I purchased this product after reading several reviews online (walmart.com and several other sites). I wanted a good machine, but didn't want to spend a ton of money. One phrase stands out in my mind and I agree: I wouldn't spend any less than this on an elliptical machine.
I'm a marathon runner and I am sidelined with a stress fracture. I've used the elliptical at the gym before when I've had stress fractures, and the no impact running motion is perfect. Right now I don't belong to a gym because I run nearly every day (when I'm not injured), and I have access to a lot of workout equipment and a pool at work, but there is no elliptical machine.
The reason I decided to purchase a machine instead of joining a gym for awhile was that all of the gyms in my (small) town have 30 minute time limits on cardio equipment. I'm used to running 15-20 miles on Saturdays, and wanted to be able to stay on the machine for 2-3 hours once a week to maintain my fitness level. I also wanted to get something through a store we had in town (limited selection) b/c the shipping on anything else would be astronomical and I didn't have the means to transport a large machine very far (by the way, we did get the box from the store into my 2-door Honda Civic - not easily, but it can be done).
I've only owned this machine for a week, so I can't yet comment on the durability of longevity of it. I have used it every day, for 1 hour most days and 2 hours today.
It works great and I'm happy with my purchase! It does make some noise (kind of a banging/clanking when going forward), but it is quiet enough that I can hear my laptop when I watch TV or movies on it while working out. It doesn't go that loud and I cannot hear it while I run on the treadmill. The room where it is in is in the opposite end of the house from the bedrooms, so early morning workouts aren't a problem. But, if you live in an apartment, duplex, or a small house with others I would not recommend getting this machine.
I am 5'7" and 128 pounds, and the machine is a perfect fit for me. However, I would not recommend it for anyone who is much taller than me. My boyfriend is 6'3"/210 and tried it out just for fun after he helped me assemble it, and it was much too small for him. The motion and stride of the machine feel natural for me, but it felt very awkward for him. Weight-wise it was okay for him though.
It wasn't that hard to assemble. There were many parts and it was time-consuming (around 2 hours), but the instructions lay everything out very well. I am very non-mechanical, and I assembled part of the machine by myself (I could have done the entire thing, but it would have taken me a lot longer!), so if I can do it anyone can. :)
I have no complaints about the product at this time. For my situation it's great, but like I said there may be some situations or people that it does not work for. I didn't expect it to be like the $2000+ machines at the gym, but I didn't want to spend $2000 for something I'll mainly use when injured.
I will also say that it does give you a good workout. I was running 60 miles a week and racing regularly when I got hurt, so I was in good shape when I started using it, but the advanced workouts are still a challenge and get my heart rate up. The workouts range from 20 min. to 45 min., so although I wish there was a longer workout, I know that most people are not using this machine to simulate a 8-20 mile run. I just use it on manual resistance or do 2 workouts when I use it.
If you're buying an elliptical machine, do your research...the internet makes it so easy. Also, ask to try it out. The Wal-Mart associate was a little leery about letting me, but I told him I wasn't going to spend that much without trying it. I tried this machine as well as the others they had on display, and this was by far the smoothest.
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