ProForm Carbon CX Bike Review: Not a Bad Choice!
The cheapest option among ProForm Indoor Cycling Bikes, the Carbon CX indoor bike also known as the ProForm CBC, brings aesthetic and performance-driven power to the spin experience in a sleek and aerodynamic format. With a smooth performance that works as hard as its design, this top-rate magnetic indoor cycle from the ProForm brand transforms the spin experience into an innovative and speed-geared workout based on the world’s most famous cycle race that builds both muscles and cardiac strength.
This Carbon CX exercise bike is from the “ProForm Studio Series” and provides a luxury spinning experience at a low-range cost that is affordable and practical for any user. The ProForm Carbon Bike offers a quality design and high-tech belt and drive parts for a cutting-edge spin experience, and the best part is that anyone drawn to the high performance of this spin bike won’t have to pay the high prices that typically comes with a quality bike.
The ProForm Carbon CX spin bike appeals to many spinners due to its personalized and powerfully aesthetic and ergonomic spin design that will let you keep up with any class or workout. The striking outward appearance of this bike exudes sturdy yet portable design elements that offer a heavy-duty and long-lasting performance no matter how often or how hard you ride it.
Before going further into this ProForm Carbon CX bike review, let’s take a look at the ProForm indoor bikes and see where the CX stands among the three famous ProForm indoor bike Series. I will write down a comparison as well as a comparison chart to make the decision easier.
ProForm Indoor Bikes Comparison
Currently, in 2022 ProForm has three major indoor Series that has become very popular thanks to the QZ application that made them compatible with the Zwift and Peloton apps. But of course, there is more to ProForm exercise bikes than just Zwift compatibility so let’s get to it.
The top-of-the-line ProForm Indoor Bike Series is the TDF (Tour De France). There are 6 indoor bike models in the TDF Series. From the most basic model which is the ProForm TDF, then the TDF 1.0, TDF 2.0, TDF 4.0, TDF 5.0, and TDF 5.0 Pro. Each has a different price tag and features which I will explain below in a chart.
The ProForm TDF models start from the $1000 price range and go all the way to $3000. Their most significant feature is the incline and decline system that simulates uphill and downhill. It’s a little similar to what you get on Nordictrack S15i, S22i, and S27i except for the fact that ProForm TDF bikes have more advanced handlebars and are designed for professional cyclists.
I personally don’t like or recommend the ProForm TDF bikes because I don’t think they have the quality to justify the price. Too many complaints out there from the ProForm TDF Series Bikes. For the price of a TDF 5 Pro, you can buy a Tacx NEO, Stages SB20, or a Wahoo Kickr bike with better features and quality.
The next ProForm indoor bike series down the line is the Studio Bike Series. There are only 3 bikes in this series and as the name explains, they are commercial quality and can be used in cycling studios which ultimately means a more durable structure.
The three models in the ProForm SB Series are the Studio Bike Pro 22, Studio Bike Pro 10, and Studio Bike CX. The main difference between the ProForm Studio Series and ProForm TDF Series is the incline and decline system.
The Studio Bikes don’t have an incline system but they have bigger screens and are cheaper to buy. The bike that I am reviewing in this article is the ProFrom Carbon CX which is from the ProForm Studio Bike Series. At $599, it’s the cheapest bike in the ProForm Studio Bike Series and the reason is the lack of a touchscreen monitor. Bear with me, in the chart below I will explain other differences as well.
You might be surprised, but the ProForm Carbon CX is my favorite bike among all the bikes in the SB Series. The reason is that without having to jailbreak the console, I can use my iPad and iPhone to connect this bike to Zwift and Peloton apps (via QZ app).
Last. but not least the ProForm Closeout Bikes. It’s not a series of indoor bikes but they often put their outdated bikes at reduced prices in this category. Currently, they have a model called the 500 SPX and I believe it’s the most outdated indoor cycling bike by ProForm. Instead of magnetic resistance, it has friction resistance which requires additional maintenance and doesn’t do auto-resistance change.
I know it’s a little bit too much to take all this information so I created a ProForm indoor cycling bike comparisons tablet below. It should make it easier to understand the differences and similarities between the ProForm spin bikes.
|ProForm TDF 5.0 Pro||HD 10″ Touch||20% incline and decline||Yes||With front and rear gear shifters||30 Electro|
|ProForm TDF 5.0||HD 10″ Touch||20% incline and decline||Yes||With resistance control buttons||26 Electro|
|ProForm TDF 4.0||Color 7″ Touch||20% incline and decline||No||With front and rear gear shifters||30 Electro|
|ProForm TDF 2.0||7″ LED||20% incline and decline||No||With rear gear shifters||26 Electro|
|ProForm TDF 1.0||Round LED||15% incline and decline||No||With resistance control buttons||26 Electro|
|ProForm TDF||Round LED||15% incline and decline||No||With resistance control buttons||26 Electro|
|ProForm SB 22||HD 22″ Touch||None||No||None||24 Electro|
|ProForm SB 10||HD 10″ Touch||None||No||None||22 Electro|
|ProForm SB CX||Black and White||None||No||None||16 Electro|
|ProForm 500 SPX||Black and White||None||No||None||Manual|
ProForm Carbon CX (CBC) Bike Alternatives
Having a studio-quality spin bike in your home is a luxury many don’t get to experience, but the benefits of having your own personal piece of equipment, especially in our time-crunched world, can’t be overstated. The ProForm promises a gym-quality indoor cycling bike at affordable, personal prices that ensure premium quality machinery for all budgets.
Beyond an aesthetic and ergonomic build, the technical performance of the ProForm Carbon CX cycle is equally powerful. Built with a 27-lb (13 kgs) front-mounted flywheel that integrates seamlessly with a powerful electronically adjustable magnetic resistance while maintaining the same consistent drive of an outdoor bike, this cycle provides an effortless push, and intense spin for maximum workout sweat, drive, and gains.
The securely positioned belt drive ensures a smooth and hard-working drive, integrating effortless resistance and power into your workout. The experienced and novice spinner will fall in love with this effortless and powerful bike that elevates the art of spinning to new levels and new spinners are sure to fall in love with the ease of use and maintenance throughout your experience riding the ProForm Carbon CX.
I personally love the ProForm Carbon CX Studio Bike because it connects to iFit, Zwift and Peloton (through the QZ application). Plus, it allows auto-resistance adjustment on all mentioned applications. Because of its electronic magnetic resistance system, you can easily set the applications to change your resistance level when you reach an unpill on Zwift or when a Peloton instructor calls out a new intensity level.
Howerver, there are some good alternative indoor bikes that you can buy instead of the ProForm Carbon CX (or ProFrom CBC). Two ProForm Carbon alternative indoor bikes that I would recommend are the Echelon EX15 and Schwinn IC4.
Niether of the alternative indoor bikes have automatic resistance system but they do have manually adjustable magnetic resistance. So, they are as quiet and low maintenance as the ProForm Carbon CX bike.
Both, the EX15 and the Schwinn IC4 can connect to the Zwift and Peloton (via QZ) just like the ProFom Carbon bike. If you like automatic resistance change and prefer a more comfortable indoor bike than the ProForm Carbon CX exercise bike, I strongly suggest an Echelon Smart Bike (all except for the EX15 have auto-resistance).
Specifically, keep your eyes open on the Echelon EX5, if you can afford it, don’t let it go. It is more comfortable because it’s more adjustable than CX and it has auto-resistance, plus a good tablet holder to keep you entertained during the ride.
ProForm Carbon CX Review and Specifications:
- Width: 56 cm
- Length: 123 cm
- Height: 144 cm
- Max User Weight: 115 kg
- UserCompatible Size Range: 5”0” to 6’6”
- Transportation Wheels
Built with an eye-popping black and yellow commercial-grade steel and aluminum frame that’s designed for maximum performance, strength, and sweat protection, the ProForm Carbon CX bike is packed full of high-quality components.
The regulated and powerful transmission and resistance system drives soft impact but hard performing pedaling, pairing with the ergonomic armrest, handlebar, and saddle positioning that creates a high-performing workout that puts minimum strain on your body. Visually striking and high-performance, the ProForm Carbon CX spinning bike measures 144 x 56 x 123 cm and is a great statement piece in any home or studio space.
Digital LCD Monitor:
- This ProForm monitor can track the rider’s RPM, resistance level, time, calories, heart rate (via wireless Bluetooth), estimated watt, and distance.
- The bike comes with a 1-month free iFit Couch membership “individual” that normally costs $15.
- Out of the box, this indoor bike is only compatible with the iFit application but with QZ app you can connect it to Zwift, Peloton, Strava, and several indoor cycling apps.
- You shouldn’t have any problem connecting your Bluetooth devices (Android or IOS) to the bike and track your ride on your own screen.
Unlike the ProForm Studio Pro 22 that comes with a whooping HD monitor, the ProForm Carbon CX features a small low-tech monitor that stands out for being simple, affordable, and built right into your bike to provide feedback.
The electronic console turns on easily and the LCD screen offers clearly visible (albeit limited) feedback for every ride. The progress measurements achieved through high tech tracking built into the cycle include calories, RPM, distance, and more, as well as the Bluetooth connectivity.
Out of the box, the Proform CX can connect with the iFit app but can’t connect to the Zwift and Peloton applications. Howerver, there is an application called the QZ that you can use to connect your Proform CX indoor bike with all the major cycling applications. We have already written an extensive guide on how to connect a ProForm and Nordictrack bike to Zwift. If that’s the route you want to take, read that article.
What I like about this ProForm bike is its built-in tablet mount that holds phones or tablets for easy entertainment while riding, so you can turn on an episode of your favorite show or movie or follow along to a spin class for maximum power and convenience during your indoor cycling rides.
Your cycle also comes with a free month of iFit subscription which offers access to over 400 coached videos and custom programs that you can use to streamline and support your spin bike experience.
Caged Equipped Pedals:
- Metal pedals have toe cages for additional security.
- Not SPD indoor cycling shoe compatible (additional cost if you want to ride with clipless shoes).
- The Q-factor for the Proform Carbon CX is 197mm.
The pedals included on the ProForm Carbon CX indoor cycling bike are standard and reliably simple bike pedals with included toe cages to keep your feet from slipping off the pedal mid-stride. However, they are not SPD compatible, which could be a big issue.
SPD is a must-have for any cyclist. For beginning riders, not being able to train with SPD compatibility could be a problem later on if you’re looking to increase your spinning abilities, but if you’re just looking for a standard indoor bike these pedals will do the trick.
You can also always order SPD-equipped replacement pedals: we’ve got a list of our favorites to check out as well for good replacements. The pedals unscrew easily to replace, making swapping out for better versions simple though an extra and unnecessary expense.
The Q-factor on the ProForm Carbon CX indoor cycle is not published but they told the YEB team the q-factor for the Carbon CX is 197mm. It is considered a wide q-factor but not “too wide”. Wide q-factors pedal stances can sometimes create an issue, especially for smaller, experienced or elite spinners who need a very specific and ergonomic position known as a “narrow” pedal size that positions the feet and knees in a line that drives smoothly downwards, allowing maximum drive on the pedal. I recommend you search our website for spin bike q-factor and see learn more about it before making any decisions.
ProForm Carbon CX Flywheel:
- 27-lbs (13 kgs) fixed flywheel
- High inertia front-mounted fixed flywheel
- Silent magnetic resistance and transmission
Magnetic resistance systems are popular with spin bike makers and users because of their ability to quietly work with both the flywheel and the transmission to create seamless and gentle, yet hardworking resistance. The ProForm Carbon CX flywheel is made up of an intense, inertia weighted magnetic resistance system that provides easy, smooth pedaling and braking.
The front flywheel helps you drive forward through your workouts, pushing yourself faster and harder with every ride. However, the front positioning can also expose it to greater wear and tear issues and its protective coating appears fairly thin.
The heavy-duty ProForm belt drive system, front mounted heavy weight flywheel, and strong steel and aluminum frame make this bike a trustworthy powerhouse, meaning your durable flywheel and transmission system will stand the test of time regardless of how many times you hop on for a ride.
Just like the rest of this bike, the flywheel, is built to withstand any amount of use, so you’ll have no problem riding it for many years or taking it with you if you move homes, apartments, or gym spaces.
ProForm Carbon Resistance:
- The ProForm Carbon CX Spin Bike offers powerful 16 levels of electronically adjustable magnetic resistance.
- This indoor bike’s resistance adjusts via controls/button on the console and has a dial on the frame for emergency braking.
- Smooth adjustment between magnetic resistance levels that’s preset and easy to manipulate.
- Applications such as Zwift and Peloton can control this bike’s resistance for auto-adjustment during the rides.
The ProForm Carbon CX spin bike uses trusted magnetic technology to create an easy adjustment to your magnetic resistance levels through preset stations you can quickly and simply flip through for automatic adjustment.
The magnetic resistance reacts instantly to a user’s magnetic increase or decrease adjustments, creating a silent but responsive adjustment that works well with any workout. Instead of having a variable adjustment approach to resistance levels that you have to cycle through to find the right fit like many other pieces of exercise equipment, this spin bike features a preset lever that offers easy to find and use resistance options that help you find the perfect customized resistance level.
The real pro to the resistance lever is the ability to easily select a resistance level that works for you. The clearly marked and defined resistance levels are a huge plus, especially if you’re in a workout or class that demands a fast resistance transition you can’t achieve through slow fiddling with resistance knobs.
With these electronically adjustable and personalizable resistance levels, you can easily create a long, slow cardio burn style workout, an incline variable setting, or HIIT training styles, making your workout much easier to manipulate to your needs.
Handlebars and Seat
- One set (2) 1.4 kg dumbbells are included with this bike.
- A holder to store the dumbbells below the seat is also included.
- Height-adjustable handlebars (horizontally not adjustable)
- Four-way adjustable narrow racing style seat
- Even with padded indoor cycling shorts, we recommend a seat cover for this spin bike.
Featured on both the handlebars and the seat, the customizable height adjustment angles on the ProForm CX means that your bike is adjustable and can fit users between 5’3″ to 6’1″.
Unfortunelty the handlebars are not horizontally adjustable which some users might find less comfortable specially if you try to get into a more relaxed semi-upright position. For riders who need flexibility with positioning and stances while riding or standing up on your cycle, the lack of horizontal adjustment on the handle can be a dealbreaker.
At around the same price point, there are some indoor cycling exercise bikes such as the Schwinn IC4 and the Echelon EX5 that I know have forward and backward adjustment on the handlebars. In fact, if you can afford, I would suggest those indoor bikes instead.
As for the seat quality, I am not impressed at all, it’s one of the hardest seats I have every used. Not neccessary, but you would probably want to get a more comfortable exercise bike replacement seat for longer indoor cycling session.
If you feel saddle sore after a couple of rides on the Proform CBC, you could also first try a seat gel cushion. The Zacro seat cover fits the ProForm Carbon bike just fine. Always make sure to wear indoor cycling padded shorts because without the right clothing, there is no seat that would prevent seat chaffing on a spin bike.
Belt Transmission and Gear Ratio:
- ProForm Carbon CX comes equipped with poly-V belt.
- Its drive is quiet and has less maintenance that chain.
The ProForm Carbon spin bike’s transmission drive system features a sleek, low maintenance poly-V belt for easy drive. This high-performing and low maintenance belt works overtime to provide an ideal ride for every user. Belt systems are meant to improve on the standard chain system that road bikes feature.
Oiling, adjustment, tightening, stretching, and rust-prevention are no longer necessary with belt systems, because belts stay in top shape for a long time without needing a lot of work. The exact material of this belt drive is unknown, but our guess is that it’s a smooth poly belt drive that can provide a superior drive experience, including a tight fit to the gears and the smooth overall ride. You won’t ever feel your pedals slip or catch with the ProForm poly belt, leading to a consistently smooth ride that will feel like you’re pedaling on air.
Another large advantage of the ProForm belt is its silent and soft performance. Pedaling this bike is a quiet yet muscle-strengthening experience. Your belt uses a quiet and sleek resistance that will challenge you during any workout without the clanking or creaking you’d expect from a typical chain.
The low-noise component of these belt drives is the best: when combined with the ProForm magnetic resistance system this bike is virtually silent, meaning you can go for a spin anywhere, anytime without worrying about creating a racket or disturbing your roommate.
You can also thank the gear ratio for this quiet ride: the tight fit of gear to belt and to flywheel makes adjustments easy and quick, contributing to the overall silence of your ride and eliminating the loud cranking of gear shifts that many outdoor chain bikes are known for.
ProForm Price and Warranty:
- The ProForm CX spin bike is currently priced at around £599 depending on the retailer and the sale opportunities
- The ProForm Carbon CX spin bike’s warranty includes three years on the frame and parts complete with exchange
For warranty questions or parts replacement, you can contact the ProForm manufacturers through their Amazon seller platform or through your individual distributor.
The price of this bike in comparison to the range of features it offers and the range of other bikes available is pretty good, but held back by the limitations of the non-SPD pedals and the digital monitor simplicity.
The bike’s performance makes a small price tag worth it over time, but at £500 it’s a little high for its functionality. These are good medium-quality bikes that manage to perform well, but at a high overall cost and would be an okay but not great choice for someone who’s ready to fully commit to the world of spin.
Assembly and Shipping:
- Shipped in one package, with partial assembly required
- The only parts that require assembly are; front and rear stabilizers/feet, seat, handlebars, monitor, and pedals.
- All the required assembly tools are included in the box.
- Takes ten-fifteen days to arrive depending on shipping location
Assembling your ProForm PFEX63919 spin bike is not too challenging. Following the included manual will help tremendously, and there are some useful videos to follow from the manufacturer’s website as well. The more complex inner-workings of the bike such as the flywheel and the belt drive system, come pre-assembled, so you won’t need to worry about how to assemble the inner workings of the bike.
Shipping timeframes will depend on the carrier, but if you have concerns about getting it into your house you can call ahead and arrange assistance with your local delivery system.
ProForm Carbon CX Spin Bike Pros:
Aesthetic and Smoothly Performing
The ProForm Carbon manages to pair both aesthetic design with an ergonomic performance to create the ideal exercise equipment for spinners ready to commit to hard-working fitness. The ProForm CX bike delivers a tough performance that will leave riders excited and ready for their next workout thanks to its sleek and smooth ride. The ergonomic and sleek design creates a powerful drive and ride that elevates your workout to the next level.
Silent Electronic Magnetic Resistance
The magnetic resistance system on this ProForm Carbon CX bike is top-of-the-line. The sleek no contact braking system and no-slip drive belt work in tandem with the heavy flywheel to power a virtually silent yet intense workout, and the built-in resistance levels provides a unique touch that allows for easy use and transition between resistance difficulties, creating a truly personalized workout. The magnetic system is also highly durable and low-maintance, meaning your bike will last a long time. It also changes automatically on iFit as well as Peloton and Zwift so you can have a more immersive online indoor cycling workout.
Studio Cycling Quality
I am not going to lie, it’s not as smooth or comfortable as some of the Echelon indoor cycling bikes I tried but it does have a good quality structure. Being from the ProForm Studio Cycling Bike Series, it does have the quality to stand years of indoor cycling exercise.
ProForm Carbon CX Spin Bike Cons:
The 197mm Q-factor on the ProForm Carbon CX is probably one of the bigger detriments to the cycle. This could be a really uncomfortable fit for some riders. Especially, for riders who prefer a narrow and ergonomic drive from pedal to push, this bike is likely not the best fit for you.
No SPD Pedals
The lack of SPD-integrated pedals is an equally big issue here. SPD is a huge component of spin and cycling, so not having pedals that are compatible with cleats or other elements of the SPD pedaling system feels like a major miss. Though you can easily replace your pedals with third-party options, it’d be nice to not have to spend the extra cash right away and that they’d simply be included with the bike.
Limited App Compatibility
Some companies like Keiser care to sell their bikes and they don’t care if you end up buying their subscription or not. Therefore, they create universal Bluetooth connectivity so their bikes like Keiser M3i can send data to almost any indoor cycling applications without having to jailbreak/unlock the screen. BUT, that’s not the case with Peloton, Nordictrack, Echelon, and ProForm. These companies build their bikes in a way that it can only connect with their application. That means if you want to track your ride on a cycling application, your only option is iFit with this bike, no Zwift, no Peloton, or any other app. Thankfully, an app developer, Roberto, has created the QZ application which is a solution that allows connecting any of the menitoned indoor bikes (except for the Peloton bike) to Zwift, Strava, Kinomap, and Peloton apps.
Fixed Handlebars and Uncomfortable Saddle
What I literally hate the most about the ProForm CX and CBC bikes is the horizontally unadjustable handlebars and its hard saddle. The handlebars are flat and they don’t go forward or backward so you would need to lean forward a little too much to have a proper reach. There is a solution as you can see in the mages below. You can purchase seperate hand grips and install on top of the bike’s handles.
Our Final Verdict
The ProForm Carbon CX Spin Bike is a solid spin bike that can work very well in many personal workout spaces. The versatile design, adjustable frame, and durable build mean this bike will last a lifetime and can withstand all types of workouts and multiple moves. The CX is not the ProForm TDF but it does offer a lot of decent performance capabilities for a good price, especially when it comes to its drive, resistance, and flywheel, and its durability and tough build makes it a long lasting investment.
The inclusion of the iFit membership is also a good plus that extends the life and versatility of your cycle. Its strong and durable resistance system ensures repeatedly intense workouts that will build your intensity up and allow you to scale up your workout intensity time after time.
It is a mid-range indoor bike and requires very little investment into a future of dedicated spinning and indoor cycling, but it does have a few negative features to note. The non-SPD pedals are a nagging setback that leave the ProForm just a few steps behind its competitors. Also it’s handlebars are a little uncomfortable. Though there are a few small drawbacks, overall the ProForm Carbon CX (CBC) is a solid all-around stationary bike for all kinds of spinners.
The ProForm Carbon CX Spin Bike also advertised as the ProForm CBC offers good electronically adjustable magnetic resistance, drive, and spin exercise at an average and mid-range price. The simple and low-maintenance belt paired with the sleek magnetic drive make for a reliable spin and a challenging workout, and the digital LCD monitor provides instant and basic feedback for immediate workout adjustment, and you can expand your workout options with the iFit membership. The ergonomic and sturdy frame provides durable and stable workouts. The fixed front-mounted flywheel increases your drive and resistance capabilities while protecting your bike from riding damage, but the q-factor, lack of horizontal adjustment on the handlegbars, and the lack of SPD pedals can be a major issue for riders looking for the perfect fit. The ProForm CX indoor cycling promises reliable and standard use and given the low-point price tag, I think it has enough functionality to justify the price.