Pros: Sturdy, doesn't take up too much room, easy to use.
Cons: Heavy, requires a lot of time & patience to assemble, not much of a workout.
I've always been intrigued by the Bowflex commercials; don't we all want that beautiful, muscular body in only 20 minutes a day? If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is... A Bowflex is basically for an elderly person, or someone with no exercise experience and just wants to tone. Toning is about the best you can expect from a Bowflex. If you want a body that even remotely resembles a "Bowflex Body" from their infomercial, you better join a gym and hit the weights & cardio.
The machine itself is very well built. It's is quite sturdy. Plan on setting aside a good portion of a day to get it set up. The instructions are VERY detailed and some might find all the bolts and small parts a little too much, so be patient and take your time.
As for the exercises done with the machine, they are quite extensive. You can do just about anything with this that you can do at the gym. One of the problems I found was that even though the machine is adjustable, it is not adjustable enough. The range of motion is limited and the range that actually has the proper resistance is very limited. You start and end very easy and only the middle is difficult. With a real bench press you have resistance through the whole exercise which is what makes your muscles respond. The Bowflex will never give you any pectoral muscles. Other exercises were just as awkward. For the seated row I needed to add a block to put my feet against to get enough range of motion. I had to shorten the nylon handles for the bench press, biceps curl, seated row, pretty much all the exercises.
Unfortunately the Bowflex did not work out for me. I think that an elderly person who just needs to move would benefit from this, maybe someone just getting used to exercising or with physical limitations might benefit from this. I think for any actual positive physical changes, this is a big waste of money. Bowflex offers a guarantee that you will see results by following their diet and exercise plan. You probably will. Their diet plan is so calorie restricted that you will lose weight. Anyone will. 1100 calories a day is an extremely calorie restricted diet. Once you go back to eating a normal, healthy amount of calories (1300-1800 for women) you're going to gain some of the weight back unless to increase your (real) exercise.
Back to the gym I go...