Renpho AI Smart Exercise Bike Review
Cons: Needs a phone or tablet to serve as a display, limited seat height adjustment
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Renpho AI Smart Exercise Bike
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|Pros||Reasonable price, connected features, free AI Gym App, works with popular training apps, easy assembly||Versatile, bike and desk in one, feature packed, folds for storage||Affordable, smooth belt-driven weighted flywheel, infinitely adjustable resistance, stable and sturdy||Affordable, folds for storage, simple no-frills design||Comfortable recumbent position, affordable, lightweight for a recumbent|
|Cons||Needs a phone or tablet to serve as a display, limited seat height adjustment||Heavy, sub-par display and controls, may not fit taller users||Basic display, no program workouts||Limited resistance range, basic display||Basic: limited features, large footprint, limited resistance range|
|Bottom Line||An affordable FTMS Bluetooth-enabled upright exercise bike that comes with its own free app and works with popular training apps||This desk bike hybrid is a convenient and versatile option for exercising and/or working at home||A simple and affordable bike with a huge resistance range||An affordable and convenient folding model that is ideal for light workouts||A simple, comfortable, and affordable option with a limited range of workout intensity|
|Rating Categories||Renpho AI Smart Exe...||Exerpeutic Exerwork...||Yosuda Indoor Cycli...||Exerpeutic Folding...||Marcy Recumbent ME-709|
|Exercise Quality (30%)|
|User Interface (20%)|
|Setup Portability (10%)|
|Specs||Renpho AI Smart Exe...||Exerpeutic Exerwork...||Yosuda Indoor Cycli...||Exerpeutic Folding...||Marcy Recumbent ME-709|
|Style||Upright||Desk Bike, Semi-Recumbent||Upright||Upright/semi-recumbent||Recumbent|
|Resistance Settings||80 levels||24 levels||Infinite||8 levels||8 levels|
|Measured Weight||79.9 lbs||67 lbs||68.8 lbs||41 lbs||54.2 lbs|
|Measured Dimensions||40" L x 20" W x 49" H||43" L x 25" W x 50.5" H||40.5" L x 21.5" W x 45" H||33" L x 22" W x 46.5" H||58"- 46" L x 24.75" W x 38.5" H|
|Folded Dimensions||n/a||30" L x 25" W x 61.5" H||n/a||20.5" L x 22" W x 55" H||n/a|
|Max. Weight Capacity||265 lbs||400 lbs||270 lbs||300 lbs||300 lbs|
|Recommended Height Range||4'11" to 6'5"||5'1" to 6'3"||25" to 35" inseam height adjustment||5'3" to 6'1"||27" to 37" inseam length (12 inches of measured height adjustment)|
|Resistance type||Magnetic with Smart Motor Damping||Magnetic||Weighted flywheel and adjustable resistance pad||Magnetic||Magnetic|
|Resistance Adjustment type||Knob, automatic or manual||Buttons||Knob||Knob||Knob|
|Preprogrammed Workouts||Through Renpho AI Gym App (iOS and Android)||24 courses||No||No||No|
|Heart Rate Sensor||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Digital Display||No (Device required)||LCD display: 2.25" W x 1.125" H||LCD||LCD display: 3.3" W x 1.5" H||LCD display: 3" W x 1.5" H|
|Display Information||n/a||distance, calories burned, time, speed, odometer, resistance elevels, and scan||time, speed, distance, calories, odometer||distance, calories burned, time, speed, odometer, scan, and heart rate monitor||time, speed, distance, calories, odometer, and scan|
|Other Features||Transport wheels, Bluetooth, works with popular training apps, device holder, adjustable handlebar height, USB charging port||Bottle cage, device shelf, cage pedals, flywheel brake, transport wheels||pedals with safety straps, cell phone holder, transport wheels, folding for storage||Recumbent handlebar, transport wheels, adjustable seat, digital display, pedals with safety straps|
|Warranty||1 year||3 year limited||1 year parts replacement||Frame: 1 year, All other parts: 90 days||Frame: 2 years|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Renpho is a relative newcomer to the exercise bike market, although the company has been producing a variety of massagers, digital scales, air purifiers, and other household electronics for some time. The AI Smart Exercise Bike caught our attention for its reasonable price, connected features, compatibility with popular training apps, and positive consumer reviews. We tested the Renpho AI for weeks and came away relatively impressed by its performance, though it is not without its quirks.
We were generally quite impressed by the exercise quality of the AI Smart bike. This upright-style bike offers a massive resistance range to suit riders of all fitness levels, and its FiTness Machine Service protocol (FTMS) Bluetooth connectivity allows it to work with a variety of popular training apps (subscriptions required) or the free AI Gym App. Riders can manually control the bike for basic workouts, and if you choose to subscribe to other apps you can follow along with at-home studio, video, or virtual programs. We think it's great to have so many options.
The Renpho AI is an upright-style exercise bike with a body position similar to that of a regular bike. Like other upright models we've tested, it requires a more athletic body position compared to a recumbent, for example. It features seat and handlebar height adjustments, so most riders should be able to find a comfortable seated position. It has a measured Q-factor (distance between crank arms) of 185mm, which is slightly wider than a normal road bike (usually around 150mm) but narrower than many other exercise bikes we've tested. The bike has 80 levels of magnetic resistance, 0-40 in 0.5 increments, which we found to provide ample range for beginners and super-fit riders alike. For the most part, we found the resistance to be quite smooth, although at the highest levels, 35+, it occasionally felt a little choppy, particularly if our cadence wasn't consistent or our pedal strokes weren't smooth. This was only an issue a couple of times, at the end of our FTP test when we were losing steam, and during a particularly steep climb on Zwift. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but worthy of mention for riders who like to push big gears.
The bike itself doesn't have any preprogrammed workouts, though it is easy to simply do a manually controlled workout by adjusting the resistance using the resistance dial and riding however you choose. That said, the Renpho AI works best when connected to the free AI Gym APP or other popular training apps like Zwift, KinoMap, or Peloton.
Renpho claims the AI Smart bike is compatible with iOS and Android devices for use with a number of training apps including Zwift, XERT, Kinomap, FulGaz, Rouvy, SYSTM (formerly The Sufferfest), and Peloton (iOS only). Each of these apps has a monthly or annual fee, but you have the option to do structured training, video rides, virtual interactive rides, studio workouts, or all of the above from the comfort of your own home. It's your bike, you choose how to use it. Of course, if you don't want to pay any subscription fees, the AI Gym App is free and easy to use. It may be somewhat basic, but it's better than nothing.
Overall, we found the Renpho AI to be a comfortable exercise bike. It has a traditional upright style and features adjustments to handlebar height, seat height, and seat fore/aft position to suit a range of user heights and preferences. We found the generously padded seat to be an agreeable size and shape, and easily adjustable straps secure your feet to the pedals. The bike also has a robust construction and a sturdy, stable feel.
It is quite easy to get on and off the Renpho AI bike with a low step-over height of just 17-inches. The bike has a maximum weight limit of 265 lbs, and a recommended user height range of 4'11" to 6'5". While that height range does sound quite impressive, we feel that users above 6'2" may have a difficult time fitting on this bike with proper leg extension. Our 6'0" tester with long legs had the seat height maxed out and could have used just a little more height to get his desired leg extension. For reference, we measured the distance between the pedal (at the bottom of the pedal stroke) and the top of the seat (with the seat in the forward position) and found a range of 27.25 to 35.25-inches. The seat also has a fore/aft adjustment that allows up to three inches of movement. At the front of the bike, the handlebar can also be adjusted vertically with 9.5-inches of adjustment range, although it cannot be adjusted fore/aft. So, while the Renpho can certainly accommodate a large range of user heights, we would recommend that taller users or those with particularly long legs consider their inseam length, or measure the pedal to saddle length on a bike that fits them to see if they will fit. The bike's measured Q-factor(distance between the crank arms) of 185mm feels relatively natural as well (a normal road bike is 150mm).
The Renpho AI bike comes with a generously padded seat that measures 8.5-inches wide x 10.5 inches long. We found this seat to be very comfortable with ample padding and an agreeable shape, but those who prefer a wider, more supportive seat may find it to be a bit on the narrow side. That said, the seat attachment is a standard two-rail style, so one could mount the seat of their choosing to meet their needs or preferences. The large handlebar offers a variety of hand positions, and we found the textured rubberized coating to be plenty comfortable on the hands. Ratcheting straps on the pedals are easily adjustable and help to secure the feet to improve efficiency and prevent them from slipping off. We also found this bike to feel sturdy and stable. Sure, you may experience a little side-to-side movement during hard out of the saddle efforts, but you'd have to go out of your way to get this bike to tip over while riding. Additionally, it has adjustable levelers at all four corners to dial it in for stability.
The user can interact with the Renpho AI bike in a couple of ways. It features a resistance adjustment knob and a small LCD screen that can be used to control the bike for manual workouts and view one metric at a time. Its Bluetooth connectivity means it works with the AI Gym App and other popular training apps and is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. When using the Bluetooth connection, your device, a smartphone or tablet, serves as the display and can rest in the device holder between the handlebars.
The Renpho AI comes equipped with relatively basic but functional controls and display. At the top of the handlebar mast, a dial is used to adjust the resistance between 0 and 40 in 0.5 increments for a total of 80 resistance settings. Atop the resistance dial is a circular LCD screen that displays one metric at a time. The screen has a single button that is used to toggle between the metrics of resistance setting, elapsed time, power output/watts, and cadence/rpm. The bike can be used without connecting to the AI Gym App or other apps for a manually controlled workout using the dial and screen.
This bike's FTMS Bluetooth connectivity is one of its best features, allowing the user to do workouts with the AI Gym App or any number of popular training apps. Renpho makes it easy to connect to the AI Gym App with a scannable QR code in the manual and on the console, and we found that connecting to other apps like Zwift was relatively straightforward using an iOS device. Once connected via Bluetooth, your device serves as the display to follow along with videos, challenges, studio classes, etc. A smartphone works fine, but a tablet is generally preferred to have a larger screen. Through the FTMS Bluetooth connection, the bike also makes automatic resistance changes based on the video, program, or course you're following (with certain apps). For example, when using Zwift, the bike changes resistance based on the course you're riding to match the grade of the hill you're climbing or descending. Similarly, in the AI Gym App, the bike automatically changes resistance based on the video or challenge course you are following. According to Renpho, the AI bike works with Zwift, FulGaz, Rouvy, XERT, Kinomap, The Sufferfest, and Peloton (iOS only) apps.
While not exactly bursting with features, the Renpho AI does have a few that really help to define its performance. Most notably, this bike's FTMS Bluetooth connectivity is one of its greatest assets. Not only does this give you the ability to use the bike with a number of popular training apps, but this includes the free AI Gym App that doesn't require a subscription or additional monthly payment. The AI Gym App isn't the most exciting training app, but it does include a handful of training videos, challenge rides, fitness tests, and target exercise goals. Using the app also ensures that you have a device that serves as a display while you exercise. The ability to connect to popular apps like Zwift, FulGaz, and Peloton, just to name a few, definitely adds to this bike's overall appeal.
The bike's console features a device holder to support your smartphone or tablet while you ride, and it also has a USB port to keep your device charged. Beyond that, this bike is relatively light on features, but like most upright-style bikes, it does have transport wheels integrated into the front stabilizer to make it relatively easy to move around. There are levelers located at all four corners of the stabilizers so you can level the bike on the floor's surface. The pedals also have adjustable ratchet straps to keep your feet secure. The one thing that we really wish this bike came with is a water bottle holder, but alas.
Ease of Setup/Portability
The Renpho AI was among the easiest exercise bikes to assemble and set up that we've tested. It is relatively heavy with an assembled weight of 79.9 lbs, so the most difficult part of the process was moving the boxed bike. One strong person may be able to handle it, but we'd suggest getting an extra set of hands to help move it. Due to the weight of the bike, it's probably also best to assemble it at or close to the location you intend to use it so you don't have to move it around more than necessary.
Renpho has printed some helpful unboxing instructions on the outside of the box. These simple instructions include opening the top of the box, rolling it so that the open side of the box is down, sliding the box up and off the top, then laying the bike down on its side. Our bike arrived in perfect condition thanks to very secure protective packing materials. Removing the bike and its parts from the styrofoam is straightforward, and it comes with detailed printed assembly instructions and all the tools required to finish the job at home. The remaining steps include attaching the front and rear stabilizers, connecting the internal power cord and mounting the handlebar, and installing the pedals and pedal straps. Pay close attention when attaching the pedals as the left pedal threads on counter-clockwise while the right pedal threads on clockwise (the same goes for all pedals). After that, you'll need to make some adjustments to handlebar height, seat height, seat fore/aft position, and potentially the levelers on the bottom of the front and rear stabilizers.
Once assembled, our test bike weighed in at 79.9 lbs. Moving it around on flat, firm surfaces is relatively easy by tipping the bike forward and rolling it on its transport wheels. Moving the bike up or down stairs, however, is a bit awkward due to the size, shape, and weight of the bike, so we'd recommend getting help from another person. The Renpho AI has a footprint of 40-inches long x 20-inches wide which is relatively standard for this type of upright exercise bike. It doesn't take up too much space, but it certainly won't go unnoticed either.
We feel the Renpho AI is a relatively good value. Not only does this sturdy bike feel like it's built to last, but it provides a quality exercise experience and its connected features ensure that you use it with whatever training apps you choose. The fact that it comes with the free AI Gym App also means that you don't have to pay for other apps for the connected workout experience. There are lots of connected bikes on the market these days, but this is among the most affordable.
The Renpho AI Smart bike is a quality connected exercise bike at a reasonable price. This upright bike is comfortable, with a wide range of fit and 80 levels of resistance to suit varying fitness levels. It includes the free AI Gym App, plus it works with many of the most popular training apps (subscriptions required) so you can choose the exercise experience that works best for you. If you're after the connected at-home cycling experience, the AI Smart bike is an affordable way to do it.
— Jeremy Benson
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