Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Exercise Bikes

Precor UBK 835 Upright Exercise Bike Review

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Part of the Experience Series 830 Line, the Precor UBK 835 Upright Bike offers a wide variety of preset training programs, configuration options, and ergonomic build design that promotes more efficient and effective workouts.

In this review we take an in-depth look at what it means to be part of the Experience series, fitness goals the workout programs will help you achieve, and benefits of the P30 console, to help you decide if this is the best choice of exercise bike for your own home gym.

Experience Series premium design features

Precor UBK 835 Upright Exercise Bike

Precor’s Experience Series contains the same high quality treadmills, ellipticals, climbers, and exercise bikes that find in commercial gyms and fitness centers worldwide. But what does this mean for the UBK 835?

Your workouts can benefit from a full range of customization and entertainment options, from the interchangeable saddle and pedals through to user profiles and custom workout programs via the P30 console.

We look at each of these features in much greater detail later in our review, but we first wanted to focus on the design.

If you’re researching any of the upright (UBK) or recumbent (RBK) exercise bikes in the Experience Series, you’ll probably notice the term ‘K.O.P.S.’ biomechanics.

Knee Over Pedal Spindle (K.O.P.S.) geometry aims to create and maintain an optimal cycling motion that’s beneficial to your fitness, at the same time as reducing shear force on your knees and any impact on your joints.

This results in a more efficient cycling motion and combines with the tapering ergonomic design of the seat to ensure you remain comfortable during longer workouts.

The overall width of the handlebars has also been designed with ergonomics in mind, as the forearms can be positioned more directly under the shoulders for more even upper body weight distribution. This also means that the wrists can remain in a natural, neutral position.

Configuring the bike to your preferred cycling style

One area of design that isn’t often talked about when it comes to indoor fitness equipment is the customization options that are available to help improve the quality of your cycle.

This may be because few companies actually offer these features on the scale that Precor does on the UBK 835, with its dual-sided pedals, multi-position handlebars, and simple one-handed seat adjustment. But the adjustment options alone aren’t what makes this bike special.

One of the reasons you’re buying an indoor exercise bike may be to supplement the outdoor cycling you do once the weather turns colder. You may also want to closely match your cycling position during spinning classes at your local gym.

The seat and pedals can be replaced with your own for a custom workout
The seat and pedals can be replaced with your own for a custom workout experience

Although the handlebar and seat height adjustments will help with posture, you’re still going to want the same feeling when sitting on the saddle, same support on your forearms in the racing position, and same secure foot hold via the pedals.

Precor have designed the UBK 835 with this in mind, which is why the over-molded handlebars have heart rate hand sensors in two positions, and added width for your forearms in the racing position for enhanced comfort and durability.

The pedals and seat are both interchangeable, meaning you can replace them with parts that closely match the bike you use for outdoor cycling.

One last customization option that we briefly mentioned above is the use of dual-sided pedals. This allows you to choose between cycling with or without the integrated straps, which will affect which lower body muscle groups you use during your workouts.

Precor UBK 835 Upright Exercise Bike

Precor UBK 835 – Features Summary

  • Handlebar design offers three riding positions – upright, cruising, and road racing.
  • Ergonomic seat design with comfort groove.
  • Universal seat post allows easy installation of your own saddle.
  • Touch and telemetry heart rate monitoring with Smart Rate instantly analyze your heart rate when you enter your age and weight.
  • Smart Rate helps you stay in your fat burn, cardio or peak target zone for a more efficient cardio and weight-loss workout.
  • Dual-sided pedals can be used without the pedal straps.
  • Pedals can be replaced with your own for a custom workout.

P30 Display console design

Precor currently have 4 main types of display console – the P10, P20, P30, and P80 (TRM 885 treadmill, AMT 885, UBK 885 upright bike).

Precor UBK 835 Upright Exercise Bike

The UBK 835 features the P30 console, which uses motion controls and an LED-based console to keep you updated with your most important workout feedback.

Although you don’t have the touch interface and large, full-color display screen of the P80, you can still purchase additional attachments to enhance the entertainment options on offer.

This includes a wireless entertainment cap for access to a selection of audio channels, and their 15″ Personal Viewing System (PVS) for a more immersive cycling experience.

Despite offering a wide range of functions, Precor have managed to do this in a way that doesn’t make the console feel too crowded, grouping the buttons in such a way that makes it much more intuitive to use.

The top half of the console is where you’ll find all your important workout feedback, with metrics such as pace, average speed, heart rate, and calories burned.

The lower half of the console is where you’ll find buttons for quickly accessing preset workouts, starting a program, and entering information when setting up your user profile.

There is also a central section which holds the largest of the display screens, and provides accurate feedback of your progress through the current workout program using a graph.

Adjusting the feedback and resistance levels
Aside from the workout selection and user profile selection, the P30 console includes a number of configurable equipment settings. This includes more basic information such as setting the feedback to metric or imperial units of measurement, but also the ability to affect the resistance level.

Although the 25 resistance levels will always remain, there are 3 base intensity levels – high, medium and low – that can be used to control how challenging they are. This can be ideal for home environments, where you may not want younger children using the higher resistance settings right away.

You might have also noticed that there’s a free space alongside the upper text display and lower display screens. Because the console is attached to an upright bike (the UBK 835) this will actually remain blank. However, if you were to attach the P30 to one of Precor’s AMT machines, then this would describe the length of your steps.

Likewise, if you were to use the P30 console with one of their EFX crosstrainers, this would display the muscles you use during your workout via the Muscle Monitor.

Preset workout programs

Varying your workouts is one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase your motivation towards a fitness goal. But unless the equipment you’re using features a suitable collection of preset or custom workout programs, then you may never achieve your full potential due to a process called ‘muscle adaptation’.

Muscle adaptation is the process whereby the human body becomes increasingly efficient at performing a task the more it’s performed. In most circumstances this would be beneficial, but for workouts where we’re looking to shock our muscles and cardiovascular system into increasing our fitness and strength levels on a regular basis, this process is far from ideal.

12 preset programs and a fitness test help ensure consistent progress towards your goals
12 preset programs and a fitness test help ensure consistent progress towards your goals

It’s for this reason that the P30 console has been included with the UBK 835 upright bike, as it contains 12 different preset workout programs, as well as an accurate fitness test for measuring your progress.

To help make it easier to identify which workout relates to your specific fitness goal, Precor have collected these programs into 6 unique groups.

6 groups, 12 unique workouts:

  • Manual – Offers you complete control over when the resistance level changes and the duration of your workout.
  • Heart Rate – Basic Heart Rate Control (HRC). If your priority is aerobic conditioning, this is the workout program for you.Precor use the advanced formula below to calculate your maximum heart rate, then set 70% of this as your target level. The UBK 835 is both touch and telemetry enabled for increased accuracy.
    Target heart rate = 70% x (207 – (0.67 x your age))

    As part of a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the formula above was found to be more accurate than the previously agreed upon formula of (220 – age).

  • Interval – 1-1, 1-2, and 1-3 Interval programs, Custom Intervals. 3 different preset intensity levels of interval program and the ability to create your own.The custom intervals let you specify the length of the work and rest periods before you start your workout, with a minimum recovery time of 1 minute, and a maximum work duration of 30 minutes per round.
  • Weight Loss – Weight Loss / Fat Burner. A time-based workout with a fixed 28 minute duration, designed to assist with your weight loss goals.The profile shown on the console’s display screen will resemble an extended interval program, with 4 minutes of low intensity cycling, followed by the same period of high intensity cycling. The aim is to maintain a steady heart rate of between 50% and 70%.
  • Variety – Random, Cross Country, and Custom Workouts. The perfect combination of workout options for adding variety to your training routine.Random creates a different training profile each time you use it, Cross Country emulates the changes in resistance that outdoor hill cycling can bring, and custom workouts allow you to create your own specialist workout profiles using a combination of time and resistance levels.
  • Performance – Hill Climb, Watts Target, and Fitness tests. While the Hill Climb and Watts Target programs are designed to increase muscle activation, Fitness tests can be used to measure your improvements over time.Watts Target requires you to maintain a constant power output or between 30 and 400 watts. Based more on the energy you put into your cycling and less on the resistance level, this is the ideal choice for everything from improving muscle tone (high watts target) through to promoting recovery (low watts target).

Ease of assembly / Maintenance required

Assembly instructions combine text with diagrams for increased clarity

After reviewing dozens of different cardio machines from Precor, we’ve come to realise that the user manuals they produce for assembling and operating their equipment are the highest quality you can expect from any fitness equipment company.

Not only do you have comprehensive parts lists and exploded drawings showing how everything fits together, but you also have entire sections dedicated to safety, maintenance, and servicing.

The UBK 835 upright bike is no different, with detailed explanations of how to complete each step, broken down into chapters for easier navigation.

As part of their Experience series, you also have additional information about how to connect the P30 console. This is also a straightforward process, but it can be useful having a full explanation of where the various cables connect and what they relate to.

The entire assembly process shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes, including the connection of the console and configuring your first user profile.

Low level of maintenance
Although the UBK 835 doesn’t have the same intricate motor design and running deck as a treadmill, it’s still important to be able to keep each of the moving parts running smoothly.

Not only will this benefit the quality of your workouts, but it will also help reduce the likelihood of having to schedule a technician to look at any internal issues.

Precor have made this much simpler by covering the internal belt-drive system with a removable shroud, allowing you to quickly gain access to the system that controls the resistance and pedal motion.

This isn’t something that you necessarily have to do every time you use the bike (recommended as part of a quarterly maintenance routine), but Precor do recommend that you clean the P30 console after every workout, with a solution that’s 30 parts water to 1 part Simple Green using a lint-free cloth.

In terms of ongoing maintenance that’s really all there is, and is pretty much what you would have to expect from any exercise bike to keep it in top condition.

What’s included with the warranty?

  • Frame and welds: Lifetime
  • Parts and wear items: 10 years
  • Labor: 1 year

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

5 / 5

When it comes to workout variation, the UBK 835 is clearly a significant upgrade over the earlier UBK 815 and UBK 615 models, with twice the number of programs.

As with the UBK 615 from Precor's Assurance Series, the 835 is self-powered, meaning you aren't restricted with its positioning, with transport wheels and base levellers making it easier to move around.

The over-molded handlebars are a real benefit, as they provide the kind of support and cushioning that we would usually only expect to find on high-end spinning bikes.

Being LED-based, the console feedback is easy to read, with a console that's large enough to space out the buttons, yet streamlined to improve the overall aesthetic appeal.

Even with the ergonomic frame design, lengthy warranty coverage, and variety of workouts, the ability to create a more immersive cycling experience using the optional Entertainment Cap and PVS puts the UBK 835 at a major advantage over similarly priced upright bikes.

Product dimensions: 48" (L) x 21" (W) x 62" (H) Product weight: 160 lbs Weight limit: 350 lbs

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