With a compact frame design and weight limit that equals that of the Exerpeutic 900XL, the Marcy ME709 Recumbent Mag Cycle is quickly building up its own equally impressive collection of customer reviews.
Our review takes a closer look at its design features, console functions, and customer feedback as well as comparing the ME709 to the Phoenix 99608. This is to help you find the best recumbent bike for your own home workouts.
Seat adjustment and frame design
Unlike upright bikes that have a fairly universal style of vertical seat adjustment, the seats for recumbent bikes tend to be adjustable in one of two ways.
Either the base frame can have its length adjusted, or the seat can glide along a rail, locking in place at clearly defined settings designed for a variety of user heights.
The Marcy ME709 falls into the former category of adjusting the base frame, which is fine for if the same person will be using the bike every time, but possibly not ideal if you’re looking for a bike the whole family can use.
In this case, for the same budget, you would probably do better with a bike like the 900XL from Exerpeutic, which offers the sliding seat style design instead. The only noticeable difference is in the time it takes to adjust the bike to suit your height.
As with any form of exercise, the easier you can make it to start, the more likely you are to continue on a regular basis.
In our opinion, the sliding style of seat adjustment is a lot quicker than trying to pull apart two sections of a 60 lb+ frame and trying to secure the locking pin without completely separating the two sections.
Although it’s not the heaviest bike to move around, transport wheels attached to the front base stabilizer do make it much easier if you need to.
The overall frame design is something that’s a little more subtle, but still very interesting when compared with other bikes in this price category. We take a look at this is more detail in our comparison with the Phoenix bike later in our review.
Marcy ME709 – Features Summary
- Recumbent exercise bike with 8 levels of preset resistance
- Easy-to-adjust tension-tightening knob for different fitness levels
- Large console display tracks speed, distance, time, and calories
- Counterbalanced pedals with adjustable foot straps
Built-in transport wheels
Comfort and resistance
One of the main aims behind the design of any recumbent bike is to offer additional lower back support and a lower impact form of exercise than you would expect to find on an upright bike.
The Marcy ME709 achieves this by keeping the back support at a slight angle, with a large, well padded seat to improve the level of comfort you can expect during your workouts.
The counterbalanced foot pedals also have straps to hold your feet securely in place, allowing greater transfer of energy from your legs to the flywheel.
So that you still have the options for more challenging workouts as your fitness level increases, there are also 8 levels of magnetic resistance, which can be easily adjusted using the large hand wheel positioned within easy reach of the console.
Display console design
As with most exercise bikes at this price point, the Marcy ME709 doesn’t include any preset workout programs or a form of heart rate tracking.
It does however provide you with 8 resistance levels to choose from, which are designed to provide a challenging workout for all personal fitness levels.
Because recumbent bikes are more designed for steady-state cardio rather than interval training, the amount of accurate feedback provided is fairly limited.
As we already mentioned, there’s no need to display any workout profiles or pulse rates, resulting in a much smaller performance monitor that’s easier to use.
You also don’t have any built-in entertainment options, like speakers, MP3 connectivity, or syncing your results with online workout tracking software.
But the important thing is that for the price, you don’t lose any feedback in comparison to any other recumbent bike up to $200.
Once you get over the $200 mark, you start to come across some of the recumbent bikes from Schwinn, such as the 220 and A20 models. Both of these bikes offer a much more advanced console design, and are some of the lowest priced recumbents to also offer preset workout programs.
That being said, the LCD display for the Marcy ME709 keeps you constantly updated with your time, speed, distance, and calories burned.
As with any bike that doesn’t let you program in your weight, calories burned can provide a useful indication for your workouts on this particular piece of equipment, but the number could vary a large amount compared to what you might be used to.
Ease of assembly
If you’ve owned a recumbent bike like this before then the assembly will probably feel very familiar.
The flywheel casing and seat support frame are packaged as two separate pieces, although having the flywheel, crank system, and base frame already pre-assembled still saves you a large amount of time.
With these two sections connected and the base stabilizers attached, there’s not a whole lot more left to do, apart from building the seat and the front post for the display console.
As with most entry level recumbent bikes, it’s the connecting of the front post to the flywheel housing that proves the most difficult, due to having to join and clamp the two ends of the tension cable together.
Apart from this step, the entire process is very straightforward, with clear assembly instructions, diagrams, and parts lists used to walk you through each step in the user manual.
If connecting the tension cable doesn’t prove too much of an issue, the entire setup shouldn’t take much longer than 25 minutes.
Marcy ME709 vs. Phoenix 99608
Before making that final buying decision, it’s important to also have a solid understanding of what other recumbent bikes are available.
If you have a strict budget or want to stay within a certain range then this tends to make comparisons a lot easier.
Another recumbent bike that we’ve recently reviewed is the Phoenix 99608, which is also usually available for around the same price with many similar features.
Both bikes use a magnetic resistance system with 8 levels of resistance, and both have the same base frame adjustment system, whereby you extend the length of the frame to cater for different user heights.
This is in contrast to higher priced designs, such as the Precor RBK 835, where lifting a lever underneath the seat will allow you to slide back and forth much more smoothly to find your ideal cycling position.
One of the main differences between the two bikes is the frame profile. Whereas the Phoenix bike is raised off the ground by the front and rear stabilizers, the Marcy ME709 remains almost completely flat against the floor.
Both bikes have the same base leveller underneath the base frame length adjustment hand wheel, but having the frame this much closer to the ground certainly helps to reduce the stress placed on the frame for taller and heavier users.
To further strengthen the seat, Marcy have chosen to include a cross-brace between the base frame section and the seat support – a feature that appears to be missing from the Phoenix recumbent.
These differences in frame structure are probably why the Marcy bike offers a much more substantial 300 lb weight limit, compared to the 250 lbs offered by the 99608 model.
In summary, it certainly seems to make more sense to buy the Marcy ME709, as it has a longer warranty and stronger frame for almost exactly the same price as some of its closest competitors.
If you’ve already done a fair amount of research into entry level recumbent bikes, you might have already seen how many different models are available between $150 and $200.
Although it still has some way to go if it wants to catch up to the two recumbent bikes from Exerpeutic, the Marcy ME709 has already amassed an impressive collection of over 600 reviews.
Of course there may always be exceptions to the rule, but you don’t tend to find this many people buying and reviewing a bike that has a low average rating, and that certainly appears to be the case here.
In fact, a quick comparison between the reviews for this bike and Exerpeutic’s 900XL model shows that the rating distributions are almost identical.
It’s this sort of comparison outside of the standard features that can be so useful for showing up any consistent issues, although for the ME709 there certainly don’t appear to be many.
Because there are many hundreds of reviews, we haven’t been able to read through them all like we usually would.
Instead, we took a cross section of reviews from each rating level and put together the following lists of pros and cons based on points that were frequently mentioned as reasons why people were happy / unhappy with their purchase.
- Despite the recommended weight limit of 300 lbs, many customers in their reviews have stated they weighed much more than this (to 400 lbs+) when they started using the bike, which is testament to its strength and reliability
- Quiet to use
- Seat adjustment easily accommodates user heights of 5′ 3″ to 6′ 3″
- Variety of resistance levels
- Weight and footprint are almost identical to other recumbent bikes in this price range
- High weight capacity
- Comfortable seat
- Base frame remains low to the ground throughout, creating a convenient walk-through design which is unlike the Schwinn A20
- Adjusting the seat position means having to extend the frame, which can be more time consuming than the sliding rail designs
- Calories burned feedback isn’t always accurate
- No way to track your heart rate or store workout information
- No preset programs
- Not suitable for anyone shorter than 5 feet 2 inches tall due to the pedals being too far from the seat
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 2 years
Unfortunately the Marcy ME709 doesn’t appear to offer any sort of coverage on parts replacements, although it does cover the frame for twice as long as the warranty on the Phoenix 99608.
As with nearly all of the fitness equipment we review, this warranty is only extended to the original owner. This means that if you’re considering buying a used or refurbished model, you shouldn’t expect to receive any coverage from the manufacturer.