resistance levels is enough to provide a challenging workout
- Resistance can be changed to a preset level at the push of a button – no need to use manual tension adjustment
- Display console doesn’t allow you to save workout data to an external device or sync to your computer
- Number of workout programs and resistance levels is more limited than the Schwinn 250 or 270
- Display console could do with being better lit to make the information easier to read in low light conditions (a problem that gets resolved with the later RC-40 model by including an orange backlight)
- At over 100 lbs the bike is quite heavy to move around
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 10 years
- Parts and labor: 1 year
One of the things that stands out about fitness equipment from Horizon is the length of their warranties.
It’s generally the case that a company will offer the same level of warranty coverage across all items in a particular product range. We’ve already seen this with the popular spin bike collection from Sunny Health and Fitness, where 1 years coverage on the frame and 90 days on parts is a common theme.
But after reviewing the RC-30 and several other pieces of equipment from Horizon Fitness, it looks like they offer something altogether more impressive.
Having the 10 years on the frame sets this recumbent at the same level as the top of the range recumbents from Schwinn, while the 1 year coverage on labor far exceeds the 90 days they offer on bikes like the 270.
Very few models offer a more impressive warranty, with those that do usually costing several hundred dollars more to buy.
About Horizon Fitness
Horizon is part of Johnson Health Tech, one of the largest manufacturers of fitness equipment in the world. They are committed to designing, engineering, and manufacturing superior products for health clubs and homes.
Every stage of manufacturing has a testing phase and 10 percent of Horizon’s products go through a rigorous quality inspection that includes completely taking them apart and reassembling them.