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Inspire Fitness CS3 Cardio Strider

Inspire CS3

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300 lbsEddy
20 lvls
Belt10 programs

Similar to the Inspire Fitness CS2, the CS3 cardio strider is a fitness machine which combines an elliptical trainer with a recumbent bike. Or, differently put, it is an elliptical trainer designed for seated workouts. As opposed to the CS2 model, the Inspire Fitness CS3 is a light commercial version. It offers a few extra programs on the console, superior adjustment for the moving arms, and better overall ergonomics.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 59.2L x 34.9W x 53.7H inches (150L x 89W x 136H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 186 lbs (84.3 kg)
  • Stride: 12″ – 15″ (30.5 – 38.1 cm)
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Resistance: Motorized magnetic, 20 levels
  • Console: 10 workout programs, 4 user profiles
  • Warranty:
    – Residential: Frame lifetime / Parts 5 years / Labor 1 year
    – Light-commercial: Frame 10 years / Parts 1 year / Labor 1 year

Frame construction

The Inspire Fitness CS3 features a sturdy frame, made of steel tubing. All the steel parts are double coated with a corrosion-resistant and scratch-resistant paint finish. The colors used are light gray for the moving bars and dark gray for the stationary parts. Also, the adjustment rail of the seat and the adjustable parts of the moving arms feature a chrome finish, which is also rust-resistant.

The fully assembled unit is fairly heavy; it weighs close to 200 lbs. This being said, it may require two people for transport and assembly. However, once the unit is assembled, its relocation shouldn’t be too difficult as the rear base stabilizer features two transport wheels. By leaning the machine onto its rear wheels you won’t be handling more than 40% of its total weight.

The machine’s weight plays an important role in its stability. But on top of that, the middle bottom bar of the frame features an adjustable leveler, as well as the front base bar. Thus, you can perfectly stabilize the unit on any type of flooring.

Like most recumbent bikes and/or elliptical trainers, this cardio strider is fairly large. With the frame fully assembled its length is 59.2″L x 34.9″W (150 x 89 cm). Also, with the seat adjusted all the way to the back, the backrest will exceed the 59.2″ (150 cm) length by a few inches. The widest point of the unit is given by the mobile grips when they’re adjusted outward, but in case you’re wondering, the base of the machine is smaller, approx. 28″ (71 cm).

One last aspect to mention here regards the footrest feature. The machine’s console mast has one footrest directly welded to it on each side. Therefore, you can only use your arms if you want. The console unit actually has programs that will prompt you to only move your arms.

Seat and handlebars

The Inspire Fitness CS3 cardio strider is equipped with a seat that excels in ergonomics. Both the seat and the backrest feature a generous layer of foam cushioning, with a contoured surface. The backrest’s contour is designed to provide optimal lumbar support.

Needless to say, the seat is adjustable. It’s attached to a durable rail system and can be locked in a place closer or farther in relation to the pedals. The backrest can be adjusted independently from the seat, which is quite a plus; many other cardio striders or recumbent bikes don’t have this feature. The backrest has three reclining positions (up, middle, and low).

The seat assembly is sturdy enough to support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg). Also, it’s due to its adjustment possibilities, the trainer can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm).

The machine has two sets of handlebars, a moving one, and a stationary one. The moving arms are length adjustable, and they can also be rotated; this being said, you can have their grips up, close to your chest, or low, close to your waist. This feature allows you to put a lot of diversity into your workouts. You can switch between a workout focused on your chest and back, to a workout that focuses on your biceps and triceps.

The joints between all the moving bars integrate high-quality stainless steel ball bearings. This being said, the motion of each moving element is extremely smooth.

The fixed handlebar assembly is directly welded to the top of the console mast. Its grips integrate pulse sensors, so by holding on to them, the console can track your pulse.

Drive system

To begin with, the Inspire CS3 is a fitness machine with a rear drive system. The main drive elements, including the pulley and flywheel, are situated under the seat. Due to this fact, the unit offers a low step-through, which gives you an easy access to the seat. 

The machine uses a balanced flywheel; its weight is not specified, however, considering that the CS2 model has a 20.2 lbs (9.1 kg), the weight of this unit’s flywheel is most likely similar. This flywheel is not designed for an aggressive inertia, such as the one in spin bikes. Thus, this cardio strider is a great choice for recovery training or users with disabilities. Its resistance starts at an ultra-easy 10 watts.

The unit’s poly-v belt drive system provides an almost silent operation. The pedaling motion is extremely smooth, with zero vibration. Also, as opposed to a chain drive, you don’t have to worry about its lubrication.

The Inspire CS3 is equipped with two large, durable pedals. They don’t have any cushioning or articulation system but considering that you will be seated during your workouts, the impact on your joints is almost inexistent. Their surface is ribbed in order to improve adherence while their sides have a ~1″ border to prevent your feet from slipping off.

The machine’s stride doesn’t have an adjustment system as for the Octane Fitness Q47x elliptical. However, due to the pedals’ size, you can place your feet closer to the front or the rear, and vary your stride between 12″ – 15″ (30.5 – 38.1 cm).

One last aspect to mention here regards the unit’s Q-Factor (spacing between the pedals). The pedals are placed approx. 3″ (8 cm) apart. Due to this fact, you can be sure that your feet won’t be too far apart and you won’t experience any lateral stress on the knees. But on the other hand, due to the pedals’ width, you can place your feet closer to the outer edges and gain at least one inch in between your feet.

Resistance system

The Inspire Fitness CS3 Cardio Strider is equipped with an eddy current, motor-assisted resistance system which consists of a small servo motor and a magnetic brake. This being said, you can only adjust its resistance from the console, while the machine requires being connected to a power source (power adapter is included). As you select a resistance level on the console, the servo motor will adjust the brake’s position in relation to the flywheel, generating the corresponding amount of drag and pedal resistance.

The console makes available 20 distinct resistance settings. As we’ve mentioned above, the first level of resistance is an ultra-easy 10 watts difficulty. This resistance setting, plus the several next ones, is perfect for elderly users, users with disabilities or users recovering from joint surgery. Conversely, the top resistance settings do offer quite some resistance, allowing you to perform exercises of higher intensity.

Control unit

The machine’s console unit features a large LCD display with LED backlight, which covers all the important workout metrics. It tracks Watts, RPM, calories burned, distance, time, and heart rate. It also shows the current resistance level, while the grid section in the middle shows the segments of the program in use.

Distance is only shown in miles; there is no setting for metric units. The unit can track your heart rate through the sensors built-in the stationary handlebars. However, it’s also telemetric; it can track your pulse via the included Polar T31 chest strap.

There are four user profile settings on the console. This means that if four persons use the machine, each one of them can have their own, personal settings. For each user profile, the machine will prompt you to input personal data such as gender, age, and weight. This way, the console can track your energy output and calorie consumption with a higher accuracy.

This console unit does not have any online connectivity features, nor it is compatible with any online fitness apps. It has quite a few workout programs to keep your motivated, though. There are 6 preset programs including Rolling Hill, Peak, Plateau, Mountain Climb, Hill Interval, Strength Interval. When using any of these programs, the console will auto-adjust the machine’s resistance in accordance with the segment of the selected program. A maximum resistance level can be selected for each program, and the machine won’t exceed it for that particular workout.

The unit also has 2 focus programs and 2 heart rate programs. The focus programs are for your upper body and arms. During these programs, the unit will prompt you to place your feet on the pegs and exercise only with your arms, use an upright grip, or a downright grip etc. The heart rate programs focus on two main HR intervals, 65%, and 80%. These require you to either use the pulse sensors in the handlebars or the HR chest strap. During an HR program, the machine automatically adjusts the resistance to keep your heart rate either at 65% or 80%.

Finally, the console unit doesn’t have a sound system or a cooling fan but does integrate a tablet holder.

Assembly and Maintenance

The machine’s drive and resistance system come already assembled, along with the seat base, and most of the console mast. So, for the assembly, you will have to add the two base bars, the moving arms and pedals, the top of the console mast with the console, and the seat. This may take up to two hours, but the process shouldn’t be too difficult. The manual provides clear and concise assembly instructions and schematics, and the tools required for it are included.

Once it is assembled, the trainer doesn’t require too much maintenance. All you have to do is periodically dust the machine and check for loose parts.

The Pros

  • Durable frame – can support users up to 300 lbs;
  • Adjustable stabilizers on the base bars
  • Transport wheels on the rear base;
  • Step-thru frame design;
  • Both mobile and stationary handlebars;
  • The mobile arms are length adjustable and can also be rotated;
  • EKG sensors in each fixed hand-grip;
  • Cushioned, ergonomic seat and backrest;
  • Adjustable seat – can accommodate users up to 6’5″;
  • Reclining backrest with three positions;
  • Quiet magnetic resistance system;
  • Adjustable resistant, motorized eddy current brake;
  • 20 resistance levels available, beginning with a light 10 Watts intensity;
  • Large pedals allowing a different positioning of the feet and a stride variation between 12″-15″;
  • Mid-range console unit with a large LCD display with backlight;
  • The console can track time, distance, RPM, Watts, calories, and pulse;
  • 6 preset programs, and 2 focus programs and 2 heart rate programs;
  • 4 user profiles;
  • The console unit can track your pulse via an HR chest strap transmitter;
  • Polar T31 HR chest strap included;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Bottle holder with bottle included;
  • Fairly easy to assemble;
  • Little to no maintenance required;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the console display;
  • No sound system;
  • No online connectivity.


The Inspire Fitness CS3 is a cardio strider featuring an automatic resistance system and a console with 10 programs and 4 user profiles. It has a durable frame which can support users up to 300 lbs, its seat is adjustable while the backrest has 3 reclining positions. The moving handlebars can be rotated for different grips and are also length adjustable. The machine offers 20 levels of resistance with a very low-drag starting point. It’s perfect for light to intense cardio training with a low impact on the joints, for recovery training, for muscle toning, weight loss, or interval training. And finally, it’s not exactly one of the most affordable fitness machines, but it is a light-commercial unit; thus, it’s a decent machine for the price.

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