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Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Cardio Machine

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weight
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Bowflex Max Trainer M7

Check Discounted Price
L:49"
W:30.5"
H:65.5"
300 lbsAir & eddy
current,
20 lvls
11 workouts,
4 user
profiles,
Telemetric,
Bluetooth
Frame: 3 years
Parts: 3 years
Electronics: 3 years
Labor: 90 days

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is a mix between a stepper and an elliptical trainer. It has a very similar construction to the ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer, but it combines air resistance with an eddy current magnetic system to create tension for the pedals. It’s a top-quality, gym-grade machine featuring a durable frame, and a versatile, highly-motivating console. There’s a lot to be said with regards to this Bowflex trainer, so in this review, we’ll try to address each one of its features, and point out all of its pros and cons.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 49″L x 30.5″W x 65.5″H (125L x 75W x 166H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 148 lbs (67 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Elliptical path: 10″ (25.4 cm) vertical, 4″ (10.1 cm) horizontal
  • Pedals: Cushioned
  • Handlebars: Mobile and fixed (with pulse sensors)
  • Resistance: Air and eddy brake, 20 levels
  • Console: 11 workout programs, 4 user profiles, Bluetooth connectivity
  • Amenities: Bottle/accessory holder, tablet holder
  • Warranty: Frame 3 years / Parts 3 years / Electronics 3 years / Labor 90 days

Frame construction and parts

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is a vertical elliptical trainer, and therefore, it takes considerably less storage and usage space than a regular elliptical trainer, such as the AFG Sport 5.9AE or the Nautilus E618. Its assembled footprint is 49″L x 30.5″W (~ 125 x 75 cm), but Bowflex recommends keeping at least two feet of clearance all around it for safe operation. 

Although it isn’t an extremely large fitness machine, the Max Trainer M7 is rather heavy; with the frame fully assembled, it weighs approx. 148 lbs (67 kg). This weight plays an important role in its overall stability. Its bases feature adjustable stabilizers with large rubberized pads, which offer the possibility to perfectly level it on any surface. However, moving the machine shouldn’t be too difficult. Its front base is equipped with transport wheels which facilitate its relocation.

Like many other elliptical trainers and steppers, the Max Trainer M7 is built around a durable frame, made of steel tubing. All the steel parts in its construction are double-coated with a corrosion-resistant and abrasion-resistant powder finish. The paint colors used are black and gray. The machine’s side shrouds that cover the transmission belts, pulleys and resistance mechanism are made of hard plastic, though. The casing of the flywheel-fan is also metallic.

This vertical elliptical trainer is equipped with heavy-duty pedals. They’re 8.5″ (21.6 cm) wide and can accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. Their frame is steel-made, while their inner bottom consists of a durable stainless steel plate with rubber inserts in order to provide maximum adherence. This being said, they can support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg) with no problem.

The pedals also articulating, slightly changing their angle as you step. This results in a natural motion with minimal stress on the joints.

The pedal arms are equipped with large rubberized wheels which glide smoothly on their upright rails. Also, the joints between the pedal arms and cranks, as well as the joints of the mobile handlebars integrate sealed ball bearings for a fluid motion.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 features several sets of handlebars. To begin with, the mobile handlebars offer a multi-grip design. They allow high and low grips, parallel grips and horizontal grips. There’s a set of fixed handgrips at the bottom of the console which integrates metallic EKG sensors. Also, this Bowflex trainer is equipped with a set of aero bars attached at the top of the console. By using the aero grip the lower fixed handgrips will serve as elbow rests. The top of the aero bar assembly hosts a pretty neat tablet holder. It also has controls for resistance and burn adjustments.

All handlebars feature high-density foam grips, providing maximum comfort and adherence.

Elliptical path, stride, elevation & Q-Factor

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is a cross between a stepper and an elliptical trainer. Therefore, its elliptical path is oblique, with an angle close to 90°. This being said, the pedaling motion simulates a climb on a set of stairs, but due to the pedals slightly changing angles with each  movement, the stress on the joints is almost completely eliminated.

The machine’s stride is non-adjustable. Its vertical length is approx. 10″ (25.4 cm) while its horizontal length is 4″ (10.1 cm). These being said, the trainer doesn’t have a user height limit. It can be used with no problem even by tall users, up to 6’7″ – 6’8″. Shorter users, under 5’0″ may consider the step-up distance a bit too long, but they should still be able to exercise properly and obtain excellent results.

The machine’s maximum elevation (the highest point of the pedal surface) is approx. 19″ (48 cm). Therefore, it’s recommended to place and use the machine in a room with a ceiling height that exceeds your own height by at least 20″.

One last aspect to mention here regards the machine’s Q-Factor. Even though this term is used mostly for bikes, as it refers to the spacing between the pedals, since this machine has pedals, it also has a Q-Factor which plays an important role in the comfort of the ride. This being said, the spacing between the machine’s pedals is 1.5″ (3.8 cm), which results in a natural positioning of the feet on the pedals that leads to a comfortable motion, with zero lateral stress on the knees and ankles. Plus, the pedals are 8.5″ wide, so you can place your feet on them in various ways.

Resistance and drive

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 combines air resistance elements with magnetic resistance elements. Its main resistance part is the large flywheel-fan situated at the bottom of the machine’s body. It generates the main resistance, also providing a dynamic response as you pedal. In other words, if you pedal faster, the resistance will also increase slightly.

However, the overall resistance can be adjusted via an eddy current mechanism. This consists of an eddy current brake situated at the middle of the machine, which is powered by a small servo motor. As you adjust the resistance level from the console, the servo motor will change the position of the brake which can add or reduce the overall pedal resistance output.

Since the trainer integrated a servo motor, it requires being connected to a power circuit. A 120V 60Hz Input, 9VDC, 1500mA Output power adapter is included with the machine.

The trainer’s eddy current resistance system offers 20 distinctive tension levels. The first ones are not too challenging, offering the possibility to perform lighter workouts. However, the top 18-20 resistance settings simulate a steep climb and will definitely enable you to break a sweat after a few minutes.

This Bowflex Max Trainer integrates two large pulley and two heavy-duty drive belts. The upper pulley has the main crank to which the mobile arms and pedal arms are attached. The second pulley is situated at the middle and intermediates the motion between the flywheel-fan and the main pulley. Since it’s a belt drive machine, its belts do not require any lubrication. Also, the noise generated by it is minimal, despite the fact that it is a fan-resistance machine.

The machine’s drive system is bi-directional; you can also pedal in reverse, and it will retain the resistance, given by the selected level on the console. This gives you the possibility to put some diversity into your workouts and focus different muscle groups accordingly.

Control unit

Although the console of the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 doesn’t include a sound system or a cooling fan, it still is a pretty advanced piece of technology. It features two main displays. The top display reminds of a car tachometer. It indicates your calorie burn rate, total calories  burned, and also has a benefit zone display divided into three main sections: Fat Burn, Endurance, and Performance.

The lower LCD display shows the program grid, the name of the selected program, your target goal, average calorie burn rate, average heart rate, average RPM and the resistance level.

The console is telemetry enabled. It can read your pulse via the included wireless HR chest strap transmitter. However, if you do not wish to use this accessory, you can still benefit from a pulse reading if you hold on to the sensors integrated into the stationary handlebars.

There are 11 pre-set workout programs on the console, organized in two main categories: Target Coaching Workouts and Benefit Mode Workouts. The Target Coaching Workouts category includes 6 workouts, which are Max 7 Minute Interval, Max 14 Minute Interval, Max 21 Minute Interval, Power Interval, Calorie Goal, and Steady Pace. The Benefit Mode Workouts are 5 in number, including Manual Workout, Fitness Test, Calorie Burn, Fat Burn, and Stairs.

The unit also offers the possibility to save up to 4 different user profiles. This feature is quite useful if several persons use the machine. By customizing your user profile the machine will prompt you to input personal data, such as age and weight, an aspect that helps with a more accurate calorie and energy output calculation.

An important feature of the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 console unit is its Bluetooth connectivity. This allows the unit to sync with your Android or Apple OS device via the Bowflex Max Trainer app, in order to directly stream your workout data online for proper tracking. This app also records and stores every workout for quick reference. Plus, it automatically syncs your workout data with MyFitnessPal.

Assembly and Maintenance

The core of the Max Trainer M7 comes fully assembled. You only have to attach it to its metallic base, add the rail bar, the pedal bars, the pedals, the moving arms, and the console with the top aero bars. Although the manual provides very clear and concise assembly instruction, this task may take up to two hours. A basic assembly toolkit is also included.

During assembly, it is recommended to add extra lubricant to the machine’s moving joints. This will prevent them to develop unwanted noises during operation.

In terms of maintenance, it recommended to periodically check the integrity of its parts, re-tighten bolts etc. If joints develop squeaking noises, lubrication may be required. The flywheel-fan and its cover will accumulate dust over time and may require cleaning. Other than that, there isn’t much else to do.

The Pros

  • Commercial, sturdy construction, elegant design lines;
  • Can support users up to 300 lbs;
  • Space-saving design takes approx. half the space of a regular elliptical trainer;
  • Adjustable stabilizers;
  • Transport wheels;
  • Heavy-duty, steel pedals with rubber inserts for maximum durability and adherence;
  • Articulating pedals, for a natural, low-stress motion;
  • Ergonomic mobile handlebars with a multi-grip design;
  • Fixed grips with pulse sensors;
  • Aerobars with incorporated resistance controls;
  • Very quiet drive for a fan-resistance fitness machine; 
  • Air and eddy current resistance system, offering 20 distinctive tension levels;
  • 11 preset programs;
  • Telemetric console – can read pulse via an HR chest strap;
  • HR chest strap included;
  • Bluetooth connectivity;
  • Bowflex Max Trainer app for Android and Apple OS allows direct workout data streaming online and syncing with MyFitnessPal, Apple Health Kit or Google Fit;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Bottle/accessory tray included;
  • Fairly easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • No sound system;
  • No cooling fan on the console.

Summary

The Bowflex Max Trainer C7 cardio machine is a cross between a stepper and an elliptical trainer. It features a combination of air and eddy current resistance, with 20 tension settings. It’s equipped with a set of highly durable racing pedals, multiple grips, and an advanced console with 11 programs and online connectivity possibilities. It’s a perfect machine for light to intense cardio training, intervals, weight loss, endurance training, and leg muscle strength training. And finally, it’s not an affordable cardio trainer, but the quality in its construction and components definitely stands up to the price.

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