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anyone own an elliptical machine?

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upgrading mama

Brilliant_Rock
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while I have NEVER EVER EVER thought about owning a piece of excercise equipment, I am seriously considering it. With two young children it is not realistic that I will find the time to go to Curves, which is the closest workout place to my home, and it doesn''t offer childcare.

anyway, I think if I were to buy something, it would be an elliptical and not a treadmill and would definately like one that folds away. Any ideas???


thanks guys
 

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diamondfan

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Jun 17, 2005
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I have the Precor 9.33 with the fixed ramp and moving arms and I love it, I use it all the time...I have a flat tv in the basement and tivo, so I kill two birds with one stone. Precor created the wheel technology...so I trust them and it is gym quality so I feel it can handle the daily use...
 

Sundial

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I own a Precor brand elliptical trainer and I love it! It is really solidly built and has electronic programming to keep weight and age information on multiple users. It also has different programs for different exercises. Precor has several different models, but they are rather large and don''t fold up so you have to have the space for it.
 

firebirdgold

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I''ve got a sturdy one that folds and wheels, but I can''t remember the make off-hand. I''ll have to check when I get home. The ellipse really is the best workout I''ve ever done for getting into shape and toning everything. Just make sure you get one with arm thingies that move. It''s pretty sweet to be able to tone your triceps and back at the same time! .... now I just have to use mine!
 

Allisonfaye

Brilliant_Rock
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I have one that I love but it doesn''t fold up. I use it every other day. If you are interested in the brand name, let me know. I think it is every bit as good as the Precor and you aren''t paying more for the name.
 

Lorelei

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I have one, it''s a Nordic Track and I have been really pleased with it. The back folds up for storage and it is comfortable to use and no problems so far in 6 months. Get one with moving arms as this does help work your upper body. If it was available I would have preferred a Precor or LifeFitness, but they weren''t so NT it was. Get the best brand you can afford, you want a sturdy model you will feel comfortable on, one which wobbles and squeaks is no fun
 

FacetFire

Brilliant_Rock
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I am so glad that this thread is happening now...FI and I are about to buy an elliptical...we were thinking LifeFitness. Anyone have that brand?
 

tdiddy

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facetfire -

lifefitness is commercial (aka. gym) quality - definitely a good brand to buy.
 

diamondfan

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Lifefitness are fine, but Precor patented the wheel technology or the fly wheel, so for ellipticals I prefer them. But the best thing to do is go to the store and try both, they are too big an investment not to try out and see if you like the motion...
 

KimberlyH

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I own a Pro-Form Stride Select 825. I tried out several in my price range and it felt most steady/secure to me. I''ve owned it for about a year and a half and still love it. I use it 3-4 times a week.
 

katebar

Brilliant_Rock
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1,566
I have a Precor too probably the same model as Diamondfan''s and I love it. It is so smooth and I never have hurt myself on it but when i had a lesser brand and style I always was getting aches and pains.
My advice test drive all of them first to see which one suits you best. My husband preferred another type to this one as it suited his ''stride'' but as thi was my main form of exercise he deferred to my choice.
 

upgrading mama

Brilliant_Rock
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thanks guys for all the hepl so far, I appreciate it! I am going to find some time this week, I hope to go out and look at some.
 

AdaBeta27

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889
I've found ergonomics to be a real deal breaker with these elliptical trainer things. Try as many different models as possible before buying. Try the ones at health clubs, too. Stay on them long enough to find out what you don't like about that model. Be aware of subtle nuances of the stride and arm motions that may drive you nuts with time. There is a LOT of variation in how they move, how well they fit, and how much noise they make. The front flywheel models are generally not as highly regarded as the rear flywheel types. Some front types get noisy and/or frequently go out of adjustment with use. Some put added strain on the knees. Of the front kind, Schwinn and Reebok seem to be most respected.


I've concentrated my search on the rear flywheel type. I'm 5'1" and I'm having problems finding a serious mchine that's scaled to fit me or is at least tolerably adjustable. Most are too large. The Elipse models with the 15" stride are looking like the best combo of price/quality/stride but I can't try one w/o ordering it, assembling it myself, and depending where I order it from, I have to pay shipping both ways if I return it for any reason INCLUDING if it's defective!! Fitness Quest claims the 15" Elipse models fit 5'1" to 6' comfortably. Would love to try one someplace, though. The Elipse 1100HR and HR/A don't fold but do have overall length only 48" or so, about 1' shorter than average elliptical. The 2100 and 4100 are longer.

I really, really didn't want to go cheap but might have to due to my height, and limited floor space. The market is deficinet in high end models for petite women. I found the stride length and height tolerable on Nordic Track CX925 (discontinued) and whatever model that replaced it but the reach for the poles is higher than I want. These models are also 76" long or such, some incredible length. One would need a van or an 8' pickup truck bed w/o a cap to haul one of them fully assembled. Not to mention a lotta floor space. Nordic Track has also been blasted in numerous reviews for defective-out-of-box and parts that prematurely fail.

Beware of how much assmebly is required and who is going to do that and/or lift the box. Most of the ellipticals weigh 96 to 150 lbs. and there is a lot of assembly involved unless you pay the store to do it.

Read on the 'Net and see who own/makes who. Icon is the parent company of several brands.

Weslo 620 (Walmart), Weslo 610 (KMart) are two cheapos (13" and 12" stride) around $150 to $159 but they are scaled to fit teens and petite women. WalMart's Image 8.25 is 18" stride but the poles are adjustable height which might be OK for smaller person who can deal with that stride length but I haven't tried it. Image 9.5 with adjustable inclined front is 17.5" stride and was more ski like. You can download some models product manuals from Welso's site for free. Those are a good free look at assembly you might have to do for similar models.

18" stride is the most common in full size ellipticals. That may be too long for women under 5'2" and too short for men 6'0" and taller. I found that the type of motion differs between brands, regardless if flywheel is front or rear. I've tried 18" stride models that stride short up/down like running (some are tooo choppy), and some that stride long flat and skiier-like. Some have sloped pedals, and some flat, and some articulated. There are ellipticals with up to 21" or 24" stride for men over 6' height. There are some allegedly adjustable stride models hitting the market but I have yet to see any review that doesn't dismiss it as just a gimmick.

The 18" stride ellipticals with lots of up-down pedal motion for a petite person jacks up the each hip too high at the high point of the stride and that's very miserable unlless you are rubber band woman. It also gets an annoying side-to-side motion going along with the forward reach. Some 18" stride models are a flatter orbital motion, more like a skier. Some, I feel that I'm kicking out too far in front at the farthest part of the stride. Some, the pedal motion is OK but the poles are too high and/or 'way out in front and I have to pitch too far forward. It's been pretty frustrating so far. Reaching too far for poles tilts me forward and puts stress on back and knees. Too high is not as bad but adds to cardio effort if higher than chest height, which is almost always the case.

The commercial models may have lowest resistance still too high for a beginner. They also tend to be big striding monsters. I hate whatever is at the health club that I just joined. Good thing I only joined for 1 month, LOL.

I have found almost every top rated consumer model too large for me to use comfortably. I tried some 16" stride models at Dick's Sporting Goods. They were all front flywheel models, which I don't want, but they did fit. I don't know what brand and none of the ones on that web site look like what I tried in the store.

The elliptical review sites knock practically any consumer model that costs under $1000.

Sorry this is a rambling stream of ellipical shopping frustrations, LOL! Might save someone else some time. I am glad that I kept my stepper machine. You can't buy those anymore, and the d*** thing fits me! All typos are cat on keyboard, not me.


 

upgrading mama

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Date: 2/7/2007 10:31:34 PM
Author: AdaBeta27

I''ve found ergonomics to be a real deal breaker with these elliptical trainer things. Try as many different models as possible before buying. Try the ones at health clubs, too. Stay on them long enough to find out what you don''t like about that model. Be aware of subtle nuances of the stride and arm motions that may drive you nuts with time. There is a LOT of variation in how they move, how well they fit, and how much noise they make. The front flywheel models are generally not as highly regarded as the rear flywheel types. Some front types get noisy and/or frequently go out of adjustment with use. Some put added strain on the knees. Of the front kind, Schwinn and Reebok seem to be most respected.


I''ve concentrated my search on the rear flywheel type. I''m 5''1'' and I''m having problems finding a serious mchine that''s scaled to fit me or is at least tolerably adjustable. Most are too large. The Elipse models with the 15'' stride are looking like the best combo of price/quality/stride but I can''t try one w/o ordering it, assembling it myself, and depending where I order it from, I have to pay shipping both ways if I return it for any reason INCLUDING if it''s defective!! Fitness Quest claims the 15'' Elipse models fit 5''1'' to 6'' comfortably. Would love to try one someplace, though. The Elipse 1100HR and HR/A don''t fold but do have overall length only 48'' or so, about 1'' shorter than average elliptical. The 2100 and 4100 are longer.

I really, really didn''t want to go cheap but might have to due to my height, and limited floor space. The market is deficinet in high end models for petite women. I found the stride length and height tolerable on Nordic Track CX925 (discontinued) and whatever model that replaced it but the reach for the poles is higher than I want. These models are also 76'' long or such, some incredible length. One would need a van or an 8'' pickup truck bed w/o a cap to haul one of them fully assembled. Not to mention a lotta floor space. Nordic Track has also been blasted in numerous reviews for defective-out-of-box and parts that prematurely fail.

Beware of how much assmebly is required and who is going to do that and/or lift the box. Most of the ellipticals weigh 96 to 150 lbs. and there is a lot of assembly involved unless you pay the store to do it.

Read on the ''Net and see who own/makes who. Icon is the parent company of several brands.

Weslo 620 (Walmart), Weslo 610 (KMart) are two cheapos (13'' and 12'' stride) around $150 to $159 but they are scaled to fit teens and petite women. WalMart''s Image 8.25 is 18'' stride but the poles are adjustable height which might be OK for smaller person who can deal with that stride length but I haven''t tried it. Image 9.5 with adjustable inclined front is 17.5'' stride and was more ski like. You can download some models product manuals from Welso''s site for free. Those are a good free look at assembly you might have to do for similar models.

18'' stride is the most common in full size ellipticals. That may be too long for women under 5''2'' and too short for men 6''0'' and taller. I found that the type of motion differs between brands, regardless if flywheel is front or rear. I''ve tried 18'' stride models that stride short up/down like running (some are tooo choppy), and some that stride long flat and skiier-like. Some have sloped pedals, and some flat, and some articulated. There are ellipticals with up to 21'' or 24'' stride for men over 6'' height. There are some allegedly adjustable stride models hitting the market but I have yet to see any review that doesn''t dismiss it as just a gimmick.

The 18'' stride ellipticals with lots of up-down pedal motion for a petite person jacks up the each hip too high at the high point of the stride and that''s very miserable unlless you are rubber band woman. It also gets an annoying side-to-side motion going along with the forward reach. Some 18'' stride models are a flatter orbital motion, more like a skier. Some, I feel that I''m kicking out too far in front at the farthest part of the stride. Some, the pedal motion is OK but the poles are too high and/or ''way out in front and I have to pitch too far forward. It''s been pretty frustrating so far. Reaching too far for poles tilts me forward and puts stress on back and knees. Too high is not as bad but adds to cardio effort if higher than chest height, which is almost always the case.

The commercial models may have lowest resistance still too high for a beginner. They also tend to be big striding monsters. I hate whatever is at the health club that I just joined. Good thing I only joined for 1 month, LOL.

I have found almost every top rated consumer model too large for me to use comfortably. I tried some 16'' stride models at Dick''s Sporting Goods. They were all front flywheel models, which I don''t want, but they did fit. I don''t know what brand and none of the ones on that web site look like what I tried in the store.

The elliptical review sites knock practically any consumer model that costs under $1000.

Sorry this is a rambling stream of ellipical shopping frustrations, LOL! Might save someone else some time. I am glad that I kept my stepper machine. You can''t buy those anymore, and the d*** thing fits me! All typos are cat on keyboard, not me.


This hardly sums up my appreciation but THANK YOU THANK YOU for taking the time to type all of this!!!!!!!! I really appreciate it and it will definately help me to know what to look for as I shop around.

thank you soooo much!!
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
889
edit: 35, 64, & 37 are weak points. #37 seems most likely to have failed. It was missing from the damaged display models.

Yeah, an elliptical is not an elliptical, LOL! Use the 'Net search engines to dig up reviews. That's where I started.

With the horribly battered & abused battered Weslos I found in local discount store displays, the wear and tear seemed to be only where the rear of the pedal arms attach to the flywheel. In this sketch, parts 11, 22, 34, 64, 37, 65, connected to the post of 16 are those involved. The pedal arms had come off of some display models and had loosened on others. I'm not sure whether it's a maintenance issue, i.e. you have to tighten the screws occasionally and nobody did that, or worn busings, or bolts stripping out of the spindles. Threads stripping off cheap bolts could also be to blame. Maybe somebody who has a cheapo model can tell us why they come apart there.

Seems that you should keep your feet to the inside of the pedals, not outside, since throwing weight to outside may torque the pedal arms and thay may contribute to the problems I saw w/ the arms coming off. I'm not sure whether it's maintenance , bad design, cheap parts, or all of the above. Replacement parts are available for Weslo.

I may order one of the Eclipse 1100HR or HR/A. If I do, I'll post my experience here. 1 year warranty on Fitness Quest Elipse(s) vs. 90 days on Weslo / Image models.

wes.JPG
 

Lorelei

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
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42,064
" Nordic Track has also been blasted in numerous reviews for defective-out-of-box and parts that prematurely fail."

I noticed this too when I was researching to buy, however I went ahead and purchased mine and after 6 months regular use, I haven't had any problems which is good, hopefully that situation will last - knock wood! However mine is a European model so there might be differences anyway.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,004
I have the Eclipse 1100HR and like it. It has a variety of settings, is fine for an average height person (I''m 5'' 5") and glides smoothly. It is also pretty stable when in use. I read a bunch of reviews, then picked this model to try out in the store. The only things I don''t like are:
1. The batteries don''t last very long for the display unit
2. It is starting to squeak occasionally (after 1 year of usage), but my TV sounds still covers that up
3. It is heavy and does not fold up.

The assembly wasn''t too bad. Hubby and I got in done within the hour although it sure was heavy.
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
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A used Nordic Track skier might be a good alternative. Plenty of them on ebay, too. I bought a used Nordic Track skier for $15 @ thrift shop. It was made when NT was still making good equipment and not just another Icon cheapo product. It's infinitely adjustable, better made, and very similar to a low arc long stride elliptical. Noisy compared to most ellipticals, though. I might not buy an elliptical, or will continue to look around & try them.

Tried more ellipticals & some front wheel models & got surpirsed:
Horizon E95 will work for smaller person. Stride is 14". Model was panned by male reviewers as too short stride and a cheap Icon poduct.

Sole E25 / E35 with 20" stride have low reach poles and the stride fits me, too. Low and flat elliptical with almost no bounce or arc, though. Motion was silky smooth. You need floor space and ceiling height for this type, though. I really liked this machine! Priced about $1000.

Merit 710e / 720e and Dick's Firness Gear 710e / 810e are front wheel and will also work for smaller person. 16" stride. Same warnings about machine length & ceiling height. Pole height on these is a little reachy but tolerable. The higher models have taller poles, too tall.

Nordic Tracks: The most comfortable ones have the inclined ramp. I also think steeper incline shortens the stride. A smaller person does not need a machine anywhere near that long, though, due to low center of gravity. I wasn't too impressed with the folding one. In general, anything currently on display at Sears is too big.

Any of Eclipse 1175 / 1100 / 2100 / 4100 and sister New Balance models: Stride is OK but poles are too tall. If I get a used Eclipse cheap enough, I'd have the poles cut down and welded so that they are more chest height for me. The female model in their photos must be at least 6' tall.

New Balance front wheel models: Both too big and put strain on my knees.

I'd like to try Kettler 2000 / 3000 short frame models if I can find a display someplace. An online merchant warned me that any of the short stride rear wheel models can be wide spaced between the foot pedals. I did find one or two reviews that said that of the Kettlers. Overall, people liked Kettler quality.
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
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I now own the Weslo Momentum 620 from Wal-Mart. It's was $148 (now $158) and I had a $50 gift cert, so what the heck. Honestly, this Weslo might do the trick from a woman who is petite to average height who doesn't want to sink a lot of money into exercise equipment. Most of the elliptical reviews online were written by men. I think any of the 3 Weslo products at Wal-Mary might suffice for women.



The 620 seems worth $158, current price. Has 12" stride and thus is one that's more up/down in motion. Compact size that doesn't hog a lot of floor space. About same footprint as a recumbent bike. The electronics are very good for a cheapo: 2 programs, calories, distance, pulse meter, and electronic resistance, etc. No cupholder or water bottle holder but creative people can rig something.



Easy for one woman to assemble, or conversely, to knock down and transport in a car to a new location. Or back to the store if you try it and a return is necessary. ;-) Directions say 2 people. Not req'd. The only tough part might be lifting the box out of the vehicle and getting the elliptical's base out of the box. It's heavy and it's wedged in there. Tip box up on end and slide it out. If you're not very strong or can't lift, you might need help there.

Assembly is just screwing a bunch of lightweight tubular parts together and attaching to machine. You can put the support feet on the base by yourself w/o lifting. There's not much to adjust. It mostly all just comes out of the box and bolts together. Tools you really need to make this easy: A ratchet wrench and metric sockets instead of an adjustable wrench, a Phillips screwdriver, and a hammer or mallet. The mallet/hammer is just to tap two plastic caps on, so you could use any old hammer although a mallet would be less risk of cracking them. The screwdriver is just to attach the electronic console. Mrgr . gives you three hex head wrenches and grease. All of the fasteners and little parts were shrink wrapped and labeled on a cardboard card. Great idea! No missing parts and no sorting through plastic bags of misc. fasteners.

Build quality seems very good. The assembled machine is sturdy and doesn't seem cheap. The pedal arms attach with a screw, a flat washer, and a "wave" or springy washer. I'm not certain why the pedal arms loosened and/or fell off the KMart displays (see posts, above). That connection seems substantial enough on the 620. Maybe a little Loctite on the threads would help keep the screws from working loose. Dunno. I'll monitor that as I use this machine more. (Engineers love failure analyses, LOL.)



Only noise from mine is a slight whir and whine that increases with higher tension. Quieter than my Nordic Track skier, about equivalent to an exercise bike. The elliptical works muscles in ways my other exercisers don't. I'm 5'1" tall but slightly long legged, and the arc of the stride might be a little high for me. (Short stride elliptical often = more bouncy feel and higher arc shape vs. low and flat.) It's noticeable at slow speed and slightly uncomfortable. I predict it's a flexibility issue that will go away as I use the machine more. No stress on joints. Machine's motion is smooth. Distance between the pedals isn't too wide.



 
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