As Spirit’s mid-range recumbent bike, the XBR55 offers a nice combination of features and specs, while maintaining a reasonable price.
In other words, this recumbent bike has a solid features-to-price-ratio, but I may’ve made that term up…
Anyway, highlights of the XBR55 include a 24 lb flywheel, 20 levels of resistance, and a robust frame that can handle folks weighing up to 350 lb.
It also comes with an adjustable angle backrest, making it easier to find a comfortable riding position.
When it comes to the console, it’s fairly basic stuff, but the XBR55 is bluetooth compatible with apps and it does come with an included chest strap heart rate monitor.
Plus this is Spirit, so of course this model comes with an outstanding home warranty.
Put it all together, I think it’s fair to say the XBR55 is a very nice recumbent bike, but is it really worth investing in, considering the competition?
Well, that’s what I’m here to help you figure out.
In this review, I’ll go over everything this bike does and doesn’t have going for it – I’ll also compare it to some of the other top models in this price range.
After reading, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether or not the XBR55 is the right option for you.
Let’s do this.
The Spirit XBR55 Recumbent Bike
I’m not sure Spirit’s as well-known as they should be.
If you’re reading this review, you’ve obviously heard of ’em before, but I get the impression they’re not nearly as mainstream as they should be.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I never really see any marketing for ’em…
Anyway, it’s a shame because I think they’re easily one of the best home fitness brands around.
Spirit’s known for building heavy-duty equipment that’s straightforward to use – and then backing them with some of the longest warranties in the biz.
They’re actually very similar to Sole Fitness, one of my other favorite brands, and this isn’t a coincidence – both brands are owned by the same company (Dyaco).
They’ve got a nice selection of cardio machines to choose from too.
The XBR55 we’re here to discuss now is their mid-range model, which tends to be where you find the best deals.
- 24 lb flywheel
- 20 levels of magnetic resistance
- 350 lb weight limit
- Heavy frame
- Belt drive
- Adjustable back rest
- Chest strap heart rate monitor included
- Bluetooth compatible
- Cooling fan
- Built-in speakers
- Amazing warranty
- Only 10 workout programs
Recumbent bikes are great because they offer a more comfortable way to get your exercise on, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still provide a solid workout.
It mostly just depends on what they’re packin’ under the hood.
Like most other home exercise bikes, recumbents depend on a weighted flywheel and a magnetic resistance mechanism to create the resistance you work against.
True, some of the higher-end, commercial-grade bikes can provide smooth pedaling motions and strong resistances without heavy flywheels, but most home models benefit from having heavier flywheels (especially in this price range).
And just like on indoor cycles, that’s because the extra flywheel weight builds more momentum as it spins, creating a smoother pedaling motion.
The XBR55 comes with a 24 lb flywheel, which is pretty heavy for a recumbent bike.
Not to say that these bikes can’t offer a decent workout, but having the extra flywheel weight is certainly going to provide a smoother, more substantial feel.
When compared to other bikes in this price range, the XBR55 holds its own fairly well.
Spirit’s own XBR95 also comes with a 30 lb flywheel, but that comes with additional cost.
Based on these comps, I would say the XBR55 holds its own fairly well when it comes to the flywheel department.
Spirit pairs that flywheel with 20 levels of magnetic resistance, giving folks a fair amount of control over the intensity of each workout.
I’m a proponent that having more resistance levels is a good thing because it allows you to make smaller changes between each level, but you have to keep in mind that more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean more overall resistance.
Although having a heavier flywheel usually does mean more total resistance.
At 20 levels, the XBR55 is pretty average when compared to other recumbents in this price range – some offer more, some less.
Overall though, I think this recumbent is easily packing enough heat under the hood to offer smooth, substantial workouts and users agree the pedaling motion feels great.
Having a potent resistance system is important, but it’s also important for a recumbent bike to have a secure frame.
I feel like the term “heavy-duty” gets overused, but I know we’re all looking for a heavy-duty bike that won’t wobble or wiggle around during use.
It can be hard to objectively compare how one bike’s “heavy-dutiness” compares to another’s, but I think the best way is to look at the assembled weights.
This spec tells us literally how heavy the bike is and seeing a higher number here should indicate a more secure feeling bike.
More weight = harder to move (even during workouts).
The XBR55 comes with an assembled weight of 139 lb, which by itself, probably doesn’t mean that much to ya.
I look at the specs for a lot of exercise bikes and can tell ya from experience that this is pretty heavy for a home recumbent bike, but again, you really shouldn’t take my word for it either.
So let’s look at a few examples instead.
The R618 mentioned above, which is about half the price of the XBR55, comes in with an assembled weight of 107 lb, which is actually really good for a bike in its price range.
Sole’s LCR, which is $100 or so more than the XBR55, weighs around 145 lb, making it even heavier-duty.
Spirit’s own XBR95 weighs even a bit more at 147 lb.
These are some of the heaviest home recumbents around (in this general price range) and the XBR55 is right there in the mix with ’em.
So, when it comes to the assembled weight/heavy-dutiness, no issues there.
This recumbent also comes with a max weight limit of 350 lb, allowing it to accommodate folks of all sizes.
The XBR55 takes up a footprint of roughly 57″ x 30″, which is actually a few inches shorter than most – taking up less floor space is never a bad thing.
Overall, I think this recumbent bike scores very highly when it comes to the frame. With such a heavy base, you shouldn’t have to worry about it feeling insecure during workouts.
Spirit Fitness backs their XBR55 Recumbent Bike with the following residential warranty:
- Lifetime frame
- Lifetime brake
- 10 year parts
- 1 year labor
The warranty department is an area where Spirit really shines and the above guarantee is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
Believe it or not, the lifetime frame guarantee is getting harder and harder to find, which is disappointing.
The lifetime frame/brake warranty is awesome, but it’s that 10 year parts warranty that really sets Spirit apart from most – few brands can compete with this guarantee.
NordicTrack offers 2 year parts warranties; Sole offers 5 years; 3G Cardio tops out at 7 years…
Precor also offers 10 year parts warranties, but I don’t think they have anything going for under $3k.
A year on parts is pretty standard stuff, so nothing too special going on there.
Overall though, the warranty on the XBR55 is certainly something that sets it apart from pretty much any other bike in this price range.
The Spirit XBR55 Recumbent Bike comes with the following features:
7.5″ console- the console on this bike isn’t fancy or anything, but it’s blue backlit and large enough to see all your stats easily during workouts.
10 workout programs- again, not exactly overkill when it comes to included workouts either, but it comes with all the classic profiles you’re probably familiar with. It also includes 2 custom and 2 heart rate guided workout options.
Bluetooth- this bike is bluetooth compatible with fitness apps like Zwift for metric tracking, scenic routes, and stuff like that (just know that you have to use your own smartphone/tablet to access the apps).
Heart rate monitoring- there are built-in grip monitors in the handles, but we all know they suck. Luckily, Spirit also throws in a free chest strap monitor for more accurate readings during workouts.
Adjustable seat- unlike most recumbents that simply allow you to adjust the height position, the XBR55 allows you to adjust the angle of the backrest as well. This is a great feature for folks dealing with achy backs because it makes it a lot easier to find a comfortable riding position.
Speakers- the console has built-in speakers, so you can connect your mp3 player up via the audio jack and jam out if you so choose.
Cooling fan- there’s also a fan to help keep ya comfortable during workouts.
Water bottle holders- and yes, there are 2 water bottle holders for easy hydration.
Prices can vary, so the numbers I quote here might not be relevant the second I publish this, but I’ll do it anyway.
At the time of writing this, Spirit has the XBR55 priced at $1,899 on their website, but you can find it a bit cheaper through other sites.
At the time of writing this, Fitness Factory has the XBR55 available for $1,599, so a good $300 less.
Needless to say, I like this price better.
At roughly $1600, the XBR55 costs quite a bit more than the $500 – $700 models (Schwinn 270, Nautilus R618, etc), but still a whole lot less than the commercial grade stuff (Precor, Life Fitness, etc).
This ~$2k price range where we see a lot of the most popular home models because you can get a really nice product without completely destroying your budget.
I’ve already mentioned a few of the top competitors in this price range, but I’ll bring ’em up again here.
NordicTrack’s Commercial R35 goes for around $1500 at the time of writing this and it has a lot to offer, especially if you’re looking for workout streaming.
With a 25 lb flywheel, 26 resistance levels, and a 14″ HD touchscreen console, the R35 has become one of the top home recumbents around, but its warranty is no where close to the XBR55’s.
Plus you have to deal with that monthly streaming fee.
There’s also Sole’s LCR, which is a little more expensive at roughly $1700.
It comes with a 30 lb flywheel, 40 resistance levels, and a slightly heavier-duty frame – but again, the parts warranty is only 5 years.
Finally, I want to mention Spirit’s XBR95, which can be found for $1899.
It comes with a 30 lb flywheel, 40 resistance levels, a self-generating power source, and a couple more workout options.
Based on these comps, I think the XBR55 is priced fairly, considering all the features it offers and how long its warranty is.
Ok, that’s about all I got when it comes to the XBR55.
With a 24 lb flywheel and 20 resistance levels, this recumbent scores pretty highly in the performance department.
And even though the console isn’t particularly hi-tech or anything, it is bluetooth compatible and I like that Spirit includes a chest strap with purchase.
What really sets this recumbent bike from most in this price range though, is that warranty – 10 years on parts offers a lot of peace of mind.
Long-story-short, I think this is a great recumbent bike.
If you’re looking for a techy console or instructor-led workouts, this isn’t the right option for ya, but if you’re looking for a straightforward bike that’s built to last, the XBR55 is indeed a smart investment.