Sunday, 16 December 2012

Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer Review

Horizon EX - 59 Elliptical Trainer delivers home results like no other! Easy access. Quiet, reliable movement. SIXstar Certified for a smooth, natural feel. Horizon blends club-quality features and durability for a truly effective home workout. And, with MP3 compatibility and a COOLfit fitness fan, you'll enjoy using the EX-59 as much as you'll enjoy the results!

Product Features

  • SixStar Certified™ elliptical platform featuring the six key elements needed to deliver the smoothest
  • 10 levels of electronic resistance and a heavy-duty 14.3-pound flywheel provide a smooth ride; low step-on height
  • Q-Factor: ZEROgap™ overlapping pedal motion; MP3 port with built-in Sonic Surround™ speakers
  • 3 orange LED display windows; 10 programming options; 3 target and 3 workout programs plus 1 custom workout
  • User Capacity: 275 pounds
Excellent Economy Elliptical 
I don't review many products on Amazon, but I felt the need to do so for this product. I've been very happy with my purchase, and I feel I can answer a lot of the questions I had when I was looking for what to buy. I've had this just over a month, and if anything changes in the next 6 months to a year I'll update this review to reflect that.

My overall experience with this purchase was excellent. It shipped the second day after I purchased it and arrived a couple of days later. A note on the shipping method; this came by drop truck(that's the smaller delivery trucks with the elevator thing on the back), and the delivery guy was nice enough to cart the box into my house. It is VERY heavy if you're not used to lifting things, and the weight is not evenly distributed. Have some help ready or do what I did and open the box in one room and carry the pieces to the room you are assembling in.

Moving this thing around after assembly is aided by built in 'wheels' on the front stabilizer.(those black round bits are the wheels) However, the assembled unit is roughly 28 to 30 inches wide. That's wider than the average interior door. Add in the length, and turning corners could be very tricky. I built mine in my exercise room without any space issues.

The unit comes with all of the hardware on a clearly labeled sheet of cardboard and each page of the book corresponds to a section on that board. I cut mine into separate sections so I would only need to carry what I needed for each stage into the room. This cut down on clutter, and the instructions cut down on confusion. They also include the screwdriver and wrenches you'll need, so you don't even need to bring any tools.

There are still a couple of tricky stages which would more easily be completed with a second set of hands, but it is doable alone if you take your time and have patience. Running the wires for the console was a bit tricky, as was assembling the end caps on the arms. All of the other parts went on without any problems.

Once it's all together it's time to try it out! I kept my first few sessions short to make sure no bolts went flying and so I wouldn't get dumped onto the floor if I missed a step. The console worked great, and the 3 speed fan(4 if you include 'off') was a nice addition. My only gripe is that the console is VERY primitive. It does have built in speakers and a supplied cord to connect to the headphone out on your MP3 player of choice. That's nice, but I would pass on those in exchange for some more programming options.

This thing has 10 resistance levels, and level 10 is almost too tight to turn. Level 1 was good enough for me even though I've used ones at my local gym for years. Once you get used to the motion and what muscles are getting the most work you can easily up the resistance a few stages for a nice sweaty workout.

Below are my pros and cons, followed by some notes I think are important.

- VERY quiet - this thing makes almost no noise at all. I can easily hear my television without turning the sound up from the normal setting.
- Space Efficient - this doesn't take up near the room of almost every other model I looked at in stores(check the specs in the description, it's tiny)
- Easy Assembly - add in the excellent instructions and well designed packaging, and this was easier to put together than some of those shelves you get at Walmart
- Built in Speakers - the speakers work great, they are basically headphones and use the MP3 player's built in volume control
- No Batteries - A lot of at home machines require batteries for the console. This uses a real electrical plug.

- Primitive Console - it gets the job done, but there are NO settings besides resistance and a few simple programs. If you're used to a gym level machine with weights, age, etc then this might not be for you. The speed indicator also only shows speed in half mph increments. For example, I'm going 5.6 but if I slow up some it stays on 5.6 and then may flicker down to 5.1(or up to 6.1 if I speed up a little)
- No On/Off switch - you have to plug this in each time you want to use it and unplug when done. It does eventually go to sleep, but having a physical on/off would be great
- Need Grease - This needs lithium grease every month(at least) to keep it from squeaking too much. Not too terrible, but would've been nice to know ahead of time.
- Stability - This is a small unit, which is great. However, since it has a slim profile it can get to wobbling if you're really rocking the speed. All of the weight is at the bottom so it won't fall, but you will need some extra room just in case. Also, make sure to have a level base to set it on.

- Get a Mat - If you plan to have this in a carpeted room, get one of the exercise mats. They aren't overly expensive, and they'll soak up any sweat that falls off. A small towel can do the same job, but there isn't a ton of space.
- Motion Differences - If you use a big gym quality machine a lot, the motion on this is different enough to be noticeable on your first use. I really felt this in my quadriceps the first week despite using my gym's machine all the time. This goes away, but don't be shocked if you have to attune your muscles to this
- Lean Forward Design - I did a lot of reading on elliptical design, and the experts were dead on about this type of elliptical 'forcing' you to lean forward. It's hard to explain, but you feel as if you're leaning into the machine as you exercise instead of standing straight up. This can cause some folks discomfort, so please be aware.
- Assembly tips - there are several parts that need grease on assembly. These parts are pre-greased and bagged for shipment. I suggest turning those 'bags' inside out and wiping the grease back onto the parts before assembly. This helps cut down on squeaking.
- 2 headphone jacks - there are 2 headphone plug spots. The one on top is harder to see while on the machine, but it is where you plug your MP3 player into to use the speakers. The second one on the bottom is for plugging headphones into. This bypasses the speakers without the need to unplug your MP3 player.(took me a minute to realize why the sound didn't work my first go around ;-
- Height in Use - I'm 6'1 and have standard ceilings around 7.5 feet high. I also have a dome lighting fixture right over this thing and I don't come close to hitting my head. However, I'm probably at the upper limit on height. Much more and the stride would be too short and middle handles(for heart rate) would be too far away.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments, and I'll try to answer!

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