If you’re looking for a high-end, comfortable recumbent bike, 3G Cardio’s Elite RB should probably be on your short list of contenders.
It’s true, this recumbent doesn’t have the same kind of name recognition as some of the other more popular bikes, but the Elite RB’s stats speak for themselves.
Highlights of this recumbent include a compact frame, 16 magnetic resistance levels, a fully adjustable seat, and 16 built-in workout programs.
It’s also backed by one of these longest warranties around and rated for light commercial use as well.
All things considered, I think 3G has one of the best recumbent bikes on the market here – but you can’t just take my word for it, you gotta do your own homework.
But I’m here to help.
In this review, I’ll go over everything the Elite RB has to offer, as well as where it has room for improvement.
I’ll also compare it to some of the other top recumbents in its price range to see how it stacks up.
After reading, you’ll know everything you need to in order to decide for yourself whether or not this bike is worth investing in.
The 3G Cardio Elite RB Recumbent Bike
3G Cardio is one of those brands that probably doesn’t get the kind of respect they deserve.
I say that because I never see any kind of marketing for ’em and their products don’t seem to pop up on many bloggers’ “best of” lists.
And that’s a shame because their fitness equipment is legit.
I get the impression they’re a smaller brand, so that could be part of it.
And to be fair, they only offer a handful of products to choose from, 3 of which are treadmills (they offer some of the best treadmills in their respective price ranges too if you ask me).
Anyway, at the time of writing this, they’ve only got 2 exercise bikes in their lineup: the Elite RB we’re here to discuss now and the Elite UB Upright Bike.
And the Elite UB is pretty impressive in its own right, but that’s a story for another day.
Let’s start things off with a look at how the Elite RB performs.
- Compact frame
- Fully adjustable seat (height, tilt, and back rest angle)
- 16 magnetic resistance levels
- 16 workout programs
- 4 user profiles
- Included chest strap heart rate monitor
- Belt drive
- 350 lb weight limit
- Easy to move
- Fits users 5′ – 6’5″ tall
- Highly reviewed by users
- Amazing warranty
- No bluetooth
- No cooling fan
- No built-in speakers
Recumbent bikes are popular more for their comfort factor than anything else, but that doesn’t mean we should expect any less from these bikes when it comes to quality performance.
As long as a recumbent bike has a sophisticated resistance system, it should still be able to provide a quality workout.
Recumbent bikes in this price range should all be using magnetic systems, which is a good thing because these systems provide smooth, frictionless resistance that doesn’t require maintenance.
The Elite RB uses a magnetic system and comes with 16 resistance levels, so no issues there.
When it comes to the amount of resistance levels, 16 is a bit low when compared to other recumbents in this price range, where many offer 20+ levels, but it’s still enough to give you a fair amount of control over the intensity of workouts.
Keep in mind, more resistance levels doesn’t mean more overall resistance, it just means you can make smaller changes between levels.
Which in itself is an advantage.
I like to look at flywheel weights too, because generally speaking, heavier flywheels tend to provide smoother feels because the extra weight builds more momentum as the flywheel spins.
Which actually helps keep the pedals moving a little between strokes, making for a smoother overall feel.
This said, 3G Cardio doesn’t disclose the weight of the Elite RB’s flywheel and they’ve been quoted (from other folks questions to the company and I’m paraphrasing here) saying that heavy flywheels aren’t necessary if the materials and tech is good enough.
I would agree with this.
If you look at the higher-end and even commercial-grade bikes (Life Fitness, Precor, etc), they usually don’t use really heavy flywheels – instead, they rely on sophisticated braking and Eddy current systems to provide a smooth workout.
Using heavy flywheels is a more affordable way to provide a smooth feel, but not the only way.
So, I think 3G’s logic makes sense.
And when you look at users’ comments, everyone seems to be on the same page, agreeing that the Elite RB offers a very smooth ride.
Oh, the Elite RB also uses a belt drive, which also helps with the smoothness factor and keeps noise to a minimum.
Overall, the Elite RB doesn’t have quite as many resistance levels to work with as some recumbents, but users agree it provides a smooth feel and can provide enough resistance to challenge users of all skill levels.
Moving on, let’s check out this bike’s frame.
One of the most notable features of the Elite RB is how compact it is – looks can be deceiving, but at first glance, this bike does appear to be shorter than most recumbents.
And when we look at the assembled dimensions, it turns out this is true.
The Elite RB is only 49″ long, making it a good 8-19″ shorter than most of the other home recumbent bikes on the market.
For example, Schwinn’s 270 is 64″ long, Sole’s LCR is 57″ long, and NordicTrack’s Commercial R35 is a whopping 68″ long.
So, if you’re working with less floorspace, the Elite RB’s compact frame could be a definite plus.
And taller folks – don’t let this bike’s shorter frame scare ya away, it can still accolade riders between 5′ and 6’5″ tall.
I always like to consider a bike’s assembled weight too, because this specs gives us a good idea as to how “heavy-duty” we can expect the bike to feel.
“Heavy-duty” is really just another way of saying “stable” and I think that’s a characteristic we’re all looking for out of our exercise bikes.
Anyway, the Elite RB comes with an assembled weight of 115 lb, which is pretty light when compared to other higher-end bikes in this price range.
For example, Sole’s LCR mentioned above weighs a good 30 lb more, but the LCR relies on a heavy flywheel (30 lb) and has a much larger frame.
And it makes sense that the smaller frame on the Elite RB would also keep the weight down to a certain degree.
Even though it’s lighter than some other recumbents, it still weighs well over 100 lb, which is usually heavy enough to provide a stable feel.
The lighter weight also makes this recumbent a little easier to move around, if the needs arises.
Finally, the Elite RB comes with a max weight limit of 350 lb, allowing it to safely hold folks of all sizes (seeing such a high weight capacity is also a good indicator of frame integrity).
Overall, this recumbent scores highly with its compact frame and high weight capacity, making it a smart option for homes with smaller workout areas.
3G Cardio backs the Elite RB Recumbent Bike with the following residential warranty:
- Lifetime frame
- 7 year parts
- 1 year labor
Yeah, not much to complain about here.
You obviously can’t beat a lifetime frame warranty because that’s as long as it gets, but it’s the 7 year parts warranty that really stands out here.
Most brands (Sole included) max out at 5 years on parts and many stop at 3 years.
There are a few brands out there that offer 10 year parts warranties (like Spirit and Precor), but there aren’t many, especially in this price range.
A year on labor is standard stuff, nothing crazy there.
But overall, easily one of the best warranties you’re gonna see on any home recumbent bike.
3G also backs this bike with a commercial warranty too:
- 3 year parts
- 1 year labor
Seeing a commercial warranty is just another indicator of how well-built this bike really is.
The 3G Cardio Elite RB comes with the following features:
LCD console- the console on this recumbent is pretty simple, but it’s brightly-lit and easy to see. It tracks all the usual metrics you’d expect and it uses a convenient turn dial to make all selections.
16 workouts- this bike comes with 12 built-in workout profiles, 3 heart rate guided workouts, and 1 watt guided workout to choose from. There’s also a manual mode where you get to do your own thing.
4 user profiles- you can save info for up to 4 users, making it easier to track calories burned and whatnot.
Fully adjustable seat- one of the coolest features on this bike is the fully adjustable seat. Not only can you adjust the height position, but you can also adjust the tilt position of the seat, as well as separately control the angle of the back rest. Few bikes have a seat that allows you to control all 3 settings – no wonder so many users swear this is one of the most comfortable bikes on the market.
Heart rate monitoring- there are built-in grip heart rate monitors in the handles, allowing you to get a rough estimate of what your pulse is during workouts.
Chest strap- but 3G goes one step farther and includes a chest strap heart rate monitor with purchase, allowing you to get a much more accurate heart rate reading during use.
Water bottle holder- finally, yes, there’s a place to store your water bottle during workouts.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about cooling fans, built-in speakers, or bluetooth compatibility with fitness apps – yeah, this bike doesn’t have any of that stuff.
The console on this recumbent is old school and doesn’t come with any of the fancier tech features.
So, if you’re looking for those things, the Elite RB might not be the right bike for ya; but if you like the idea of getting an easy to use recumbent, this could be a perk.
Time to talk numbers.
At the time of writing this, the Elite RB is on sale for $1699 directly through 3G Cardio and Amazon has it for the exact same price.
I always say this, but keep in mind that these prices can change, so if these numbers aren’t 100% accurate by the time you read this, please forgive me.
Anyway, at $1699, the Elite RB is priced competitively when compared to the other top home recumbents and is still more affordable than the highest-end brands (Life Fitness, Precor, etc).
I’ve already mentioned a few of the RB’s top competitors, but let’s go into a little more detail.
Sole’s LCR is generally considered one of the best recumbents in the under $2k range and it costs $1599 at the time of writing this.
The LCR is a bigger, heavier bike and utilizes a heavy, 30 lb flywheel.
It also comes with a lot more resistance levels (40), a more tech-savvy console, and a great warranty in its own right (lifetime frame, 5 year parts, 2 year labor).
There’s also NordicTrack’s Commercial R35, which costs a little less at $1499 (at the time of writing this anyway).
The R35 comes with 26 resistance levels and a 14″ HD touchscreen console designed for streaming iFit workouts, but its warranty isn’t nearly as generous (10 year frame, 2 year parts, 1 year labor).
You’ll notice that neither the R35 or the LCR come with fully adjustable seats either.
Ok, I think it’s about time to wrap things up here.
I think it’s pretty fair to say that the Elite RB is a very nice bike with a lot going for it, but with an asking price around $1700, it’s going head to head with some of the best recumbents on the market.
Does it make sense to choose the Elite RB over these other bikes?
I think it depends entirely on what you’re looking for.
As I mentioned above, the RB doesn’t come with as many console features as the mentioned comps do, but none of the other recumbents can match the RB’s adjustable seat.
The RB also has the best warranty of all the bikes mentioned here.
So, if you’re more interested in comfort than tech features, I think the Elite RB makes more sense – few home recumbents come more highly rated than the RB when it comes to user comfort.
But if you’re looking for an advanced console with bluetooth and speakers and all that stuff, you might be better off with another model.
Long-story-short, I think 3G’s Elite RB is a unique recumbent bike with a lot to offer, especially for folks dealing with limited floor space.
Easily one of the best home recumbent bikes under $2k.