Bought this machine abt two weeks back after considerable research. This product is an extreme value at this price point. It is structurally sound and strong. Yes, the pulleys (all 27 of them) are made of glass fiber (aka plastic) with sealed steel bearings and they do make hissing sound when turned (no squealing sound, atleast yet). If you expect ultra smooth/silent operation, you should probably get one in a (much) higher price range. If you were looking at the cheaper model, I have to tell you this one is a much better value. This machine is real and lets you do many more excercises and unlike the cheaper model, *does not* multiply the resistance at the lower cable. This actually lets you use the lower cable as advertised. Also, there is a third cable that you can pull behind your neck (when seated) for additional excercises like ab crunch. Your local Gold's Gym would send a technician if you want help with assembly or have a problem later on (of course you have to pay#, I think thats a big plus with something this big and heavy. Also, I have heard about part mismatch issues #cable not long enough etc# about cheaper brands making it impossible to assemble. Not with this one!
The instructions tell you that you would need two adjustable wrenches to put this together. Thats an invitation to a lot of awkward and sometimes slipped grips, worn bolt heads, lot of frustration, mental fatigue and likely injury. You do not need adjustables since the bolts and nuts are all of the same size. When I saw the pack of about a hundred 17mm nuts and bolts, I immediately went out and bought two 17mm ratchet wrenches. It must have cut the assembling time by atleast 2 hrs #it took me abt 6 hrs, doing it alone#, and my bolt heads look fresh as if assembled by a pro! They have life remaining if I want to take the machine apart and put it together again in the future.
Now for the bads. The parts #other than nuts/bolts/washers, which come very well marked on two sheets of thick paper held together with plastic laminate# are not labelled and the document doesn't mention where in the package would I find a particular part. Even though the bigger parts are apparent and do not need labelling, I had a hard time fishing for a 6 inch spacer which I finally found it in a packet of accessories. I had to undo a few bolts to put it in place since I had almost done assembling the machine when I found it.
In my unit, the left arm of the horizontal stability bar is angled away from the floor and does not touch the floor. I had to squeeze a rubber eraser under it to give the machine some stability.
Like another reviewer has noted, the pin that is supposed to permanently hold the weight selector rod to the number 1 weight is too big for the hole. Like him, I had to drill the hole bigger.
The small swivel handles of the chest press do not have a bearing. They swivel because the bolts conneting them to the bigger arm aren't tightened completely #I'm not kidding#. Guess what, the nuts sometimes turn with the swings, leaving the left handle too tight to swivel and the left one too loose and falling out. I have to tighten this after every few workouts. The nut is situated about 4 inches into the pipe, so you'll need a #17mm) socket wrench and a 6 inch extender to do this job!
If these minor annoyances don't bother you, this is a good machine for under 500 bucks. It gives a full body workout just like a professional gym. Accessories include one lat bar, one handle grip, one extension chain, and an attachment you can use for ab crunches.
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