Currently available for £449.00 from John Lewis
Reebok Z-Power Elliptical Cross Trainer Review
Who hasn’t heard of Reebok? World famous for being a leading producer of quality sports equipment it’s been producing sporting goods such as running shoes since as far back as 1958 and, in the last couple of decades, has expanded into producing home fitness machines. We decided to get a better look at the Reebok Z-Power cross trainer to see how looks under our metaphorical microscope. Here’s what we found…..
The instructions say that assembly is a 2 person job and that’s certainly true! The overall size and weight of this elliptical mean that while it is possible for just one person on their own to build this machine we’d strongly advise against it. There are also steps that really do need two people because they involve awkward and fiddly parts as well a bit of heavier lifting. Unpacking the Z-Power and putting it together took just over an hour from start to finish and as the basic principles of the build are all simple enough there’s nothing here that requires a professional assembly. The instruction manual is nice and clear and all the parts required for the build were present and correct – which is what we’ve come to expect from Reebok.
With a 135cm x 72cm (53″ x 28″ LW) footprint the Z-Power is a substantial machine without being huge, making it a suitable choice for most of the types of the rooms that people tend to put fitness equipment into. This elliptical has a compact look about it thanks to the thin metal struts, though we’d prefer it to look a just bit bulkier than it does. This is a fairly light-weight elliptical that’s been designed to be compact, but whether Reebok has gone too light here only time will tell. We’d prefer a bit more bulk, and though during testing the Z-power performed well enough to avoid any issues, those thin downward struts that take the whole weight of the user looked thin enough to cause us a bit of concern regarding longevity.
The console is of a basic design and features just seven (fairly large) buttons in total making it simple and easy to operate. The 5.5″ dual-colour back-lit LCD screen display is bright and easy to read and it’s also easy to navigate through the menus which are all logical and well thought through. There are 12 preset workouts which are all scalable meaning that regardless of the profile of the workout, it’s possible to set the difficulty level for it from 1 to 32. This makes it possible to find a workout that you like and then keep increasing the difficulty of that particular workout as your fitness levels improve. There is also a manual training option and both watts and heart rate controlled workouts as well as a user-defined programme so you can create your own workout and save it for use later. This sounds great, but it’s worth noting that there is no wireless receiver in this machine meaning that all heart rate readings come from the hand pulse sensors. This is an issue when it comes to heart rate controlled programmes as the difficulty of your workout is based on your pulse rate and hand pulse sensors are notorious for giving less than accurate readings. Not ideal when you’re trying to push your self to 90% of your maximum safe heart rate! The second issue with the lack of a heart rate receiver is that it’s not possible to get a full-body workout and measure your pulse at the same time because the pulse sensors are located on the static handles, not the moving ones. It looks like there’s been some box ticking going on here without giving enough thought to how it’s all going to work in harmony. In addition to the onboard workouts, there’s also a recovery mode which tests how fast your heart returns to a resting rate after a training session to provide an indicator of your current fitness levels, again using pulse sensors for this rather than a chest belt is flawed.
The build quality of this model is exactly what we’d expect of a Reebok cross trainer at this price point. It’s stable thanks to the leg levelers that allow you to adjust it to prevent it from wobbling on uneven surfaces and while this is a small thing, it’s an important one. The Z-power also feels solid to stand on and the individual components don’t wobble in relation to other parts when it’s being used. There is, of course, some movement – after all, this is a light-weight, compact model. As far as ergonomics go this isn’t the worst elliptical we’ve tested, nor is it the best. It’s let down slightly by things like the lack of curves in the arms, the straightness of which makes the motion less than perfect and while to some extent this is negated by the ability to adjust the distance from the pedals to the handlebars during assembly, it’s not completely overcome. The result is a machine that doesn’t feel quite as good to use as it probably should, and while this isn’t a deal-breaker on its own, it is a bit disappointing. A 30-minute workout definitely gives the impression that a longer training session may start to pull things in places you don’t want them pulled. If you’re alreasdy fir then you’re probably fitter than your average user meaning this model is out of the running – the top end resistance level simply isn’t high enough for veteran gym bunnies. The Z-Power makes a decent choice as long as you’re not over 6′ 2″ tall or weigh more than 120kg. The 15″ (38cm) stride provides a good platform for a wide range of users (though best avoided if you’re much over 6ft tall) while the 9kg (20lb) does a good job of keeping everything moving smoothly all the way through the cycle.
In terms of additional extras, well, there’s a water bottle holder and that’s really where it ends. There’s no wireless heart rate receiver, there’s no Bluetooth connectivity, no interactive training, no valuables tray and there are no speakers to play music through. In fairness, the only one of these that bothers us is the lack of built-in heart rate receiver which means that you’re limited to hand-pulse sensor readings only.
All in all, this is a very entry level elliptical that’s ideally suited to beginners or casual users. The lack of a wireless heart rate receiver combined with the reasonably easy maximum resistance level makes other models a better choice for more seasoned campaigners.
The Z-Power is reasonably well made and has a decent set of features. It seems good value on the face of it at the current offer price, especially if you take into account the 3-year warranty. But there are things here that do confirm that while this is an inexpensive elliptical, there's good reason for that. The overall build is not as sturdy as it might be, even for a compact model and the lack of wireless receiver effectively means that not all the workouts can be used properly and measuring your pulse can't be done while you're in full flow. For this money, we think other models such as the Viavito Sina(which has a wireless heart rate receiver) are better ways to spend your cash. With a higher spec and a sturdier build, the Sina offers more but costs the same.
Reebok Z-Power Specifications
- 9kg (19.8lbs) flywheel
- 32 levels of electronic computer resistance
- 20 Programmes including 12 pre-set, 3 target (time, distance, calories), watts control, heart rate control, recovery, user defined, manual
- 15″ (38cm) stride
- 5.5″ LCD display
- Feedback: Speed, time, distance, calories, pulse, watts, RPM and your level profile chart
- Heart rate measurement via Pulse grip sensors
- Extras: water holder, transportation wheels, adjustable handlebars, slip-resistant and adjustable footplates plus floor level adjustment
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 135cm (53.1’’) x 72cm (28.3’’) x 169cm (66.5’’)
- Product Weight: 52.2kg (115.1lbs)
- Max user weight: 120kg (264.6lbs)
- Warranty: 3 years
Reebok Z-Power Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit
Currently available for £449.00 from John Lewis
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