EVALUATION

Freebeat Xbike Review: Gamified Workouts Make This a Great Peleton Alternative

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Freebeat xbike

8.50 / 10

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For those looking to balance their at-home workout regime with more fun, the Freebeat xbike offers a tailored experience. Through Freebeat's interactive, game-based experience there's a strong bridge between both challenge and community. It doesn't have all the features of its rivals like Peloton, but is openly growing while still focusing on delivering a gauntlet of gamified workouts to help keep you engaged.

Key Features

  • Gamified workouts and virtual workout stages
  • Takes up only 5.4 ft²
  • 180° degree rotatable HD screen
  • Operating noise of just 35 dB
Specifications

  • Brand: Freebeat
  • Size: 55.5" L x 55.8" H x 22.2" W
  • Display Included: Custom 21.5" HD Touchscreen
  • Subscription Required: Yes
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 | Wi-Fi (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • Supported Apps: Only runs the Freebeat software on its display
  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Gears: N/A
  • Metrics: Cadence, Resistance, Calories, % on Beat, Combos
Pros

  • On-demand classes
  • Frequent updates
  • Game-like workouts to help motivation
  • Diverse range of instructors
  • Shareability (up to 10 users under one account)
Cons

  • Subscription required
  • Freebells aren't sold separately
  • Can't screen mirror nor cast
Buy This Product

Freebeat xbike
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When using technology to stay motivated and fit, it's about finding what suits your lifestyle. With the Freebeat xbike, we have an indoor cycling option that wants to merge fitness and gaming. Whether you've struggled with engagement or want a fresh take on cycling, let's see what the Freebeat xbike does differently to keep you on pace with your fitness goals.

Spacing and Sizing for Freebeat's XbikeFreebeat bike relocation using its front transport wheels

Before considering an at-home exercise option, there's the question of space. Thankfully, Freebeat’s xbike only takes up a relatively small 5.4 ft² floor area. While the bike itself is smaller, this accounts for extra spacing in your home and overall maneuverability.

For those concerned about durability albeit one at a manageable weight, Freebeat's xbike hits that mark too. The bike weighs only ninety-nine pounds (45kg) with its frame constructed from welded steel.

Now on a personal scale, the Freebeat xbike handles heights between 4’11” and 6’4 with a maximum weight of 297 pounds. So if you're planning to share the device across multiple users, it can be adjusted for most. Plus if you want to keep things quiet in your home, it also only emits 35 dB of noise during operation.

To help provide extra stability, both the front and rear stabilizers have feet that can be adjusted to reduce wobble during your workouts. However, you'll still potentially see some shaking of the monitor depending on the force applied and more so when out of the saddle.

If you need to move the bike, its front transport wheels make relocation a relatively easy feat. For short distances or minor position adjustments, you can usually safely tilt the bike forward by yourself using its handlebars then support the rear stabilizer for the duration. However, I do suggest that for longer distances you follow Freebeat's recommendation of using two people for transport to help protect the screen if nothing else.

Setting Up the Freebeat Xbike

Freebeat xbike saddle nuts tightening

When you receive the Freebeat bike, it comes in a fairly hefty package. Despite its floor area requirement, you'll want a more spacious environment to unbox everything. If you prefer to see the entire setup process in advance, you can check out the bike's manual for a full look at the process.

If you have any experience installing stationary cycling bikes, there are no surprises here. However, some areas took some additional effort to get right.

With the saddle, I first used the included wrench to tighten the seat-fixing nuts. While they seemed tight enough, my first few ride experiences resulted in the saddle dipping forward or pushing back as I moved between the three major workout positions. So I’d highly recommend you use a wrench with a better grip to get them appropriately tightened.



Secondly, when attaching the screen, there was a minor manufacturing defect with the cut of a screw hole behind the screen. I couldn’t get the screw through easily and ended up spending several minutes threading it.

 Neither issue was too problematic; it doesn't hurt to have your tool kit to help with assembly.

Using and Navigating the Touch Screen

Freebeat cycling classes list view

Once everything is set up with the Freebeat xbike, your first interaction begins via the screen. This 180° rotatable 21.5” 1080P screen manages all of your workouts. There's no external app, so everything is managed here.

If you've ever looked at Peloton's bike offerings, you'll notice the Freebeat xbike has aimed for a more practical blend and pricepoint of its rival's overall offerings. So while its screen size is the same as the cheaper Peloton bike, it features a rotatable touch screen for cross-training like Peloton's Bike+. Despite not hitting the full 360° offered by the Peloton Bike+, I never felt the screen lacked the necessary maneuverability while on or off the bike.

When it comes to operation, it's quite snappish and responsive whether making live adjustments during workouts or for day-to-day management from the home screen. The 21.5" screen also features anti-fingerprint and anti-glare technology to help simplify everyday use.

While you'll still need to wipe fingerprints off, the anti-glare feature allowed me to keep a smart LED wall light adjacent to the bike. This allowed me to synchronize the lighting patterns with the workout music without any impediment to the screen. However, there are some downsides to this touch screen.

First off, you can’t cast or mirror any content to its screen. Instead, it's solely there to operate the Freebeat software for your workouts. If don't have a current subscription, it offers no benefit.

As a trade-off, the handrail cover is a generous size which gives some options. Thanks to its design, you can safely place a cellphone or tablet as you ride. So if necessary, you can tilt the touchscreen back and simply focus on your device.



In terms of operation, Freebeat has made it incredibly easy for the user to access the essential controls. At the bottom of the screen, three very large buttons manage volume and the powering on and off of the device. So if you don't want to manage via the touch screen, you don't have to spend an extensive amount of time feeling for the right button.

Depending on how you want to listen, you can also utilize the device’s Bluetooth 5.0 to connect any wireless earbuds. With the quick device pairing, I never had a problem swapping to a more quiet ride when needed.

Managing Your Freebeat Settings and Subscription

Freebeat xbike audio pairing via Bluetooth

The Freebeat xbike offers a pretty simplistic settings menu. From here, you'll set up your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connections, adjust your timezone, brightness, volume, and access the riding guide.

Originally, the riding guide just reviewed how to set up your bike for use. But if you're a new user, especially to spin classes, you’d probably not recognize some of the terms the instructors were throwing out. Thankfully, Freebeat has expanded its guide to teaching you the different positions and exercises you can perform while working out.


As previously mentioned, the Freebeat xbike experience is tied to its membership. Purchasing the bike includes a 45-day membership trial period. But afterward, you’ll need to pay $39 per month. 



All of this grants you membership for yourself and up to nine more people for a total of ten users.

 While you can see how many accounts are being serviced from the membership section of your settings, you can’t manage the membership beyond adding new users. So you’ll need to head to Freebeat’s website to handle things like canceling your subscription.

Freebeat Pedals and Adjustment Processes

Freebeat velcro pedal strap-in

Beyond the software side, you need a spin cycle that's easy to operate and adjust for its user. Starting with the pedals, the Freebeat xbike keeps things simple with a velcro strap on each that allows for an easy, adjustable securing of any suitable fitness shoe. So you don't have to invest in any expensive cycling shoes to operate the Freebeat xbike.

Now let’s talk about making adjustments—everything becomes pretty second nature quickly. For handlebar and seat height, both utilize levers that first require you to loosen them, pull them forward, and then lift the corresponding part of the bike to the desired height. Out of the box, height adjustments gradually became easier each time an adjustment was made.

Compared to height adjustments, seat depth adjustment takes more effort. Specifically, the mechanism to move it forward or backward would stick at times. As such, it was sometimes necessary to remove the saddle completely and dislodge the piece to get it moving again.

Freebeat xbike resistance lever

The Freebeat xbike uses magnetic resistance with a manual control lever. At first glance, there's a slight jar as the red lever stands out from the overall white and black aesthetic of the bike. In terms of responsiveness, it was appropriate and never felt as if it went too quickly between resistance types.

As for the saddle itself, I found it to be adequate in size but not as comfortable as I wanted. So I ended up purchasing a separate bike seat gel cushion to make riding more comfortable. Since it is a white saddle, you do need to be careful of any optional accessory leaving behind residual discoloration or imprints as you apply your weight to it.


What Are Gamified Workouts?

In-process Freebeat cycling class with interface

If you're a Peloton user, you may have heard of Peloton Lanebreak. While Lanebreak tackles a more traditional rhythm-based game concept, Freebeat instead offers more of a fusion between spin class and rhythm game with its gamified workouts. Specifically, Freebeat's gamified workouts feature an instructor against a dynamic virtual backdrop that ties into the musical selection of the class.

Using the flashing lights and rhythm of the song, users need to closely match their riding cadence and resistance to help them stay on beat with the song. As you do so, you can increase your scoreline. As you increase your score, Freebeat will acknowledge your combo streak while adjusting your position on the leaderboard.

All of the gamified workouts for the Freebeat xbike are offered on-demand. Each class is served in a fifteen or thirty-minute interval, and you can pause and resume them as needed for your schedule. If you do attempt to begin a new class, however, you'll be prompted to end your current class.

Freebeat's Xbike Cycling Classes

Freebeat flywheel plus frame

If you look at Freebeat's mission for its users, it's to offer a challenging and positive environment to get its users riding for an average of twelve hours per month.

So does cycling back-to-back with gamified workouts hold up? For its gamified workouts, the Freebeat xbike focuses foremost on its cycling classes. These make up the bulk of Freebeat's classes and also feature the most instructor variety. You'll see a wide array of unique virtual stages for these gamified workouts with even periodic holiday event focus.

As for the fitness and gaming crosspoint, there's a true correlation between both rhythm and the force of every pedal step as you cycle. Even if you aren't aiming to climb the leaderboard, repeating favorite workouts increases familiarity and usually your scoreline as well. As this organically occurs, pushing for those extra few points quickly becomes more rewarding.

Overall, the integration is very seamless. Plus, if you ever want to turn the competition off, it's a matter of a few simple touch screen presses to hide the leaderboard and on-display metrics.

Cycling classes are divided into beginner and intermediate levels, but these serve more as guideposts. Based on your level of fitness, all levels can be challenging. Plus, difficulty can fluctuate based on the instructor and how well you respond to slower or faster-paced songs.

Sculpting Classes With Freebeat

Freebeat weight rack sizing comparison

While Freebeat's xbike ultimate focus is to offer engaging cycling workouts, the rest of your body isn't forgotten. Freebeat's sculpting classes can be viewed either by their specific training type or their body focus areas. However, there's a much more limited offering at present.

If you are going to partake in Freebeat's sculpting classes, you'll also want to make sure you purchase the Freebeat xbike model with smart dumbbells included. These motion tracking dumbbells ("Freebells") integrate with the on-screen metrics to keep track of your sculpting progress. At present, they're not available as a separate purchase, so if you miss out on them there's some trade-off.

Since the smart dumbbells weren't available at the time of testing, I tested the sculpting classes with a regular five-pound pair that I had on hand. In a pinch, you can track most of Freebeat's metrics via a fitness tracker. So if you don't opt to get Freebeat's smart dumbbells at the time of purchase, this can serve as a surrogate.

Like with Freebeat's cycling classes, difficulty can fluctuate. However, none felt insurmountable either.

Freebeat's Community and Competition Model

Freebeat versus mode winner screen

Freebeat does a good job of giving you metrics to look at and work on specific to your focus. If you’re more about improving for yourself, you can check where you fell off and address specific metrics. If you're more about the gamified experience, you can go after your desired scoreline.

To help target this, you can challenge individuals on the leaderboard before starting a class. At the end of any class, you can see in the results how far you are from the next spot on the leaderboard and give yourself time to plan more strategically.

If another user catches your interest, you can tap their profile to give them a follow. So whenever you want to check in, you can browse your follow list, and any users that have mutually followed you back will show up as a friend. While checking on any user profile that you follow, you can quickly see their monthly progress and their best results thus far.

All in all, Freebeat's community focus hinges on friendly competition. If you don't want to worry about the leaderboards, you don't have to. But if you want to compete, all you have to do is begin a challenge against another user's scoreline or tackle a class that's interesting to you.

Freebeat vs Peloton: Are You Saving?

Freebeat handrail guard

Given both the Peleton and Freebeat xbike need a $39/month subscription fee, you might wonder if you're even saving money. The Freebeat saving comes in the initial purchase price—cheaper than both Peloton bike models while also offering a mix of their features.

I would say if you’re after what Peloton offers but want it in a cheaper Peloton alternative, you need to weigh your expectations appropriately. With Freebeat, there aren't any live classes or scenic rides.

 Instead, you're buying into flexible on-demand classes with a gaming angle that merges traditional spin classes with a fun rhythm game challenge.

It’s a more targeted niche, but I think it’s one that Freebeat is doing a great job to build up.
 To get the most of it, you'll need to be willing to give the Freebeat brand time to grow. So while there's less of an initial investment, you need to decide what features you need immediately foremost.

Should You Buy the Freebeat xbike?

With this all acknowledged, I think the question of whether you should purchase Freebeat’s xbike depends on what you’re looking for.

 Freebeat offers an affordable entry point into at-home cycling with a very solid grasp at its core identity and what it wants to sell to its members.

 To support this, there are passionate, energic instructors willing to encourage your day-to-day fitness.

If you’re a fan of them and you prefer some more interactivity with your workouts, there’s little reason not to choose it.

 There’s still some growing of both community and its system to do, but there’s still plenty of content to enjoy while it does so.


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