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45. Exercise Equipment: Treadmills


This article is from the Fitness FAQ, by Jeff Gleixner (glex@cray.com) with numerous contributions by others.

45. Exercise Equipment: Treadmills


> I'm looking at buying a treadmill. Does anyone have any advice on
> which ones are better. I'm trying to stay in the moderate range.
> Is motorized best? Thanks

True, Precor and Trotter are three of the better-known brands for
home use. I'm sure there are others that are just as good. A couple
of tips:

1. Go to a store that specializes in fitness equipment, rather than
a large department store like Sears. Fitness stores usually carry
the best equipment, they usually have the best-trained personnel
and they usually carry 10-15 different models in different price
ranges so that you can compare. (Note the recurring use of the term
"usually." I know the good stores in Chicago but you must always
exercise consumer caution.)

2. Look for a good motor (at least 2 hp), stable walking bed.
Think about the use of the treadmill. If you will use it only
for walking, you can save a few $$ by getting one with a shorter
length. Sometimes, the higher price models feature only more
sophisticated electronics, rather than better hardware. You
need to decide what features you want (like a motorized elevation

3. As far as I can tell, motorized is still best. I've seen the
commercials for Nordic Track and Jane Fonda, but I'm not yet
convinced. Usually, non-motorized TMs do not have enough inertia
to be comfortable.

4. You probably need to spend $1500 to $2000 for a good TM with
what I would consider minimum features. If you can't afford that,
you might want to consider another piece of equipment or delay the
purchase. It has been my experience that $500-$1000 TMs usually are
unsatisfactory in the long run (and you still have spent a lot of $$).


I have been using a LifeStride treadmill for the past 6 months
and find it to be an excellent machine for the price. I
bought it for $550.00 and it seems to be a durable product that
will last a lifetime. It had a fitness test, hill climbing,
random hills, manual settings available. It shows you
the size of hills to come, current elevation, calories burned,
calories per hour, miles run, time etc. and literally raises
and lowers itself up to a 15% grade. A super product! IMHO


I have heard that the quality of these treadmills is quite
lacking in that they do not provide a consistent "feel"
throughout training on them. The best way for you to be
certain if the look and feel you desire is to take the
thing for a test drive and scope the quality for yourself.
This is not something you would want to mail-order.


Cost: $3,500
Speeds from 1.0 to 10.0 mph, motorized incline from 0-15%.

This model is about 7 years old and has a ton of mileage on it. I would
estimate 3000-5000 miles without any breakdowns. It has a heavy duty
motor which maintains a constant speed. Treadmills with lower horsepower
motors have noticeable lurching at high speeds, but the Precor has never
shown that tendency. Also, in spite of the high mileage on part has
needed to be replaced. The belt on which you run is in excellent

Compared to many treadmills, it has a long running surface which
means less opportunity to fall behind and end up off the back of the

Most retailers of Precor will deliver, assemble and demo the machine
for you, which is the least you can expect for the price tag.

Every fall I spend $35 to have a service guy come out and perform
preventive maintenance.

It is an excellent value and I would definitely go with Precor again.


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