The ProForm 300 SPX Indoor Cycle Trainer is the more recent version of the popular 290 SPX, available at a much lower price and with many of the same impressive design features.
This review takes a look at these design features in more detail, as well as exploring the options for adding a display console. We’ll also make some important comparisons with the 290 SPX spin bike, and provide a quick summary of the customer reviews.
Position adjustment and ergonomic design
Although it’s difficult to really determine the most important feature to look for when buying a new spin bike, a comfortable and efficient posture is certainly high on the list.
That’s why the seat and handlebars each offer a wide range of height adjustment settings, with the seat also being adjustable horizontally for a short distance.
There is a limit to these height settings though, which tends to make the ProForm 300 SPX for user heights to just over 6 feet tall.
Although the seat isn’t as comfortable as your standard upright bike, this is a common feature among spin cycles, and can easily be resolved with a gel cover from Sunlite or Schwinn (ProForm don’t appear to manufacture their own).
There are also a number of features to help improve stability, including base levellers, the weight of the commercial-grade steel frame, 44 lb flywheel, and even the toe cages attached to the pedals.
Another important feature worth mentioning is the ergonomic design of the non-slip handlebars.
These differ slightly from the earlier 290 SPX in that you now have the inner set running parallel to each other. It’s this closer position that is much more effective for high intensity sprints and intervals.
Flywheel and resistance system
When it comes to buying a new spin bike, you will usually have to choose between a belt drive or chain drive flywheel system, and an eddy current or friction pad resistance system.
Each has their benefits, but the ProForm 300 SPX falls into the latter of the two categories, with a chain driven flywheel and dual friction pads creating the resistance.
As you cycle, this resistance level can be adjusted using a small control knob positioned within easy reach of the saddle, just before the handlebars.
Depending on which direction this is turned, you can either increase or decrease the intensity of your cycling workout. The red lever also acts as an emergency brake, bringing the flywheel to an immediate stop when engaged.
After reading through the customer reviews, one issue that does tend to arise with some chain driven bikes is the extra noise from the movement inside the chain guard.
If you would also like to add a belt driven spin bike to your shortlist of options but don’t want to increase your budget too much, we can recommend taking a look at the SF-B1002 from Sunny Health and Fitness.
ProForm 300 SPX – Features Summary
- Pedals with Toe Cages and Straps
- Quick-Stop Braking System
- Adjustable, Non-Slip Handlebars with Multiple Positions
- Chain Drive
- Transport Wheels
- Water Bottle Holder
- 44 lb. Flywheel
- Felt Resistance System
- Commercial-Grade Steel Frame
Compatibility with display consoles
One of the biggest differences between most mid-range / entry level spin bikes and the high end, light commercial bikes is the addition of a display console.
A common feature amongst most recumbent and upright bikes, there are surprisingly few spin bikes that provide feedback on your workout.
Unfortunately the ProForm 300 SPX isn’t supplied with a display console, and it’s not until you start looking at their GT Indoor Cycle or SB700 models that you’ll actually start to see this feature included.
Both of these bikes usually retail for between $700 and $800, but if tracking basic workout information is important to you, the Stamina CPS 9190 has a sensor clip that’s compatible with consoles you can buy separately.
In terms of price, the CPS 9190 usually retails for just under $400, with the external console costing an additional $20 to $250 depending on the model.
ProForm 290 SPX vs. ProForm 300 SPX
If you’ve already done some research on the range of spin bikes that ProForm has to offer, you’ve probably already come across the ProForm 290 SPX.
This is essentially an earlier version of the 300 model, but one which is usually available for around $200 more when we last checked on Amazon.
For such a large price difference you would probably expect to make a number of major sacrifices to the weight capacity, flywheel weight, adjustment options, or even all three.
But the fact is that these two bikes are almost identical.
The flywheel weight on both bikes weighs in at 44 lbs a piece, the weight capacity for each bike is 250 lbs, the warranty duration and coverage is the same, the handlebars adjust vertically but not horizontally, and both utilize the same dual friction pad resistance system.
Aside from the visual differences in the colour of the frame and slightly more pronounced angle in the base support of the frame, there’s really not much difference.
One thing we did notice was the new levelling design.
At the front of the bike, attached to the base stabilizer you have the set of polyurethane transport wheels. But the base stabilizer itself gives you the option to adjust the level of the bike, using the levellers placed at each of the corners.
On the earlier 290 SPX bike, this would mean you had to lift the bike up and try to rotate the feet to a point that kept the bike stable, which would usually be quite awkward to do due to its weight.
This isn’t the case with the ProForm 300 SPX cycle, where all you need to do is rotate a small dial that protrudes from each end of the bar. This removes the need for any lifting but still makes it possible to compensate for any slightly uneven ground the bike may need to be placed on.
For a bike with so many similarities to the higher priced model, it makes more sense to save yourself a couple of hundred dollars and opt for the 300 SPX.
Ease of assembly
If you’re considering buying a new spin bike and have narrowed down your list of potential options to just a few, you start to look for any subtle features that could set one bike apart from the others.
If there are enough similarities in the price and design, comparisons can start to be made between other aspects, including how easy the bike is to assemble and maintain.
This is why we also wanted to include a section on how easy the ProForm 300 SPX is to assemble, together with a brief summary on the quality of the user manual.
The first thing to mention is that the majority of the assembly has actually already been done for you by the time you start unpacking the box.
This means there’s no need to worry about connecting up the resistance system, or attaching the flywheel and water bottle holder.
Instead, in the same way as they pack their SB700 model of spin bike, you simply have to remove any shipping brackets that have been attached in place of the stabilizers, and replace them with the base stabilizers themselves.
With these attached the remainder of the setup becomes considerably easier, and all that remains is to clip on the pedals and construct the handlebar and seat units.
This doesn’t take much time at all, and the entire process should be achievable in well under 30 minutes – partly thanks to the amount of pre-assembly, and partly due to the clarity of the written and visual instructions.
All of the smaller parts you need, including the assembly tools that ProForm provide, are shrink-wrapped and attached to a piece of card, making them much easier to find and identify.
Because the ProForm 300 SPX is the newer version of the 290 SPX, it’s difficult to compare the collections of customer reviews.
But even at this early stage it seems like there are some issues with the quality of the packaging that tend to be having an impact on the distribution of ratings.
Whereas the 290 SPX has a definite trend upwards towards the 5 star level (where it received the majority of its ratings), the 300 SPX seems to be much more varied.
We’ll be keeping this review up to date with any update on the packaging situation, but this is more than likely due to the different couriers used by the vendors that list this bike on Amazon.
However, not all reviewers have this issue, and it might be worth asking which specific vendor these people bought the bike through via the designated customer questions section.
We’ve also put together a quick summary of the most frequently mentioned pros and cons that we encountered when reading through these reviews ourselves.
- Easy to assemble
- Saddle is reasonably comfortable but some people have found a gel cover to improve their cycling experience
- Solid frame design and levelling system helps prevent any unwanted movement in the bike during your workouts
- Compact footprint makes it suitable for anyone with limited space to exercise
- Mixed reviews on the noise, but most find it to be relatively quiet, with only a slight amount of additional noise as you increase the resistance due to the friction pads
- Handlebars do offer a wide variety of height positions, but don’t quite extend far enough for some reviewers who were taller than 6 feet
- Although the bike isn’t the heaviest at around 100 lbs, damage to packaging seems to be a fairly common issue
- No console provided to keep you updated with basic feedback
- Water bottle holder breaks quite easily – during transit in many cases
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 5 years
- Parts and labor: 90 days