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admin | Category: Top 5 Elliptical Machines | 28.04.2013
The instruction manual takes you through the 12-step assembly process with fairly clear illustrations, detailed instructional notes and even some close up exploded diagrams. Once built, you can at last admire your handy work and what is undoubtedly a great looking bike!
Though compact, the EB3 benefits from good-sized stabilisers and the levelling pads that can be adjusted at the rear combines to give a stable base that feels fairly solid in use. This ant of a bike can not only carry nearly 4 times it’s own weight, but it’s also fully adjustable to cater to users of all different shapes and sizes. The handlebars themselves have a nice chunky design with pulse grip sensors inlaid for heart rate monitoring (Although it is widely recognised that this type of feature can be woefully inaccurate). That said, we have to be realistic that there will be compromises with a bike costing under ?350, and we must give credit for variety, as there are 4 heart rate controlled programs.
As well as monitoring body fat levels, the computer can also calculate your Body Mass Index (a measure of body fat based upon height and weight) as well as your Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories you burn at rest) As we’ve established, the feedback from pulse sensors should be viewed as a rough guide rather than scientific proof BUT any extra motivation these features could provide is always welcome! There is also a WATTS program, whereby the resistance level varies automatically to maintain the preset energy value according to the pedal speed.
Unfortunately, all these things only partly helps you feel ‘connected’ to the overall console, but too often things feel rather vague and un-engaging.
Control wise, there is a large scroll dial that makes easy work of adjusting things like the resistance and setting up the columns of intensity in the Custom program.
The EB3 from John Lewis is a well made exercise bike that is compact and offers a good deal of resistance, as well as a top notch warranty. Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification.
The seat rises to about 41” from the floor at maximum height with 9 holes of adjustment so taller users (over 6’) will have no issues.

Though pulse sensors may be ok for basic albeit unreliable readings, it doesn’t bode well for the heart rate controlled programs. One is set at 55% of your maximum heart rate (ideal for weight loss), there’s one at 75% for improving fitness and one at 90% for sports performance, or you have the option of setting your own percentage heart rate. The Heart rate recovery test is performed immediately after a workout by holding onto the pulse sensors and the computer gives you a score from 1(Excellent) to 6(Poor) based upon the rate at which your heart rate drops over a 60 second recovery period.
The default value is set at 120 but this can be manually adjusted anywhere from 10 up to 350! Inputting your gender, age, height and weight helps the computer to make certain calculations which is invaluable for obtaining more accurate calorie consumption figures. To either side of the dial are buttons to reset, plus and minus as well as ones to access the recovery and body fat features. The XB3 does have its shortcomings but often these are balanced out by other redeeming qualities.
However, there are some key features missing (such a wireless heart rate receiver) and at the price point being offered, it simply doesn't represent particularly good value for money. In addition there’s about 4” of track on the seat assembly to adjust it back and forth. It’s such a shame that although the EB3 boasts a great selection of HRC options, there is no inbuilt polar chip receiver to ensure accurate feedback. Whatever the program, the computer will automatically adjust the resistance to keep you within the preset heart rate zone. The display screen is fairly large and brightly lit with a 3 colour LCD giving a clear view of all the basic feedback, separated up into dedicated windows.
Though they have a pretty blue glow, the buttons themselves feel cheap, ‘clicky’ and rather fragile.

The console isn’t particularly engaging or intuitive but it can grow on you with a little understanding (Consult the manual!).
Plus, being lightweight and featuring transport wheels mounted on the front stabiliser allows the bike to be easily manoeuvred around the home. Plus to ensure your arms are positioned at the correct angle and distance, the handlebars can be tilted and locked at various angles.
Below the screen is a handy menu of profile pictures which helps when making a selection from the 12 pre-set programs. The absence of wireless heart rate monitoring renders the HRC programs unreliable but on the flipside, they offer plenty of variety.
Perhaps this may pose some issues for more deconditioned users during certain programs, but overall we consider it a huge bonus that such a little bike can pack such a punch!
In comparison to many similarly priced cycles, the XB3 seems a touch overpriced, but there are also aspects that will make it a good value option for some people. On more than one occasion we were left wondering ‘Is that it then?!’ as the display offers no advice or instructions at any point. All too often, budget to mid-priced bikes are woefully limited in terms of resistance – the XB3 however, has the scope to keep things challenging for many years to come AND you have the peace of mind of knowing that 5 of them will be covered by the John Lewis warranty.

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