DKN XC-190 Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

Once a newcomer and now an established member of the higher echelons of cardio equipment manufacturers, DKN has a long history of producing midpoint and high-end cardio machines for the home. Typically featuring excellent build quality, the ellipticals in DKN’s catalogue are focused on delivering results over and above anything else. While DKN has dipped its toes tentatively into the interactive training market, it’s true to say that the focus has remained first and foremost on the machines themselves. To see what this means for the DKN XC-190 front-drive elliptical in terms of its relevance in the market, we got one in to see how it performs. Here’s what we found…

Like the vast majority of elliptical trainers out there, the XC-190 needs some assembly before it can be used. Unlike the vast majority of ellipticals out there, the XC-190 is partially pre-assembled in the box. This means that there’s less work to do to complete the build and get cracking with your training and that can never be a bad thing! The first part of the build is most definitely a two-person job as it requires the bulk of the machine to be placed onto the pre-built full-length base which includes the dual rails. However, once that part is done, the rest of the build can easily be completed by one person, and there’s not much to do. For some idea on just how easy the build of this elliptical is overall, it’s worth considering that there are just 3 steps in total, across 3 pages in total. Essentially, step 1 place the machine on its base and secure it, Step 2 add the arms, pedal arms and covers, step 3 add the console and footplates. That’s it. It’s clear that a good bit of thought has gone into the design of this machine, indeed to the point that the manual has no words to describe what to do to build it, rather just 3 nice clear and easy to read diagrams. In our experience, it really doesn’t get much easier than that on your average elliptical, let alone one quite so beefy as the XC-190.

Even before the build is complete, it’s easy to see that this is not a lightweight machine. Once built that message is driven home by the presence of this machine. With a 155.5cm x 61cm (61.2” x 24”) footprint, this is, rather surprisingly given its robust construction, not a particularly large elliptical in terms of the space needed to give it a home. This makes the XC-190 surprisingly versatile for a bit of kit that’s as heavy-set as this because while it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space, this is anything but a compact, lightweight machine. It’s absolutely the opposite and one look at the finished product tells instantly of a very sturdy cardio machine. The gauge of metal used in the construction throughout is heavy-duty and lifting the pieces into place during assembly drives this point home in no uncertain terms thanks to the sheer weight of each component. And, while it’s not possible to describe the XC-190 as a compact model it does certainly take up less room than many other heavy-duty models out there making it a good option even if you don’t have a dedicated gym to place it in.

Stepping up onto this elliptical is made easy thanks to a fixed set of handlebars that provide excellent support during mounting and dismounting, while the oversized pedals provide plenty of room to set yourself up in a comfortable position. Thanks to the large heavy-duty dual-rail base, the all-metal main post that runs from the base all the way up to the console, and an overall weight of 71kg, there is no detectable wobble when getting on and off this cross-trainer. This delivers a feeling of real security and leaves no doubt about the quality of the construction which is definitely heavy-duty.

In use, the action for the XC-190 is very good indeed. This is thanks to the heavyweight 10kg (22lbs) flywheel and dual rails which provide a smooth, consistent, and very stable, motion all the way throughout each cycle making this feel every bit the premium elliptical that its price would suggest it is. As you’d expect, it’s nice and quiet too and while no cardio machine is completely silent, the XC-190 comes very close to it so there’s no chance of disturbing someone in the next room while doing early morning or late evening workouts, unless you’re a very heavy breather. The ergonomics are definitely premium too with all members of the testing team finding it easy to get comfortable enough to really push themselves. That’s going to be in no small part down to the fact that the XC-190 features a very low 5cm Q factor (internal distance between the pedals) which makes the action feel natural and is one of the benefits of a front-wheel based elliptical. It really makes a difference when it’s so easy to get comfortable on cardio equipment like this and it makes the workout that much more enjoyable.

All this means that this elliptical does a superb job of what it’s supposed to be good at – getting the heart pumping while simultaneously helping to increase core strength and burn calories. And while it’s easy to say “well, it should do that!” in our experience not all ellipticals are born equal and some definitely do a better job than others. This particular model falls comfortably into the latter bracket. The generous 21” (54cm) stride length combined with the large, oversized pedal footplates and the long handles that allow a good grip in multiple positions makes this model suitable for a wide range of users both tall and short making this a good choice as a cardio machine for the whole family. And with a 10-400 Watt resistance control range, it’s also suitable for users that are already in good shape who are want to focus on intense training to improve their competitiveness.

The console on the XC-190 features a high contrast LCD display which, while it could be viewed as a little bit old fashioned compared with some direct competitors that feature full-colour touch-screen displays, actually does a very tidy job of displaying all the relevant data and provides all the information you’re likely to need during a training session. The characters are large, clear and easy to read showing distance, speed, calories, resistance, pulse and time, while all the buttons on the console are simple to understand. In addition, there are 4 user profiles for storing age, gender, weight and height for more accurate calorie feedback and in our testing setting the profiles up did indeed impact the results, tightening them up. All in all, this setup makes the XC-190 easy to operate, which is ideal for those looking for a simple and effective cardio machine. The console display is nice and bright even in bright ambient light and it’s easy to see and track your data. Overall we’d have to say that the console is a success. It’s easy to use, easy to read and provides the real-time data that most users consider essential and while it doesn’t have all the ‘toys’ it does certainly do its job properly.

Clear and easy to read display

In terms of in-built training options, there are 16 workouts including manual mode, a user-defined workout where you can create your own training session and save it for later use, and 12 pre-set workouts divided into 4 beginner, 4 advanced, and 4 performance-based sessions. There is also a heart rate control function and a constant Watt programme. In addition, it’s also possible to adjust the difficulty of each preset workout meaning that there are plenty of training options here and given the op level of difficulty available, this should suit just about everyone regardless of their pre-existing fitness levels. This selection is pretty good and should be enough to keep most users entertained, however, if you are looking for more training options the XC-190 has some supplementary interactive functionality. There’s a Bluetooth module fitted to the console that allows for connecting a smart device such as a tablet or a phone and it’s possible to download a number of 3rd party apps such as Vescape and KinoMap. Once connected, the smart device can then be placed on the built-in tablet holder and used from there. It’s straightforward enough and we found it to be reliable too. Some of the 3rd party software out there isn’t all that slick but we found a few offerings like that worked very smoothly with very good interfaces. Most are free but some, such as KinoMap are subscription-based and offer hi-definition video workouts. While this is not state of the art, it’s definitely very usable and works well so that unless interactive training is the main thing you’re after, then the XC-190 has more than enough on this front than most people will need or use.

Other features include the ability to change the units of measurement from KM to MPH, a tablet holder shelf, water bottle holder, and importantly, leg levellers so that you can get everything set up dead flat. The XC-190 also comes with DKN’s 2-year manufacturer’s on-site parts and labour warranty.

Best Price

Currently available for £799.00 from Sweatband.com

Review Summary - In Brief

So, what do we think? Well, it's hard not to like this model. DKN has a proven history of building quality fitness machines and the XC-190 definitely makes the grade. It's got a relatively small footprint making it suitable for most homes and yet this is a heavy-duty machine. One that has been thought through and designed properly as confirmed by that low Q-factor which makes all the difference when you're pushing yourself. And while it might not have a full-colour touch screen, the workout it delivers is superb and the experience is a very good one. No squeaks, no rattles, not overloaded with bells and whistles (though it does have some), just a well put together, well designed elliptical trainer that's quiet, comfortable to use and delivers a great workout.

DKN XC-190 Specifications

  • Levels of Resistance: 32
  • Flywheel Set: 10 kg
  • Stride Length: 21” (54cm)
  • Poly V-belt drive system
  • Blue backlit LCD Console
  • Console Feedback: Time, speed, distance, calories, Watts, heart rate, RPM
  • Console Programmes: 16 (manual, user-defined, 12 pre-set (4 beginner, 4 advanced, 4 performance), heart rate control, constant Watt programme
  • Console User Profiles: 4 (each having age, gender, weight, height)
  • Compatible with Kinomap and Vescape applications
  • HRM: Pulse grip sensors and Bluetooth wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
  • Multi-grip dual-action handlebars, Oversized non-slip pedals; narrow 5cm Q factor (spacing between pedals)
  • Extras: Tablet holder, water bottle holder, leg levellers
  • Dimensions in Use (L x W x H): 155.5cm (61.2”) x 60.8cm (24”) x 177.5cm (69.8”)
  • Max. User Weight: 130kg (286.6lbs)
  • Product Weight: 71kg (156.5lbs)
  • Warranty: 2 years parts and labour

DKN XC-190 Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

DKN XC-190 Elliptical Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Low 5cm Q-Factor
  • Rock solid build
  • Very comfortable
  • Interactive training options

The Cons

  • LCD screen a bit retro
DKN XC-190 Elliptical Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

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

Currently available for £799.00 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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