XTERRA’s SB250 is a budget-friendly recumbent bike with some surprisingly impressive performance specs. And I say “surprisingly” because, well, let’s face it – most affordable recumbents aren’t known for their performance.
But with a 13.5 lb flywheel, 24 magnetic resistance levels, and 23 built-in workout programs, the SB250 shows us that we should expect a little more from our affordable recumbents.
XTERRA also backs the SB250 with a much better warranty than we usually see in this price range, something warranty sticklers like myself with surely appreciate.
All things considered, I think the SB250 is easily one of the best recumbents in the $500 and less range, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right bike for you.
In this review, I’ll go over everything this bike does and doesn’t have going for it.
After reading, you’ll know everything you need to in order to decide for your self whether or not it’s worth investing in.
Let’s do this.
The XTERRA SB250 Recumbent Bike
I could be wrong, but I get the impression that XTERRA doesn’t get the respect they deserve.
I know I never seen any marketing for them and it seems to me like they kinda fly under the radar – and that’s a shame because they’re easily one of the best budget brands out there.
XTERRA can hang with pretty much any brand out there when it comes to performance specs and warranties and they offer a nice selection of cardio machines to choose from.
Most of their products are quite affordable, but they offer some more moderately priced machines too.
XTERRA is actually owned by the same parent company that owns Spirit Fitness and partners with Sole – 2 of my favorite home brands.
Anyway, the SB250 is one of several recumbents in XTERRA’s lineup and it falls right in the middle of the pack in terms of features and price.
- 13.5 lb flywheel
- 24 levels of magnetic resistance
- 23 workout programs
- 300 lb weight limit
- 5.5″ blue backlit console
- Built-in speaker
- Great price
- Good warranty
- Frame could be a little heavier duty
Most folks tend to go for a recumbent bike because they’re more comfortable to use than traditional upright bikes or indoor cycles.
The horizontal positioning of the seat with regards to the pedals puts less stress on hips and knees and the larger seats and backrests certainly make ’em more comfortable to sit on.
Plus they usually have walk-through frames, making them easy to get on/off of.
But just because recumbent bikes are more comfortable, doesn’t mean they can’t offer a decent workout.
It just depends on how sophisticated the resistance system is.
Recumbent bikes, like the other bikes just mentioned, create resistance through the use of a spinning flywheel and more often than not, a magnetic resistance mechanism.
And just like the other types of bikes, flywheel weight matters when it comes to how smooth the pedaling motion is.
Heavier flywheels are generally preferred, especially on budget bikes, because the extra weight builds more momentum as the flywheel spins, which actually helps keep the pedals moving a little between pedal strokes.
This reduces any awkwardness between pedal strokes and makes for a smoother feel.
Now recumbent bikes aren’t known for having heavy flywheels and budget bikes in general tend to come with lighter flywheels anyway, but flywheel weight still varies greatly from bike to bike, even in this price range.
The SB250 comes with a 13.5 lb flywheel, which is nothing compared to the 30 – 40 lb flywheels found on most indoor cycles, but it’s actually pretty heavy for a recumbent in this price range.
For the sake of comparison, most recumbents under $500 come with flywheels in the 8 – 10 lb range.
And Schwinn’s 230, one of the most popular recumbents in this price range, also comes with a 13 lb flywheel.
The extra weight in the SB250’s flywheel is going to make for a smoother pedaling motion than most in this price range, but it’s also going to allow this bike to offer a little more resistance than most.
XTERRA pairs that flywheel with 24 levels of magnetic resistance, giving you a lot of control over the intensity of your workouts.
Having more resistance levels doesn’t mean more overall resistance, but it does allow you to make smaller changes to the resistance between levels.
Which in itself is a good thing because it allows you to make gradual resistance changes throughout your workouts.
Overall, the SB250 scores highly in the resistance department – I like that it comes with a heavier than normal flywheel and so many resistance levels.
Affordable recumbents are notorious for having light flywheels, but they’re also notorious for having really light weight frames too.
And a light weight frame is one of those things that really differentiates a nicer model from a not so nice model.
Having a heavier-duty frame is preferred because it’s going to provide a more stable, secure feel during your workouts – after all, I don’t think anybody wants to feel their bike wiggling and wobbling every time they use it.
To be fair, budget bikes tend to be lighter because this is one of the reasons they’re cheaper to begin with, but again, not all budget bikes are created equal.
The best way to get an idea as to how heavy-duty a bike’s gonna feel during workouts (without being able to try it out first), is to look at the assembled weight.
This spec tells you exactly how heavy the bike is – and seeing a higher assembled weight is always a good thing.
Heavier bikes are going to move around less, making them feel more stable during workouts.
How heavy is heavy enough?
Well, generally, anything over 100 lb is pretty good, but in this price range, most recumbents weigh in somewhere between 70 – 90 lb.
With this in mind, the SB250 comes in with an assembled weight of 87.5 lb, falling in the higher-end of this expected range.
Schwinn’s 230 weighs in at around 80 lb, for the sake of comparison.
So, when it comes to assembled weights, the SB250 is about as heavy as we can expect for this price range.
It also comes with a max weight limit of 300 lb, which is pretty standard for any decent recumbent.
In terms of assembled dimensions, this bike is pretty standard too, taking up a footprint of roughly 5′ x 2′ (L x W).
Overall, the SB250 comes with a pretty heavy-duty frame for the price range and has a weight limit high enough to accommodate folks of most sizes comfortably.
Oh, almost forgot – according to XTERRA, folks between 4’9″ and 6’4″ should be able to ride comfortably.
XTERRA backs their SB250 Recumbent Bike with the following residential warranty:
- 5 year frame
- 1 year parts
A five year frame warranty is much better than what most brands are offering in this price range.
Actually, now that I think about it, most bikes in this price range don’t come with any frame warranty, so there ya go.
A year on parts is pretty standard for most budget bikes, although some brands (like Sunny Health & Fitness) only offer 6 months on parts.
The only brand I know off the top of my head that offers a better warranty in this price range is Schwinn, who offers a 10 year frame and 2 year parts warranty on their 230 Recumbent Bike.
Oh, Nautilus also offers that same guarantee on their R614 Recumbent Bike, if you can find it anywhere.
Overall though, I think XTERRA offers a nice warranty on the SB250.
The XTERRA SB250 Recumbent Bike comes with the following features:
5.5″ LCD console- the display on this recumbent is larger than some and blue backlit for better visibility in darker environments, making it easy to read during workouts. It isn’t particularly fancy or anything, but it shows all the basic metrics you’d expect (time, distance, speed, calories, pulse).
23 workout programs- this bike comes with a lot of workout programs to choose from, so if you like the idea of having a lot of options, this could be a big perk. Workout programs include: 12 preset profiles, 5 heart rate guided workouts, 4 custom workouts, 1 watt output workout, and 1 body fat workout (there’s also a good ol’ fashioned manual mode).
Heart rate monitoring- the SB250 comes with grip pulse sensors built-into the handles near the seat, allowing you to get a rough idea of what your heart rate is. This bike isn’t compatible with bluetooth monitors.
Audio port- you can plug your mp3 player up to the console and listen to your music through the built-in speaker.
Water bottle holder- this handy feature allows you to store you beverage of choice close for easy sipping during workouts.
Let’s talk about this price range a little more specifically, so we can see how the SB250 really holds up against its competitors.
At the time of writing this, XTERRA has the SB250 priced at $549.99 on their website, but Amazon has it listed for $399.
Honestly, XTERRA’s price isn’t awful for this bike, but Amazon’s price is much better obviously.
In the $400 – $500 price range, Schwinn’s 230 is easily the top dog.
The 230 comes with a 13 lb flywheel, 16 resistance levels, 13 workout programs, and a 300 lb weight limit (as well as the nice warranty mentioned above).
There’s also ProForm’s 235 CSX Recumbent, which comes with a 14 lb flywheel, 18 resistance levels, 18 workout programs, and a slightly heavier-duty frame.
But it only comes with a 90 day parts warranty.
One last comp is Sunny’s Evo-Fit Recumbent, which costs a little more and only comes with a 7.7 lb flywheel, but comes with 36 workout programs, bluetooth speakers, and USB charging.
Based on the comps mentioned above, I think it’s safe to say that the SB250 can hold its own quite well with any bike in this price range.
With a 13.5 lb flywheel, this recumbent comes with about as heavy a flywheel as you’re gonna find for under $500.
And I like that it comes with so many resistance levels and such a nice selection of workout programs to choose from.
The backlit console is also a little easier on the eyes than most in this price range, but more importantly, I love that XTERRA backs this bike with a real warranty.
If I have to complain about something, I guess it would be nice if the frame was a little heavier-duty, but to be fair, it’s still heavier than a lot of the recumbents in this price range.
I compared the SB250 to Schwinn’s 230 throughout this article because the 230 is generally considered one of (if not the) best recumbent under $500.
Well, the SB250 has just as heavy a flywheel, more resistance levels, more workout programs, a heavier-duty frame, and a backlit console.
The only thing the 230 really has over the SB250 (other than brand recognition) is the longer warranty… just sayin’.
Long story short, I think XTERRA’s SB250 is a great budget bike and a steal at $400. Easily one of the best recumbent bikes in this price range.