I like upright cycles. They are a comfortable, accessible form of cardio that can be adapted to any need. If you’re looking to build muscular size and power, take the resistance way up and perform sprints or HIIT routines. If you’re going for endurance, take mile after mile at an easier pace.
If you’re after weight loss, practice a mixture of all styles.
Upright cycles are a great addition to a home gym. They don’t take up as much room as items like treadmills and rowing machines, have great versatility, and can boost your fitness to the next level. For me, bikes like ProForm’s Studio Bike Pro 22 are always a good bet.
The Pro 22 is well built, well designed, with great software options to keep your training interesting, well informed, and incredibly effective. I would very happily choose it over most other models – but let’s take a look at how it truly stacks up in my full ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22 review.
Studio Bike Pro 22: First Impressions
The ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22 looks light and elegant, as above. It’s not, however. It comes in at 144lbs (roughly 65kg). This is exactly what you want in an upright cycle. You can feel like you’re flying even as you’re completely, firmly planted, with very little wobble.
It’s also actually far larger than you would imagine from looking at it. Though sleek, it has quite a large footprint. It comes in at 56.5” x 21.9” x 54”. This is a bit larger than some other models, which can be a blessing and a curse. You will obviously need to find the space for it if you’re using it at home, which may be tricky. However, if you can, that large footprint adds to the already quite formidable stability.
Other than this, it’s a lovely looking machine with iFit capability – which means I will always be excited to try it out.
ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22 Specs And Features
It’s not just tough on paper. The machinery can take the strain. The Pro 22 features an inertia-enhanced flywheel and silent magnetic resistance, which should indeed run almost soundlessly whilst giving you buckets of resistance. You should be able to perform Herculean feats of cycling on it without anyone in your household being any the wiser.
Perfect for an at-home cardio machine.
You would imagine that this would translate into a decent user upper weight limit. The Pro 22 isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. It can only take users up to 250lbs, so around 115kg. This should suit most athletes, but not all.
This is especially disappointing given that it’s an upright cycle. As a trainer, I always advise athletes looking to lose weight to use them. Cycling is a great way to help open up a calorie deficit, which is needed for weight loss. If you’re carrying too much extra fat, other, more impactful forms of cardio like running can be dangerous – your joints can’t take it. Cycling fixes this problem, giving a hard workout without putting any undue stress into the joints.
However, this is a niggle. To all other athletes, the Pro 22 should be a great investment in both money and time.
The ride it gives you is great. The silent magnetic resistance offers 24 separate difficulty increments. This means that you can find the perfect spot for your own needs, go at whatever pace your training dictates, and that changes between increments will be very smooth (as they are quite slight).
The Pro 22’s pedals are dual sided, which means they have toe clips on one side and straps on the other. This makes it great for serious cyclists who like to use clip ins, but it won’t put off anyone training in normal gym shoes.
The seat and handlebars are fully adjustable – both vertically and horizontally – so that all users at all heights should be able to find the right fit for themselves.
Though it’s on the heavier, larger side, the Pro 22 is actually pretty portable. It has front wheels that make it incredibly simple and easy to move around. If you don’t want it out all the time and have a handy bit of storage space for it, you’re onto a good thing, here.
The Pro 22 has Bluetooth connectivity to sync with Bluetooth headphones throughout your workout, can be synced with the SmartBeat Forearm Heart Rate Monitor, and needs to be plugged into an electrical socket. A generous screen hooks you up to iFit, which I’ll go into more detail on below.
You get a 10-year warranty on the frame, two years on parts, and one year on labour, which is all very reasonable and pretty standard stuff.
Using The ProForm Studio Bike Pro 22
The Pro 22’s large HD touchscreen display is fantastic, which is what I have come to expect from all ProForm products. You get a year’s free subscription to iFit, ProForm’s go-to training programme. It is around thirty quid a month thereafter (I would suggest you pay this, as iFit is great, but you can still use the Pro 22 without it).
iFit is always a great addition to any exercise regime. It comes with over 16,000 live and on-demand classes across multiple disciplines, from cycling to strength, from yoga to HIIT. Professional trainers and fitness experts put together fantastic classes, both on-demand and in-person, so you needn’t ever get bored or run out of new ways to train and test yourself.
The 22” HD touchscreen display swivels 180 degrees, so you can take classes both on and off the bike. This means you can make the most of iFit’s aerobic and yoga classes, which I love. You can also invest in a cheap set of dumbbells and get some decent resistance work in under their trainers’ expert instruction.
There is no fan with the Pro 22. I’m spoilt in wanting one, but I do want one… come summer, you may have to purchase a separate one to clip on (or at least invest in some waterproof flooring for all the sweat that will inevitably be pouring off you!).
Other than the lack of a fan, the Pro 22 is incredibly comfortable and easy to use.
The saddle is the nice point between padded and firm. It’s well-shaped, too, so there should be no awful bum ache ten minutes into your training. In fact, you can go for a couple of hours without it aching (you can probably go longer, I just didn’t have it in me to!). You can also install your own seat if you want, as it comes built with a universal stem.
The pedal action is nice. Everything is so well adjustable, that you can get the stride you need. I went unclipped, as I’m far from a hardcore cyclist, and my feet were perfectly comfortable in a simple pair of Chuck Taylors.
Then there is the weightiness and support. I tried out a few HIIT and sprint classes. I’m lower body strong – though I can’t bench much, I can squat multiple times my bodyweight and a sprint session will generally see me tear a machine to pieces if I really go for it. The Pro 22 felt like it could take me on for hours without flinching!
Overall, it’s a joy to use. It’s comfortable yet strong, easy to move, comes with great hardware and software, and gives you a dizzying array of training options through its decent touchscreen and iFit capability.
Alternative – The Bluefin Fitness Tour SP Bike
I wouldn’t recommend going with any other upright cycle per se. Don’t get me wrong, there are fantastic options out there. Heaven knows there are cheaper ones. There are few that balance quality and price as ably as ProForm seem able; there are few that give you such good training options in a price bracket that most of us could stretch to.
However, upright cycling may not be for everyone. Some of us would be better off going for spin bikes, especially if we’re looking to build speed and lose weight. If you’ve ever tried it out, you’ll know what an amazing workout it can provide. During training, your heart rate will generally be in the sought-after orange zone – 85%+, perfect for fat burning and raising the metabolism through afterburn. Your legs will be on fire, specifically your quads, and you will be drenched in sweat within minutes.
The Bluefin Fitness Tour SP Bike would be my go to spin bike. It’s a cool, stylish machine, elegantly made and smart-looking in the corner of any room. It scores a good many points on looks alone.
However, the Bluefin Fitness Tour SP Bike has more to offer than just a pretty face.
Comfort and convenience seem to be the bywords on Bluefin’s mind when they designed at build the Fitness Tour SP Bike. Its functionality is impeccable. It is tough and sturdy, ready to take you on for hours, and gives a ride like few machines can manage.
ProForm are always a good bet. Their machines are fantastic. They are well-built, well thought out, always made from high-spec materials.
However, it’s iFit that really sets you up for success with them. The good screen and the access to iFit’s 1600+ classes will take your fitness to the next level in style. If you’re going to go for an upright cycle, make sure it’s one with iFit; if you’re going for one with iFit capability, you could do a lot worse than the Pro 22.