Epic Fitness is owned by ICON, an international giant that also owns NordicTrack, ProForm and other brands of fitness equipment. The Epic brand is one of their lower-priced lines and it exclusively targets residential buyers, not commercial gyms. For 2015 it includes two models of stationary bike: the stationary upright A17u and the recumbent A17r. These bikes both have 17-pound drives and are iFit-ready.
Epic bikes were originally priced around $700 – $800, but current online discounts put them at about $500 – $550. The warranty package is the same for each bike model. It provides for lifetime coverage on the frame and brake, one year of coverage for other parts, and free labor during the first year.
Feature by feature, here are some thoughts about choosing Epic indoor exercise bikes.
- Adjustable Cushioned Seats: Epic bike saddles are comfortable. They’re made with ”EnergyReturn,” which is cushioning that helps promote endurance. On the recumbent Epic A17r Bike, a chair-like saddle provides lumbar support while allowing for airflow. The seat used on the A17u is oversized for comfort, but it can be switched out for a standard bike seat if desired.
- Preset Workouts: The recumbent has 30 trainer-designed workouts and the upright bike has 22. These preset workouts can each be used at different challenge levels, and they target a variety of goals. These fitness machines also let users save their own exercise routines.
- iFit Technology: Epic exercise bikes are iFit-ready. For $99/year, iFit members can download daily workouts, virtually train outdoors and with celebrity personal trainers, take part in online races, and more.
- Easy-to-Use Consoles: This brand’s programming is easy to navigate; choosing a program and making adjustments is intuitive.
- Adjustable Consoles: The consoles and attached handlebars can be tilted for the right fit.
- Oversized Pedals: The pedals are oversized for comfort. Adjustable safety straps are attached.
- Speakers: The upright and recumbent bikes both have speakers for playing MP3s.
- Water Bottle Holder: Water bottle holders are integrated with the bikes.
- Workout Fans: These bikes each get a 4” dual-speed workout fan.
- Heart Rate Monitoring: A wireless heart rate chest strap and receiver are provided on the Epic A17r Recumbent Bike. It also has grip pulse readers on the handlebars. Epic’s A17u Upright Bike only has grip pulse readers.
- Transport Wheels: Just tip the bikes for easy repositioning. Transport wheels are at the front of each frame.
- Small Footprint: These bikes have small frames. The Epic A17r is approximately 26” wide x 52” long, and the upright bike is even smaller.
- Safety Feature: On the recumbent bike, a code can be set to protect children’s safety.
- Hassle-Free Assembly: Customers report that these bikes are relatively easy to assemble, requiring about an hour of work when two people work together.
Why wouldn’t you choose the Epic Fitness bike brand? Here are some potential drawbacks.
- Poor Quality Control: The recumbent bike (but not the upright) has gotten some disappointing reviews. Reported problems range from broken resistance systems to cheap pedals.
- Light Flywheel: Epic’s 17-pound flywheels don’t provide enough resistance for some trainees. (Some brands with heavier options are NordicTrack and Sole.)
- Short Warranty: Epic has a below-average parts warranty. Except for the brake and frame, the parts are only covered for a year. Replacing a console could be costly.
- Not for Tall Riders: Riders approaching 6’ tall will be unable to stretch out their legs on these bikes.
- Basic Displays: Epic bike screens aren’t the best for viewing iFit, especially for users who use the real-life routing options. With NordicTrack, you can actually watch the Google Street view streaming by as you ride!
Who Should Choose Epic Exercise Bikes?
The Bottom Line
Epic bikes are comfortable and have ample workout programming. They also feature some of the extras found on club-quality bikes, such as speakers and water bottle holders. The overall packages look good at first, but these bikes might not be a good investment. The recumbent A17r in particular gets complaints; the upright A17u is more likely to have satisfied owners.
NordicTrack, which is owned by the same company as Epic Fitness, has higher prices but could offer better value in the long run.