Introducing the Bowflex TreadClimber
May 10, 2005
Review by Jo Levy
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Great workout, nice, smooth walk or power walk, great foot pads, easy to use
Cons:A huge con for me and that is the way the resistance is changed.
The Bottom Line: I can't unfortunately recommend the TreadClimber. It is a lot of money for a machine that is not feature rich and a pain to change its resistance.
The Bowflex TreadClimber is one of those machines that I couldnt wait to try when I saw it. I have an in everywhere! Bowflex makes three models of TreadClimbers. My plan is to review at least two of them maybe all three and then compare them. I hope to do this on a timely basis so you can make a decision in this century.
Recommend this product?
What is a TreadClimber?
Bowflexs TreadClimbers use a combination of movements. They allow you to walk forward, as you would on a traditional treadmill, and step up, as you would do on a stepper. The concept makes sense. We know that interval training (switching speeds and and resistance levels during your cardio workout) is a more effective way to train. Interval training forces your heart rate up faster than staying at one level. In addition it is thought that the changes from one speed to another or one resistance level to another increases your heart rate. For example if I am on a traditional treadmill power walking at 4 miles per hour with some incline my heart is going to be pumping hard. If I do this for 3 minutes and then bring the incline down and slow my walking down, my heart rate decreases. However after 2 minutes at that level I bring it back up again, my heart is working hard to get back up there. That is the theory behind interval training in my own words. So the TreadClimber essentially uses interval training by combining two different cardio machines in one. Another type of interval training is to go from one machine to another, lets say after 20 minutes. With the TreadClimber you have two in one.
The TreadClimber TC 1000 has two platforms rather than a single flat walking surface you find on a treadmill. Each platform rises separately. As I put my foot on the left platform it goes down while the right one goes up. If you have used stair steppers you know that you are going up and down in a straight line. Steppers are my least favorite cardio piece (other than a skier). The TreadClimber is different. There is a gradual hill climbing movement that I find is really easy on my knees.
Features I really like on the TC1000 are what are called footboards on each side of the machine. These do not run the entire length of the Tread Climber but are long enough to make it really helpful to get on and off. If you have ever been on a treadmill, for example, you know that you have to be careful not to be standing on it if you have it set to start at 3.8 miles per hour or you may lose your balance. I would guess you have jumped so that each foot is on the side of the treadmill because you, like I, am impatient and dont wait for it to slow down. In the case of the TreadClimber neither of these situations will happen because of the footboard. I have often said that the stepper can be a nightmare to get on and get going on. Considering the TreadClimber is a combination of a stepper and treadmill again you will not have the problem of attempting to keep the steps up while you set the pace.
You may think there are some similarities between the TreadClimber and elliptical machines but they are really very different. When I am on an elliptical my feet are locked into the foot pad. I like elliptical machines but if you have feet problems and find your toes or feet becoming numb you might want to think of using something else. The TreadClimber gives my feet a natural range of motion. My feet can move around although the platform is much narrower than on a treadmill.
Bowflex uses a high grade carbon steel construction. Bowflex was the manufacturer of Nautilus Commercial Fitness equipment for 30 years and claims the steel is the same as that typically found in gyms.
Bowflex TreadClimber TC 1000 costs $1499. It is 46 inches long by 28.5 inches wide by 55 inches high. The maximum weight is 300 pounds. The machine weighs 185 pounds. It has a one year warranty.
Bowflex machines are designed and engineered in the USA. The company guarantees satisfaction. Use the machine for up to 6 weeks and if you are not satisfied with the results, it can be returned. You will get a full refund but shipping and handling will not be refunded.
Functions and Features:
The speed goes from .5 to 3.8 miles per hour (MPH). You can track 3 functions. They are speed, time and distance.
The Bowflex TreadClimber TC1000 is the low end of the three TreadClimbers. It is the least expensive and the features and functions or lack of them reflect that.
I found small handrails. I often comment on the handrails. Since the TreadClimber I feel is safer in many ways than either a treadmill or stepper I feel the short handrails are fine in this case.
There is one really different feature on the TC1000 which I have never seen. On most machines I find up and down arrows to control the speed and intensity and they are on one side of the console. The TC1000 has two really easy to touch buttons on both sides of the console. I usually find them on the bottom on either the right or the left. The advantage to this is if you are left handed it is easier than reaching over to the right side to adjust the settings.
The TreadClimber like the stepper requires a bit more work and concentration than a treadmill. I find this a positive not a negative. There are three (only) functions that track my speed, time and distance. These are the bare basics but if you are just starting out or dont feel the need to track your calories for example, then you will find the TC1000 adequate. These 3 functions are easy to read. The console is small, has no water holders or magazine rack.
I can adjust the speed from .5 miles per hour to a maximum of 3.8 miles per hour. Before you say Is that all please remember that this is not a treadmill. You will not be running on this machine. At 3.8 miles per hour most of us are power walking.
The TC1000 gives me 12 settings that I can adjust for the intensity or resistance which may be a more familiar term. This is done by adjusting the pistons. Here is where the TreadClimber TC1000 loses its great rating from me. (I feel as if I have set you up for a fantastic machine - I'm sorry!) I adjust my resistance constantly. I like to do what is called Interval training. For example I would power walk for 3 minutes, slow down for 5, go to 3.4 for 8 minutes, etc. On this machine that is almost impossible to do and this is why. The resistance is changed by turning a knob on the pistons or hydraulic systems. These are two mechanisms on each side of the machine in the front. On top of the pistons are easy to turn knobs with easy to see lines that show me the numbers for the intensity. But I have to get off and stand on the footpads in order to do this. I certainly cannot do it while power walking and it really isnt even safe to do it while walking slowly. Thus this defeats, in my opinion, the purpose of the TreadClimber. I must tell you that I was so disappointed when I discovered this. I tried many times to get used to the machine and just couldnt I do not like it for this one reason.
Jo, Your Personal Trainers Observations and Thoughts:
The TC1000 has the potential of giving me a great workout. The treads are nice and smooth. The machine is quiet. The treads go up and down smoothly. My feet amazingly do not hurt me because there is so little impact. It is like walking on a treadmill only better because I get the addition of the stepping motion which is great for my calves, hamstrings (back of thighs), butt, quadriceps (front of thigh) as well as the cardio vascular workout. However I cannot recommend spending $1500 on this machine. I actually would not buy it for half that amount.
Please feel free to leave me a question or comment.
Below are my Bowflex reviews. My other treadmill reviews can be found on my profile page. Thanks for reading. jo
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