Bowflex TreadClimber TC5500

Editor's Rating: 9.5/10
This model has been discontinued.

The TreadClimber 5500 is Bowflex’s premium incline trainer. The unique exercise machine is considered a hybrid stair climber-treadmill. Users can choose between climbing, walking on an incline, and using the machine as an elliptical trainer. TreadClimbers help users to burn calories and tone their bodies more efficiently than they could with a standard treadmill.

The first Bowflex TreadClimber, the TC 1000, was introduced in 2003. The TC 5500 is the most advanced machine in the TreadClimber lineup.

What We Like

  • Efficiency: Using an incline trainer such as the TC 5500, an exerciser can achieve great results in less time than they would with a traditional treadmill.
  • Space-saving: The TC 5500 takes up less floor space than a traditional treadmill, so it’s ideal for smaller living quarters. It also has wheels for easier transport.
  • Programs: The TreadClimber 5500 includes standard workouts with 15 intensity levels, plus outstanding “Goal Oriented” technology that serves as a virtual fitness coach. As users reach exercise goals, new features are unlocked as rewards and motivators. For instance, an exerciser can earn trophies and virtually visit landmarks from around North America.
  • Motor: Users can reach a top speed of 4.5 mph with the TC 5500.


  • Comfort: Bowflex TreadClimbers are designed to provide low-impact workouts. The TC 5500 offers the most comfort of all with extra-long foot treadles.

What We Don’t Like

  • Assembly required: TreadClimbers require some assembly by the consumer.
  • Not for running: TreadClimbers are not designed for running. The 5500’s top speed is 4.5 mph.
  • Warranties: Bowflex offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all its exercise equipment. Additionally, the TC 5500 is sold with the following warranties: motor – 5 years; parts – 3 years; electronics – 3 years; and hydraulics – 2 years. This warranty package isn’t quite as robust as we’d expect with a top-of-the-line machine.

Our Verdict

Bowflex is a reputable company, and the TreadClimber 5500 is an efficient alternative to traditional treadmills. The TC 5500 is an improvement over BowFlex’s earlier TreadClimbers: it’s sturdier, has a more attractive display with more program options, and lets users reach a higher top speed. The only drawback is that the machine can’t be used for running – but some users will find the elliptical option to be a fair exchange.

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