To finally kick off my long promised GearPorn category, I’ve decided to use this mighty fine Sunday to post a little review of my Darwin Evo 40 indoor bike right before stepping on it to do a relaxing 20 kilometer “indoor tour” 😉
In 2019, I decided that I had to do more sports and thus tried to get into running again, but the neighbourhood I lived in then wasn’t much of a paradise for runners: lots of traffic, running on tarmac and between housing complexes all the time is no fun and doesn’t do exactly nice things to your knees, tendons and such. So buying into an indoor bike crossed my mind (since I loved cycling many years back), but I had no idea what to look for, what’s good, what’s bad etc. I did a lot of research and finally decided to not go for an ergometer device but a true indoor bike.
Ergo vs. Bike
Many people think that basically an ergometer is synonymous to an indoor bike, but this isn’t the case. The main difference is that ergometers tend to have a magnetic wheel brake system, measure resistance in watts and feature an upright seat position as well as allow users to let the flywheel run free (meaning you can simply stop pedalling at a moment’s notice). Indoor bikes on the other hand give you the “true biking experience” since they feature the distinct sitting position, lots of ways to adjust it to your needs and normally measure performance by pulse and distance (since they have friction-based braking systems).
Darwin Evo 40: The basics
After careful examination, research as well as checking reviews (and my budget 😉 ) I decided to buy the Darwin Evo 40 indoor bike due to the following considerations:
- a true indoor exercise bike
- friction brake
- 20 kg flywheel
- on-board “computer” with time, distance, speed, RPM, calories and pulse
- Bluetooth (for connection to chest strap heartrate monitor)
- adjustable AND exchangeable seat
- vertically and horizontally adjustable handlebars
- Various grip positions
- Good stability
- Quiet operation (a must for me)
I ordered my bike with a large german bike retailer and got it – although the first COVID lockdown was in full swing – in no longer than I guess 2 weeks, which I consider quite good (they had to deliver from Germany to Austria via logistics company, so…).
The bike came in one big cardboard box, weighing in at around 140kg (approx. 308 lbs). All the parts where properly packaged and had enough protection against friction so everything was perfectly OK when it arrived.
The base unit (flywheel, crankshaft, base of handlebar unit, base for seat unit) came in one piece, so I just had to attach the handlebar unit onto it’s vertical column (slide on, fixate with knob / screw with handle), slide on the saddle’s horizontal and vertical assembly (fix with knob screw), but the batteries in the computer and screw it to the base plate already on the handlebar element and add the two “legs” on the bottom – done in 10-15min easily, no problem at all.
The frame and handlebar element are powder-coated in matte black and look dope in connection with the glossy “chrome-ish” look of the saddle and handlebar base columns. The saddle is really hard (my ass still hurts when taking longer “trips”), so I recommend buying padded bike pants or – as I do – put a folded towel under your butt when feeling the hurt 😉
The bike in action
When hopping on the bike (after adjusting it to my measurements) I immediately noticed the quality of the bike and it’s components: the pedaling is super smooth, the sitting position really feels great and in combination with my Garmin fēnix 5 and the Garmin Connect app, biking indoor is really awesome.
Pros & Cons
- Good price at around 699,- EUR (~ 850 USD / ~ 633 GPD)
- Great quality
- A real exercise bike for pushing your limits
- Bluetooth connection of external devices
- Quiet and smooth operation
- Battery life is not great on the computer
- Saddle is super hard on your cheeks
- Bike computer is screwed on, not too much fun when changing battery often
For all the European readers: you can buy the bike (as I did) on the website of Sport Tiedje here (no affiliation).
Article image © www.sport-tiedje.at