The LifeSpan Fitness S2 Indoor Cycle is the latest generation of spin bike to become part of their Sports Series, with clear improvements over their earlier S1 design.
This review takes a look at what’s been upgraded, as well as the customer reviews, display console options, and some alternatives for the interchangeable seat and pedals.
Part of the LifeSpan Sports Series
If you haven’t heard of LifeSpan Fitness before, they’re essentially a company that designs products to improve your health in every aspect of your day to day life.
Although they’re probably most well known for their high quality treadmill range, they also offer everything from spin bikes to treadmill desks as part of their home and workplace fitness solutions.
The LifeSpan Fitness S2 is the spinning style bike that forms part of their residential range of equipment, which also includes the R3i Recumbent Bike and C3i Upright Bike.
As the second generation of bike in their Sports Series, LifeSpan have made a number of clear improvements over their earlier S1 design.
This includes increasing the weight of the flywheel from 31 lbs to 40 lbs and reducing the width of the frame for a more compact footprint.
These changes have clearly been made as performance improvements, and they haven’t touched the already impressive weight limit of 300 lbs, or the PVC dipped coating on the handlebars that makes them so much easier to grip.
LifeSpan Fitness S2 – Features Summary
- Indoor training bike mimics the natural feel of cycling outdoors
- Heavy-gauge steel frame, 40-pound balanced flywheel, and Poly-V drive belt
- Fully adjustable seat and handlebars make it easy to ride in proper position
- Seat and pedals are interchangeable with any standard bike components
- Tension Control: Micro-adjustment knob, felt pad friction control
- Handlebars: Multi-position, PVC-dipped with height and fore/aft adjustments
- Pedals: Alloy with sealed bearings
- Transport: Front-mounted wheels
- Footpads: Four, adjustable levelling
Flywheel and resistance system
Of course, with the increase in flywheel weight and various other feature upgrades, there was always going to be a slight price increase.
However, we don’t feel this has been overdone, and at its current price of just under $500, has positioned itself as some serious competition to bikes like the M4 from Horizon Fitness, and the Schwinn IC2.
The way resistance is generated and design of the flywheel and crank system is also very similar, with LifeSpan opting for a chain drive instead of belt drive.
This doesn’t make a huge amount of difference to the smoothness of the cycling motion, although it can reduce what little noise there is down to practically nothing.
The only bike we’ve come across to offer the belt drive system is the SF-B1002, although even this has a chain driven version as an alternative.
In terms of the resistance system, you’re generally faced with one of two options when it comes to spin bikes.
Either a friction pad rubs against the perimeter of the flywheel, or there’s a set of internal magnets that apply force to the flywheel to make it more difficult to rotate, thereby increasing the resistance.
Much like the spin bikes in the collection from Sunny Health and Fitness, the LifeSpan Fitness S2 uses a single friction pad system, with a micro adjustment knob being used to control the pressure applied to the flywheel.
There are really only two downsides to the felt friction pad system:
- 1. Slight increase in maintenance – Felt pads vary between manufacturer in terms of how long they last, but they will inevitably become worn down before other components of the bike.
They can also be quite difficult to buy separately, with the warranty classifying them as ‘wear items’, meaning they’re only covered for 90 days.
That’s why we always recommend contacting LifeSpan directly should you need replacements.
- 2. No internal magnet – With bikes that use a magnetic resistance system, there’s a small magnet that rotates with the flywheel.
If your chosen model of bike doesn’t have a performance monitor but you want to attach one, they will generally require this magnet to be in place, as the sensor for the console measures its rotations and speed.
This isn’t always the case though, and there are some relatively inexpensive consoles you can pick up separately to the S2 if tracking workout performance is important to you.
Display console design
Unfortunately the LifeSpan Fitness S2 is part of the majority of spin bikes with its lack of display console.
Whereas recumbent and upright bikes at this price point are heavily based around their feedback and built-in workout programs, spin bikes usually don’t include any form of performance monitor.
But providing you can attach a small magnet to the flywheel and clip on the sensor to one of the uprights that make up the front A frame, you can still track workout information that can be used to measure your progress.
In fact, some of the bestselling designs from CatEye – such as the Velo 8 and Velo 9, work in this exact way, and are available for around $20 each.
This particular system works via a system of cable ties, which are used to attach the sensor clip to the frame, and keep the cable out of the way of the flywheel when you feed it back up to the monitor.
As long as the magnet that’s supplied with the monitor can attach to the flywheel without coming into contact with the frame on its rotation, this gives you feedback on a wide range of useful information.
This gives you the option to view the current, average, and maximum for your distance, time, speed, and calorie consumption, as well as including an odometer function.
Ease of assembly
As seems to be the case with some of the equipment from Horizon Fitness, the user manual for the LifeSpan Fitness S2 also includes details and assembly instructions for the S1.
This shouldn’t be the cause of any confusion though, as the instructions for the two bikes have been kept entirely separate, and it actually provides a useful way to compare their differences.
In terms of the parts the bike arrives in, LifeSpan appear to have taken a similar approach to Sunny Health and Fitness, with the main frame, flywheel, crank system, and adjustment knobs already pre-assembled.
Having this much of the bike already setup for you by the time you unpack the box has a number of benefits.
Firstly, it saves you time that you would otherwise have to spend on putting these pieces together, and secondly it helps prevent any possible damage to the frame prior to delivery.
All the tools you need to complete the remaining assembly are provided, with just the base stabilizers, handlebars, pedals, and seat left to attach.
As soon as you’re finished installing the remaining parts, all it takes is to set the seat to your desired position and adjust the base levellers to compensate for any unevenness in the floor before you’re ready to start your first workout.
Total assembly time shouldn’t be much more than 30 minutes, but it can be useful to have an extra person on-hand to lift the bike frame when you’re attaching the stabilizer bars.
At the time of writing this review, Amazon no longer lists the S1 model on their website, so it makes it difficult to make any strict comparisons between the two in terms of review ratings.
However, the M4 from Horizon Fitness is still available, and shows a slightly lower rating than the S2 after a similar number of reviews.
Although the ratings distribution is slightly higher for the M4, the S2 still carries an impressive percentage of 4 and 5 star reviews.
To provide you with a quick summary of what people thought after buying, we thought it might be helpful if we read through each of these reviews, then summarise the major pros and cons in the lists below.
- Very easy assembly – 90% of the bike comes already assembled
- Solid construction improves stability during high intensity workouts
- Quiet flywheel motion
- Pedals are interchangeable with other 9/16″ designs, such as the Wellgo WPD-823
- Extended warranty coverage for parts and labor available to the same 5 years that the frame is covered for
- Fore/Aft seat adjustment ensures a more natural cycling posture for a wider range of user heights
- Excellent customer service
- Free shipping
- High quality parts
- Some reviewers found the seat to be quite uncomfortable during longer workouts. However, this was made more comfortable after they purchased a gel seat cover, with designs like the Cloud-9 from Sunlite available for just $20
- Lack of fore/aft adjustment for the handlebars
- No display console included as standard
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 5 years
- Parts: 1 year
- Labor: 1 year
- Wear Items: 90 days (friction pad, seat, and pedals)