Sportstech ESX500 Upright Exercise Bike Review
Sportstech ESX500 Bike Overview
Looking for a good upright bike can be a challenge these days. Many try to promise elements that they don’t have, while others try to simply not offer a lot in the first place. However, if you look through the sea of less-than-ideal options on the market, you might still be able to find a good few gems in there. Sportstech is a German brand that has been making some waves in the exercise equipment realm recently, so we figured that we would take a look at their addition to the world of stationary exercise bikes in the UK. That addition is the Sportstech ESX500 upright bike. We’re going to look at this bike and see if what it offers matches up nicely to the cost that it requires. Then we’ll truly see whether or not the Sportstech ESX500 upright bike is a worthy buy for the cycling enthusiasts.
First up is the price of the bike. Considering this is one of the factors that makes many people decide what bike to get, it only makes sense to judge everything in comparison to this. The retail price of the Sportstech ESX500 is $450 (€378). This is a fairly average price in comparison to many others on the market, although it does lean slightly towards the upper side of average. There are 60 days of free return, although this was really the only sort of warranty or guarantee that we could find around the bike. It seems absurd to suggest that there is no sort of farme, electronics or parts warranties that come with the Sportstech ESX500, but if there are, they have made them extraordinarily difficult to find. If they truly don’t have any such warranties, then this is awful and we have got to condemn it. Even the most durable stationary bikes can break due to something small going wrong, and that’s why you need guarantees of replacements. We’ll move on, else we’d be complaining about this all day. Shipping depends on the area ordered, costs and all. This is a German company, so that can affect how long it will take to get to you. Of course, then there are other factors like human error, pandemics and weather. It seems that the UK user reports in particular are full of praise for the quickness of the shipping process. Once it arrives, you can easily assemble it thanks to the instruction manual. It comes in both German and English, which is a nice touch, and does a nice job of telling you precisely how to put the bike together.
Up next is the monitor of the Sportstech ESX500 upright bike. This is one of the pillars that they are marketing the bike on, so we want to see just how well it holds up compared to some other options of similar prices. The display is a backlit 5.5 inch LCD screen that will display all the information you need. You get to see your time, RPM, resistance, calories, pulse and the program that you have selected. There are 12 of these programs, which is a fairly nice selection. These programs include 4 different HRC programs, user profiles, and a manual mode. Perhaps the main attraction of the monitor is the ability to connect via Bluetooth to the Kinomap app. This way you can display live training videos, multiplayer modes and other features of the app to enhance your workout experience. While this is most certainly the highlight of the monitor, there are widespread connectivity issues between the bike and other equipment. This is an issue, as the fact that the highlight of the monitor doesn’t work all the time is not exactly a good look. But it serves as a decent enough monitor otherwise and does quite well when connections with Kinomap work.
The resistance of the Sportstech ESX500 upright bike is another factor that you want to consider. After all, that’s why most people seek to acquire these exercise bikes. There are 16 different levels of magnetic resistance. These provide a good amount of customization, as you can get some good variation in there. The upper level provides a nice challenge and the lower level still feels useful. With the belt drivetrain of the ESX500 cardio bike, the entire workout is a lot more quiet and you don’t need to worry about frequent maintenance. The flywheel weighs about 26.5 lbs (12 kg), which is a good weight. Not too heavy and not too light. It has a 3-piece crank, which is another positive. It holds the pedals on each side much more comfortably than a 1-piece would. We don’t have the information for the Q-Factor of the Sportstech ESX500 stationary bike either. For those who are unaware, the Q-Factor is the distance between the pedals. If it is too wide, you can start to get really uncomfortable. On the other hand, if it is too narrow, the same can happen and it can even cause injury. Since this isn’t mentioned by other reviews or is a general complaint, it seems to be a non-issue.
Most people like to know how large their bike is before getting it home. The weight and general transportation ability is also helpful information. As for these elements of the Sportstech ESX500 upright bike, it measures out to be 38 inches (96.5 cm) long, 20.5 inches (52 cm) wide and 52 inches (132 cm) tall. Meanwhile it weighs 66 lbs (30 kg) and can hold a maximum weight of 264 lbs (120 kg). There are extremely small wheels on the front of the bike to help with mobility around the home. Meanwhile the rear stabilizers are basically nothing but a bar. Therefore, you might feel some shaking on the more intense workouts.
We’re going to finish with the rest of the physical elements of the Sportstech ESX500 upright bike. Let’s start with the handlebars. These multi-grip have the absolute bonus of being both vertically and incline adjustable in order to find a suitable position for your workout. These handlebars also include pulse sensors for those who want to track their heart rate and don’t have a chest strap to go along with the bike. The saddle of the Sportstech ESX500 is adjustable both vertically and horizontally, which is nice. It means that more people can find a spot where they are comfortable. The seat itself actually manages to avoid the issue that many of these upright exercise bikes have in that it isn’t too uncomfortable. It isn’t exactly like sitting in a couch chair, but it most certainly will do. The pedals are non-slip and have adjustable straps in order to keep your feet firmly in place when pedalling. As for any additional bonus features that the Sportstech ESX500 has, there aren’t a ton to be found. There is a media tray (that will cover the monitor) if you want to put a tablet or phone in front of you for entertainment. But there is no water bottle holder or cooling fans to be found here like on the Nautilus upright bikes. Unfortunate, but nothing worth getting all hot and bothered over.
Sportstech ESX500 Upright Exercise Bike Pros:
- Magnetic resistance with belt drive makes for a smooth and quiet experience
- Handlebars are vertically adjustable and can adjust the angles
- Handlebars have pulse sensors in them to give more workout feedback
- Seat is horizontally and vertically adjustable
- Seat is not uncomfortable like many other bikes
- 16 different levels of resistance offer good workout variation
- 12 preset workout programs on the monitor offer even more variation
- Monitor displays all the workout stats on one backlit screen
- Monitor has the ability to connect to Kinomap via Bluetooth
- The Sportstech ESX500 has a fairly small footprint and can be moved around easily
- The assembly process is one of the easier ones out there
- The shipping is fast seemingly regardless of where you order from
Sportstech ESX500 Upright Exercise Bike Cons:
- There don’t appear to be any sort of warranties at all
- The connection between the monitor and anything else are widely reported as being sketchy at best
- Using the media tray means you cover the monitor
- Monitor isn’t advanced as some might have hoped
The Final Verdict
The Sportstech ESX500 upright bike is fundamentally a good piece of exercise equipment. It provides a good amount of challenge and workout variety that you can really enjoy at this price range. However, there are a couple of fundamental flaws with it. There are widespread reports of awful customer service, which you really don’t want to be hearing when it seems that the bike has no warranties to speak of. The fact that the major appeal of the ESX500 (the monitor and its Bluetooth) has trouble connecting and, you know, working like it is supposed to, is another big concern. So while the Sportstech ESX500 upright bike itself might not be bad in a vacuum, there are more appealing options on the larger market for a similar price. We’ve already mentioned Nautilus, who offer some of the best upright bikes in the UK, with their U616 at a similar price area.