Currently available for £799.00 from Sweatband.com
NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial Elliptical Cross Trainer Review
NordicTrack need no introduction. They’ve been building quality machines for the home fitness market for longer than your reviewer has been living on planet earth and somehow, for all that time, have consistenly managed to get it right far more often than they’ve got it wrong. Their machines are always packed with features and have a spec at the price point that is pretty much always superior to their competitors. It’s been quite a while since we reviewed one of their machines mainly because it’s been quite a while since they came up with something that caught our interest. Well, they certainly did that with their ACT Commercial Fitness Cross Trainer at the ISPO trade show this year. So what’s the low down on what on the surface looks to be a good elliptical?
With an RRP of £1499 the ACT Commercial isn’t cheap and despite the name this model is aimed squarely at the home fitness market making it a high-end piece of kit. It’s designed to provide as close to a gym experience as possible with what is still a far less expensive option than a full-blooded gym machine.
Putting this substantial elliptical together isn’t as bad as it first looks in the instructions but it definitely takes two to do and does involve applying grease to various components. It’s not just ‘plug n play’ and while it isn’t complicated in itself, for those who aren’t already good at flat pack furniture we suspect that it’ll be a bit more time consuming that your average cross trainer. In short, if you’re handy it’ll be fine, if you’re not, talk to your retailer about their installation services if they offer any. It’s probably worth the extra to make sure it’s done right.
Once built the ACT Commercial looks the business. It’s looks solid, it looks substantial, it looks like you could hammer the living daylights out of it. More than that, it looks like it WANTS you to hammer the living daylights out of it. While it’s unlikely to win any design awards for finesse it does look industrial which, of course, is the point here. The clue is in the name! The other immediate thing that hits you when you stand back to take a look at what you’ve just built is the size of it. No, not huge, the exact opposite! As compared with pretty much any other substantial elliptical out there at the moment the footprint of this cross trainer is far smaller. At just 157 x 81 x 166cm (61″ x 31″ x 65″) it’s small enough to fit into most homes unlike most of its direct competitors.
Once set up it’s worth taking the time to note a few things before you get on for the first time. The stride length on the ACT Commercial is adjustable. This adjustment allows you to set the stride length between 18″ and 22″ (46cm x 56cm) meaning that by far and away most people will be able to set it to a length that’s comfortable for them. However, there’s another side to this adjustment. The longer the stride length you set, the flatter the ellipse so at maximum the motion of the ellipse is very much your typical cross trainer. Set the stride length to the minimum and you get a more pronounced circular ellipse creating more of a stepping motion. This feature means that not only can you set this up to be pretty much perfectly suited to your own body but as the stride is between 18″ and 22″ (a range that will be fairly comfortable for the majority) you’ll also get to exercise different muscle groups a little more than others depending on the setting. The overall effect is to provide a way of working the widest range of muscle groups possible. We definitely like this. The action of both min and max stride length settings feels very good and you can feel it working different muscle groups so this isn’t just theory, it works in practice and it works well.
Setting the stride length is done manually on this elliptical via the two conspicuous dials on either side of the machine. The dials are quite stiff but in a very positive way. They feel strong and very well built, adding to the impression that this cross trainer isn’t going to fall apart any time soon. You do need to take care to set them to the same length else you’re in for an odd ride, but in truth, the dials are so positive and clearly marked as to make this a formality. In addition to setting the stride it’s possible to adjust the heel to toe angle of the pedals. There are three stages and it’s very quick and simple to do. Once this is done you’re ready to go.
And so, onto the million dollar question – how does it feel? Well, it feels very, very good. The first thing that strikes you is just how solid and stable it feels. How smooth it feels. How secure it feels. It really is one that you have to get on to appreciate. This is no small part due to the way that the mechanics on this elliptical work. Looking at the specs we noticed that there’s no ‘flywheel’ weight stated. Instead, the specs refer to ‘effective inertia’ – interesting! On further enquiry we got a slightly obscure response from NordicTrack, who quite obviously didn’t want to give too much away, but the jist of it is that rather than relying on a single flywheel there are two flywheels (one on either side) that combine not just to provide what is an excellent, smooth action but also increased stability due to the distribution of weight. We can certainly vouch for the result of this set-up and it’s darn good. The stability and the comfort of ACT Commercial really is outstanding as is the action and it certainly makes it feel worth the money being asked. It really is very, very good.
Away from the action and moving onto the features we go back into a rather more familiar world that we’ve become used to seeing from NordicTrack. There are 24 levels of resistance with the option of increasing a level at a time or jumping quickly to the desired level using the one touch controls. The upper end of the resistance should be enough for all but the most fanatical of gym bunnies to get a decent workout and the transition between min and max is pretty good making it feel nice and responsive. The training data including calories, calories per hour, pulse, RPM, speed, distance, watts and time is clearly displayed on the 5” backlit LCD display which also features a visual quarter-mile racetrack which is a nice touch.
There are 32 ‘personal trainer’ workouts that are split into two categories – 16 for performance (cardio) and 16 for weight loss. All easily accessible through the familiar, if a little tweaked, NordicTrack interface. In addition to the manual mode this does provide a really good range of workouts and should be enough to keeps things interesting but if you need more the ACT Commercial is iFit Live enabled. Though you need to subscribe to get the iFit Live functions, there’s no longer any need to purchase a separate module as it’s all built-in. For more information on iFit Live we’d recommend you visit the iFit Live website
In terms of other goodies, there’s an input for your MP3 music player, speakers, tablet holder, cooling fan and water bottle holder. The ACT Commercial comes with NordicTrack’s warranty 5-year frame and 2 year parts and labour on-site warranty though you need to register within 28 days of purchase to get the 2nd year of coverage. This is free so there’s no excuse not to do it!
All in all this is a very good elliptical that really does stand out in terms of sheer stability and smoothness and one that we’re very happy to recommend if you’re in the market for a high-end home cross trainer.
The NordicTrack ACT Commercial cross trainer is designed around user comfort and stability. It really does feel very good to use and comes packed with features. It made a good impression on us and we'd say that if you're in the market for a top home use cross trainer then this is a good choice, especially at the current offer price. If you're looking for a more conventional front-drive elliptical then both the Proform 7.0 and the DKN XC-170i are also both well worth checking out.
NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial Specifications
- 10kg (22lbs) inertia enhanced flywheel
- 24 digital levels of SMR Silent™ Magnetic Resistance with 1-Touch controls
- 46-56cm (18”-22”) stride – easily adjustable with a knob
- 5” backlit iFIT® display, with a visual quarter-mile racetrack
- Feedback: Calories, calories per hour, distance, pulse, RPM, speed, time, watts
- Heart Rate Measurement: Dual-EKG CardioGrip™ pulse grips + Bluetooth® Smart wireless receiver (Bluetooth® Smart chest belt optional)
- 32 personal trainer workouts (16 performance and 16 weight loss) + iFit® Live enabled (subscription sold separately)
- Compatible music port for iPod®/mp3 player, Intermix Acoustics™ 2.0 speakers, integrated tablet holder (tablet not included), water bottle holder
- Autobreeze™ workout fan
- Adjustable oversized cushioned pedals with centre drive design
- Soft touch upper body grips
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 157cm (61.8”) x 81cm (31.8”) x 166cm (65.3”)
- Product Weight: 116kg (255.7lbs)
- Max. User Weight: 135kg (297.6lbs)
- Warranty: 5-year frame, 2 year parts and labour (must register within 28 days of purchase for 2nd year of coverage)
NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit
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