Product Review: Elite U7 Upright Exercise Bike

The Elite U7 is a good fit both for athletes who need a low impact form of active recovery, as well as those who are getting started on a workout program.

I recently brought home a Horizon Fitness Elite U7 Exercise Bike to take through a few, very fun workouts. The bike is loaded with features that keep recovery and endurance workouts interesting. On top of that, the compact size and rolling wheels make moving it in and out of the corner of my office a breeze. Overall, the U7 is a comfortable upright bike that’s easy for new exercisers to use and that provides a convenient cross training and recovery option for runners and experienced athletes.

Simple to get started:

Assembling the bike was simple and took me (okay, mostly my husband) a little over an hour on a weeknight. The instructions and the parts that were included were complete. Swapping the pedals out for my clipless pedals was painless and let me use my usual cycling shoes with the bike. I found the seat that is included with the bike seems to be designed to be forgiving and is adjustable both vertically and horizontally, to allow most people to find a good position. Designed to put the rider in a very friendly and safe position, this bike is unlikely to cause knee, lower back, or shoulder pain. Setting up the console and the ViaFit integration was also very simple. The WiFi quickly recognized our home network. With a user account already created on ViaFit, I was able to enter my password and user I.D., uploading my workouts effortlessly.

Extra features:

The Elite U7 is loaded with features that made my workouts both comfortable and a lot of fun. I teach indoor cycling classes regularly, so I enjoyed using the bike to practice a recovery workout with my playlist. Having a multi-speed fan right on the console and a sturdy water bottle holder within easy reach was pretty posh and the MP3 input allowed me to work easily with the playlist on my phone. It also directed the sound to me, without driving the rest of my family out of our shared living/work space. The console is quickly responsive to changes in resistance, while the running visual of my cadence, total miles, and calories burned was great feedback. The machine also comes with a Polar® heart rate monitor that tracked my workout more accurately than my wrist worn device. The ViaFit feature automatically uploaded my workouts, including the calorie count, into the online database. This was great for creating extra motivation and letting me join on-line community challenges. One final, very enjoyable, feature of this bike is the integration with the Passport technology system. This player allowed me to enjoy incredible rides through New Zealand, Vancouver, and the French Riviera while displaying my ride stats on the screen of my television. The Passport system comes with a soundtrack for each ride and allows you to provide some details of your ride plan to create a motivating and interactive experience. I’m looking forward to continuing to train with this system, especially during the winter months. Elite U7 Upright Exercise Bike  

Final thoughts:

Hardcore indoor and outdoor cyclists will find that the position on the Elite U7 is different from a road bike or indoor cycle (though Horizon does offer the IC7 as well). As the name suggests, the positioning of this bike is pretty upright. This makes it easier to find a position that is forgiving of the low back, knees, and shoulders and takes some of the guesswork out of setting up your bike. Basically find the right seat height for you and you’re good to go. For most riders, by varying the speed and resistance, your workouts can range from aerobic conditioning to high-end race work; however if you are looking for a ride that feels just like your road bike, you probably want to look into the Elite IC7. The flywheel on the bike can offer substantial resistance, both in and out of the seat, which allowed me to mimic my indoor cycling classes fairly well during my home training sessions. The Elite U7 is really going to meet the needs of those who are looking for a convenient and comfortable option for cardiovascular training and cross training. It’s a good fit both for athletes who need a low impact form of active recovery, as well as those who are getting started on a workout program. The adjustable and forgiving positioning of the seat makes it a safe and forgiving low impact workout, while the wide range of features and technology integration keep workouts interesting and fun. About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.