Pros: Well engineered, durable, versatile, with fluid movement
Cons: rather large footprint, expensive
I have wanted an all-in-one exercise machine for some time. I have been aware of the Bowflex product for several years. I had considered the competitors, such as Soloflex and Powerflex, but weighing all factors and going on a hunch, I chose Bowflex.
I was influenced by the now legendary Bowflex infomercial on the cable tv channels. You may peruse their website at this address, www.bowflex.com. This particular model is owned for a round thousand dollars. Bowflex offers financing through their own credit card if you qualify and desire or require it.
The machine arrived in two cartons. The base unit in one and the lat tower in another. Neither carton exceeded 80 pounds as a best guess. UPS standard ground was the delivery method. I received shipment in four weeks, this time frame was longer than usual but I was told this was due to high demand.
There were amazingly few bolts and nuts. All assembly was done inside two hours. The instructions were thorough and a couple of wrenches and a screwdriver got the job done.
This machine is very well engineered. There are over 60 exercises you can do with very little reconfiguring. You change resistance by adding or subtracting the power rods on the cable ends, no real strain - just flex the rod a little and hook it. The bench has three different configurations; flat, one incline position, or allowed to roll as a seat. Bench configuration is dictated by the type of exercise. The machine's dimensions in feet are approximately 7Hx6Wx6L. Pulley, cable, and power rod movement is smooth and quiet. I haven't owned the unit long enough to attest to it's durability but so far so good. Resistance can be varied from 10 to 210 pounds using 2x5, 4x10, 2x30, and 2x50 pound rods.
Again there are over 60 exercises you can do. You can do all the basic multi-muscle group exercises such as leg press, bench press, lat pulldown, and front press. There are a host of specific muscle exercises, e.g. arm curls, tricep press, deltoid raises, flyes, hip extensions, and leg curls. You may also do aerobic rowing using the rowing machine feature. The owners manual has a very thorough guide with pictorial describing each exercise as well as exercise routines.
Definitely seeing more muscularity; more definition and size. Stamina and strength are increasing as well. I am a fairly modest person but the improvements are showing through and drawing attention none-the-less. I supplement my workouts with heavy bag boxing, hiking, air elliptical, air walker, and the Total Gym (see review).
I recently had a 10 pound power rod snap in half; I was not injured just startled. The Bowflex company promptly replaced the rod, all they asked of me was that I return the damaged rod (they paid shipping and provided the shipping carton).
I also recently purchased the squat attachment. It consists of a metal platform, two pulleys, two cables, and a padded bar with chains for varying the start position height. This allows for spotter-free squats, deadlifts, and benchpresses. I am very pleased with this enhancement as well as with the Bowflex machine overall. I'll be 40 years old in August and have never been more cut and energetic. I am in the process of purchasing a Nordic Track Cross Country Ski Machine through Ebay, I will probably review this in the near future.