Xterra Free Style 3.9e Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

Dyaco are one of the largest fitness equipment manufacturers in the world and the quality of their products has led to acclaim across the globe. In 2009 a new brand name emerged out of their prestigious factories. Now the name ‘Xterra’ is synonymous with great build quality. The Xterra Free Style 3.9e is one model that we’ve been trying to get our hands on for a while, so what did we think of it?

Assembly was fairly standard for a cross trainer and while we didn’t like what Xterra have done in the manual (separated the diagrams for each step from the text explaining what to do at each stage) the 3.9e did actually go together without any hiccups and took less than an hour to assemble. We’ve come to expect parts fitting correctly and bolts being machined properly from this particular brand and we weren’t let down.

Like the other models in the range once built the Free Style 3.9e looks chunky which inspires confidence just looking at it. Predominantly black, grey and silver this cross trainer will look good in just about any setting. It looks modern and it looks tough!

With an impressive stated maximum user weight of 148kg (325lbs) and a warranty offering lifetime cover on the frame, 5 years on all parts and 2 years labour it’s obvious that not only do Xterra have a lot of confidence in this machine, but that they’ve built it like a tank. Despite the 3.9e having a single rail design, it still feels sturdy and stable and doesn’t suffer from flexing (machine wobble) while in use. One thing we did notice is that unlike many cross trainers which are essentially maintenance free, the 3.9e manual has a section on lubricating the rails which it states should be done every 3 months. It looks easy enough to do and won’t take more than a few minutes each time, however, there’ll be a reason this is in the manual so it’s worth being aware that if you buy this model you will need to regularly apply lube to keep it running smoothly.

One trick that Xterra have managed to pull off successfully here is fitting the 3.9e with a puny looking 8.6kg (19lbs) flywheel. Normally seeing this sort of flywheel weight on a cross trainer is a concern, but whatever they’ve done here it’s worked because the action is smooth all the way through the cycle without a hint of acceleration just past the point of no return. We strongly suspect that the reason this works is down to the wealth of experience they’ve had in the field of ellipticals over the years. The motion, as you’d expect from an Xterra, is quiet and smooth with the 18” (45.7cm) stride length delivering a really comfortable ride. Another aspect that hasn’t escaped the attention of the designers is the spacing between the pedals. The 3.9e has a really low Q factor (English translation: the gap between left & right pedals is really small) and much lower than that you’ll find on a rear-drive machine. This encourages a more natural gait with the end result being a very comfortable elliptical that’s ergonomically sound which in turn reduces the chances of developing an injury from regular usage.

One curious thing about this model is the level of resistance at the top-end, in that it’s not as tough as we’ve seen in other makes and models. While the resistance is sure to be tough enough for most home users, if you’re a seasoned elliptical user, are particularly fit or like to do short bursts of really intense training you might feel it’s a little lacking on top end grunt.

Controls on the 3.9e are limited to the console itself. No buttons on the handles here so it’s necessary to let go of the machine in mid-workout to change the resistance if you’re using a manual programme. While slightly annoying this inconvenience is at least limited to the manual programme and is not an issue if you’re using the preset or HRC workouts which automatically control the difficulty level.

Speaking of controls, the display screen on the console is fairly large and the layout is logical and clear. The screen is split into 3 main sections making it easy to read all the training feedback while you’re working out. Also, the use of a wheel for scrolling through options is a really nice control mechanism. It’s quick and easy and because you’re not having to repeatedly click buttons, it should, in theory, last longer too. There are 12 preset programmes, all of which are scalable, giving you the flexibility to select a workout that you like the format of and tailor the difficulty to suit you. This has the effect of massively increasing your training choices which is a really good way of keeping things interesting without over complicating everything. There are also 2 HRC programmes and a user-defined workout so you can programme your own custom training session.

While there is a good range of functions here, Xterra haven’t included any ‘sexy’ extras. This is a ‘no frills’ machine: Xterra have clearly focused on the quality of the components and the build, and it shows. You can feel it the moment you start using it. It may lack a few features but there is a water bottle holder which is curiously absent from many other ellipticals!

Our verdict? This machine may not suit hardcore fitness fanatics or those looking for a machine with lots of goodies, bells and whistles. But if you’re primarily concerned with build quality, want a machine that’s good for the whole household and are looking to get fitter, then the Xterra 3.9e is one that should be on your shortlist.

Best Price

The Xterra Free Style 3.9e is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

The Xterra 3.9e is a very good elliptical with a long stride length that makes exercising on it smooth, comfy, enjoyable and natural. It is manufactured to a high standard, comes with a superb, comprehensive warranty and should last for years in almost any domestic setting. That being said, the price for what you're getting when compared with other machines does make you feel like you're missing out a bit. Take the DKN XC-140i for example. At a lower price, you get user profiles, interactive training options, a flywheel that's almost double the weight, and a higher max resistance!

Xterra Free Style 3.9e Specifications

  • 18” (45.7cm) stride length
  • 8.6kg (19lbs) flywheel
  • 1-16 levels of electronically controlled resistance
  • Blue backlight LCD + LED
  • Console Feedback: time, speed/RPM, distance, calories, Watts, pulse, load, recovery, temperature
  • Programmes: 15 (manual, 12 pre-set, 1 user, 1 H.R.C.)
  • Heart Rate Measurement via pulse grip sensors and wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 166cm (65.3”) x 56cm (22”) x 163cm (64.2”)
  • Product weight: 70kg (154.3lbs)
  • Max. user weight: 148kg (325lbs)
  • Power Source: Mains
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, 5 years parts, 2 years labour

Xterra Free Style 3.9e Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

Xterra Free Style 3.9e Elliptical Cross Trainer Console

Xterra Free Style 3.9e Elliptical Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Plenty of workout options
  • Low Q Factor
  • Comfortable
  • High max user weight

The Cons

  • Very basic functions
  • Max resistance not all that high
Xterra Free Style 3.9e Elliptical Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 7
Appearance - 8
Smoothness - 8
Comfort - 8
Reliability - 9
Noise - 8
Ease Of Use - 8.5
Controls - 7
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 7.5
Best Price

The Xterra Free Style 3.9e is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

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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