What We Like:
- Efficient Training: Incline training has become especially popular since it was touted on The Biggest Loser weight loss TV show. According to personal trainers, training on a 40% incline doubles the rate of fat burn. Incline training lets walkers get fast fitness results like runners, but without putting as much stress on their joints.
- Goal Setting and Customized Programs: The TC20, unlike the cheaper TC5 and TC10, has advanced Goal Oriented Coach technology. This feature sets personalized training goals and tracks progress for two users. You’ll also get three landmark workouts. These let you virtually climb the stairs inside the Statue of Liberty and other famous structures.
- Heart Rate Monitor: An integrated pulse monitor helps you train within your ideal heart rate zone. Pulse is displayed along with other workout data on the console.
- Ergonomic console: The console can hold water bottles and reading material.
- Space Efficient: The TC20 has a 51″L x 30.5″W footprint. It’s comparable in size to a compact treadmill. Thanks to the attached wheels, you can easily move the machine if needed.
- High capacity: This unit has a weight limit of 300 pounds. It weighs about 215 pounds and has a sturdy steel frame.
What We Don’t Like:
- High Price: The TC20 costs as much as upper-end treadmills but lacks their varied programming and multimedia extras. Before choosing this unique machine, make sure that its benefits are worth it to you.
- Not for Running: Whereas traditional treadmills can handle speeds up to 12 mph, the Bowflex TC20 has a top speed of 4.5 mph. If you’d like to run indoors, you might prefer a NordicTrack incline trainer over a TreadClimber.
- Few Workouts: The built-in workouts are simple climbing exercises. You can choose a QuickStart workout or select one of three landmark climbing goals. The console shows how many steps you’ve taken. For some trainees, the programs feel redundant.
- No Extras: You won’t find an iPod port, Internet connection or other perks on a Bowflex.
- Assembly & Maintenance Required: Some assembly is required. Also, you’ll occasionally need to lubricate the treadles.
- Short Warranty: Customers get a three-year warranty on the full machine. Since the MSRP on this machine is about $3000, a longer warranty would be nice. Customers who are disappointed with any TreadClimber can return it within six weeks for a refund.
The TC20 delivers challenging workout sessions and fast results. It’s a good option for a serious exerciser at any fitness level. However, it doesn’t have bells and whistles – or even much exercise programming – to take your mind off the burn. This machine is designed for people who don’t need distractions to enjoy exercise.