Xterra Free Style 5.8e Elliptical Cross Trainer 2017 Review

As the last Xterra cross trainer we reviewed was quite some time ago and since then a new range of machines has come onto the market, we felt it was high time we took a closer look at their current range. Xterra have been making high quality machines since 2009 and have impressed us before. Could they impress us again? We took a look at the new Xterra 5.8e new for 2017 to find out. Here’s what we found….

At first glance, the 5.8e is a good looking machine finished in a mix of matt black and grey plastic and metal with a dash of electric blue added in a very understated manner that makes it look classy. It’s very nicely done and really does give a great impression.

A very nice feature to see that has been retained from the previous version are the large handles on the dynamic handlebars that offer multiple grip positions that help you to target your upper body muscles from different angles. To make things even better the handles have integrated control buttons on them too – thumb controls for incline and resistance – which means that it’s easy to alter settings mid-workout without disrupting your upper body workout. In addition to the dynamic handles the 5.8e also features a pair of very solid, static handles (with in-built pulse sensors) which provide excellent grip for when you want to isolate your lower body muscles and focus exclusively on them.

The pulse sensors built into the static handles provide a basic (but not very accurate) pulse reading that will be fine for those who just want to make sure they’re not overdoing things. That being said, the 5.8e won’t let down those who take their heart rate measurements seriously as, we’re delighted to see, Xterra have built in a wireless heart rate receiver and have also included a chest strap in the box so there’s no need to go hunting around for one at additional expense and hassle. That’s the sort of thing that makes a person happy and certainly gets a big nod of approval from us. If only more manufacturers would include the belt with the receiver!

There are 20 levels of electronically controlled resistance. The top end provides plenty of grunt and most users will find it poses enough of a challenge to ensure you won’t get bored. We’ve come across other machines with more resistance but unless you’re a hardcore fit-meister who’s already in top condition it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed with this aspect and will find your heart pumping and muscles burning quickly enough! As with all ellipticals, it’s not just about how hard it is, it’s about how good it feels when you’re working out. Buy an elliptical that’s got its geometry wrong and it’ll very quickly become an extremely expensive coat hanger. So we’ll say right here that there’s no chance of that happening with this machine 🙂 Xterra have got it right – again. The 5.8e has been really well engineered and has got its biomechanics absolutely nailed. The pedals are oversized with cushioned footplates and have a natural 2 degree inward slope. Combine that with a 2″ Q factor (distance between the pedals), 11.3kg (25lbs) flywheel and quality components and bearings and what you get is a really slick machine that feels fantastic to use. The smoothness of the pedal motion through the entire 20″ stride cycle feels very smooth and Xterras experiencing in building ellipticals really shines through here. It’s a wonderful example of what can be achieved when you have the know-how, the patience and the determination to create a quality product.

The motorised incline provides an impressive 20 different levels with the highest setting providing an almost stepper-like feel. This feature is a really great way to work different muscle groups. Altering the shape of the ellipse really adds a whole new dimension to the programs as well as targeting the legs and glutes in different ways. Plus, you can obviously pedal forwards as well as backwards to really blast those glutes and give your muscles new reasons to adapt and tone!

The console features a 7.5″ blue backlit LCD display that provides clear feedback of RPM, speed, calories, time, distance, pulse, incline and intensity. In the centre of the screen your heart rate profile is displayed so you can see what percentage of maximum you’re operating at, at a glance, to keep you informed of your pulse readings. Either side of this are dot matrix profiles – on the left is incline and on the right is resistance. This is an excellent idea on a cross trainer with electronic incline as it allows you to monitor, and control, both gradient as well as tension. All these features combine to offer a very intuitive and user-friendly console that is engaging without needing any effort of concentration. Just as an aside, a nice little feature that will appeal to a lot of users is the ability to enter engineering mode and switch the readouts from KM to MPH.

There are 13 workouts (1 manual, 8 pre-set, 2 user-defined, 2 heart rate controlled) which may not sound much, but they’re all scalable so you can adjust the max incline and intensity of each programme. You can also create and store your own programs or you can use the heart rate control. This really does give you a huge amount of options for your workout so you’re unlikely to get bored. Like a program but find it too easy having trained on it for a month? Just change the max inline, or the max resistance, or both. That’s a level of flexibility you won’t find on many other machines.

One of the preset programs that really stood out was called ‘Fitness’. This program is rather innovative in that it combines the benefits of cardio fitness training with intervals of resistance work. All that is required is a pair of dumbbells (hand weights) or you could substitute with resistance bands or even do bodyweight exercises. The session is highly customisable in that you can select how many intervals you wish to perform (10, 20 or 30), the duration of the intervals and even the duration of your recovery time at the end of each interval. Once you’ve completed a cardio interval, the message window instructs you of what exercise is next (i.e “STRENGTH INTERVAL 1 BEGIN DUMBBELL ROW”) and you can climb off the machine and perform the exercise before having a timed recovery period and repeating the intervals with a different strength exercise. It is widely accepted that resistance training plays a crucial role within a balanced exercise routine, yet despite this fact, we rarely see any other manufacturers attempting to combine the activities. The addition of this simple program is testament to Xterras knowledge of training efficiency and gives insight into the fundamental aim of any of their products – to deliver RESULTS!

Aside from a half decent sounding speaker system, tilting fan and a rather nice little Xterra water bottle (which is a fun concept as there’s no water bottle holder), you won’t get many gadgets and paraphernalia here. This machine isn’t intended to be an all-singing, all-dancing home entertainment centre. It’s an elliptical that’s focused on the basics and focused on doing them well. It’s easy to use, well engineered and with a build quality that matches the design.

The max user weight of 150kg (330lbs) and excellent warranty speak volumes about how well-constructed the 5.8e really is. Despite boasting some nice features and complex engineering, this machine is really designed to be a simple and straightforward ‘tool’ to develop fitness and conditioning.

This is an elliptical that’s designed to do the job of getting you fit – and it does the job very well indeed!

Best Price

Currently available for £949.00 from Sweatband.com

Review Summary - In Brief

It's hard to see how you could ask much more of a machine that's been specifically designed to do the job of getting you fit. It's a well-built, quality machine that's had proper and intelligent thought put into its design. It should last a very long time and will undoubtedly deliver on its remit. If you're looking for home entertainment, then this isn't for you. If you're looking for a quality elliptical that'll get you fit and provide great value for money then you've probably found it right here. Like it's predecessors, this is an excellent machine, but it goes further than that -  it's an improvement on all of them. A top end machine without a top end price tag. As such the new Xterra 5.8e is a winner in our view and we're happy recommend it!

Xterra Free Style 5.8e 2017 Specifications

  •  11.3kg (25lbs) flywheel
  • 20” (50.8cm) stride
  • 20 levels of electronically controlled incline
  • 20 levels of electronically controlled magnetic resistance
  • 7.5″ blue backlit LCD display
  • Feedback: RPM, speed, calories burned, time, distance, pulse, incline
  • 13 programmes (1 manual, 8 pre-set, 2 user-defined, 2 heart rate controlled)
  • Heart rate measured via pulse grip sensors and wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
  • Oversized cushioned pedals with a natural 2 degree inward slope; 2” Q Factor (distance between pedals)
  • Multi-grip with remote resistance and incline controls handlebars
  • Conveniences: integrated audio jack and speakers, integrated swivel fan, tablet holder, transportation wheels
  • Product Weight: 98kg (216lbs)
  • Max. User Weight: 150kg (330lbs)
  • Dimensions in Use (L x W x H): 209cm (82.3″) x 72cm (28.5”) x 170cm (67.3″)
  • Power Source: Mains
  • Warranty: 5 years parts, 2 years labour

Xterra Free Style 5.8e Elliptical Cross Trainer 2017 - Console / Display Unit

Xterra Free Style 5.8e Elliptical Cross Trainer 2017 - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of training options with adjustable incline and intensity
  • Biomechanics are excellent
  • Real interval training programs

The Cons

  • No water bottle holder
Xterra Free Style 5.8e Elliptical Cross Trainer 2017 Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 8
Appearance - 9
Smoothness - 9
Comfort - 9.5
Reliability - 9.5
Noise - 9
Ease Of Use - 9
Controls - 8.5
Warranty - 9
Value for Money - 9
Best Price

Currently available for £949.00 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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