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ProForm Hybrid Trainer PFEL03815K

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weight
ResistanceConsoleWarranty
ProForm PFEL03815K

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L:70.5"
W:24.5"
H:60.5"
350 lbsMotorized
magnetic,
16 levels
16 workoutsFrame: 5 years
Parts: 90 days
Labor: 90 days

Over the past five years, the ProForm Hybrid Trainer has received several revisions and improvements. In this review, we’ll address the PFEL03815K model, the one released in 2016.

This ProForm Hybrid Trainer is a 2-in-1 fitness machine, combining a recumbent bike and an elliptical trainer, offering a wide array of cardio training possibilities. Also, since it’s the newest version available (at least for the moment), it’s Bluetooth enabled and iFit compatible.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 70.5L x 24.5W x 60.5H inches (179L x 62W x 154H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 116.8 lbs (53 kg)
  • Flywheel weight: 13 lbs (5.8 kg)
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs (158.7 kg)
  • Seat: 2-way adjustable
  • Stride: 15 inches (38 cm)
  • Incline: No
  • Resistance: Motor-assisted magnetic, 16 levels
  • Exercise meter: 16 workout programs
  • Warranty: Frame 5 years / Parts 90 days

Frame construction

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer PFEL03815K features a two-piece frame, made of steel tubing. The connection point between the two frame parts is close to the front. The two parts connect via several bolts, resulting in a sturdy, overall construction. All the steel parts in its construction feature a corrosion resistant coating, silver for the main body, and black for the mobile bars. The machine also features several PVC parts, such as the pedals, resistance system covers and several other covers. But these do not influence its overall sturdiness in any way.

The machine’s frame features a step-through design. Differently put, it’s very easy to position your feet on the pedals, sit down or get up, aspects which can be quite a plus for users with disabilities.

Speaking of sturdiness, this ProForm trainer can support users up to 350 lbs (158.7 kg), which is quite impressive for a machine of this caliber. Also, it delivers excellent stability. Both its base tubes are equipped with adjustable, rubberized stabilizers. On top of that, the assembled machine weighs approx. 117 lbs (~53 kg), a weight that plays an important role for its stability.

Despite its weight, though, the ProForm Hybrid Trainer is not difficult to transport. Its front base tube has a set of wheels. By lifting it from the rear and using the wheels to relocate it, you will basically handle less than 60% of its total weight.

Compared to the older trainer models, the PFEL03815K is slightly larger. It takes approx. 70.5″L x 24.5″W (179 x 62 cm) of floor space and the top of the moving handlebar reaches approx. 60.5″ (154 cm) above floor level. Also, the pedal arms will extend over the front base of the machine for approx. 1′ (30.5 cm) during usage. Therefore, it’s recommended to keep at least 2′ (61 cm) of clearance all around the machine, for safe operation.

The frame itself does not have a folding design. Once assembled, it will remain at the aforementioned dimensions. However, the top part of the console mast is angle adjustable. You can change its position in order to provide the perfect angle for the console display, whether you’re using the machine as a recumbent bike or as an elliptical trainer.

Stride and step-up height

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer PFEL03815K offers a 15″ (38 cm) stride. Differently put, users up to 6’0″ (183 cm) should feel right at home when using the machine as an elliptical trainer. Taller users also shouldn’t experience any difficulties in using this fitness machine, but its stride length will limit their range of motion. Therefore, if you’re taller than 6’0″ and you’re looking for an elliptical trainer with a longer stride, a model such as the Yowza Jupiter or Schwinn MY17 470 may be a better choice for you.

The pedal step-up height (the distance between the top of the pedal and the floor, when it is at its lowest position) is approx. 9″ (23 cm). Also, at its highest position, the rear of the pedals rises by approx. 15″ (38.1 cm) above floor level. Therefore, to avoid any ceiling issues, it’s best to assemble and use the machine in a room with a ceiling that’s at least 20″ (51 cm) than your own height.

This ProForm trainer does not have any incline.

Seat and handlebars

The seat on this ProForm elliptical trainer and recumbent bike is quite similar to the seat of the ProForm 740 ES exercise bike. The seat itself integrates a generous layer of padding, in order to provide optimal comfort for all the seated workouts. Its upholstery is made of durable and waterproof vinyl material. The backrest features a curved design and a vented structure in order to prevent overheating during a more intense workout, and promote a superior blood flow. It also provides an excellent lumbar support.

Needless to say, the seat is adjustable. The adjustment rail to which it is attached features 17 adjustment positions. It can be locked closer or farther in relation to the pedals. This being said users up to 6’3″-6’4″ should be able to benefit from a complete leg extension when using the machine as a recumbent exercise bike.

In case you’re wondering, the backrest does not adjust independently from the rest of the seat. It does not recline, nor you can adjust its height. It is attached directly to the seat’s metallic frame and will move along the adjustment bar along with it.

This ProForm trainer features three sets of handlebars. The seat handlebars are attached directly to the seat frame and are non-adjustable, featuring small grips. The console mast handlebars integrate EKG sensors, so the console can monitor your pulse if you hold on to them. The machine’s mobile arms have a simple design, with longer grips in order to provide the correct hand positioning for users of all sizes. In case you’re wondering, the mobile arms of the machine cannot be locked into position. Since they are attached to the pedals, they will continue to move for as long as the pedals are moving.

Drive system

As you can see in the attached photos, the ProForm Hybrid Trainer features a rear drive. Due to this fact, its elliptical path is slightly inclined forward, which means that when using the machine as an elliptical, it will feel like descending on a gentle ramp. 

The machine is equipped with a 13 lbs (5.8 kg) flywheel. Although this flywheel is not too heavy, it does deliver quite a consistent momentum and a steady motion, as it features a balanced construction, most of its weight being placed into its perimeter.

Since it’s a trainer with magnetic resistance, it features a belt drive; it uses a heavy-duty, stretch-resistant belt. This belt drive comes with two main advantages. One, it’s much quieter (almost silent) than a chain drive. And two, it doesn’t require any lubrication or maintenance whatsoever.

The pedals are adjustable. They feature two positions; horizontal for the elliptical and inclined for the recumbent bike. Their adjustment is done with ease. You simply lift the pedals, unfold the braces, insert their ends into the pedal arms, and lock them into the upright position, in order to use the recumbent bike. To use the machine as an elliptical, you have to fold the braces so that the pedals will remain flat onto the metallic pedal arms.

The pedals do not have any articulation or suspension system. However, they do have a ribbed surface that offers excellent adherence. They’re also large enough to accommodate athletic footwear of all sizes.

Resistance system

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer PFEL03815K features a motor-assisted magnetic resistance system. This means that the resistance can only be adjusted from its control unit, which is battery powered. However, there also is the option of using a power adapter.

The resistance system consists of two main elements: a C-magnet and a small servo motor. As you select a certain level of resistance from the console, the servo motor will adjust the position of the C-magnet in relation to the metallic flywheel, generating more or less resistance. The C-magnet does not come in contact with the flywheel, so there is no friction between the resistance elements, which basically results in no wear and tear.

The machine offers 16 distinctive levels of resistance. The first few levels offer light workouts, great for warmups or for recovery training. Conversely, the top 15-16 resistance levels have been described by most users as “quite tough”. This being said, the machine also offers the possibility to undertake more intense workouts.

Console

This ProForm elliptical trainer and recumbent bike features a mid-range console. The console unit is equipped with an LED-backlit LCD monitor, with 3 display panels. The unit can track time, speed, distance, RPM, pulse and calories, and can show three at the time. However, it also has a SCAN function which alternates the values showing each set for a few seconds. 

The console unit has 16 pre-set workouts, 8 for the elliptical and 8 for the recumbent bike. When using one of these pre-set workouts, the machine will auto-adjust its resistance. However, if you use the manual mode, you can freely adjust the resistance from the + / – keys as you pedal.

As opposed to the older versions of the ProForm Hybrid Trainer, the PFEL03815K model is iFit ready and Bluetooth enabled. This means you can sync it with your Android or IOS device to use the iFit app and transfer your workout date directly into your iFit account. The Bluetooth connection also allows the use of a wireless heart rate chest strap. This accessory is not included, but even without it, you can still monitor your heart rate by using the EKG sensors from the front handlebars.

The console also integrates a sound system and a tablet holder. The sound system is compatible with most MP3 players, smartphones or tablets. It consists of a large speaker situated at the bottom part of the console. The sound rendered by it is obviously no match for a dedicated sound system, but still, it offers a better and louder sound than the average tablet or smartphone. There are volume keys on the console, while the audio jack is situated on the right side of the unit.

The tablet holder is placed at the top of the console unit. It’s spacious enough to provide support for any tablet.

As we’ve mentioned above, the console is battery powered. But as opposed to the older version, this model requires 4 D batteries, not 4 AA batteries. The batteries are not included, and ProForm recommends the usage of alkaline batteries. It can also be powered by an adapter, but the adapter is not included either.

Assembly and Maintenance

This ProForm fitness machine is not difficult to put together, but due to the many parts, its assembly may take up to three hours. As a general idea, the machine’s assembly requires connecting the two main frame parts, adding the base stabilizers, the seat, the pedals arms, the pedals, the console mast, the fixed handlebar, the mobile arms and the console. The included manual provides very clear assembly instructions. Some of the tools required for the assembly are included (i.e. Allen wrenches), but you will also need an adjustable wrench, a Phillips screwdriver, and a rubber mallet.

It’s a good idea to apply some all-purpose lubricant (not WD-40) on the machine’s joints during assembly. Also, you have to register the product with the ProForm website, in order to activate warranty.

Maintenance doesn’t require much. The internal parts come pre-lubricated from the factory so they shouldn’t require any further lubrication for a long period of time. The joints may require greasing every once in a while, especially if they develop squeaks. Also, a periodic check for loose bolts and parts is recommended.

The Pros

  • 2-in-1 machine, elliptical trainer and recumbent bike, making available a wide array of workouts;
  • Extremely sturdy construction and an impressive weight capacity of 350 lbs;
  • 2-way adjustable seat, with 17 adjustment positions;
  • Durable backrest with a contoured shape and a vented structure, promoting an excellent blood flow during exercising;
  • Angle-adjustable pedals;
  • Angle-adjustable console;
  • EKG pulse sensors;
  • Generous cushioning on the seat and backrest for optimal comfort;
  • Quiet, smooth and maintenance free belt drive system;
  • Balanced flywheel for a consistent momentum;
  • Motor-assisted, magnetic resistance, with 16 distinctive levels;
  • The console display integrates LED backlight and features large digits, offering excellent readability;
  • 16 fitness programs, 8 for the elliptical, 8 for the bike;
  • Bluetooth enabled and iFit ready console; 
  • Sound system included;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Bottle holder included;
  • Straightforward assembly;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

  • The seat handlebars don’t have pulse sensors;
  • No cooling fan on the console;
  • iFit membership not included;
  • Batteries or adapter not included.

Summary

The PorForm Hybrid Trainer is a 2-in-1 fitness machine, offering the training possibilities of both an elliptical trainer and a recumbent bike. It features a sturdy construction, with an impressive weight capacity of 350 lbs. It excels in comfort factors and micro adjustability. It is equipped with an iFit and Bluetooth enabled console with 16 onboard programs. It uses a motorized magnetic resistance system, offering 16 distinctive difficulty settings. It’s perfect for light to intense cardio training, interval training, stamina development, muscle toning and weight loss. And finally, it comes for quite an affordable price, being a few $100s cheaper than its less inclusive predecessors.

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