Reebok ZR8 Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

The Reebok ZR8 elliptical trainer is part of the Reebok ‘ZR’ series of fitness equipment. With the previous ‘Z’ series machines, Reebok proved that it was a strong contender in the home cross trainer market, making machines that were feature rich and good value. So how does the ZR8 stack up?

On paper, the ZR8 seems remarkably similar to the highly successful Z9 elliptical trainer. In fact, the specifications are actually identical! In a lot of ways, this makes sense as with the previous Z9 Reebok seem to have focused on a cosmetic upgrade and a rebranding of the Z9 to be named ZR8 in order to make the machine fit in with the new range. The downside is that it means this is essentially now quite an old model which has simply had a facelift to look a bit different wihle underneath it’s all the same as on the old Z9.

Like its predecessor, the ZR8 is a nice looking, compact cross trainer that’s mains powered. The action on the ZR8 is fluid and smooth, thanks to the 9kg flywheel and it features a respectable 15” stride length, though this may be a bit short if you’re much over 6ft tall.

We’ve already mentioned that this cross trainer is mains powered and as a result it also features 32 levels of computer-controlled resistance. The console has a decent sized, colour LCD at its centre is simply and logically laid out. A cursory glance and it’s clear that’s it has a fair few features that can be accessed through the seven buttons on the front of the console. For those that just want to jump on and exercise without any complications, this is simple enough to do by pressing the start button and starting your workout, using the up and down buttons to control the resistance.

For those seeking variety, the console offers multiple training of options from manual mode to weight loss and cardio workouts. The manual programme is actually a target one whereby you can specify target time, distance or calories and begin exercising whilst controlling the resistance manually to suit. The target settings simply count down to zero, and you’re informed when your session goal has been achieved.

There are 12 pre-set programmes to choose from and we like the fact that the resistance profiles of each of these is printed on the console. This makes picking the right programme nice and easy.

In addition to the target (manual) and the 12 pre-set programmes, there is a user-defined programme, enabling a totally custom programme to be designed and stored in the console as well as a WATT control programme. In terms of other programmes, there is a heart rate controlled option that allows the user’s age to be entered and a choice of 55%, 75% and 90% of maximum heart rate can be selected to exercise at. Whilst we’re big fans of heart rate controlled training, there’s a problem here. And that is that the ZR8 doesn’t have a wireless heart rate receiver and to use this programme, the user would have to be holding onto the static handlebars, where the pulse grip sensors are. The big issue here, quite apart from the fact that you’re effectively unable to get a full body workout as you need to keep hold of the static handles and cannot use the moving handles, is the idea that pulse sensors are accurate enough to provide the data needed to make the workout effective while also keeping you safe. Yes, it does work, but a quick comparison against a chest belt and heart rate monitor watch setup shows that a chest belt is far more accurate. It’s a nice idea but it looks like there’s a bit of box ticking going on here as without a chest belt it’s not a viable to use these programmes.

Finally, this elliptical trainer has a heart rate recovery test function. After an exercise session (which has the effect of the raising heart rate), you press the “recovery” button and grab the pulse grips on the handlebar for one minute. The computer monitors the rate at which your heart rate is returning to its resting level over this time and based on that provides a fitness rating between 1 and 6 – the lower the number, the better your fitness level. Again this needs to be taken with a fair pinch of salt for the same reason that the heart rate control programmes are to be avoided – hand pulse sensors simply aren’t very accurate.

Reebok hasn’t forgotten about the practical details in this cross-trainer and there are a set of leg levellers to cope with use of the machine on slightly uneven floors and also transport wheels at the front of the machine so that the elliptical can be moved around without needing two people to lift it!

The warranty is the standard Reebok Fitness one, which consists of 2 years onsite parts and labour.

Best Price

Currently available for £307.69 from Amazon.co.uk

Review Summary - In Brief

With the ZR8, Reebok has manufactured a sensible budget cross-trainer. A compact sized elliptical trainer with a 9kg flywheel and a decent stride action. But it does have drawbacks and it's missing some things many of its competitors in the same class do offer. The current offer price does make it tempting but the fact that a range of the onboard workouts can't be used sensibly due to the fact it doesn't work with a chest belt really does detract from the package. By comparison, the Viavito Sina is dearer but has a wireless heart rate receiver meaning you can actually use it to its full potential and take advantage of heart rate control workouts. It also has 4 user profiles for more accurate feedback, and the ability to switch between MPH and KPH.

Reebok ZR8 Specifications

  • 15″ / 38cm stride length
  • M-Force brake system
  • 32 levels of electronically controlled resistance
  • 9kg / 19.8lbs flywheel
  • Computer with backlit 5.5” LCD monitor
  • Feedback: time, speed, rpm, distance, calories, pulse, target pulse, constant watt display
  • Programmes: manual (target time, distance, calories or pulse), 12 pre-set, user-defined programme, WATT control programme, heart rate controlled programme
  • Recovery test: Yes
  • Pulse measurement via grip sensors
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 110cm  / 43″ x 66cm  / 26″ x 162cm  / 64″
  • Maximum User Weight: 120kg / 265lbs
  • Product Weight: 35.5kg / 78lbs
  • Conveniences: big footplates with anti-slip rubber, transport wheels, leg levellers
  • Guarantee: 2 years parts & labour

Reebok ZR8 Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

Reebok ZR8 Elliptical Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • 9kg Flywheel
  • The easy to use console

The Cons

  • No wireless heart rate receiver
  • No user profiles
Reebok ZR8 Elliptical Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 7
Appearance - 8
Smoothness - 7.5
Comfort - 7.5
Reliability - 7.5
Noise - 8
Ease Of Use - 7.5
Controls - 7.5
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 5
Best Price

Currently available for £307.69 from Amazon.co.uk

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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