In regards to longevity, the MB550 is a bit of a contradiction. Xterra built this bike with the build in mind which is good for the overall durability. But, as for the other components, like the braking system and the drive system, you may experience a few issues. Taking that into account, we would only recommend the MB550 for beginners because they will see the most years out of this bike.
Unfortunately bikes that are under $1,000 dollars are not the most amazing machines. Consequently, it is hard to rank bikes that aren’t all great. Didn’t stop us though. Despite the lower price range, we find the Xterra MB550 to be somewhat notable with a decent build. So for the second year in a row, we placed the Xterra MB550 in our Third Place 2021 Best Buy slot for the $400 to $699 dollar range.
We should preface this review by saying that bikes in the cheaper price range are not going to be something to write home about. If you are a beginner, then you should be okay but do not expect too many extras. You’ll be doing good to just be able to exercise.
Keeping this in mind, the Xterra MB550 is not all bad. For the money, we have to admit that the build is not horrible. Xterra put most of their budget into the overall built. They included a nearly fifty pound flywheel. The MB550 comes with a drive belt system which is not the worst design and is not at bad as a chain system though you may need to replace the drive belt after a while.
We can see proof that Xterra had the MB550’s build in mind, though, with the three piece cranks. Unlike bikes with one piece cranks out there, the MB550 is one of the cheapest bikes to have the three piece design. For those of you not familiar, a three piece system refers to the way the pedals are built. One piece cranks tend to give less movement and they break easier because they are so cheap. A three piece crank, however, is made of three different components and more closely resemble mountain bikes or expensive road bikes. These pedal designs are known to last longer and support more vigorous activity like standing or leaning forward while pedaling. For the MB550, a three piece crank means that you can have a more versatile workout like that of a spin class instead of just sitting and pedaling.
But, with all of these good attributes there are just as many bad ones. First off, Xterra had build and exercise in mind with the MB550 so you are simply not going to have the big console that some of the other bikes have. Secondly, we are a little displeased with Xterra’s warranty and feel as though they could have done a little better. We are also disappointed to see the knob resistance. This cheaper resistance changing system means that you will have to slow down, move the knob, speed back up, then get back to where you were instead of just being able to push a button. And to make matters worse, the MB550 has a friction based braking system. Instead of an electric current or a magnet, this bike has a mechanism with a piece of felt on it that pushes down on the flywheel to create resistance. As you can image, friction resistance is not long lasting and tends to be a pain in the butt in regards to maintenance.
|Footprint||45.7 L x 22.4 W x 38.6 H|
|Weight of Unit||105.8|
|Warranty||Lifetime Frame, 1 Yr Parts, 1 Yr Labor|
The MB550 won our third place best buy slot, for the same features that we find valuable this year.
The MB550 is a bike that is equally bad and equally good. Though Xterra included a good build and decent workout features, there are a few drawbacks like the braking and overall value. Accordingly, we placed the Xterra MB550 in our Third Place 2021 Best Buy spot for the $400 to $699 dollar category.