When you’re talking about home cardio equipment, it’s always a good idea to begin with a few stalwarts of the industry – companies and manufacturers with pedigree, a solid brand, and a reputation for quality and viability underpinning it all.
Therefore, it’s always a good idea to begin with someone like JTX.
They have everything above and more, with economical models that punch above their weight, giving you a full gym experience at a fraction of the price. This is exactly what you get with the JTX Cyclo 3 Indoor Racer Bike. It is their entry level indoor studio cycle and, given how far down in the pecking order it sits, the results you get from it are really quite surprising.
But no spoilers – I’ll pass judgement later. For now, let’s find out what works with the JTX Cyclo 3 Indoor Racer Bike, what, if anything, doesn’t, and whether or not it might be the machine to get you going.
JTX Cyclo 3 Specs
As above, the JTX Cyclo 3 packs a hell of a punch for its price point. Though it may look like the younger brother of the JTX Cyclo 6 (well, I suppose it is the Cyclo 6’s younger brother), there is nothing about it that suggests it falls behind. If anything, I would say it has even greater utility than more expensive models like these, due to its stellar price to performance ratio.
First up, let’s talk cosmetics and build. It is impressive looking, which I found inspired me to push myself as hard as I would in any spin class. It has a 5 kg lighter flywheel than its big brother, at 17 kg, but everything else seems pretty much comparable to the Cyclo 6. The overall styling and the build quality of the frame are pretty much on a par.
The Cyclo 3 looks light but it’s actually very robust, standing at 120 x 51 x 101 cm with an overall weight of 42 kg. This allows for an almost excessive maximum user weight of 140 kg, which, though less than some of the more expensive Cyclo bikes, will still accommodate all but the heaviest athletes. It seems to me to be far above industry standard for any kind of cardio machine.
You can adjust the Cyclo 3 to a pretty decent degree. I’m on the shorter side, and can sometimes struggle with getting cycles to fit my frame well. Not so here. You can adjust the seat to pedal distance between 70.8cm and 94.5cm, and there is a fairly standard 3-way height and distance adjustment. This may exclude athletes who stand far in excess of 6 foot, but again, will more than suffice for most.
Resistance is also as you would want it (and a little bit more). It features an infinite number of resistance levels, increasing in intensity the harder you pedal. You can also manually adjust the resistance pretty easily, to fine tune it to suit your fitness level and daily requirements. The increments are smoothly continuous, so there is no jarring or heavy onset as they change.
The Cyclo 3 also comes with SPD toe clips as standard. As a purely personal preference, I prefer a regular pedal, but most people will do better for them and will be highly grateful for the improved grip and ability to lay down power – it’s an impressive inclusion on a low cost model.
The design budget has clearly gone into the hardware. It is wonderful. However, the trade-off is that the software is markedly pedestrian. Nevertheless, there is an LCD monitor that gives you all the metrics you would expect – speed, calories per hour, total calories burned, distance covered, heart rate and so forth. You get a somewhat accurate pulse monitor built into the handles. All good but basic.
Mainly, the Cyclo 3 excels in its frame and build – JTX have really outdone themselves.
Finally, you get a one year warranty, with ten years on the frame, including all parts and labour and covering at-home use.
Using The JTX Cyclo 3 Indoor Racing Bike
I really wanted to see what the Cyclo 3 could do, so I used it fairly obsessively over a few weeks. I’m 5’8’’ and got on with it really well. I was comfortable from the off, and managed to find the absolute perfect position within a session or two.
Now, I’m lower body strong. My bench press isn’t worth a damn and I’m rubbish at pull ups, but I can leg press seven times my bodyweight for reps and sprint like hell. When I use a bike, it’s pretty serious. I have genuinely broken machines before (not seriously, but I still get bragging rights) and have come close to toppling over on unstable, poor quality models.
When I call a cycle stable, I really mean it, and the Cyclo 3 is one of the most stable machines I’ve ever used. It’s only little, which makes it perfect for home use and storage, but it’s completely rock solid when you use it. I even tried it out on some pretty uneven surfaces and didn’t struggle at all – I never lost confidence that I would be steady throughout, no matter how hard I pushed it.
It’s also portable, with handy transport wheels on the front. Combine this with its weight, balance and size, and you have a machine that is easy to move and store. This may not sound like the biggest perk in a fitness machine, but when it comes to home workout equipment, storage can be a deal breaker. Have no fears with the Cyclo 3.
There are a couple of things that the Cyclo 3 doesn’t manage. It won’t dazzle you with its IT. The display is a let-down for anyone. It isn’t a smart bike – there is little interactivity, little by way of programming, little by way of connections, no fancy apps or anything like that. I’m old school – I like punch bags, rusty barbells and medicine balls. I absolutely love the Cyclo 3. If you prefer higher tech gadgets, you will be disappointed by it – try a different model. If you like to live stream classes or try a thousand different programmes, again, you will be better served elsewhere.
However, you can always get these through a phone or tablet, the display is clear enough to show you the data that counts, and the Cyclo 3 shines at what it aims to do. It gives you an amazing spin experience, no fuss, no nothing. The 17kg flywheel is weighty enough to challenge you, busting through your thighs and shooting your heart rate up into the Orange Zone consistently. It is smooth, too, even at higher speeds and intensities. The gradation between levels is minimal and, even at its toughest, the flywheel combines with the frame’s solidity to give you an even ride. Even standing, I found that I could barely make it wobble.
It’s also comfortable, above and beyond this smooth ride. The seat is well padded. If you want to, you can get an additional gel padding (I didn’t feel the need, it was fine as it was). The adjustability made it perfect, as mentioned above – though, as also mentioned, athletes much above 6” might struggle a little. The handlebars are a good mixture of padded and sturdy, so that they are comfortable to grip but you are also able to hold on and grind through those tougher sprints.
JTX Cyclo 3 Best Features
For me, there is no fuss with the Cyclo 3. It isn’t about features, it’s about user experience.
With the Cyclo 3, the stability of the ride, the smooth transitions through resistance levels and the really good quality flywheel make the machine what it is. The frame is excellently designed, structured and built and, for a pretty small bike, it maintains its footprint well even as you really try to punish it.
If you want an entry level bike, at entry level prices, that you will nevertheless be able to get a lot of use out of, for years to come, even as your fitness and strength skyrocket, the Cyclo 3 is worth considering. I can’t see how you would be able to find a smoother, sturdier ride, with such a challenging upper range of resistance, for any less than this thing costs.
The gadgets – and lack thereof – are a disappointment. It would be nice to have iFit or something like that – something to keep things interesting as you fight your way through different courses and try out new classes.
However, I would pick a high quality bike with no gadgets over a techno marvel that gives a rubbish ride any day. I would happily pick the Cyclo 3.