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The Sole LCR Recumbent Bike – Commercial Grade Without The Cost [A Review]

sole lcr recumbent bike review

If you’re looking for the feel of a commercial grade recumbent bike without the cost of one, Sole’s LCR might just be the answer.

Designed to be used for light commercial use (hence the “LCR” name), this recumbent comes with a rock solid frame, a heavy flywheel, and a great warranty.

It also just so happens to be manufactured by one of the best brands in home fitness.

And as a moderately priced exercise bike, it won’t obliterate your budget either.

This review will take you on an in-depth tour of everything the Sole LCR has to offer.  In doing so, we’ll cover all the key specs and features that make this bike what it is.

We’ll also discuss the areas where this bike could be improved.

But before we get to the review, I’d like to start with a few words on how to choose a recumbent bike in the first place.

Choosing A Recumbent Bike

I think it’s always a good idea to know what you’re looking for before you start looking. It also gives us a nice blueprint to make sure we’re comparing the same things between bikes.

You know, comparing apples to apples and all that jazz.

When comparing recumbent bikes, here are my top 3 specs to consider:

Frame

Home recumbent bikes come in various shapes and sizes, but quality ones should always start with a solid frame. How can you tell a sturdy frame from a lemon?

Well, sometimes you can kinda tell just by looking at it. If the frame looks too skinny or lightweight, odds are it is. The more robust and thick a frame looks, the better.

A more objective way is to look at the weight capacity. Sturdier frames will have higher weight limits.

I suggest you aim for a bike with at least a 300 lb user weight capacity. Even if you weigh 120 lb, getting a bike with a high weight limit like this will mean it will have a stronger, more durable frame (and will be less likely to shake and feel flimsy during use).

Seat

The point of getting a recumbent bike is to be able to exercise in a more comfortable position. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think most people that are looking for a recumbent bike are doing so because they want a more comfortable way to exercise.

And by comfortable, I mean you’re sitting in a position that puts less stress or discomfort through your back, hips, and knees.

If you’re recumbent bike doesn’t have a comfortable seat, it kind of defeats the purpose.

Recumbent bike seats should be large, cushioned, and preferably have an adjustable back rest. And remember, when it comes to seats, larger is better.

Warranty

A bike’s warranty tells you a lot about it. Specifically, low quality bikes come with short warranties and vice versa. Manufacturers are smart- they aren’t going to put a long guarantee on a product they doubt will last.

Recumbent bike warranties are usually divided into 3 parts: frame, parts, and labor.

The frame warranty should be the longest and preferably will be lifetime. The parts warranty can vary, but quality bikes should offer somewhere between 3-5 years.

Labor warranties are always the shortest. One year is standard for nice bikes. Every once in a blue moon you’ll see a 2 year labor warranty, but they’re few and far between.

The Sole LCR Recumbent Bike

The LCR is one of two recumbent bikes Sole currently offers, with the other being the R92. The LCR is their highest-end model and is designed to handle light commercial use, although it’s priced as and would make a fantastic option for a home gym.

Light commercial use is defined as being able to handle 5 hours or less of use a day. These settings can include Physical Therapy clinics, apartment gyms, or fire stations.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty frame
  • 350 lb weight capacity
  • 30 lb flywheel
  • Large, comfortable seat
  • 40 levels of resistance
  • 10″ LCD screen
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • USB chargine port
  • Tablet holder
  • Wireless chest strap heart rate monitor compatible
  • Amazing warranty

Cons

  • Backrest not adjustable
  • Wireless heart rate monitor not included

Frame

Sole starts things off right by giving the LCR a heavy-duty steel frame with an aluminum finish. Looking at the frame on this bike, you can tell it just looks tough. It does look like a bike you’d see in a gym or therapy clinic.

The step-thru frame makes accessing the seat easy from either direction- a great feature if you or any family members have mobility issues.

More objectively, the LCR has a max weight capacity of 350 lb, which is impressive for any home bike. I mentioned above that 300 lb is my cutoff for high quality. Well, this bike easily surpasses that.

Sole also gave this bike a 30 lb flywheel, which is pretty rare for home recumbents.

We hear a lot about flywheel weights with regards to ellipticals and spin bikes, but no as much when it comes to recumbents. My theory is that this is because most folks looking for a recumbent aren’t as concerned with high-intensity training, which is what we usually relate to heavier flywheels.

Either way, most home recumbent bikes are packing 13-15 lb flywheels.

Heavier flywheels are usually preferred because they should provide a smoother feel as well as more overall resistance. At 30 lb, this is one of the heaviest flywheels I’ve come across.

Combined with Sole’s magnetic resistance system, this heavy flywheel will provide smooth and nearly silent operation.

Overall, the LCR scores highly with it’s heavy-duty frame, high weight capacity, and heavy flywheel.

Seat

The seat on this bike is large and well padded. Look at the thickness of the seat and backrest. Again, it does look like a commercial bike.

The backrest on the LCR isn’t adjustable, but I like that it has lumbar support built-in. I also like how tall the backrest is.

You might also notice that the backrest is placed in a few degrees of recline. This positioning allows you to sit a little more comfortably while you pedal.

Finally, the two stationary handles by the seat are where the grip heart rate monitors have been placed.

This is smart idea because it keeps you in a more comfortable position during your heart rate monitoring (more natural than having to reach in front to the handlebar in front of the console).

Overall, the LCR has a large, comfortable seat.

Features

The Sole LCR comes with the following features:

40 resistance levels- having this many levels of resistance gives you a lot of control over your workout intensity. The magnetic resistance and 30 lb flywheel make for a wicked combo. This bike has enough muscle to challenge even the most advanced cyclists.

10 workout programs- this isn’t a ton of workout options, but it’s enough to keep you working. Workouts include 6 standard programs, 2 custom, and 2 heart rate based.

10″ LCD screen- this bike comes with a very large display screen, making it easy to see all your stats without having to wait for the menus to scroll through.

Bluetooth speakers- use the bluetooth technology to listen to your favorite music wirelessly through the built-in speakers.

Wireless heart rate monitoring- this bike is compatible with wireless heart rate monitors, however one isn’t included.

USB charging port- the USB charging port will keep your smart phone or tablet fully charged during your workouts.

Built-in tablet holder- the tablet holder is conveniently located above the 10″ screen, so you don’t have to block your workout data while watching your tablet.

Cooling fan- nothing too fancy here, but it’ll help keep you comfortable during your more strenuous workouts.

Assembly

Sole did a great job with their owner’s manual. I like that they not only specify which hardware is used for each step, but also include a to scale image of each bolt and screw.

The most tedious part of assembling this equipment is usually trying to discern which screw or bolt should be used for each step. Sole’s instructions do a great job of eliminating this confusion by organizing the hardware for each step together.

Assembly on the LCR is very straightforward. There are only 4 steps, but the last step involves several parts. All of the necessary tools are included.

Overall, most users shouldn’t have any problem putting the LCR together by themselves. I would estimate most folks who are remotely handy could have this bike up and running within an hour.

Warranty

Sole backs their LCR with the following guarantee:

  • Lifetime frame
  • 5 year parts (including electronics)
  • 2 year labor

This is, without exaggeration, one of the best warranties you’re going to find on a recumbent bike (or any other exercise bike for that manner).

Lifetime is as good as it gets on the frame and 5 years is phenomenal for parts and electronics.

If you remember from the intro, I mentioned that you rarely see longer than a year on labor warranties. Well, the LCR happens to be one of the exceptions to the rule. Two years on labor can’t be beat either.

Overall, an amazing warranty on this bike by Sole.

Final Thoughts

If we look back to the specs I mentioned at the beginning, you can see why the Sole LCR Recumbent Bike is generally considered one of the best recumbents on the market.

This bike has a solid frame with a 350 lb weight capacity and is sporting an oversized, comfortable seat. It’s also backed by one of the best warranties around.

Going beyond those initial specs, this bike also comes with a heavy flywheel and 40 levels of resistance to give you complete control over your workouts.

And even though Sole isn’t known for their high-tech features, I think the bluetooth speakers and USB port are a great touch.

Overall, I think the LCR is a great recumbent bike. If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to a commercial grade machine, there’s no better choice. Highly recommended.

Will

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