Pros: cheap price
Cons: manual incline, small walking service, and short warranty
As the New Year quickly approaches, many people will be looking to get in shape. At this moment, everyone believes they will not break their New Year's Resolutions. There are a ton of options available to get people off the couch and moving around. In this review, I will be taking a look at the Weslo Cadence C44 Treadmill.
Weslo is a division of the fitness conglomerate Icon Health & Fitness. Icon has facilities located in China, Europe, Canada, and the United States. You may have never heard of Icon Fitness but you have probably heard of their brands. Some of them are:
Weslo is usually known as the bargain models of the Icon family. The C44 comes in a fairly large box so you will need a truck or van to bring it home. If the store offers delivery, this is something you may want to consider. Upon first opening the box, you may be worried that your treadmill is in too many parts for assembly. Assembly is not that bad and should take around 1-2 hours with two people. You will need to assemble the brace arms and the console and all the wholes are pre-drilled. I have heard stories of people receiving their treadmills with the holes drilled in incorrect places but I have not experienced this.
The C44 is powered by a 1.3 continuous-duty horsepower motor. I am definitely enjoying the fact that more companies are displaying their statistics in continuous-duty power so you can make comparisons across different brand and model names. That being said, 1.3 CHP is not what I would call a large motor. This motor is designed for someone around 150 lbs. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to say the motor did not strain as much as I expected it to. I weigh in at 250 lbs. and was walking at 4.0 mph and I did detect some slight slippage from the belt but nothing like previous Weslo models. Over the long term though someone of my weight would be extra stress on the motor and other moving parts of this machine and could lead to mechanically issues. This extra strain on the motor can also cause an uneven output of power which can be dangerous for the user.
Even in a treadmill used primarily for walking I would like to see a larger deck and belt. The Weslo C44 comes in with a 16" X 47" walking belt. The size of this belt dictates who its users should be (people under 6' and not wide-bodied). Since I am 6'3" I had a few problems feeling comfortable. While walking I would tend to hover toward the front of the unit and sometimes kick the housing. I never was close to falling off the unit but I had to constantly think about where I was stepping. Needless to say, this made the one hour workout feel like an eternity. Walking on a treadmill is a monotonous task enough without having to concentrate on where to step. Another feature I look for on any treadmill is some sort of padded deck. The Weslo C44 does use this in what it calls "Comfort Cell cushioning". This sounds more like a human genome experiment than a pad under the belt to protect your joints from impact. This is effective though as you feel less of a jarring motion on your joints as compared to when you walk on concrete.
The console is about as basic as it gets. All feedback comes through one central LED window that displays:
Fat Calories Burned
The speed control sits in the middle on the console and is operated by two large arrow buttons. You can simply press these buttons to increase or decrease your speed or hold them down and they will increase at a faster rate. The C44 had adjustable speeds from 0-10 mph, although I cannot see how anyone would feel comfortable running on this unit at 10mph. There are also 4 speed adjustments for walking, jogging, running, and a cool down feature for when your workout is finished. Below this, there are two large red stop buttons if you are looking to end your workout. Keep in mind the unit can also be stopped by removing key at base of the console. This red plastic key will need to be inserted in the unit at all times for it to run. The Weslo C44 uses a thumb activated heart rate monitor. Anyone who has read my reviews in the past knows I place these sensors at the bottom of my list when it comes accuracy. This treadmill is no exception. If you are trying to exercise within your target heart rate, then I would suggest using a heart monitor that straps around your chest. I used a chest strap monitor while on this unit and I was getting anywhere from 5-30 Bpm difference in the readout. It is nice that they include this as a feature on the cheaper treadmills but if it reports widely inaccurate data then I would say cut costs and leave it out.
This treadmill also has a manual incline feature. Yes, I did say manual incline. To change the incline you will need to turn off the treadmill get off and adjust the incline. There are four total settings 0%, 3%, 6%, and 9%. I do enjoy walking at an incline and think this is a feature that should be automatic for the user. You can find treadmills at a comparable price that offer this feature.
Here are some of the odds and ends that would not fit anywhere else in the review. This treadmill comes with a 90-day parts and labor warranty. If you are familiar with Icon Fitness this is their standard warranty when it comes to Weslo and Pro-Form. Based on my use of this model, this warranty would not be sufficient. This is not a good mid or upper level treadmill that was built with a solid frame. It is an entry level unit that has cheap and flimsy construction. One positive is that the treadmill does fold up for easy storage. If you have children who love to play or your equipment this is an essential feature. Once the unit is folded up, you can move it using the wheels at the base. It is not light as a feather but the average person should not have trouble moving it across the room.
Overall, at the retail price of $399, I would avoid this treadmill. You might be thinking you like this treadmill because of its price relative to its peers, but you would be much better served saving an extra $200 or so and buying a machine for $599. I feel there is a large difference in construction and features from the $399 price point to $599. If you do insist on the Weslo C44 treadmill I would suggest shopping around the online arena. I have spotted this treadmill at Wal-Mart's online store for $299.99 before Christmas.