★★★☆☆

What is a TreadClimber? Some people have compared Bowflex TreadClimbers to combinations of stairclimbing machines and treadmills. Each TreadClimber can be used like a treadmill, a stairclimber or an elliptical machine. Thanks to their inclines, TreadClimbers offer even more effective workouts than do standard treadmills.

These popular machines are now available in upgraded versions for 2011: the TC5, TC10 and TC20. These models have different top speeds, programming and warranties. Of these, the TC5 is the most affordable way to get started with TreadClimber workouts.

What We Like

  • No Outlet Required: Unlike most treadmills and TreadClimbers, this green machine doesn’t use a power cord. The entire TC5, including the console display, is fueled by your workout power.
  • Efficient Workouts: The TC5 lets you achieve great results more quickly than you would with a traditional treadmill. Bowflex advertises that you can burn the same amount of fat in half the time.
  • Challenging Workouts: The TC5 has 12 intensity levels to meet anyone’s workout needs. You can set the speed up to 4.5 mph, which is just as fast as the TC20.
  • Low Impact: TreadClimbers are easier on the ankles, knees and other joints than are typical treadmills. This is because exercisers use an elliptical motion and don’t pound the pedals with every step.
  • Ergonomic console: The console can hold water bottles and reading material.
  • Space Efficient: Measuring just 43.1″ L x 27″ W x 52.8″ H, this is the smallest TreadClimber in Bowflex’s new lineup. Space-conscious people find that it’s a nice alternative to a folding treadmill.
  • High capacity: The TC5 has a weight limit of 300 pounds. It weighs about 165 pounds and is made of steel, not plastic.

 

What We Don’t Like

  • No Preset Workouts: Unlike most treadmills and TreadClimbers, the TC5 doesn’t guide your workouts with preset programs. The console only shows calories, distance, speed and time.
  • No Data Storage: Many people prefer machines that store their workout data. While the TC5 doesn’t remember your workouts, the TC20 can store exercise profiles for two people.
  • No Extras: You won’t find an iPod port, Internet connection or other perks on this unit.
  • Assembly: Some assembly is required.
  • Lubrication Required: Owners will occasionally need to use a lubricating stick for the track.
  • Not for Running: Whereas traditional treadmills can handle speeds up to 12 mph, TreadClimbers have a top speed of 4.5 mph. That’s because most of us don’t move very quickly uphill.
  • Short Warranty: Customers get a short 1-year warranty. The TC10 and TC20 have two-year and three-year warranties, respectively.

Our Verdict

TreadClimbers are popular for providing low-impact workouts that burn a lot of calories. In general, they’re pretty good investments – but the TC5 is very basic. First, it doesn’t compare well against the other TreadClimbers, which have longer warranties. If the TC5 breaks down after a year, all repair costs will be yours. Second, the TC5 is rather dull compared with the TC20 or last year’s release, the Bowflex TreadClimber TC5500. These TreadClimbers have built-in exercise programs and include a virtual fitness coach for extra motivation and guidance.

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The Bowflex TC5 TreadClimber is now on sale!


This TreadClimber is currently on sale.