I wrote this first review on the wrong bike- the Bladez Master. But now that the Bladez Velo is on the Sears site as a new product, I'll put my review in the right place!
Having spent nearly $400.00 to replace worn drive-train parts on my fine outdoor road bicycle last summer, I am looking for an indoor spinning bike. I want to maintain my cycling fitness during the late fall and winter seasons without putting wear on the components of my road bike, which I usually put in a training stand during the off seasons. When I saw this spin bike priced at $399.00 in the Sears ad last week, I went to take a look at it. While not in the same league as the bikes at the local YMCA, this bike does have some quality features.
First, it has a 40 lb flywheel, giving the bike a great feel through the pedals, similar to what a rider experiences on the road. The belt drive to the flywheel is quiet, allowing me to exercise to my tapes and DVD's without raising the sound level to hear the instructions. The drag brake is a side pull of forged aluminum construction, manufacturer unknown.
Second, the crank is cotterless, so maintenance should be relatively easy. The cranks accept road-bike pedals, so you can use your clipless models on them. The pedals provided do have toeclips and straps, providing a means to keep your feet in place if you do not own a clipless system.
Third, the saddle is a touring profile. Again, the mount will accept your own saddle, but this is not absolutely necessary, as the provided cut-out saddle should not get in your way during intense workouts.
Fourth, the frame is steel with welded joints. It is sturdy and will hold about 280 lbs. The saddle mount and the handlebar mount are fully adjustable, both by height and by length. You can get a fit that is very close to what you are used to on your road bike. The frame has caster wheels to help make moving the bike easy.
So I purchased a bike and brought it home, where my husband and I took it from the box and put it together.
The main frame, flywheel, drag brake assembly, belt assembly and crank-set are assembled from the box. Adding the stabilizers and pedals was not a problem, using the provided wrenches. The instructions are translated and and are not difficult to follow.
We had some difficulty mounting the one piece handlebar. The trouble was getting the fastening bolt into the handlebar. There appeared to be a machining problem with the threads, making the assembly difficult but eventually successful. The assembly comes with one washer, but we did use two to stabilize the handlebar assembly to the stem. We will see how this holds up during hard out of saddle efforts. A number is provided to call for assembly issues, but we did not use it. There is a full 1-year warranty on the bicycle, too.
The saddle mount is a collar-like clamp device that you slide over the top of the seat post. Getting the saddle both level and secure on the post was a challenge, but we did get the saddle securely attached. Again, we will see how this holds up as the bike is used. Given that even low-cost bike shop quality bicycles have mechanical seatposts to ensure secure and simple saddle mounting, I would only hope that the manufacturers of this bicycle will replace the current setup with one I won't worry about! At an MSRP of $699.00, this is one inexpensive change that would make for good sense and peace of mind.
Finally, we mounted the enclosed computer to the handlebars. It is directly attached to input from the bicycle by cable, and can be set to scan time, distance in MPH or KmPH, speed in MPH or KmPH, and calories used. The console is quite large-but then again, I'm used to small bike computers and a HRM, so anything larger is well, big to me. It is easy to read and use.
For home use, I give the bike a four-due to the assembly issues we encountered. I am anxious to put some wear on the bike, and will provide updates as I gain experience using this machine.
My first update: I've put a few workouts on this bike now, and it is sweet! The experience has been as good as any I have had on studio bikes in a gym. While I still have concerns about the saddle mount, so far the saddle hasn't moved despite some hard efforts! The handlebar, secured with a stack of two washers, hasn't jiggled or moved, either. I've been able to yank on them during standing workouts without any movement. And while standing, the bike feels stable and solid beneath me.
This affordable bike is quiet, has a great "road" feel, and I am sure that it will serve me well as an indoor training bike for many years to come.
I've been using the Carmichael Training Systems (R) videos with a heart-rate monitor while using this machine. I have had no problems with the bike mechanically during these hard workouts. I've used the bike almost daily since bringing it home and putting it together. It is meeting my need for a bike that will assist me as I pursue my winter fitness goals.
I am not sure how the computer is calibrated to measure speed. Like another poster here, I was amused when the computer told me how fast I was going. But, given that I'm exercising by heart rate zone rather than speed or distance, it is a moot thing for me. I focus on keeping my pedal cadences high (85-120 rpm) and my HR in a prescribed, specific workout zone each time I ride.
I bought this bike about a year and a half ago, but due to a pregnancy only began using it in earnest recently. It worked great for about the first 50 or so miles, but then things started going wrong. First the interior started making all kinds of noise around the belt wheel area, as if it needed to be oiled. Not that big a deal. Then the pedals started to feel strange, as if they might come apart. Then it started making popping noises, like something internal is broken. Of course, it is no longer under warranty. If I had used it a lot in the beginning, I could have had it fixed under the warranty or returned it. But now I'm stuck with it. I just made an appointment with Sears to have it serviced and will have to pay at least $99, the minimum service fee, and possibly more depending on what's wrong with it. Oh, and I just noticed, the owners manual says do not ride in a standing position. Really???? Isn't the whole point of a spin bike to be able to ride it both seated and standing??? If I had realized this when making the purchase I never would have bought it. Of course, if I had realized what a piece of junk it was in the beginning I never would have bought it. I noticed the positive reviews are all from people who just bought the bike. I wonder how those bikes are doing after having some miles put on them? Save your money, don't buy this bike. UPDATE: Service guy just left, the bearings are shot, it is going to cost $250 to replace them. Service guys says the bearing should not be shot. This is completely unacceptable. I have to pay over half the cost of the bike to fix something that should not be broke. And how long until the next set of berings go????? DO NOT BUY THIS BIKE. UPDATE #2: Bike got repaired. Rode for about 15 min. after repair before it started having same problems. What a piece of garbage. I do not feel the repair guy is to blame, it is the crappy bike itself. Repair guy is returning to fix again. UPDATE #3: Rode 2 times since second repair. During second ride, left peddal began to feel strange. Examined peddal, seemed fine. Then I noticed the crank seemed at an odd angle. Tried to straighten it out and POP, off came the entire crank. The bolt affixing it to the interior of the bike BROKE IN HALF!!!! Thank goodness it happened when I was attempting to fix it, and not while I was riding. I think it could have resulted in serious injury. THIS BIKE IS A TOTAL LEMON. PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT BUY IT!
After a year of ownership, have determined this bike is junk. Right crank arm fell off while I was riding it. Over $100 for a service call. Tried to fix myself. Cranks are stuff on the axle which broke. Will need to spend about $60 in parts and shipping just to get it going again. DO NOT BUY!!!!!
I love this stationary bike, now I don't have the excuse of not exersice when the cold winter is here, very nice and quite, I can be there for hours and still have fun.