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Marcy makes a range of home exercise equipment, from some of the best dumbbells and weight machines to top-rated treadmills and exercise bikes. The ME-709 caught our attention for its reasonable price and thousands of positive consumer reviews. We put this popular recumbent up against a diverse field of reasonably priced exercise bikes of all different styles to see how it compares to the competition.
The Marcy ME-709 has a relatively good exercise quality, similar to the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright, although we found its resistance range somewhat limited. This recumbent is best suited to users who seek light to moderate intensity workouts and who aren’t as interested in challenging levels of resistance or features like pre-programmed workouts. The affordable model has a simple, no-frills design, which is reflected in its overall exercise quality, which is below average for the group.
The ME-709 has a comfortable seat that is easy to get in and out of, thanks to the step-through design. It features eight levels of magnetic resistance that are adjusted using the knob on the main mast below the console. The resistance levels range from very easy to moderately difficult; this model does not have as much resistance range as some competition. That said, it will likely provide enough range for most users, although people seeking a super high-intensity workout would be better off looking elsewhere. Our primary tester found that this bike worked best for moderate-intensity exercise. During our high-intensity interval test, he was able to max out the resistance levels for an extended period without too much difficulty. This example is an extreme case, as this tester is a bike racer and a masochist, but it should be considered depending on your fitness level and exercise goals. We noted that at lower RPMs, the resistance felt a little inconsistent at the highest levels, and it became smoother as RPMs increased.
The Marcy ME-709 has a simple console that displays workout information like time, distance, speed, and calories, but it does not have programmed workouts or any other fancy bells and whistles s. It does have the ability to set a time, distance, or calorie goal for your training, but that is the extent of it. Controlling your workout is entirely up to the user, and making adjustments to the resistance level involves reaching forward and turning the resistance knob.
The Marcy Recumbent has a relatively basic design and limited features, but we found it to be a comfortable exercise bike. Despite its simplicity, it has a wide range of height adjustability, a comfortable padded seat, backrest, and handlebar, and that’s about all you need.
The ME-709‘s recumbent style allows for a step-through design that makes it easy to get into and out of the seat. Two handles on the main mast at the front of the bike and the sizeable padded handlebar are also convenient for support when sitting down or standing up. The large cushioned seat is 2 inches thick and 16 inches wide, and we found it to be comfortable on test rides up to 1.5 hours in length. The cushioned backrest is large and provides ample back support, and the cushioned handlebar is in a good position to support your arms comfortably while riding. The front and rear portions of the mainframe are adjustable for length and fit for your proper pedal stroke. The seven indexed positions are each two inches apart for a total of 12 inches of fore/aft adjustability. Marcy claims an inseam length range of 27″ to 3 “. Our six-foot-tall tester with a 32-inch inseam had no fit issues with this bike and plenty of adjustment range to spare.
While the ME-709 display and controls are pretty basic and far from the best we’ve tested, they are adequate, reasonably intuitive, and perfectly function l. The small battery-powered computer sits at the front of the machine and is easily viewed while riding, and is within arms reach if/when you want to change the information on the display. Like the Exerpeutic Folding that also has eight settings, the resistance level is controlled by twisting a knob situated below the display.
The ME-709 Recumbent does not come with the 2 AA batteries required to power the display; they need to be installed before it will work. Using the display and controls isn’t all that hard to figure out through trial and error, but we recommend referring to the user manual the first time. The computer has an auto-start and stop feature, and it turns on when the pedals start turning and shuts itself off 8 minutes after exercise has stopped. The 3″ wide x 1.5″ tall screen has large and easy-to-read numbers, but it is not backlit and can be challenging to read in a dim room. When the computer turns on, it automatically defaults to scan, cycling through each of the five modes for four seconds. The modes shown are elapsed time, current speed, distance, calories burned, and odometer(total accumulated mile ). There are three buttons below the LCD screen, set, mode, and reset, and the user can select any of the modes to display on the screen by pressing the Mode button in the center. All of the modes, distance, time, and calories, can be reset to zero by pressing and holding the Reset button. You can also set workout goals by choosing the correct mode, time, distance, or calories and pressing the Set button until you reach your desired go l. The display then counts down from your goal to zero as you progress through your workout.
The resistance level is changed by turning the knob at the front of the machine below the computer. Turn the knob clockwise to increase the resistance and counter-clockwise to decrease it. The resistance adjustment is simple and easy to use, but you do have to bend forward to reach it while pedaling. Reaching this knob may be difficult for some users and annoying for those who frequently change their resistance settings.
The ME-709 is about as no-frills as an exercise bike could be. The design is functional and straightforward but certainly lacks the bells and whistles of the more expensive competition. That said, those on a budget or who don’t ask for much other than a decent workout may find it to have everything they need.
The few features the ME-709 does have are mentioned above in the comfort section, but we’ll touch on them briefly again here. The step-through design makes it easy for users to get onto the machi e. The large padded handlebar increases seat accessibility and is a nice place to rest your arms while in use. Two handles at the front of the machine may also be helpful for some users when standing up and sitting down. It can also be adjusted for length up to 13 inches with the threaded pin at the middle of the machine’s fra e. It also has wheels in the feet at the front of the machine to make it easy to roll across firm surfaces, although we found that they didn’t move all that well.
Ease of Setup/Portability
The ME-709 is a relatively straightforward and simple machine, yet it was average in terms of its setup but lost a little ground in this metric for its large footprint and generally awkward shape.
The ME-709 comes in a relatively small box considering its large footprint once assembled. The smaller box is a bit easier to move around than some heavier competitors that come in a box twice as big. The Marcy comes completely disassembled, except for the magnetic resistance unit with the cranks attached, and all of the parts are neatly and efficiently packed in the shipping box. Our test model arrived in excellent condition with no damage from shipping, with all of the pieces individually wrapped and well protected. Everything needed to assemble the bike comes in the box, including hardware, tools, and a user manual with detailed assembly instructions. Assembly time was similar to most of the other exercise bikes we tested, and it took a full hour to complete the process. Putting this bike together wasn’t particularly difficult; it just takes a bit of time and patience with the included wrench s. Using a higher quality set of wrenches or a socket set could help expedite the process and relieve a little frustration.
Once we assembled our Marcy Recumbent, we weighed and measured it before moving it into our testing spa e. It tipped our scales at 54.2 lbs with measured dimensions of 58″ long (at max extension) x 25″ wide x 38.5″ hi h. We also measured it with its length adjustment in the fully compressed position and reduced its overall length to 46 inches. While it does take up more floor space than an upright or folding model, the ME-709 is a fair amount smaller than many other recumbents, especially when in the fully compressed position. Thanks to the moderate weight and integrated transport wheels in the front stabilizer, moving it around on firm surfaces is also relatively easy. However, we did notice that the transport wheels don’t roll well. Due to the awkward shape, carrying this bike any distance works best with two people.
Should You Buy the Marcy Recumbent ME-709?
At its retail price, the ME-709 is a more affordable option in our selection of top exercise bikes. This machine is sturdy with a simple, no-frills design that gets the job done, and we consider it a good value. It is light-on features, but this machine has the basics covered and provides a comfortable and user-friendly exercise experience. Those seeking a high-intensity or gym-like workout should check out the more expensive competition.
What Other Exercise Bikes Should You Consider?
If you are looking for a simple and affordable way to expand your home exercise routine, but you are tight on space, the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is an option that can be folded and stored when not in use. If you have outgrown the moderate stage of indoor cycling, then you may want to look at a higher-end model such as the Schwinn IC4 or the Renpho AI Smart Exercise Bike. Both earned top marks for exercise quality and have enough features to step up your workout a few notches.