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What is the best Home Trainer

When I opened the box I was amazed at the amount of pieces that needed putting together. That said, everything is clearly labeled with the ‘L’ or ‘R’ sticker indicating where it should go. Whilst a sticker may be a bit patronizing at first it is very useful since the pieces do look very similar and it is not easy to tell what goes on the left, or what goes on the right just by looking.

The instructions are very detailed and break the assembly down in to bite sized and manageable chunks with easy to follow diagrams and text. Providing each step is followed in the order it is written, and on a methodical basis, there shouldn’t be too many problems. Whilst this trainer can be constructed by a single person there are some steps where another pair of hands is beneficial, especially when dealing with threading the wires for the computer.

All nuts, bolts, sleeves, self tapping screws etc are provided and are sealed on a piece of card in the order they are to be used. This ensures the right piece is used at the right time. There is nothing worse than using the incorrect screw or bolt at an early stage and then have to dissemble the product at a later stage and replace it with the correct bit.

The trainer comes with all the necessary tools needed to assemble the stepper. These are not good quality, and are cheaply manufactured, but they are adequate for the job providing you don’t give them too much stick.

Whilst functionality, strength, durability, ease of use etc take priority over looks I think that everyone would agree that gym equipment, especially when in a home gym, must look the part, and the Reebok does not disappoint in the looks department. Mine is in the silver and black color scheme and the lack of tacky stickers makes this look a really nice piece of kit and much more expensive than it actually cost.

This trainer is not made out of really thick metal and I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about whether it was up to the job. I have used this stepper for over a year now, almost on a daily basis and I can honestly say that I have never had any problems with it whatsoever.

The weakest part of any trainer is usually where the upright stem (that the arms are connected to) is welded to the bottom section. As the arms are moved backwards and forwards the vibration tends to ‘wiggle’ the stem, which can cause the welding to break. In order to overcome this, the Reebok trainer has a thick plastic collar around the bottom of the stem to stop it moving. This additional extra makes all the difference and the stem doesn’t move at all, even when the arms are worked really hard. It is a great feature that improves the strength of the product.

I have found the trainer to be very strong and durable although it does require a bit of care and maintenance to keep it operating as is should. The arms suffer the most abuse, and as such, the bolts need to be tightened every couple of weeks or so. This is not a big job but it is essential to prevent damage to the arms.

The rear fly-wheel needs to be lubricated every four months or so to ensure that the leg section rotates smoothly. Again, this is not a big job and should only take a few minutes. In addition it is so easy that anyone can do this and you do not need to be technically minded or anything like that.

This trainer is nowhere near up to the quality of trainers you will find in a commercial gym but then there is no way I was expecting it to be. This trainer costs a fraction of the price of commercial trainers.

The trainer is very easy to use. The instructions are excellent and it only takes 5 minutes of ‘playing’ to become familiar with how it works and what it can do. It is a matter of selecting the program, selecting the level, selecting the time and pressing start. The timer will beep three times and then count down to the end of the selected time.

i) Programs

This elliptical trainer has 4 different programs consisting of an incline profile, a decline profile, a rolling hill profile and an interval profile. Whilst some may seem this as limited I find 4 programs more than enough and have yet to get bored. If a program becomes too easy then there are 5 different levels of difficulty to ensure that you keep improving. I think the 5 difficulty levels are more than enough and there is something for everyone regardless of physical ability. Level 1 is very easy and level 5 is extremely difficult, and seems to be for Olympic athletes.

ii) The computer

The computer has a large display so it is easy to see the values whilst exercising, even though time always seems to go slower when clock watching. The computer shows time, distance, speed, calories burned and hear rate (in order to get the heart rate you have to hold on to a sensor on each arm for a few minutes). There is the option of leaving the display on any one of the functions, or you can put it on ‘scan’ mode where it shows each function in turn as you progress through your work out. The scan feature is a nice touch.

It is possible to flick through each function whilst exercising as well. The function is changed at a press of a button. The computer not only has a large display but also large buttons so it is a doodle to change functions without upsetting the exercising.

Whilst the fly-wheel is powered by a mains adaptor, the computer requires 4 x C style batteries. I was a bit miffed at first as I thought that the large computer would ‘eat the batteries for breakfast’ but I have to say the batteries last for months. I have replaced them once in the last fourteen months or so.

In the fourteen months or so I have owned this elliptical trainer I have had no problems with bits breaking off, or the flywheel jamming up, or the computer messing up at all. Considering that it is used almost every day and by more than just myself I think this is a well-made piece of kit. However, I must confirm that I am not a real heavy weight and nor is my other half so I cannot really comment on how it would stand up to daily use of heavier people. We also treat it with care and regularly tighten bolts and lubricate moving parts etc, which is going to help prolong the life.

The only issue I have with this elliptical trainer is the computer. The accuracy of the heart rate monitor and calorie counter is very poor. I guess this is not surprising given that the heart rate is picked up via two sensors on the arm sections and the calories burned are calculated on the level and speed etc, which are two quite primitive methods. For accurate consumption of calories and accurate hear rate monitoring you are going to need a separate heart rate monitor consisting of a belt and watch.

If you do not want the additional expense of a heart rate monitor, or are not that bothered about accuracy you can still use the trainer’s computer as a guide to show that you are improving, it’s just that you will have to do the same program at the same level to get a like for like comparison. Other than computer accuracy issues I have not experienced any other problems with this elliptical trainer.

Overall this is a fantastic piece of equipment that would be a great addition to any home gym. Whilst it does not have as many features as more expensive trainers, nor is it the same quality, this product cannot be compared to commercial trainers. This trainer is ideal for home use and is plenty strong enough, especially with the addition of the plastic collar. If looked after, lubricated and tightened on a regular basis this elliptical trainer should give many months of trouble free service. It is great value for money. The accuracy of the computer is an issue, and whilst it bothers me ( I am a bit of a geek that likes to know exactly what is happening) I don’t think many people would be bothered by it.