While both Stamina and ProForm make mid-level bikes, it is for their entry-level models that they are most well known and where they both have a large slice of the market. The Stamina Silent Magnetic Resistance (15-4800A) is in direct competition with the ProForm GR 80 as both retail for around the same price. What follows is a review of both and a recommendation as to which is better.
Stamina is a recent entrant in sports equipment manufacture having only been in business from 1987. It makes a variety of bikes, including the best selling Stamina 15-0200 InTone folding recumbent bike. ProForm started out, and is still best known, for making treadmills but the company now makes a variety of fitness equipment and has now gained a significant foothold in the exercise bike sector.
The recumbent exercise bike has gained enormously in popularity mainly because of the more comfortable workout experienced by most users. Both Stamina and ProForm manufacturer a few models of this type but it is their entry-level modes – Silent Magnetic Resistance (15-4800A) and the GR 80 resp. – that we shall compare and review.
The Stamina Silent Magnetic Resistance recumbent retails for around $230 and the ProForm GR 80 recumbent for around $250. Both bikes look similar in design and feature step-in frames making it easy to get in and out of the seat. They both have magnetic resistance that can be changed by a pressing knob. Both also come with pulse rate monitors built in to the handle bars at the side of the seat. They are both extremely quiet machines.
The frame of the Stamina is larger than that of the ProForm. This can be significant as taller people would certainly be better accommodated in the Stamina. It also has a superior and more comfortable seat. Lastly, this is a subjective opinion, but you’re a in a slightly more reclined position with the Stamina, which I prefer. So, on frame, seat and seating position, the Stamina is better.
There is quite a difference in the positioning and general design of the consoles. The console of the Stamina rests immediately on top of the fly-wheel. It’s quite small and rather cheap looking. It gives feedback on speed, distance, time, calories burned, your pulse, and target zone (more about this later). The console of the ProForm is much more like you’d imagine it to be. It’s larger with a built-in fan and is positioned at head level with grips on either side. Of the two machines, the console of the ProForm is far superior. The only positive thing to be said about the Stamina is that the console is low enough not to obscure the TV while you cycle.
The most important feature of any recumbent exercise bike is the workout programs. The ProForm comes with 4 programs. There are 6 on the Stamina; Fat Burn, Hill, Maximum Fat Burn, Interval, Aerobic, and Mountain. In terms of preset workouts, the Stamina is better. Also, with the Stamina the LCD monitor displays information about your ideal target zone; it tells you whether you have to work more or less for your optimal workout.
Of the two machines, I believe the Stamina nudges the ProForm into second place. It offers a better frame, seat and workout programs – and it’s $20 cheaper. I’m not the only one of this opinion; many customer reviews of recumbent exercise bikes give it a 4 or 5 out of 5 rating.