I just purchased this elliptical from the store 48 hours ago and have used it twice now. So far I am very impressed and what criticisms I have about this elliptical are minor at best.
First and foremost, this is a very heavy machine. Getting the box into your house is exercise in and of itself. You will need at least two people to get it through the door. As the box is just over 5 feet in length, even if you are strong enough to lift it yourself, it is too bulky to manage on your own.
Outside moving it into your house, the only other thing I discovered that I needed a second person for was taking it out of the box. Once out, you should have no difficulties putting it together by yourself. Make sure you fully unpack the box as there are boxes and packs of parts hidden everywhere. I managed to locate the elusive grease as a small blister pack amongst the packing materials. If I had not fully unpacked the box, I would never have found it.
PROTIP: You can use some of the included packing materials to hold the base of the elliptical off the ground when attaching the stabilizers.
It took me approximately 2 and a half hours to put it together. While I was extremely methodical in following the steps, I did somehow end up missing a few and having to double back to redo it.
PROTIP: Wait to put the joint covers on the machine until after your first workout. This will allow you to re-tighten the bolts without running the risk of snapping the tabs on the coverings. You will, without a doubt, need to re-tighten the bolts after the first workout. Failure to do so will lead to the machine feeling wobbly.
I found the action rather smooth, with no jerking or catching as the arms run back and forth. The foot pedals are very wide and long, allowing you to stand further back on them - which in my case has allowed me to avoid my legs running into cup holder (which I have read on other reviews of the lower priced ellipticals). You will need to wear some kind of footwear on the pedals however. The plastic is very firm, and the indentations are not comfortable against just stocking feet. The stride is a nice and full 18 inches, giving my legs a nice stretch on each rotation.
As far as the height of the machine, I found that it works in a room with 8 foot ceilings. Though at my height (6'2"), I am at almost eye level with the ceiling fan. So make sure you set it up in an area that is free from anything hanging from the ceiling. You will also need at least 5 feet of floor space in which to place the trainer. That said, the entire mechanism runs completely with that space and nothing slides out past the end of the machine.
PROTIP: The instructions call for a phillips head screwdriver. Make sure you use one that is a solid screwdriver and not an interchangeable one. When you go to attach the cup holder, the bottom screw hole is too small to let and interchangeable-head screwdriver to fit properly.
Overall, this is an very good machine for what you pay for it. While it does lack some things that would make it an excellent trainer - such as the console display is not back lit, the built-in fan is a little lacking in strength - it does exactly what you need it to, and that is give you a very intense workout. The resistance was enough to give me pause at the higher levels, and the switching of the resistance in the workout mode is very smooth and does not interfere with your stride.
PROTIP: Make sure you pick up a universal adapter for the console. I managed to find one in the electronics department at Walmart for around $14. It works just fine, and costs less than the AC adapter being peddled by Gold's Gym.
I would recommend this machine to my friends, and in fact, I have most likely bored them to tears already in describing it - despite my excitement.
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