Although I look forward to working out quite a bit, sometimes you’d rather get a quick and effective workout in. This is where something like the CAROL Bike comes in. With a variety of programs incorporating artificial intelligence, this bike learns your fitness level the more you use it.
In this CAROL Bike review, I’ll tell you why this unique piece of cardio equipment has had me training with it nearly six times a week. I’ll also fill you in on who I think this machine is best for and who should stick to something else for their home gym.
Why You Should Trust Us
At Garage Gym Reviews, we’re always looking to test and review the latest and greatest within the home gym space. We’ve recently tested tons of smart home gym equipment that incorporates unique aspects within a machine.
This makes the CAROL Bike an ideal piece of equipment for us to test because it combines innovation with an insane cardio workout. We’ll be taking a look at things like overall value, program options, durability, warranty, and features to give our readers a comprehensive look at this fascinating, science-based machine.
A Quick Look at the CAROL Bike
With so many exercise bikes on the market today, it can be hard for a brand to differentiate their product from others in the pack. The CAROL Bike has quite a lot going for it that could make it a great addition to lots of people’s home gyms. Check out what makes this machine stand out from the rest.
- Follow the ramp-up workouts as directed. They feel easy at first but will get more difficult over time.
- The CAROL Bike offers the option to connect with a chest belt (sold separately) but it honestly isn’t needed since there are heart rate monitors in the handles.
- Clip-in shoes are nice to have and you can leave them on the bike when you’re done training.
My Favorite Things:
- Lots of adjustment options make this a good option for lots of different people
- Automatically applied resistance takes the guesswork out of cycling
- Belt-driven, which makes it a quieter ride
- Shows up already assembled
- Small monitor
- Extras are sold separately for an additional $400
- Doesn’t have constantly updated programming, so someone who likes new classes might have to additionally pay for something like Peloton programming separately
Is the CAROL Bike Worth It?
This science-backed bike is an interesting option for plenty of people. However, it might not be the best choice for everyone looking for a cardio machine. Keep reading to find out who I would recommend should look into the CAROL bike and who should look at alternatives.
- People who are tight on time but still want a sweat-inducing workout
- Those who just want to focus on giving the ride their all
- Fitness enthusiasts that like different types of rides (max effort, endurance, fat burn)
Not recommended for:
- Individuals who are looking for the best budget home gym equipment
- People who want a huge touch screen attached to their bike
- Those who want their bike to synch up with Zwift or Kinomap (on the roadmap, supposedly)
CAROL Bike Specs
|Length 45.5” and Width 22”
|100 day trial
|Yes; measure HR
|$12 per month
Using the CAROL Bike
The main claim to fame of the CAROL Bike is the Reduced Exertion High-intensity Interval Training (REHIT). This science-based approach to cardio means you’ll get an intense workout in a fraction of the time it would take for a normal HIIT treadmill workout. I was a little skeptical, because it seems too good to be true to be able to get a great workout in under 10 minutes.
However, I was very impressed. This mode is freaking hard and requires constant power. You go all out on a few 20-second sprints and the workout is over in 8 minutes and 40 seconds. The reason this particular mode is so difficult is because of the AI-powered resistance.
The CAROL Bike essentially learns how fit you are, and customizes your resistance to give you the appropriate amount of challenge. As you get in better shape, the bike learns this and makes it a harder workout. I like that you don’t need to worry about the workout becoming too easy because the difficulty will always fluctuate with you.
I love this under-10 minute workout because not all of us have a ton of time to get cardio in. I think this might be an especially handy tool for new parents who need to fit in a quick workout while the baby naps.
Cardio is also something I like to do in addition to my strength training. I like longer duration training, but it’s nice to have the ability to jump on the CAROL Bike, give it my all for a short time, and get back to the rest of my life knowing it was beneficial.
There are other options for longer bursts of cardio if you prefer. I particularly like the fat burn program, which can either be 15 or 30 minutes long. These sessions have 8-second sprints with 12 seconds of rest. Since the CAROL Bike adjusts the resistance for you, the only thing you need to worry about is giving it your all.
If you’re in the midst of training for a marathon or bike race, you’ll probably love (read: hate) the endurance mode. This program will exhaust you. It tests maximum aerobic power and could be a great tool for serious athletes looking to see what their VO2 Max is.
To Clip or Not to Clip?
Something else I like about the CAROL Bike versus something like the Peloton bike is the ability to wear regular shoes with the toe cages. Not all of us want to use SPD clips and bike cleats, so this is a nice option that they included with the CAROL Bike. It does have dual pedals if you prefer wearing cycling-specific shoes.
RELATED: Peloton Bike Review
Portability and Durability
At 130 pounds, this bike isn’t exactly super light. However, it is surprisingly portable due to the front wheels with bearings. I do wish there were some handles on the back to pick it up and wheel the bike, but it still isn’t overly challenging to move.
In terms of being a well-built bike, I am pretty impressed with the overall construction. Don’t get it twisted; this isn’t at the same level of quality as something like a Keiser M3i. However, I do think the durability of the CAROL Bike is better than that of the Peloton.
The frame of the bike itself is composed of tubular metal with plastic shrouds. If you’ve been following me a while, you know I’m not the biggest fan of incorporating plastic into my fitness equipment because I believe it lowers the overall quality. However, I feel that the high-quality, frictionless, magnetic brake and the belt-drive system will make this bike stand up to regular home usage.
The CAROL Bike uses scientific research to create an intense workout in a shorter amount of time. However, I do think the attached tablet could be improved. First of all, you have to pay $12 per month to utilize one of six different programs. You don’t get new content like you might with a Peloton subscription, so it feels like a bit of a money grab. I do love seeing all the metrics and not having to mess with the resistance while riding is nice.
You also have the option to do a free ride and watch your own programming (which you have to pay for separately). I feel like this defeats the purpose of the bike, but it could be another way to use the machine. It is also worth noting that you’d have to use your own device to view other programming. Plus, the tablet holder only comes in the nicest of the three packages, which is a bit odd to me. I think that should be something included in the standard package.
I did see that while it doesn’t currently have connectivity with Kinomap and Zwift, the CAROL bike will soon be able to.
The CAROL brand is based in England, so this can make contacting customer service a little different. They do have separate support numbers for both UK and US customers. There is also an email you’re able to contact if you have any questions: email@example.com.
Although it appears that there is a live chat option in the left hand corner of the website, you can really only put in a request that the brand will contact you back via email.
With the Essentials Bundle, you’ll get a one-year warranty on the exercise bike, which I don’t think is honestly that great. However, if you choose to purchase one of the “upgraded” bundles, you’ll get two or three year warranties. I personally think the additional $400 isn’t worth an extra two years of a warranty plus things like a water bottle holder, tablet holder, chest belt, and floor mat, but I digress. The supposed extras seem like things that should definitely be coming standard on an almost $2,400 bike.
I do really like that you have 100 days to try your CAROL Bike to make sure you love it. If you’re not completely satisfied, you can return it for a refund.
Ordering the CAROL Bike
The essentials bundle is the cheapest way to get your paws on the CAROL Bike, but it’ll still run you $2,395. There are two other options to choose from as well: the Standard and Premium Bike Bundles, which range from $2,595 to $2,795. I won’t lie, this is pretty expensive. Luckily, financing is offered through Affirm with 0% APR financing for 12 months.
Once your CAROL Bike breaches the threshold of your home or garage gym, you’ll be pleased to note that it comes almost entirely assembled. Can’t beat that with a stick! I also like that the bike comes within two weeks with free delivery. You don’t have to worry about being responsible for the shipping cost of 130 pounds. Yay, bonus points for the CAROL Bike!
On Trustpilot, the CAROL Bike has 4.5 stars out of 5 with close to 100 reviews. Customers seem to love how well the machine gets you into shape as well as how short but intense the workouts are.
CAROL Bike owner Mark has glowing remarks to say about the machine as well. “The CAROL workout is perfect for my busy schedule. With a little stretching before I get on the bike, the whole thing takes 15 minutes tops. I am significantly fitter than I was when I started 9 weeks ago. I highly recommend the bike.”
In terms of things customers weren’t thrilled about, the ongoing subscription cost, lack of new content, and slow customer service topped the list.
Final Verdict of Our CAROL Bike Review
CAROL offers a unique, indoor cycling experience to really challenge your cardiovascular system. If you have close to $2,500 to spare and like quick but intense cardio workouts, this bike will be a dream come true for you. However, I do think the AI technology was focused on so heavily that the idea of fun programming wasn’t thought as much about.
I’ve found myself using the CAROL Bike nearly every weekday and it’s replaced typical workouts I would do on a rowing machine or air bike. For all of these reasons, I’m a massive fan and highly recommend it if you have the money to spend and value both your time and health highly.
CAROL Bike Rating
CAROL provides a one-of-a-kind indoor cycling experience that will put your cardiovascular system to the test. This bike will be a dream come true for you if you have close to $2,500 to spend and want intensive cardio exercises. I believe that the AI technology was so extensively concentrated on that the notion of enjoyable programming was overlooked. For all of these reasons, I'm a huge supporter and highly suggest it if you have the financial means and place a high value on your time and health.