If you’re looking for a compact, comfortable upright bike that’s built to last, 3G Cardio’s Elite UB is certainly worth considering.
This bike takes up less floor space than most, but that doesn’t mean it skimps anywhere where it matters.
Highlights of the Elite UB include 16 workout programs, 16 levels of magnetic resistance, an included chest strap heart rate monitor, and a comfortable, fully-adjustable seat.
And of course it doesn’t hurt that 3G Cardio backs it with one of the longest warranties in the biz.
All things considered, the Elite UB has a lot going for it, but it’s got its fair share of flaws too – mostly in the console department.
Before you buy, you have to know what you’re in for – and that’s where I can help.
In this review, I’ll go over everything you should expect from this bike, including all the key specs and features you should know about.
I’ll also compare this model to some of the other top upright bikes in its price range to see how it stacks up.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not the Elite UB is the right bike for your home or not.
Let’s do this.
The 3G Cardio Elite UB Upright Bike
Maybe I’m wrong, but I kinda get the impression that 3G Cardio, as a brand, is flying under the radar.
I mean, do that many people really know about ’em?
If you’re reading this, you do of course, but I guess what I’m saying is that I never really see any marketing or advertisements for ’em.
And maybe it has something to do with how small their lineup is too, but small or not, their stuff is pretty impressive.
And by small, I’m talking like they offer 5 machines…total.
Yeah, as far as I can tell, 3G Cardio produces 3 treadmills and 2 exercise bikes (1 recumbent model and the upright model we’re here to discuss now).
But again, even though they don’t have that many products to choose from, the ones they do have come with great specs, are well received by users, and backed by amazing warranties.
Anyway let’s start this review off with a look at the Elite UB’s resistance system.
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance
- 16 workout programs
- 4 user profiles
- Compact footprint
- 350 lb weight limit
- Fully adjustable seat
- Strap heart rate monitor included
- Amazing warranty
- Well priced
- Likely a lighter flywheel
- No speakers or USB charging
- No cooling fan
- Not easy to swap out seat
Upright bikes function almost exactly like indoor cycles when it comes to how their resistance systems work – you’ve got a weighted flywheel and a magnetic mechanism that work together to create the resistance you work against.
With spin bikes, you can also have a friction brake mechanism for resistance, but I’ve never seen any upright models using these (especially in this price range).
And like spin bikes, uprights can usually benefit from having a heavier flywheel.
This is because the extra weight also helps these bikes produce a smoother pedaling motion – heavier flywheels build more momentum as they spin, which reduces lag between your upstroke and downstroke.
Anyway, upright bikes don’t usually come with massive flywheels like spin bikes do, but there are still some legit uprights out there packing 25 – 30 lb flywheels.
That said, 3G Cardio doesn’t disclose the weight of their flywheels, so I have no idea how heavy it actually is.
But if I had to guess, I’d guess 3G uses the same flywheel they use on their Elite RB Recumbent Bike and according to a 3G Cardio rep, that flywheel weighs in at around 17 lb.
(I’ve reached out to 3G Cardio to see if I can get a definitive answer to this question and will update this review if I hear back).
So, I could be wrong, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that the Elite UB also uses a 17 lb flywheel.
If that’s true, that’s a bit light for an upright in this price range, but 3G likes to point out that you don’t need a heavy flywheel to produce a smooth feel.
As long as the resistance mechanism is sophisticated enough, a smooth pedaling motion can be achieved with lighter flywheels too.
I would agree with this.
Think about it – most of the commercial grade upright and recumbent bikes don’t use really heavy flywheels.
Instead, they rely on their tech to achieve the same purpose.
Regardless, most users seem to agree that the Elite UB does offer a smooth feel during workouts, so whatever size flywheel they use seems to be getting the job done.
3G pairs their flywheel with a belt drive for quiet operation and 16 levels of resistance, giving folks a fair amount of control over the intensity of each workout.
Personally, I like the idea of having more resistance levels because it allows you to make smaller changes between settings (but know that more levels doesn’t necessarily mean more overall resistance).
There are plenty of uprights that offer more resistance levels, like Sole’s LCB which comes with 40 levels or NordicTrack’s Commercial VU29 that comes with 24.
But 16 isn’t bad.
Overall, I get the impression that the flywheel on this bike is on the light side and it doesn’t come with the most resistance levels, but users are generally very pleased with the smoothness of operation the Elite UB offers.
When getting to know any new exercise bike, I always like to check out how heavy it is.
I do this, because I think the assembled weight can give you a good idea as to how stable or secure you can expect the bike to feel.
Now this rule isn’t written in stone or anything, but generally speaking, seeing higher assembled weights is a good thing because a heavier bike is more likely to feel secure during use.
Basically, a heavy bike is going to be harder to move, meaning it should stay put (and not wobble) when you take it for a spin.
But how heavy is heavy enough?
Again, nothing written in stone here, but I like to see an assembled weight of at least 100 lb to ensure a rock solid, secure feel.
With this in mind, the Elite UB comes with an assembled weight of 91 lb, which is pretty light for a bike in this price range.
Part of this has to do with the smaller size of this bike (footprint of only 41″ x 22.5″), but that lighter flywheel does to.
For the sake of comparison, most legit uprights in this price range weigh somewhere in the 100 – 110 lb range (and then there’s Sole’s ridiculously heavy LCB that weighs in at around 130 lb).
So, based on most uprights, I would say the Elite UB is a bit lighter, but it still comes with an impressive weight limit of 350 lb, allowing it to hold folks of all sizes safely.
And again, I haven’t seen many complaints regarding this bike feeling wobbling or insecure (there aren’t that many complaints period).
Overall, the Elite UB is a smaller, lighter bike, but it still comes with a great weight limit. And most users would agree it feels very secure during workouts.
3G Cardio backs their Elite UB Upright Bike with the following residential warranty:
- Lifetime frame
- 7 year parts
- 1 year labor
Like I said earlier, this is one of the best home warranties you’re gonna find anywhere – regardless of price range.
The lifetime frame guarantee is great, but it’s that 7 years on parts that really sets this warranty apart from most.
To put this in perspective, most bikes in this price range come with a 2-3 year parts warranty.
Hell, Sole offers some of the best warranties around and they top out at 5 years on parts (although Spirit does offer 10 years on parts for some of their models).
And a year on labor is pretty standard stuff, nothing too crazy going on there.
Overall, a fabulous warranty for this upright.
Oh, 3G Cardio also offers a light-commercial warranty on this bike:
- 3 year parts
- 1 year labor
Not bad considering there aren’t many bikes in this price range that offer any commercial warranty.
The 3G Cardio Elite UB comes with the following features:
LCD console- the console on this upright is pretty simple. It really only consists of a large dial you use to make all your selections and a start/reset button (there’s also a recovery button that let’s you cool down at any time during the workout). It doesn’t even really have a tablet/phone holder, although there is a little ledge in the middle of the console you could use to put your device on (although it would completely block the screen).
16 workout programs- the Elite UB comes with a fair amount of included workouts to choose from. These include 12 standard profiles which adjust the resistance automatically based on the workout, as well as 3 heart rate guided workouts and a constant watt option. There’s also manual mode of course.
4 user profiles- you can save data for up to 4 users, making it a bit faster each time you want to start a workout.
Heart rate monitoring- this bike has built-in grip heart rate monitors in the handles, but it’s also compatible with strap monitors. 3G Cardio even does ya one better and includes a strap monitor with purchase.
Fully adjustable seat- you can adjust the height and horizontal (fore/aft) position of the seat, making it easier to find a comfortable riding position. Most folks seem to find the seat pretty soft and comfortable, but you should know that 3G doesn’t use a standard road bike seat mount on this upright, meaning you won’t be able to swap it out with any standard seat you like. Instead, they use a triangular 3 bolt pattern, so you’d have to swap it with another seat using the same pattern.
Water bottle holder- finally, there’s a water bottle holder attached to the mast, giving you a place to, uh, hold your water bottle.
Prices can change all the time, but at the time of writing this, 3G Cardio has the Elite UB on sale for $1199 – although I’ve seen it on sale through other sites for as low as $1099 before (although I’m not sure how they were asking for shipping).
Amazon has it going for around $1150 at the time of writing this, so a bit cheaper.
Anyway, based on these numbers, I would consider this to be a mid-range model.
And by this, I mean it’s quite a bit more expensive than $500 – $600 bikes, but still a lot more affordable than your higher-end, luxury models that cost $2-3K and up.
I’ve already mentioned a couple of the biggest comps in this price range, but let’s go into a little more detail here.
There’s Sole’s LCB, which costs a little more at around $1399 – it comes with a 30 lb flywheel, really heavy frame, and a more sophisticated console.
Also a great warranty, but parts guarantee isn’t quite as generous as 3G Cardio’s.
There’s also NordicTrack’s Commercial VU29, which costs around $1299 and comes with a 19 lb flywheel, 24 resistance levels, and a 14″ touchscreen console for iFit streaming.
NordicTrack’s warranty is quite a bit shorter though.
Life Fitness also has a fairly affordable upright, the C1 (on sale for around $1400 with the Go console at the time of writing this), which comes with a pretty simple console, a 300 lb weight limit, and a shorter warranty.
Overall, based on these comps, I would say the Elite UB holds its own against these other top models fairly well.
Alrighty, that about does it for the Elite UB.
All things considered, I think this is a pretty nice upright bike, especially for folks looking for a smaller model that won’t take up much space.
The flywheel is likely on the lighter side, but that doesn’t seem to bother most users, who agree the pedaling motion is smooth on this model.
Most folks also seem to agree that the seat is comfortable, although it does kinda suck you can’t easily swap it out for another in case you want to.
The Elite UB also comes with a nice selection of built-in workout programs and it’s awesome that 3G includes a heart rate strap with purchase.
What really sets this upright apart though, is that ridiculously long warranty.
So, if you’re looking for an easy to use bike that’s likely to last a lifetime, I think the Elite UB could make a lot of sense.
But if you’re looking for a more advanced console or a bike that can really challenge skilled riders, you’d probably be better off with another upright.