ProForm’s 235 CSX and 325 CSX are both budget-friendly recumbents that are no longer available directly through ProForm, but luckily you can still get your hands on either one through other retailers.
And either bike could be a good buy, depending on the price of course (but more on that later).
The differences between these 2 bikes are quite subtle, so if you’re having a hard time deciding which is the better buy, you probably aren’t alone.
Luckily, I’ve got your back.
In this article, I’ll be going over all the key specs and features the 235 and 325 CSX each have to offer; I’ll also be pointing out any differences you should be aware of between these 2 recumbents.
After reading, you should know which bike is the better fit for your home.
Well, let’s get to it.
|ProForm 235 CSX||ProForm 325 CSX|
|Resistance||14 lb flywheel|
18 levels of magnetic resistance
|14 lb flywheel
22 levels of magnetic resistance
|Frame||102 lb assembled weight|
275 lb weight limit
|117 lb assembled weight
300 lb weight limit
|Warranty||7 year frame|
90 day parts
90 day labor
|10 year frame
1 year parts
1 year labor
Grip heart rate monitors
Water bottle holder
Heart rate strap compatible
Water bottle holder
|Price||~$300 - $600||~$400 - $800|
The ProForm 235 CSX vs The 325 CSX
They have a lot of similarities with NordicTrack, both in terms of the kinds of equipment they offer and the fact that they aggressively push iFit with every machine they sell.
Which is no coincidence by the way – ProForm, NordicTrack, and iFit are all owned by the same parent company, ICON Health & Fitness.
Anyway, ProForm products tend to be a little cheaper and a little lighter-duty than NordicTrack machines, but they’re still generally pretty good for their price ranges.
ProForm’s lineup is pretty small these days and like many other fitness brands, they’re only offering their newest models directly.
But you can still find some great deals on their older models through other retailers.
Let’s start this comparison off by checking out what kind of resistance systems these recumbents are packing.
I always start here because I think it’s the most important thing to consider for any type of bike.
And I say that because it’s the resistance system that largely determines how smooth your bike is going to feel during workouts.
A recumbent bike’s resistance system consists of a weighted flywheel and a magnetic resistance mechanism (really affordable recumbents might use a friction brake, but I’ve never seen one that does).
Which is good because I prefer magnetic systems anyway – they’ve smoother and don’t require maintenance.
Anyway, since we can expect all of these bikes to be using a similar magnetic system, it means we need to compare flywheel weights.
Having a heavier flywheel is usually beneficial because the extra weight builds more momentum as the flywheel spins, which helps keep the pedals moving a little.
And this reduces unwanted lag or awkwardness that can occur between pedal strokes, especially on cheaper bikes.
Recumbent bikes don’t pack massive flywheels like spin bikes do, although higher-end recumbents often come with flywheels in the 20 – 30 lb range.
With this in mind, the 235 CSX and 325 CSX both come with a 14 lb flywheel.
There’s no difference whatsoever when it comes to this spec, so you can rest assured one bike isn’t outperforming the other.
And I’d like to add that a 14 lb flywheel is respectable for a recumbent in this price range (the highly popular Schwinn 270 only comes with a 13 lb flywheel).
So, no differences in flywheel weight, but there is a difference in the amount of resistance levels each bike comes with.
The 235 CSX comes with 18 resistance levels, while the 325 CSX comes with 22 levels.
Now more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean more overall resistance (and considering both bikes use the same flywheel, I would bet both provide the same total output as well), but it does mean you can make smaller adjustments between resistance levels.
Which in itself is a good thing too.
But honestly, I don’t think having 22 vs 18 resistance levels is a major difference either way.
Users for both bikes also generally agree that both bikes provide fairly smooth and quiet workouts.
Overall, these 2 bikes are very similar in terms of their resistance systems. Both come with the same flywheel, but the 235 CSX comes with a few more resistance levels to work with.
Moving on, let’s see how these bikes stack up against each other in terms of “heavy-dutiness”.
I know every fitness marketer/blogger on the planet believes every bike is “heavy-duty”, but trust me when I say this isn’t true.
Some bikes are bigger, heavier, and more stable than others. And budget bikes are usually lighter-duty than more expensive ones.
This is one of the big reasons they cost less to begin with.
It can be hard to tell how heavy-duty a bike is by looking at it. Instead, I say look to the assembled weight spec because this tells you literally how heavy the bike is.
And a heavier bike is going to feel more stable than a lighter one.
When thinking about assembled weights, I think anything over 100 lb is pretty good, especially for bikes in this price range where many weigh in the 70 – 90 lb range.
With this in mind, the 235 CSX comes with an assembled weight of 102 lb and the 325 CSX comes with an assembled weight of 117 lb.
Honestly, both of these numbers are impressive (and a little hard to believe, but I have to go by what the specs say) for this price range.
But with an extra 15 lb of weight, the 325 CSX is quite a bit heavier-duty than the 235 CSX – especially considering both bikes come with the same flywheel weight.
Something else worth noting is that the 235 CSX comes with a weight capacity of 275 lb, while the 325 CSX comes with a weight limit of 300 lb.
The 325 CSX comes with a slightly higher weight capacity, which is another sign of being heavier-duty overall.
Overall, the 325 CSX is clearly a step above the 235 CSX when it comes to the overall heavy-dutiness of the frame – certainly something worth considering when choosing between them.
Ok, let’s compare another crucial spec – the warranty.
Before we go over the warranties for each bike, I want to point out that sometimes you’ll find different warranties listed for these bikes depending on which retailer you purchase through.
This can make it confusing and frustrating to figure out what’s accurate and what isn’t.
The following warranty info came from the owner’s manual for each bike, which I figure is the most accurate source (considering neither bike is offered through ProForm directly anymore).
ProForm backs their 235 CSX with the following residential warranty:
- 7 year frame
- 90 day parts
- 90 day labor
Ok, 7 years on the frame for a bike in this price range is pretty great (although I’ve also seen it at 5 years, which is also pretty good – but again, this is coming directly from the owners manual).
90 days on parts is pretty lousy though, even for a budget bike.
Warranties usually relate directly to price, but even so I’d like to see at least a 6 month parts warranty here.
90 days on labor is short, yes, but for this price range we shouldn’t really expect any labor warranty.
And ProForm backs their 325 CSX with this residential warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 1 year parts
- 1 year labor
Ok, so we see some significant differences here.
10 years on the frame is pretty amazing for a bike in this price range and a full year on parts and labor is a huge step up from what’s offered on the 235 CSX.
Overall, I’d say the difference in warranties is the most significant difference we’ve seen between these bikes yet.
That about does it for the performance side of things, so let’s move on and talk about the other features included with each model.
The 235 CSX comes with the following features:
- LCD console
- 18 workout programs
- Grip heart rate monitors
- Built-in speakers
- Standard seat
- Water bottle holder
And the 325 CSX comes with these included features:
- LED console
- 24 workout programs
- Grip heart rate monitors
- Strap heart rate monitor compatible (bluetooth)
- Built-in speakers
- iFit compatible
- Upgraded seat
- Water bottle holder
Ok, so the biggest differences I see when it comes to the features is that the 325 CSX is bluetooth compatible with heart rate straps and iFit and it also comes with a few more workouts.
The 325 CSX’s seat is also a little nicer.
Oh, many folks have had issues with iFit when starting up their bikes for the first time…
ProForm tries to make you think you have to sign up for an iFit account to use your bike, but you don’t have to!
If you press and hold the bluetooth button down for like 30 sec or so (until you hear 2 beeps), then you can skip the sign up phase and start using your bike without.
Time to talk numbers.
I don’t like quoting specific prices because these prices can change as soon as I publish my article – and this is especially true when it comes to these 2 recumbent bikes.
The prices for these bikes are all over the place.
As a write this, I’m seeing the 235 CSX on sale for anywhere between $329 – ~$600, which is a huge range.
And I’m seeing the 325 CSX on sale for anywhere between $407 – ~$800.
When comparing prices, keep in mind you have to adjust for shipping costs too – as I look at some of these lower prices, they don’t always include cost of shipping.
When thinking about the price ranges listed above, I think we can all agree the 235 CSX clearly isn’t worth $600 and the 325 CSX clearly isn’t worth $800…these prices are ridiculous on both accounts.
The prices on the lower end of the spectrums are much more accurate to what the true prices of what these bikes should be.
But since ProForm doesn’t offer these bikes directly anymore, we’re really at the mercy of the other retailers to determine prices.
So, with these numbers in mind, does it make sense to invest more and go with the 325 CSX?
Answering that question depends entirely on price.
Yes, I think the 325 CSX is definitely worth paying an extra $80 for ($329 vs $407), but I’m not sure I’d pay an extra $200 for it.
In terms of performance, there aren’t many differences between these bikes.
The 325 CSX comes with a few more resistance levels and a few more included workout programs, but both bikes come with the same flywheel and the same magnetic resistance system.
And again, I like that the 325 CSX is about 15 pounds heavier, but I’m not sure that alone is worth the extra cash.
But, if you add in the longer warranty (as well as the bluetooth features), things get more interesting.
When deciding between these bikes, ultimately I think it comes down to preferences and price.
I think $400 is a great price for the 325 CSX and anything around $300 is a great price for the 235 CSX, but personally I wouldn’t even think about paying anything over $500 for either.
Overall though, the 325 CSX does come with some nice upgrades over the 235 CSX, but for me it all comes down to price.