Sportstech ES600 Review – What you should know before buying this recumbent exercise bike
For those looking to acquire a recumbent bike for themselves and their household, it can be a bit of a challenge to find that right one that is affordable and provides the best value for money. German engineering has been renowned across the world for a while, so it only makes sense that its reputation has expanded to the world of fitness equipment. The German piece of equipment that we’ll be looking at today is known as the Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike. It’s most certainly not a cheap bike, so we want to make sure that the bike does a good job of providing a complete package. Because of that, we are going to check out the electronics, resistance, comfort and other factors that make up the ES600 and see how well it matches up to that expensive price. So with all of that out of the way, let’s get underway with our review of the Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike!
We’ve mentioned price a couple of times now, so it only makes sense to start with that aspect of the bike. The Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike will cost between $929 and $1025 depending on where you decide to purchase this from. These are both pretty high prices compared to some of the other quality options you can find on the market, so it has got a fair amount of room to add features to be worth it. Although it should be noted that this is nowhere near the most expensive bike (or even in that realm) available. The warranty that comes with this bike is a bit of a mystery. First, you have to work very hard to actually find the warranty information, which is annoying. Second, it seems that there is only a 12 month home warranty available. If this is all that is available in addition to the 60 day return policy, that’s a pretty terrible overall warranty package. Typically you want to see a lifetime warranty on the frame for one of these stationary bikes and multiple years on the parts. With just 12 months in total, that’s quite simply awful. Then again, it could be better, but Sportstech have determined to make the warranty information as hard to find as possible. But let’s move on, shall we? The shipping should hopefully only take 1-2 weeks, depending on your location and accounting for any human error in the process. Once it arrives, you will have to put it together. Thankfully, the instructions are all quite straightforward and will allow you to put it together rather quickly. Even those who aren’t exactly skilled or experienced at this type of process should find it fairly easy to go through with.
One of the major appeal of stationary exercise bikes is their ability to use electronics to bring the experience to a whole new level. That’s one of the better parts of the Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike. The electronics don’t require any sort of outlet, as the bike is self-powered based on your use of it. There are 12 preset programs already on the backlit LCD monitor of the bike, which will allow for setting target goals, hill climbs and others. There is the typical manual mode, a recovery fitness test, 4 heart rate programs and a watt program. The monitor also has the ability to let you set up 4 separate user profiles to keep track of multiple people’s workout routines or statistics. This is quite handy in homes with multiple users of the bike. The monitor can track and display your resistance level, time, RPM, calories burned and your heart rate/pulse. A chest strap can be used with the ES600 recumbent bike. The console also has the rather nifty capability of connecting via Bluetooth to the eHealth app and keeping track of your workout statistics over a longer course of time. Said app also allows you to track and access different workout routines. Despite the promotional material showing the bike cycling along with the service Kinomap, that requires a tablet or smart TV rather than working directly from the console. It will allow for transfer of data, but it isn’t going to display the training sights directly on the console. But for the most part, it’s a fairly good monitor. It still might not match up to the monitor you’ll find on the Nautilus R618 or Schwinn 270.
The resistance of the Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike cannot be overlooked, as it is what will allow you to get truly fit. You shall find a magnetic resistance system in place here. This system matches well with the belt drive that the bike has in order to make everything that much more quiet and smooth. It also means that there is little maintenance requirement. The bike has 24 levels of resistance available by default, which is a good number. This will allow anyone to experience challenges and even customize their workouts to some extent by fine-tuning the resistance to their particular workout. The flywheel of the ES600 weighs right around 30.8 lbs (14 kg), which is a pretty good amount. It allows for plenty of challenge and will satisfy those who prefer not to have lighter flywheels. The crank of the bike is a 3-piece one, which is always superior to the 1-piece ones you might find on other stationary recumbent bikes. After all, the latter is basically just a welded bar holding the pedals together rather than an independent system of holding the pedals in one piece. We don’t know the Q-Factor of the bike, which is unfortunate. For those who are unaware, the Q-Factor is the distance between the pedals. If it is too narrow, you risk discomfort and even injury. If it is too wide, then you will get rather uncomfortable. But there aren’t too many complaints about this aspect of the bike, so it shouldn’t be too big of an issue.
People typically want to know how large of a bike they are getting, so it only seems natural to tell you! The Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike is a fairly large machine, which might not fit everyone’s homes. It has a heavy steel frame. The footprint specifically measures out to be 64 inches (163 cm) long, 25 inches (63.5 cm) wide and 44 inches (112 cm) tall. Meanwhile, it weighs a hefty 101 lbs (46 kg) and can hold a maximum weight of 330 lbs (150 kg). There are transportation wheels on the front of the bike, although it is still a tad bulky to move around. There are stabilizers on the back of the back in order to keep you firmly in place during the workout.
We’ll finish off our main examination with the rest of the physical elements of the Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike, starting with the handlebars. There are 2 pairs of rubberized handlebars onboard, with one being next to the seat and the other coming out of the console. The ones beside your seat have pulse sensors on them in case you don’t want to use/don’t own a chest strap. They are comfortable enough, but don’t really do much else besides giving you someplace to put your hands and get another workout metric. But this general design is common and can be found with bikes like the SF-RB4850 and AMZ-587R recumbent bikes. The seat of the Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike is heavily padded in order to add to the comfort of the experience, as is the back of the seat. The seat is adjustable both forwards and backwards, allowing more people of differing heights to sit on the bike comfortably. The pedals are nothing special, but they are at least anti-slip with some adjustable straps to keep your feet in place. So they have that going for them. As for additional bonus features that come with the ES600, you can expect to find a USB charging port onboard, a tablet holder on the console and that’s it. There isn’t even a place to put a water bottle. It’s a pretty sad bonus package, but at least the tablet holder (which covers the main monitor screen) allows for some entertainment during your workout.
Sportstech ES600 Pros:
- Magnetic resistance and belt drive make for a smooth and quiet workout
- 24 levels of resistance offers a good variety of customization
- Monitor offers 12 prest workouts and other programs to add exercise variety
- Monitor can connect to eHealth and track long term workout statistics
- Seat is adjustable and heavily padded for comfort levels
- Heavy flywheel allows for some real challenges
- Transport wheels make moving around the home easier
- Stabilizers keep you steadier on the harder workouts
- Heavy build allows for large weight capacity
- USB charging port is nice addition
Sportstech ES600 Cons:
- No water bottle holder
- Using the tablet holder covers the monitor
- No more bonus features like cooling fans
- Only a 12 month home warranty package
- Monitor itself will not display courses on apps like Kinomap, despite ads implying that it can
- Fairly large build, which might be an issue for smaller homes
The Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike is an interesting case. On the surface, it seems to be a pretty good machine. It is well built and offers the standard features that you would expect from a regular recumbent bike. However, it is missing parts that would really make it worth the price. The warranty is hard to find, and even when we did, it seems to only be a year long. The monitor is good, but could also be found on cheaper bikes like the Nautilus R618 or Schwinn 270. Those stationary recumbent bikes also offer similar resistance levels and better bonus features with a much better warranty. So while you might trust in German engineering, the Sportstech ES600 recumbent bike might be one to avoid due to its higher cost and less brilliant features. Try looking at those other models we mentioned instead if they are available in your country, otherwise stick with this exercise bike as it really stands out among most options, especially recumbent bikes in the UK.