With a starting price right around $2k, Matrix’s Cycle R30 is an elite recumbent bike that’s still priced reasonably for residential use.
From the dual form frame and its low step-thru design to the 23 lb flywheel under the hood, the R30 is certainly designed for performance.
But with the R30, you don’t have to choose between performance or features because Matrix gives you the option to choose between 3 different consoles as well.
Two of which include touchscreen displays with built-in entertainment apps, screen mirroring, and integrated iFit access.
And if you consider Matrix’s extended warranty, one could easily make the argument the R30 is one of the best recumbent bikes in its price range.
But like everything else in life, the R30 isn’t perfect – the entry-level console is quite basic and going with one of the upgraded consoles adds pretty significantly to the asking price.
Overall, if you’re looking for a high-end recumbent bike, I think the R30 is a great choice, but before you decide, you should know what this bike is all about.
And that’s where I can help.
In this review, I’ll go over everything the R30 has to offer, including all pertinent specs and features you should be aware of.
I’ll also compare the R30 to some of the other top bikes in its price range to see how it really stacks up.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not this is the right exercise bike for you.
The Matrix Cycle R30
In general, I like Matrix Fitness as a brand.
If you consider the spectrum of home fitness brands, you’ve got your really affordable options (SHF, XTERRA, etc.), your moderately-priced options (Sole, NordicTrack, etc.), and your elite, commercial-grade options (Life Fitness, Precor).
With this in mind, I’d say Matrix falls somewhere near that elite group, putting them a few notches above the Soles and NordicTracks out there.
Like Life and Precor, Matrix also has a commercial lineup, so you might find some of their cardio machines in your local gym.
But unlike these brands, you aren’t gonna have to drop $10k for one of their home models.
Matrix produces reliable machines and they have great warranties, but I think it’s their consoles that really set ’em apart – plus it’s pretty awesome they’re iFit compatible.
But more on that later.
The bike we’re here to go over now, the R30, is one of two recumbents in their lineup (with the other being the upgraded R50).
Let’s start this review off with a rundown on the performance specs, then we’ll take a look at the features this bike offers and take a look at some comps.
- 23 lb flywheel
- 20 magnetic resistance levels
- Heavy-duty frame
- 350 lb weight limit
- Choice of console
- Entertainment apps*
- iFit ready
- 30 days of iFit included
- Screen mirroring*
- Web browser*
- Built-in workouts
- USB charging*
- Comfortable seat
- Fits wide range of user heights
- Step-thru frame
- Great warranty
- Touchscreen consoles significantly more expensive
Recumbent bikes, like indoor cycles, often use weighted flywheels paired with magnetic systems to create their resistance.
And just like indoor cycles, having a heavier flywheel is usually an advantage because the extra weight builds more momentum as the flywheel spins.
Which in turn, usually creates a smoother pedaling motion for the user.
This is especially true for more affordable recumbents because higher-end exercise bikes can usually get away with lighter flywheels because they utilize more sophisticated magnetic systems.
In any case, having a heavy flywheel is pretty much always a good thing and when it comes to recumbent bikes, anything weighing over 20 lb is usually heavy enough to create a smooth ride.
With this in mind, the R30 comes with a 23 lb flywheel.
This is pretty heavy as recumbent bikes go, although you’ll certainly see recumbents packing heavier flywheels (like Sole’s LCR and its 31 lb flywheel).
But you can rest assured the R30’s flywheel has enough weight behind it to create a nice pedaling feel.
And even though Matrix doesn’t use the same Exact Force Induction Brake they use for their R50 on this model, it still comes with a more traditional magnetic resistance system with 20 levels to work with.
This should give folks of all skill levels plenty of resistance to play with to get a great work out in.
All things considered, the R30 scores highly in the resistance department – this recumbent comes with a substantial flywheel and a generous amount of resistance levels to work with.
But the bike’s resistance system is only part of the picture, there’s also, you know, the rest of the bike to consider.
I’m guessing most folks looking for a recumbent bike in the first place are looking for one because they’re lower impact and more comfortable to use.
And in order for a recumbent to offer a comfortable workout, it needs a durable frame that’ll feel secure during use.
These qualities of a recumbent bike can be hard to objectively measure, but I think looking at the assembled weight and weight capacities is a good place to start because these numbers tell us a lot about how stable a bike should feel.
Basically, seeing higher numbers in both specs is a good sign the exercise bike is more solidly-built.
With this in mind, consider that the R30 comes with an assembled weight of 154 lb and a weight capacity of 350 lb – both of which are impressive for a home recumbent.
For the sake of comparison, this is identical to the weight of the similarly-priced Life Fitness RS3 and it’s a bit lighter than Precor’s RBK 635 (179 lb).
I’d also like to point out the R30’s frame design.
If you look closely at the image above, you’ll notice that the frame actually consists of 2 rails extending from the front of the bike to the rear.
This is Matrix’s “dual form” design and it offers improved stability over many single post bikes.
In other words, you won’t have to worry about this recumbent wiggling or wobbling on ya when getting on/off it.
Speaking of which, the R30 has a really low step over height too, making it easy to access the seat.
Overall, this recumbent bike scores highly in the frame department too. I like the dual-frame design and the fact that this bike is so heavy-duty.
Matrix backs their Cycle R30 Recumbent Bike with the following home warranty:
- Lifetime frame
- 5 year parts
- 2 years labor
Ok, I’ve got nothing to complain about here, this is an awesome warranty.
Lifetime on the frame is great, but the 5 years on parts is even better. Most recumbents under $2k offer 2-3 years on parts, although 5 years on parts is fairly common for higher-end bikes costing over $3k.
Either way, 2 years on labor is still great, considering most brands stop at only 1 year.
Overall, I think Matrix offers a generous warranty for their R30.
The Matrix Cycle R30 comes with the following included features:
Choice of console- personally, I think it’s Matrix’s consoles that really set ’em apart from most competitors and with the R30, you get to choose between 3 different options: the ‘XR’, the ‘XER’, and the ‘XIR’. The ‘XR’ is a simple LCD screen, the ‘XER’ is a 10″ touchscreen, and the ‘XIR’ is a 16″ HD touchscreen. The ‘XER’ and ‘XIR’ differ in size, but otherwise mostly come with the same included features. As you’ll see below, the ‘XR’ doesn’t come with a lot of the more advanced features found on the other consoles, but it doesn’t cost nearly as much either.
iFit- all 3 consoles are iFit compatible, although the ‘XER’ and ‘XIR’ options allow you to see the workouts directly through the console. For the ‘XR’, you need your phone or tablet near by to connect via bluetooth. By the way, iFit is the streaming workout app that NordicTrack and ProForm use and it gives you basically unlimited access to instructor-led workouts. Matrix includes a free 30 day trial of the app with purchase, but after that you’d be responsible for the ongoing membership fee (if you wanted to, you don’t have to).
Entertainment apps- the ‘XER’ and ‘XIR’ consoles both come with built-in entertainment apps, like Netflix and Spotify, making it convenient to watch your favorite content during workouts.
Screen mirroring- the touchscreen consoles also come with screen mirroring, which lets you view anything from your phone directly on the console screens. A cool feature because it essentially gives you access to any app you have on your phone.
Bluetooth- all 3 consoles are bluetooth compatible with heart rate monitors (and headphones, when applicable).
Workouts- all consoles come with a few built-in workout profiles too, but the number will vary depending on which console you opt for (ranges from 5 – 13 workouts).
USB charging- the ‘XER’ and ‘XIR’ consoles come with USB charging ports, allowing you to charge your device will working out.
Comfort Arc seat- the R30 comes with a contoured seat and a large, vented backrest for added comfort. You can easily adjust the height position of the seat via the large lever. And with the ability to comfortably accommodate riders as tall as 4’11, the R30 is a great bike for shorter riders as well.
Water bottle holder- and yes, there’s even a place to hold your water bottle during workouts.
As I’m writing this review, the R30 comes with a starting price of $2,199.
This is of course with the ‘XR’ console and if you opt for one of the touchscreen displays, your price will be higher ($2,999 for ‘XER’ and $3,599 for ‘XIR’).
Personally, I think these asking prices are in the right ballpark, given what you get and whatnot, but it’s not up to me to arbitrarily decide whether or not this is a fair price.
Instead, I think it makes sense to look at other similarly-priced bikes on the market to see what they have to offer.
The first comp worth mentioning is Life Fitness’ RS3 Lifecycle, which comes with a starting price of around $3,100 (~$3,700 for Track Connect 2.0 console).
In terms of performance the RS3 is very similar, coming with 20 resistance levels, a 20 lb flywheel, and a pretty identical assembled weight and warranty.
The biggest difference is in the consoles.
Life Fitness’ ‘Go’ console is a basic LCD option that doesn’t even come with bluetooth; the ‘Track Connect 2.0’ does come with bluetooth and a few more workout profiles, but nothing even close to the touchscreen consoles Matrix offers.
And personally, I don’t like the idea of having to pay an extra $600 just for bluetooth, something that everything comes with now anyway.
The other comp I want to mention is Precor’s RBK 635, which costs around $3,300 at the time of writing this.
The RBK 635 is another great recumbent from a great brand and it comes with 25 resistance levels, a solid frame, and a great warranty (lifetime frame, 10 year parts).
But again, the console.
The P31 console it comes with is just an old school LED with several built-in workout profiles.
Now Precor does offer a 10″ touchscreen option (the P62), but going with that console jacks the price of their recumbent to over $5k.
Alright, I think I’m about ready to wrap things up here.
There’s not much to complain about when it comes to Matrix’s R30 – this recumbent comes with respectable performance specs, a sturdy frame, and is covered by a generous warranty.
That said, it’s still the consoles the really grab my attention here.
I haven’t come across any other brands that offer a bike of this caliber with touchscreen consoles at this price point (the comps mentioned above are legit bikes, but their consoles can’t compete at this price range).
And the fact that the touchscreens come with built-in entertainment apps and iFit compatibility kinda puts ’em in a league of their own.
And I love that you don’t need an iFit membership to use all the other cool features the bike has to offer.
Overall, I think the R30 would make a lot of sense for folks looking for a recumbent bike with some great tech features, but I could also see it making sense for people simply looking for a quality bike that’ll last.
Having the option to choose your console makes this bike approachable to a lot of folks looking for a great bike.
Either way, I think the R30 is a home run.