Pros: Lots of bells and whistles; smooth and quiet; 20 programs.
Cons: The price.
The Life Fitness X9i Cross-Trainer was one of the Life Fitness machines I used while at Ladies Express Workout. This model is in the home use group but is considered health-club quality.
Elliptical machines have come to be thought of as much gentler on ones joints than a treadmill. In general I find them one of the least boring pieces of cardio equipment. The X9i is pricey at a retail price of $4200. I have never talked with anyone who owned a Life Fitness machine who regretted spending that kind of money.
Information on the Life Fitness X91:
The X9i weighs 235 pounds which is a bit heavier than others I have reviewed such as the Precor EFX 5.19 Crosstrainer which at $2800 I did not recommend.
The X9i measures 83 inches long by 28 inches wide by 61 inches high. This is also a larger machine than the one above. The maximum user weight is 350 pounds which is a nice higher-than- most number.
The pedals are big measuring 16 inches long by 7 inches wide. The pedals turn up at the front and the back. Most do at this point but if you are looking at older models you may see some that dont. I have found ones that dont allow my foot to slide in uncomfortable. Even with a good tread on the pedal my foot can slip off. I dont have to worry about that on the X9i.
The X9i has moving arms. This feature is great for those of you who only do cardio work and dont intend to do any weight training. The moving arms did work my upper body. The moving arms are particularly helpful to use as a warm up before I weight trained. This machine however has the arms linked to the pedals. This has two implications.
1. I can move one side without the other which is true in all cases.
2. My arms can move my legs and vice versa. Let me give you an example. I was in spinning class the other day. This is a class done on stationary bikes with an instructor and music. Katie always comments on how important breathing is during biking. This time she told us about a man she knows. He is paralyzed but uses a bike. How? He uses one with arms and the arms move his legs. So that is the risk with a machine like this. If you buy this one or any one that works this way just make sure you arent cheating- unless of course you are doing so for physical reasons.
I found the X9i to be smooth and quiet but I would expect no less from a Life Fitness machine especially at this price.
Other than the moving arms there are also U-shaped handles which I liked a lot. They were in a good position and comfortable to hold. I still found myself bending forward a bit as I do on all elliptical machines. I am searching for one that allows me to pedal and hold onto handles without scrunching my shoulders or leaning.
Next to the handles are two integrated areas for items such as a water bottle, CD player. I found a magazine rack as well. Yes, your magazine will cover the console but I cannot think of one machine out of the hundreds that I have been on with a console and magazine rack that works any other way.
The X9i happily has not only a built in heart rate monitor but another feature that is become more common. This is the ability to use a wireless chest strap which comes with the machine. Using this means that I didnt have to move my hands from the moving arms for example to know what my heart rate was.
The display console shows me my distance, speed, calories, time, level of resistance, my heart rate and my target heart rate. I have been on machines that tell me my target heart rate and love that feature. What happens is after I have input my data and picked a program I now have a target heart rate. Lets say it is 150. If I was not at 150 there is a workout feedback display on the console that told me I have to speed up.
The X9i has a more than respectable 20 programs on it. I found hills, which work in intervals and get more and more difficult; random programs; various heart rate controlled and cardio workouts; a manual workout in which I chose my own levels of resistance and speed; (Remember you can always use the up and down arrows during any program to change levels.) and a feature I dont recall ever seeing called On-The-Fly Programming. There have been many times that I have wanted to change programs but couldnt. On the X9i I could change from one program to another without starting all over and losing all my data. I also found a customized cool down feature. On many machines there is no cool down; some have 1 minute cool downs; some just count down from five. This one counted down depending on the program I had chosen.
My thoughts and rating:
The Life Fitness 9xi is certainly a magnificent piece of equipment. I cant rate it any thing less than 5 stars in spite of the price tag. It may be that the 5 stars is because of the price tag though in all fairness I have rated inexpensive machines 5 stars. However I dont think anything can beat the durability and stability that Life Fitness offers.
I would suggest that if you can pay someone to assemble it do so unless you assemble things for a living!
Other elliptical reviews:
Precor Crosstrainer 5.19 • Precor Elliptical Crosstrainer 5.17i • Star Trac Elite •
Reebok RL 900 • Cybex Arc Trainer • Precor EFX546 Elliptical Trainer
All of my fitness equipment reviews can be found here.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or if I've left out something you want to know please leave me a question or comment. jo