New Balance elliptical trainers have been a favorite of home exercise enthusiast for the past few years. Of course New Balance shoes have been a favorite of runners and cross trainers for many years. The company’s fitness equipment is made in China and Taiwan is marketed through Fitness Quest of Canton Ohio. Fitness Quest also markets several other brands of fitness equipment including Ab Lounge, Edge and Total Gym.
Recently t he company has begun marketing the New Balance 8000 elliptical trainer. As luck would have it, an acquaintance of ours recently purchased an 8000 and was breaking it in. She is a fitness freak like many of us and had already ridden the machine for 50 hours. We asked her if we could test the elliptical out and do a review and she gladly assented.
We used 5 test subjects to evaluate the New Balance 800. They ranged from 6 months to 4 years in experience in using elliptical trainers. The weights of the testers ranged from 109 pounds to our 265 pound linebacker. We asked each to conduct 3 normal workouts over a period of a week. They were to note the ease of use, smoothness, fitness programs, stride length and comfort, sound levels, stability, total body comfort, perceived workout level, electronics and over all fit.
According to the brochures the 8000 model weighs in at about 180 lbs and has a 40 by 30 inch foot print which should give it relatively good stability. It is also rated to 300 lbs. Our testers initially really liked the foot pedals due their size. The ability to change the stride length from 18 to 20 inches is a good feature but a better one would be a fully adjustable stride length. Two of the testers wanted a little more stride than 18 inches but not the full 20. The stride length was not a problem when work at normal speeds but when conducting an intense workout these testers ended up having to use the shorter stride.
Stability was not too bad even for our football player who really made the machine rock and roll on the pad. A more durable or harder pad might have added to stability. Sound levels were comparable to all but the loudest of ellipticals allowing one to watch TV without headphones at moderate workout levels. Testers felt that the workout programs would probably satisfy all but a few home exercise buffs. The display was easy to read but blacked out on one of the tester during her workout. We were unable to get the console to repeat its failure so we are unsure as to the cause of the failure.
All testers gave the 8000 a 3 rating out of 5 in terms of smoothness of operation when compared to the more expensive commercial elliptical trainers. In addition everyone found it easy to use the upper body handles to enhance their workout.
We were not able to determine the durability of this unit based on the short time that it was in use. To date there are few reviews of the New Balance 8000 that would give a real clue as to any problems with this model. It should be noted that Fitness Quest does not have the best record when it comes to customer service. As a result we would recommend an extended warranty to cover the electronics and parts. New Balance or Fitness Quest provides a standard 10 year frame, 2 year electronics and one year parts warranty but labor and shipping costs are not included.
With an overall score of 3.75 out of 5 our testers felt that the New Balance 8000 would probably be a good purchase for the average home fitness enthusiast. The greatest concern given was the fact that this elliptical trainer was marketed and serviced by Fitness Quest which does not have a good reputation among fitness people.