XS Sports SB500 Review
The XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike is a bit of a step up from the standard kind of static upright bike that you might typically look at for a home gym environment. It looks like a step up – it is elegantly designed and comes in a nice, chic metallic black – and it performs like one, too.
Lower end stationary bikes are fine, up to a point. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more premium – with greater performance, greater longevity, and greater built-in, user friendly tech – for only a slight amount more money (you should get change from three hundred for this one), then the XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike may well be the model for you.
XS Sport make it their business to merge cutting edge training technology with outstanding design principles. They largely succeed in this, and the XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike is for sure one of their success stories.
With a fifteen-kilogram chain driven flywheel, heart rate sensors and sturdy frame, they have come up with a great design that should function exactly as you want it to.
But how does it stack up in reality? Let’s take a look.
XS Sports SB500 Specs
The XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike is durable, built as it is from premium quality steel it is designed to last. In fact, it can take a whopping maximum weight of 125 kg, so even larger athletes will be able to use it safely and securely.
It’s also safe in other areas, too. Firstly, XS Sports are very stringent in their quality inspection and safety tests. Each of their bikes will be the beneficiary of hundreds of hours of testing and development. The XS Sports SB500 features easily adjustable resistance and an emergency stop level to reinforce its safety credentials.
The bike isn’t small – it’s dimensions sit at 112 x 48 x 105 cm, and it weights an impressive 35.4 kilograms. However, the SB500 also features built in wheels so that, although it’s a little weighty, it is still manoeuvrable. You will be able to trundle it around and store it easily enough.
Though fully accessible to beginners, advanced athletes also have a lot to gain from using the SB500. Its fifteen-kilogram flywheel gives a reassuring level of resistance, through a wide range of gradual increments and is able to offer a smooth and fluid ride. The battery powered LCD monitor is precise and easy to use; it will give you all the data you want, including speed, distance, pulse, calories and exercise duration. The XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike was designed in collaboration with professional athletes, and each bike is also built to very high, professional standards.
The XS Sports SB500 is built to be comfortable and adaptable for most athletes. The handlebars are fully adjustable, which is always lovely and never guaranteed with upright cycles, and there are built-in arm and elbow rests. The seat itself is deeply padded, so you won’t have to worry about the bum and sitting bone ache that many upright cycles give, and it is fully adjustable in any direction.
Finally, the SB500 comes with a full 12-month warranty and a full 30-day right of return, money back guarantee.
Using The XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike
Let’s begin with some of the pros involved in using the SB500. There is a decent list of them right off the bat.
First up (and pretty importantly), it really is comfortable. The effort they have put into the seat padding, handlebar adjustment and various rests really pays off. In particular, the position and sculpt of the elbow rests is lovely. I didn’t even know that elbows could matter during cycling until I tried the SB500. Other models will just feel like a bit of a let-down afterwards!
There are some other small things that line up to make the SB500 really easy and comfortable to use. It is ergonomically shaped. Everything feels light and effortless (apart from the pedalling itself, naturally). You will find yourself naturally steered into the most comfortable and efficient position possible, allowing you to train for longer whilst being able to really bring some power to bear on your cycle.
This kind of design isn’t actually that unusual these days, but then, a lot of what makes the SB500 work well is pretty usual. XS have just done it all very well.
Case in point: the heavy flywheel. Again, weighty flywheels aren’t uncommon, though many inferior models use lighter ones. The SB500’s flywheel just feels more robust. It gives a lot of resistance when high resistance is asked for, with an incredibly tough upper threshold for those harder sessions, and the gradations between each level of resistance are very smooth. In fact, it will be tougher going in the upper ranges than most gym bikes. The belt drive is equally smooth.
The emergency brake is a nice touch, too. I didn’t personally have recourse to using it, but that’s not the point. Knowing it is there is reassuring. Any minor safety tricks that any machine can pull off are welcome. They add up, and this is a perfect example.
However, if the XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike is a lovely ointment, there are a few flies in it, unfortunately. Some of these detract from the otherwise stellar comfort on hand. Take the saddle. It really is nicely padded. There is nothing wrong with the material or the feel. However, something about the shaping is a little off. It is a little slim and a little awkward. This means that the SB500 can make it hard to ever get fully comfortable in the posterior, even as your arms and trunk are cradled perfectly.
The same is true of the pulse sensors. They are oddly positioned – I can’t quite put my finger on it (no pun intended), but they seem a little off. They are therefore quite hard to get a consistent reading from – I suspect that people with longer limbs may struggle even more than me.
It is also not a silent giant – there is a bit of noise to the XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike. The flywheel, for all that it performs brilliantly, likes to make its presence known. This can be a bit tiresome if you live with other people. The noise gets worse the harder you work, which may put you off from really pushing yourself fully if you need to bear other people in mind.
Don’t read too much into these criticisms. I make them because that is my job – they don’t do too much to spoil the overall effect. You will get an excellent workout with the XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike. It is easy to live with, fun to use, and will put you through your paces if you want it to.
Just bear the downsides in mind.
Other than this, the LCD monitor is easy to use and navigate. The frame is easy to construct when you get it. The paint is chip resistant, which is important in a machine designed to be wheeled about – it’s too good looking for you to allow the SB500 to get scruffy knocking against doorframes and skirting boards!
All of this adds up. Ignore the slightly slim seat and everything else is perfectly designed for comfort. You will find yourself brought forwards into a proper cyclist’s lean, able to push your quads incredibly hard through the tougher bits. The tougher bits will be tough because of the flywheel’s fantastic upper range and getting there will be smooth because of its smooth increments. It is a pleasure to use and a lovely way to exhaust yourself.
The XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike is not issue free. The seat, the noise, and the pulse sensors all represent an odd oversight in design quality, thrown into harsh contrast by the consistency of high quality on display elsewhere. If any of these looks set to turn you off, fair enough and maybe take a look at our spin bike buying guide here. It has to be liveable with – it has to be something that you can commit to and keep using in the long term.
However, as I said, these minor qualms are only noticeable by contrast with the otherwise excellent build and design expertise on show with the XS Sports SB500. On a lesser model, you may not even register them. They are a shame, but they are far from being dealbreakers. I would still highly encourage anybody looking for an upright cycle that will test them and be a joy to use to give the SB500 a go.
I would note that the ergonomic design and high-end nature won’t be for everyone. If you are looking for a more casual machine that allows you to sit comfortably, as you would in a chair, while you trundle away on some pedals, the SB500 will be inappropriate.
If you’re looking for something that will bring you into a cyclist’s lean, ready to put down some serious power and work up a hell of a sweat, on the other hand, this is for you. The XS Sports SB500 Exercise Bike will be your best friend.