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The Phoenix 99608 Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike has been designed with high quality features for an entry level price.
But with two bestselling Exerpeutic recumbent bikes in the same price category, is the 99608 really your best option?
This is one of the questions answered by our review. We’ll take a close look at the design features and customer reviews, as well as making some important comparisons between the bikes.
Over the past few years, recumbent exercise bikes have proven incredibly popular for cardio workouts at home.
In terms of price, although some bikes can cost $1000 or more, it’s the $100 to $200 price range that has proven to be the most successful, for obvious reasons.
The Phoenix 99608 is currently one of the most popular recumbent bike designs, alongside the range from Exerpeutic.
Due to the budget-friendly price tag, there will obviously be some sacrifices that have to be made in terms of the display console functions and certain design features.
That being said, you still have a fully adjustable seat to cater for different user heights, and 8 magnetic resistance levels to provide a challenging workout without making too much noise.
Unfortunately the base frame is raised slightly off the round, which means it doesn’t classify as a classic walk-through design.
However, the frame is still low enough and there is enough of a gap between the seat and the flywheel casing to make getting on and off the seat extremely easy.
The seat itself only measures 17.5 inches off the ground, which is fine if you are looking for a bike for low impact cardio, but perhaps not ideal if you need a bike for rehabilitative exercise at the advice of a physical therapist.
In this case, you’re probably going to want a seat that’s closer to 24 inches off the ground, in which case you might be better off with something like the Exerpeutic 400XL.
The Exerpeutic bike also offers an extra 50 lb weight capacity, with a 300 lb recommended limit.
- Recumbent exercise bike with ultra-quiet magnetic resistance system
- 8 resistance levels with adjustment dial
- Comfortable step-through frame
- Easy-to-read monitor measures time, speed, distance, and calories
- Tough tubular steel frame
- Sturdy pedals with secure foot straps
- Frame adjusts to different lengths for users of different heights
- Hand dial for easy resistance changes
- Frame is 2″ round stabilizers and 3″ rectangular tubing
Comfort and ergonomics
Like most recumbent bikes, the Phoenix 99608 is designed to keep you in a comfortable position, that’s slightly reclined to reduce the pressure on your lower back.
Although you can certainly expect to find more comfortable seats with thicker padding and more ergonomically moulded seat and back supports on the higher priced models, this still does an excellent job of keeping you supported where you need it most.
The handles on either side of the seat have also been created with a slight upwards angle, which helps to create a much more relaxed upper body position compared to the handlebars you can expect to find on upright or spin bikes.
By maintaining a more comfortable position while you cycle, this can result in longer workouts, more calories burned, and faster achievement of your fitness goals.
Display console functions
As we mentioned earlier, there are a number of sacrifices that need to be made when buying an entry level bike, compared to buying one of the high-end light commercial models.
One of these is the design of the display console and the range of functions it has to offer.
Although the labelling on the console says that the screen displays the number of calories burned during a workout, this is a measurement that isn’t entirely accurate.
Accuracy with feedback like this requires you to enter at least your weight, and even then it’s a difficult measurement to provide, as there are many factors that affect a person’s rate of calorie burn.
You do however have some useful feedback options in being able to see your time, speed, and distance.
Due to the size of the LCD screen, these stats can’t all be displayed at the same time, so you will need to use the ‘Mode’ button to scroll through until you find the information that you want to see.
This basic display console design isn’t confined to just the Phoenix 99608 though, and is something that you have to expect if you are thinking about buying any exercise bike in this price range.
Ease of assembly
Being one of the lightest recumbent bikes available (59 lbs) certainly has its advantages, which includes being much easier to move around than its higher priced competitors.
This also makes it much easier to assemble, with no need for any heavy lifting or awkward monitor cable connections.
There’s really not much to do in terms of assembling the bike, but the user manual still provides enough instructions to make the whole process a little quicker.
Due to the limited number of parts and straightforward setup, it shouldn’t take much longer than 20 minutes to go from having the parts on the floor, to starting your first workout.
Phoenix 99608 vs. Exerpeutic 900XL vs. Marcy ME709
While there are many more recumbent bikes that we could have compared within the $100 to $200 price range, these were the 2 designs that we felt were closest to the 99608 in terms of price and ratings.
The first feature to compare between these bikes is the seat adjustment system, which tends to fall into one of two categories; seat adjustment, and base frame adjustment.
Of the three, the Exerpeutic 900XL is the only one to offer direct seat adjustment.
The other two bikes require you to actually adjust the length of the frame, which has the effect of altering the seat’s distance from the pedals.
With most bikes, this base frame adjustment tends to receive a lot of comments in the customer reviews about how difficult it is.
Generally speaking, if you’re going to be the only person using the bike, then it shouldn’t matter too much which design you choose.
However, if more than one person will be using the bike, this will usually require seat adjustment to match the different user heights. In this case it’s much more efficient to choose a design like the Exerpeutic 900XL, as the seat can be adjusted much more quickly.
There’s not a great deal of difference between the bikes in terms of weight, with each weighing 60 – 70 lbs.
The dimensions are also similar, although if space is really an issue, the Phoenix 99608 does measure 2 inches larger on all dimensions compared to the Exerpeutic.
All three bikes offer 8 levels of magnetic resistance, with the Exerpeutic model providing a weight capacity that’s 50 lbs higher than the other two bikes, at 300 lbs.
If you’re looking for an entry level recumbent that also offers a collection of workout programs, the Weslo Pursuit CT 2.0 R comes with 4 workout apps and is available for only about $20 more than the Phoenix.
If you thought that because the Phoenix 99608 had a low price tag that it would only have a very mediocre collection of reviews, you would be wrong.
With well over 100 reviews currently available on Amazon alone, this isn’t just one of the most popular recumbent bikes, it’s also one of the highest rated.
In fact, over 80% of these 100+ reviews rate the bike at 4 stars or more, proving that despite the short warranty this is an excellent choice for anyone on a budget.
One of the reasons we tend to use Amazon for our review research is that they usually have the most reviews and questions to read through, which may be due to them selling the bike at the best price we’ve found online.
While we will always recommend reading through these reviews yourself to get a better idea of how suitable the bike is to your own fitness goals, we’ve also provided a quick summary of the pros and cons below.
These have been taken directly from the reviews available on ecommerce sites, and are some of the reasons behind the high ratings.
- Quick to assemble
- Easy to operate
- Challenging range of resistance levels for someone that’s starting their first fitness program, but probably not enough for someone with a few years experience
- Silent to use, even at higher resistance levels
- Reclined seat position relieves pressure on your wrists and lower back
- Compact footprint
- Lightweight frame design makes it easy to move around if needed, even without transport wheels
- You aren’t paying for a lot of display console technology that you may never use
- Display console provides basic but useful feedback on your workout
- Lack of display console features, such as speakers, preset workout programs, MP3 connectivity, and workout tracking
- Calorie counter isn’t always accurate
- Some reviewers gave a lower rating as they bought this for HIIT. This isn’t a bike suitable for HIIT due to the fairly limited resistance range and the fact that it’s a recumbent bike. HIIT requires high intensity, which means you would be better off with an upright or spin bike
- Seat cushioning compresses fairly easily
- Seat settings are only suitable if you are between 5 feet 2 inches and a little over 6 foot tall
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 1 year
Whenever you’re buying a recumbent bike at this price point you have to expect that the warranty won’t be the same as the higher priced models from the likes of Schwinn and ProForm.
That being said, the 1 year coverage on the frame is still considerably more than the 90 days offered by Weslo on their Pursuit CT 2.0 R bike.
The Exerpeutic 900XL does come with a warranty that’s a bit more impressive, (3 years coverage), but the Exerpeutic 400 XL offers the same as the Phoenix model.
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We go to great lengths to ensure that our reviews are completely comprehensive, usually covering everything from the design features to the warranty coverage and exercise options. This is all to help guide you towards the home gym equipment that’s best suited to your goals and budget, whilst also being the highest quality option in your chosen price range.