adidas X-21FD Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

adidas is one of the worlds most iconic sports brands. This giant of a manufacturer has a reputation for producing premium-quality products and cardio equipment is no exception. We got hold of an adidas X-21FD elliptical to get an idea of what the current adidas elliptical range is like. The spec sheet for this cross trainer looked good on paper and we wanted to see for ourselves what it’s really like. Here’s what we found…

Assembly is the first thing, as always and here the X-21FD is very much like most other elliptical trainers when it comes to putting it together. The instructions are completely picture based and the diagrams are clear and easy to follow. It’s a 2 person job that takes about an hour and most people shouldn’t have any problems with getting this model ready for action.

In terms of the build quality and components, the X-21FD definitely stands out. All the metal components are thick and reassuringly heavy and once everything is assembled and the machine properly levelled using the leg levellers a quick shake test confirms what the individual components hinted at – namely that this is a serious elliptical and the idea of lightweight doesn’t come into the conversation at all. This impression is also backed up by the 150kg (300lbs) stated max user weight which compares favourably against most direct competitors of this model.

With everything in place and some rechargeable batteries inserted into the console (batteries not included), it was time to step up and power on the machine. This elliptical features a self-generating motor, so it’s the person working out that powers the machine. You are the one that creates all the energy that powers the X-21FD. There’s no need for a power adapter, wires trailing across the floor or the need to tackle restrictive power socket locations. There’s no doubt that this makes it easier to find a suitable location for this elliptical and as the batteries are replaceable there are no concerns about battery fatigue as you find on some other self-generating models out there. Just step up and start pedalling and the red LED lights up and the console stirs into life.

Speaking of location, with a footprint of 180cm x 90cm ( (71” x 35”) the X-21FD is big enough so as to be rock-solid but small enough that it will fit into a wide variety of settings without much effort, especially considering it’s not necessary to worry about nearby electrical sockets. The machine itself weighs 96kg (212lbs) but is easy enough to move around as it has transport wheels. Handy when you want to hoover around the elliptical and so on. This makes it light enough to sensibly move around but heavy enough so that when you’re pushing hard in a session, it remains firmly rooted to the ground.

Helping to ensure that a premium experience is delivered is the 12 kg (26.4 lb) flywheel and rear roller mechanism. Weighing in at 12kg the flywheel is heavy enough to ensure an exceptionally smooth and stable elliptical motion all the way throughout the cycle even when set to the lightest resistance level while the rollers glide nicely along the single rails. We do like to see dual-rail setups wherever possible, but here adidas has opted to go for thick-gauge wide, heavy single rails instead. Normally single rail systems tend to rock a bit but in our testing, this machine remained totally stable which is a testament to the build quality here. It has to be said that we’re impressed.

Ergonomically, the X-21FD is also impressive. Being a front-wheel based elliptical the distance between the footplates (the Q-factor) is very low meaning your starting standing position and subsequent strides feel natural and not forced (as they often are on rear wheel models as a consequence of having to straddle the main body of the machine). With an 18″ (46cm) stride length and adjustable footplates for good measure, this cross trainer is suitable for a very wide range of people of different statures. In addition, there are 5 levels of incline available, though this element is not electronically controlled. Adjusting the incline alters to the shape of the stride from a flatter ellipse to a more rounded one which in turn works for different muscle groups. In practice, we think it’s very likely that you’ll find an incline setting that works best for you and will leave it there, though the mechanism actually makes it very quick and easy to change the setting so different users in the household should have no trouble selecting the setting that works for them each time they want to work out.

The console display divides training information into 9 simple, easy-to-see and easy-to-read sections that cover live performance metrics including, speed, time, distance, calories, pulse, watts, RPM and resistance as well as a user profile indicator so you know that you’re using the correct profile. Speaking of which, there are 4 user profiles to choose from which, once set up, help to ensure increased accuracy of the training data. All the data displayed is laid out logically making it easy to track your progress and make sure that you’re putting in enough work to guarantee an effective training session.

In terms of training options, there are 24 levels of resistance, with the top level being tough enough to ensure that even if you’re already fit, it’ll deliver a challenging workout. There are 12 pre-set fitness programmes covering weight loss and cardio work and heart rate controlled programs, and there’s the ability to create and store 4 custom workouts of your own. There are also various target based workouts as well as a recovery test. The custom workouts aren’t too fiddly to set up and being able to create your own workouts is a really useful feature. While quite a few ellipticals allow you to do this too, it’s often a fiddly process and usually, there is only one slot. Here, they’re easy to create and the fact that it’s possible to create and save 4 of them does mean that more experienced, as well as multiple users, get the benefit of having a workout that’s specifically tailored to them available at the touch of a button. Very handy indeed and a feature we really like.

In addition, the console features a built-in wireless Bluetooth heart rate receiver (refreshingly, a chest belt is included in the box) which means that the heart rate control workouts work really well and don’t have to rely on hand pulse sensors. There’s also an integrated tablet/smartphone holder and a pair of stereo speakers with Bluetooth connectivity. All of which are nice to have features and one’s that have been added without being at the expense of the heart of the machine, which is something we have seen on other ellipticals where a box-ticking exercise has been carried out. Instead, these features, like the rest of the X-21FD appear to have actually been thought through properly.

Other features include quick resistance keys and a water bottle holder which is always handy. Last but not least the X-21FD comes with an adidas 2-year on-site warranty for peace of mind.

Best Price

Currently available for £999.99 from Sweatband.com

Review Summary - In Brief

We like the adidas X-21FD. In fact, we really like it. It's got a good range of workouts, user profiles, custom programs and superb ergonomics. Above all, this is an elliptical that feels good enough to call a truly premium model that delivers a premium experience. The overall build quality is excellent, it's rock-solid, and with all the available adjustments it's comfortable too. It would be nice to see an electronic incline but in this instance that's not enough to put us off as everything else on this elliptical is very good indeed.

adidas X-21FD Specifications

  • 12kg (26lbs) flywheel
  • 46cm (18″) stride
  • 24 levels of computer-controlled magnetic resistance with quick resistance keys
  • LCD display
  • Feedback: Speed, time, distance, calories, pulse, Watts, RPM, resistance
  • Programmes: 15 (manual, 12 pre-set programmes, heart rate control, Watt mode)
  • User Profiles: 4 (each with age / gender / weight / height)
  • Heart rate measurement via Hand pulse sensors and Bluetooth® Smart wireless receiver (chest strap included)
  • Audio: stereo speakers with Bluetooth connectivity
  • Conveniences: Water bottle holder, levelling feet, Ultra Series red LED lighting, tablet/smartphone holder, transportation wheels
  • Dual-action, multi-grip handlebars
  • NRG Tech cushioned footplates
  • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 180cm (71”) x 90cm (35”) x 181cm (71”)
  • Product Weight: 96kg (212lbs)
  • Max User Weight: 150kg (331lbs)
  • Power: Self-powered; console requires 7 AA batteries (not included)
  • Warranty: 2 years

adidas X-21FD Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

adidas X-21FD Elliptical Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Rock-solid construction
  • Excellent ergonomics with low Q-factor
  • Self-generating power
  • Multiple incline levels
  • Adjustable footplates
  • Good range of training options including 4 custom workouts
  • User profiles

The Cons

  • Manual incline adjustment
adidas X-21FD Elliptical Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 8.5
Appearance - 9
Smoothness - 9
Comfort - 9.5
Reliability - 9
Noise - 9
Ease Of Use - 9
Controls - 9
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 9
Best Price

Currently available for £999.99 from Sweatband.com

Also see our Elliptical Cross Trainer Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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