York Active 120 Cross Trainer Review

The home fitness elliptical market has no shortage of ellipticals aimed at the serious fitness enthusiast and we’ve covered many of these but as excellent as many of those machines are, there’s also most definitely a place for ellipticals that are aimed at the person that simply wants to improve and maintain their fitness levels, lose a bit of weight and generally just get a little healthier, rather than aiming to become a triathlon world champion! The York Active 120 is just such a machine. It’s been around for years and is a model that’s stood the test of time, so we decided to take a closer look and report back our findings.

Assembly was simple enough and went without a hitch taking less than 40 minutes from opening the box to having a fully built machine. The instruction manual is clear and easy to follow and all the parts were present and fitted together as intended. In truth, we’d expect nothing less from one of the worlds most venerable fitness companies but nevertheless, it was nice to see that while the price might be entry level, there’s been no obvious skimping on the quality of the components. Once built the Active 120 is nice and compact and looks pretty good but more importantly, when you climb aboard and have a quick turn of the wheel it feels solid enough as well as quiet and smooth.

The basic specs on the Active 120 aren’t bad. There’s a 7kg flywheel, 16 levels of magnetic resistance and a 12″ stride. During testing, the action was nice and consistent with the 7kg flywheel doing a perfectly respectable job of ensuring that things remain stable throughout the cycle. The maximum resistance setting is pretty good (we’ve tested more expensive machines with less resistance) and should provide a challenge for the casual home user that it’s aimed at. It’s worth noting that the 12″ stride length might well be an issue for taller users. If you’re approaching 6ft it’s likely that you’ll feel restricted in your motion, making this model suitable for people of more modest stature.

Away from the mechanical aspect, the console is a grayscale LCD which, when compared with other machines in this bracket, comes up a little short. All the characters for data such as time, pulse, speed, watts, distance and calories et al are nice and large with good contrast so York has got that bit right, but that grayscale does make this elliptical feel a bit too ‘entry level’ for our liking. The buttons on the console are very simple and logically laid out to the point where most users will be able to understand most of what’s going on without reading the user manual (though we’re obliged to say that you should always read the user manual!). In a world where we’ve become used to full-colour touchscreens with complex menus and back-lit displays, the console on the Active 120 is a bit of a letdown at this price though it has to be said that it does do the job.

There are 12 preset workouts, 4 heart rate control workouts, a user-defined programme memory slot in addition to the manual mode, which is quite impressive on a machine like this. The preset workouts are varied and cover a good spectrum ranging from high-intensity cardio training to weight loss, to endurance improvement. The heart rate control workouts have four settings of 55%, 75%. 90% of your maximum rate and also a manually target heart rate setting where you can simply set the target BPM and the elliptical does the rest. But there’s a problem. The lack of heart rate receiver.  This means that you’re stuck with the hand-pulse sensors. In turn, this then means that to use the HRC programmes you have to hold the pulse sensors on the fixed handlebars. Not only is this a far less accurate way to measure your pulse than a wireless receiver, it means that you can’t get a full body workout and use a heart rate control programme. We’d go as far as saying that the lack of wireless receiver essentially rules out making use of the heart rate control programmes on this elliptical.

There’s a watt workout option where you can set the intensity of your session and a body fat analysis mode. Just enter some personal details, start the program and hold onto the pulse sensors and in a few seconds you get your body mass index and fat percentages analysed and shown on the screen. Last but not least there’s also a fitness recovery test so you can gauge your overall improvement.

There aren’t many bells and whistles on the Active 120 but there is a water bottle holder, which is something missing on a lot of ellipticals and there are transport wheels at the front making it easy to move this cross trainer from one place to another. The max user weight of 110kg (17.3 stone) points to the Active 120 being well built which is important as this machine is covered by a 12-month warranty against manufacturing defects. This doesn’t compare well against other cross trainers at this price which usually have at least 2 years warranty cover.

Best Price

Currently available for £269.00 from Amazon.co.uk

Review Summary - In Brief

The York Active 120 elliptical cross trainer is a simple, dependable machine that does what it sets out to do. There's a good range of preset workouts and functions such as BMI and recovery indicators and it's also built reasonably well. The real problem here is that the warranty is half the length of almost all of its competitors and it doesn't have a wireless receiver which we'd expect to see. For direct comparison, the  Viavito Sina is a larger machine with a longer 15" stride and has lots of useful training functions including a MPH/KM switch to allow you to change units of measurement and a wireless heart rate receiver. It also has a warranty that, at 2 years, is double the length of the Active 120. Yes, it does cost a bit more but given what you get for the extra investment, we feel it's well worth the small extra outlay.

York Active 120 Specifications

  • Flywheel: 7kg (15.4lbs)
  • Stride Length: 12” (30.5cm)
  • Resistance: 16 levels of magnetic resistance
  • 3-piece crank system
  • Computer: 5.75’’ LCD display
  • Programmes: 18 (12 pre-set, 4 HRC, 1 user, 1 manual)
  • Heart Rate Measurement: Hand pulse sensors
  • Arms: Ergonomically designed
  • Handlebars: Fixed and moving
  • Bottle Holder: Yes
  • Transportation Wheels: Yes
  • Power Supply: Mains powered
  • Dimensions: Length=121cm (47.6”), Width=54cm (21.3”), Height=148cm (58.3”)
  • Max user weight: 110kg (242lbs)
  • Product weight: 37kg (81.4lbs)
  • Warranty: 1 year parts and labour

York Active 120 Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

York Active 120 Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Good range of preset workouts
  • BMI & recovery functions
  • Dependable

The Cons

  • No wireless heart rate receiver
  • Short warranty
  • The price is high for what you get
York Active 120 Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 8
Appearance - 8
Smoothness - 8
Comfort - 7
Reliability - 8
Noise - 8
Ease Of Use - 7.5
Controls - 7
Warranty - 4
Value for Money - 4
Best Price

Currently available for £269.00 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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