The Carbon CX is ProForm’s entry-level indoor cycle and as such, it’s missing some of the higher-tech features found on their Studio Bike Pro models.
Most notably the large HD touchscreens used for streaming workouts.
But the Carbon CX costs a lot less too.
Highlights of this affordable cycle include 16 levels of magnetic resistance, a 28 lb flywheel, and an included pair of 3 lb dumbbells.
It also comes with a pretty good warranty for this price range, which is always a plus.
That said, it’s got its fair share of flaws too.
Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable indoor cycle, ProForm’s Carbon CX isn’t a bad choice, but there are some issues you should be aware of.
But don’t worry, I got your back.
In this review, I’ll go over everything this cycle has to offer – we’re talking pros, cons, specs, features, price, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
After reading, you’ll know once and for all whether or not the Carbon CX is worth investing in.
Ok, let’s begin.
The ProForm Carbon CX Bike
ProForm’s a popular brand most of us are probably fairly familiar with.
As home fitness brands go, they fall more in the budget to moderately priced range, with most of their products costing well under $2k.
ProForm is actually owned by ICON Health & Fitness, the same parent company that owns NordicTrack, which explains why there are so many similarities between their products.
I tend to think of ProForm as a more affordable version of NordicTrack, but both brands are compatible with the iFit streaming platform (also owned by ICON).
As I mentioned in the intro, the Carbon CX is their most affordable indoor cycle to date.
And at the time of writing this, ProForm is only really offering 2 other cycles – the Studio Bike Pro and Studio Bike Pro 22.
- Access to iFit
- 30 day iFit membership included
- 28 lb flywheel
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance
- Fully adjustable seat
- Pair of 3 lb dumbbells included
- Swiveling tablet holder
- Toe cage pedals
- Good warranty
- 250 lb weight limit
- LCD display imbedded in tablet holder
- Some complaints about resistance not being hard enough
I like to start all my reviews off with a discussion on the resistance system because I think this is the most important feature for any bike.
After all, it’s the resistance system that gives us something to pedal against, but it also determines how smooth the pedaling motion is going to feel.
And none of us are looking for a bike that doesn’t feel smooth.
Anyway, spin bikes operate by using weighted flywheels and either a friction brake or magnetic resistance mechanism.
The Carbon CX uses a magnetic system, so we can skip the friction brake talk for now, just know that magnetic systems are usually preferred because they offer a smoother feel and don’t require maintenance.
And that’s because with magnetic systems, there’s no touching between the spinning flywheel and the magnets (the resistance comes from adjusting how close the magnets are to the metal flywheel).
The Carbon CX comes with 16 resistance levels, giving you a fair amount of control over the intensity of your workouts.
Having more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean more total resistance, it just means you can make smaller changes between levels.
Speaking of resistance, some users have complained that the Carbon CX doesn’t offer enough resistance to be challenging.
While it’s true most budget cycles aren’t able to provide enough resistance to challenge gifted cyclists, it’s always hard to tell whether complaints of this type are due to bike malfunction or not.
Either way, it’s worth considering.
The Carbon CX also comes with a flywheel that weighs about 28 lb, which is heavy-enough to provide a smooth pedal motion.
Even really cheap cycles are coming with massive flywheels these days, but at some point I think it’s just overkill.
Personally, I think anything in the 30 lb range or more is easily heavy-enough to provide a smooth feel – so at 28 lb, the Carbon CX is pretty close.
And users seem to agree as well that this cycle provides a smooth, quiet workout.
Overall, the Carbon CX scores pretty highly with its smooth, magnetic resistance system and 28 lb flywheel. More advanced riders should be aware that this bike probably won’t be able to provide enough resistance to challenge them though.
The resistance system is pretty good for a bike in this price range, but let’s see how the frame measures up.
I assume most of us are looking for a bike that feels stable and secure during use – in other words, a heavy-duty bike.
It’s hard to determine how heavy-duty a bike is by looking at images online because looks can be deceiving.
A better way is to look at the assembled weight.
And heavier bikes are going to be more likely to feel stable during workouts.
ProForm makes things a little more difficult because they don’t share the Carbon CX’s assembled weight spec, instead they share the in-box weight (which includes the weight of the box and packaging).
NordicTrack does this too, fyi.
I’m not sure why these brands do this because most brands share the assembled weight of the bike itself.
Is it to make us think the bikes are heavier than they actually are??
Regardless, the Carbon CX comes with an in-box weight of 125 lb.
So, if we subtract 20-30 lb for packaging, that puts the assembled weight somewhere in the 95 – 105 lb range, which sounds reasonable based on other comps in this price range.
For the sake of comparison, the similarly priced JOROTO X2 weighs about 94 lb and the Cyclace weighs about 86 lb.
So, if we’re in the right ballpark with our estimation, I would say the Carbon CX scores a little above average in terms of “heavy-dutiness” with an assembled weight of around 100 lb.
It falls a little short when it comes to its weight limit though.
With a weight capacity of only 250 lb, larger folks won’t be able to ride.
Otherwise, the frame is pretty average in terms of assembled dimensions, taking up a footprint of roughly 2′ x 4′.
ProForm backs the Carbon CX Bike with the following residential warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 1 year parts
- 1 year labor
Ok, so 10 years on the frame is very good for a cycle in this price range, considering most affordable cycles only offer a 1 year guarantee on everything.
It’s also good considering many elite cycles max out at 5 years on the frame.
One year on parts isn’t very long for higher-end bikes, but it’s pretty standard operating procedure for cycles in this price range.
And a year on labor is as long as most brands offer, regardless of price range.
All things considered, I think ProForm offers a pretty good warranty on the Carbon CX.
The ProForm Carbon CX comes with the following included features:
LCD console- the word “console” is a stretch here, it’s more of a tiny screen that simply displays your workout metrics. It’s as basic as they come, but that’s to be expected with this price range. Something else worth mentioning is that ProForm decided to put the screen right in the middle of the tablet holder – meaning it’ll be covered by your tablet if you use one (poor designing).
Tablet holder- the largest feature on this bike is the tablet holder. As you might guess, this is so you can use your tablet to access iFit and watch all the workouts, etc while on the bike. The tablet holder can swivel too, allowing you to view your tablet while doing non-bike exercises too.
iFit compatible- iFit is ProForm’s streaming platform, giving you access to live and on-demand, instructor-led workouts. You also get access to scenic rides, metric tracking, and all that stuff. You get a 30-day trial of iFit with purchase, then you’d be responsible for paying the monthly subscription fee. iFit is completely optional.
Fully adjustable seat- you can adjust both the height and fore/aft position of the seat, making it easy to find a comfortable riding position.
Height adjustable handlebars- you can’t adjust the horizontal position of the handlebars, but you can adjust the height. My Peloton doesn’t have fully adjustable handlebars either and I’ve never found it to be an issue.
Toe cage pedals- the pedals on the Carbon CX come with straps designed for use with sneakers. This is nice if you don’t want to buy riding cleats, but if you already have some you could easily swap these pedals out for others.
Pair of dumbbells- this cycle comes with an included pair of 3 lb dumbbells, which is a great feature if you plan on using the iFit membership.
Water bottle holder- finally, there’s a convenient place to store your beverage of choice.
I want to talk about price a little before I wrap this up, but you have to keep in mind that prices on these bikes change frequently.
So don’t hate me if the prices I quote here aren’t 100% accurate when you read this.
That said, the Carbon CX costs $599 on ProForm’s site at the time of writing this.
But it’s on sale for about $400 on Amazon, which is a much better price.
With a price between $400 – $500, I think it’s safe to say we’re talking about a budget cycle here (considering top end cycles go for $2k+).
But there are a lot of bikes in this price range, so how does the Carbon CX stand up?
The JOROTO X2 I mentioned earlier is certainly a top contender – it comes with a 35 lb flywheel and a 300 lb weight limit, but it isn’t iFit compatible.
There’s also the Echelon EX-15, which comes with 32 resistance levels, but that only comes with a 15 lb flywheel and a 12 month warranty.
Schwinn and Bowflex have superior cycles (the IC4 and C6, respectively), but they cost significantly more, falling in the $700 – $800 range.
Overall, I think the Carbon CX is pretty fairly price and able to hold its own quite well against the top comps.
Alrighty, that’s about all I got.
All things considered, I think this cycle is a pretty good buy, but I like it a lot more at $400 than $550.
In terms of performance, the Carbon CX has a respectable flywheel and a decent amount of resistance levels to work with.
And when it comes to the frame, it’s about as heavy-duty as most other top bikes in this price range.
The weight capacity is a bit low at only 250 lb (most come with 300 lb limits), but this won’t be an issue for smaller riders.
I also like that ProForm offers a 10 year frame warranty, something few brands in this price range can match.
It sucks that the tablet holder blocks the display screen, but if you’re using iFit, you won’t have to see that screen anyway.
Overall, I could see the Carbon CX making a lot of sense for folks working with a smaller budget looking to access iFit.
More advanced riders will likely be disappointed with the amount of resistance this bike can offer, but that would be the case with any cycle in this price range.