Since we couldn’t go outside to exercise last winter, we went looking for some exercise equipment, specifically an elliptical. Dick’s sells the Sole brand, but they don’t have any display models, so we chose the NordicTrack Elite 13.1 Elliptical (model 24055.0) that Sears sells. Honestly, it’s the worst $1300 sale ever.
Our problem with this NordicTrack elliptical starts with the company’s customer service. Soon after putting the machine together, we realized that its minimum resistance was too high. All of us regularly exercise at the Y and are familiar with ellipticals of various types, so we know how much resistance there should be. At the maximum resistance – a 26 – it’s nearly impossible for a 200-pounder to move the pedals.
Service techs have been at our house three times. The second time, the tech shared his findings with ICON. We were told by the customer service rep that the machine “meets manufacturing speculations [sic].” Since the tech left the machine disassembled; it took more than a month to get someone to reassemble it. That may be because most of support team were apparently on semester break at the U of Utah. A different tech reassembled it and, without using it (just like the first guy) informed me that the resistance is as low as it will ever be. Neither tech performed a measurement or test, they just disassembled it and put it back together.
Supposedly, this machine is iPad compliant (who cares?) and run iFit routines, as long as you want to shell out $15 a month to subscribe (fat chance). It has a few built-in routines like “fat burn: I tried running it one run one day: it started at level 9, which immediately boosted my heart rate above my supposed maximum (both my age and weight are programmed into the machine). On the topic of heart rates, the Elite 13.1 has a pair of sensors for measuring HR. Unfortunately, they don’t work for crap in a test, my went bounced around at numbers like 55, 161, 92, 121, 139. My FitBit said that my heart rate remained in the 130-135 range: zero points on accuracy…
A comparison: during a 40-minute workout on this machine, always set at incline = 0° and resistance = 1, my heart rate rises to about 140 BPM. In an hour using a commercial elliptical, I must raise resistance to 10 and incline to 5° to get my HR above 130. Unfortunately, ICON doesn’t seem to consider heart rate to be a valid proxy for resistance.
The company no longer responds to my email, so I have no idea what will happen next. The best I can do is to warn anyone looking for an elliptical for home that you don’t want anything made by ICON, which includes NordicTrack, iFit, Free Motion, Weslo, Gold’s Gym, Pro-Form, Altra, Weider, HealthRider, UTS, and Lotus.