Should I Buy a 400XL or 900XL?

This is a brief & objective comparison guide comparing the two very popular Exerpeutic recumbent bikes -- the 400XL and the 900 XL --  where we will contrast their differences & commonalities amongst special features & specifications. Ultimately, this guide will help you get a better idea as to what each model can offer you as well as which one best meets your specific needs & preferences.

Exerpeutic 400XL Vs Exerpeutic 900XL

Fitness Features

Firslty, comparing how well they operate in their primary role as a 'fitness machine' --  They both share the same tension resistance mechanism of an "8 level magnetic tension control system" designed with the intention of full customization (level upon level) so that you can gradually build up your fitness with greater & greater resistance (so both machines are ideal for beginners & intermediates).

How well does it actually fair though? Actually, surprisingly well -- for both machines (note that: neither machine is more advanced than the other in this aspect) -- having the ability to provide you with a decent & sweat busting work out (which many owners will attest to, as stated from their reviews). The fitted mechanism offers a good resistance range from fairly light (Level 1 to 2) to a very strong resistance level (at level 7 & 8) -- which they get largely right (many other exercise bikes usually just don't offer the sufficient resistance for a solid session, the 400XL & 900XL however, do). So you will be able to incorporate a range of cardio-vascular work outs from the simple (e.g. 20 minute standard push) to the advanced (e.g. HIIT).

Moreover, both machines also receive an LCD computer display placed just in front of you (as you sit down) that clearly provides you with all the usual fitness stats & specs you'd expect such as: the distance travelled, heart rate (with built-in hand pulse mechanisms within the side bars), amount of calories burned, time, speed etc. 

So actually as a 'fitness machine' they are very similar, but pretty decent. You shouldn't have any fears in this regard as to whether "they are actually any good" -- because yes, they are.

Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with Pulse
Amazon Price: $229.00 $115.31 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 7, 2013)

Practical Specifications

400XL: Dimensions - W: 19 x H: 33 x D: 46 inches | 

900XL: Dimensions - W: 22 x H: 34 x D: 54 inches | 

This - practical & user element - is where the main differences come between the two models come in. Firstly, we can see that the 900XL takes up slightly more space, so just be sure that you have enough room for it to fit in nicely (otherwise you might want the more compact 400XL model) in your home (or general gym area).

The exercise bikes, as stated, feature the Recumbent Design (where you sit back into the seat) which provides greater support for your back than that of a regualr sit-on-top exercise bike (& it also makes getting on & off easier, which is beneficial for those with mobility issues). However, what makes the 900XL distinctive is that it provides 'extra' -- extra comfort & extra safety. As it has a wider more comfortable seat & integrated ergonomic design that provides more protection & support for your back than the 400XL seat. Obviously, this is an important aspect for those who suffer with back & joint issues to consider.

Both machines have 'over-sized' pedals that are fitted with safety straps as to prevent your feet from slipping off (adding stabilization, especially when you want to burst & do sprinting sessions on the bike). They also have specialised leg stabilization in place to hold the 400XL & 900XL firmly in place. Moreover, they have an integrated crank system for "smooth torque"  to provide basically smooth, very quiet & consistent pedalling (particularly with the 900XL).

Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
Amazon Price: $189.00 $90.90 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 7, 2013)

Further Information

Both models are backed on a 3 year manufacturer warranty -- along with the optional extra two year coverage on offer for $20.

The 900XL is better suited to both short people (as small 4ft 10 inches) and tall people (claimed up to 6ft 3 inches, but can go a bit higher comfortably to 6ft 5) due to a simple height  & leg adjustment mechanism. It can also take a greater max weight of up to 325 lbs than the 400XL can.

Stamina Fold-to-Fit Folding Equipment Mat (84-Inch by 36-Inch)
Amazon Price: $50.00 $22.00 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 7, 2013)
It is also a good idea that you invest a protective mat such as the Fold-to-Fit equipment mat, that will do a great job for both machines in preventing scuff damaging to your floor (especially hard based & bare flooring). It will also provide you with that a bit of extra stabilization as well.

Conclusion: Should I Buy a 400XL or 900XL?

So when comparing them as actual fitness machines they are very similar, both operating on the same resistance mechanism as well as being fitted with a computer system & heart rate monitor.

The slight difference between the two comes in the user experience & practicality -- whereby if you are on the taller, shorter, larger side -- then the 900XL will be more accommodating to you and a better fit (due to all the adjustment mechanisms integrated), as well as if you have back & joint troubles -- the larger seat & ergonomic protective designs will be more supportive and comfortable for you when cycling. If non of those issues impact you -- then I would just go for the cheaper model which is the 400XL.

Which model will you choose and why? Also, if you have any comments, concerns or questions regarding either the comparison article: Exerpeutic 400XL vs 900XL or about either model specifically then please do not hesitate to make them in the comments section just below and we will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.