Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical Trainer
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The Bowflex BXE116 elliptical trainer is in the same specs and features range as the Nautilus E618. Although it’s not sold as a commercial trainer, as its warranty doesn’t cover usage in a gym facility, it definitely fits the standards of a gym-grade trainer. It has a very sturdy construction, motorized incline and resistance, and on top of that Bluetooth connectivity. It’s one of the best ellipticals that you can find at the moment, so let’s see what it can do for you.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 77L x 31W x 70H inches (197L x 79W x 178H cm)
- Assembled weight: 263 lbs (119 kg)
- Flywheel weight: 30 lbs (13.6 kg)
- Supported weight: 375 lbs (170 kg)
- Stride: 22 inches (56 cm)
- Incline: Motorized, 0%-15%
- Pedals: With adjustable cushioning
- Handlebars: Both mobile and fixed (with pulse sensors)
- Resistance: Motorized magnetic, 25 levels
- Console: 9 programs, 4 user profiles, Bluetooth enabled, USB port
- Amenities: Cooling fan, sound system, media tray, accessory tray
- Warranty: Frame 15 years, Parts 5 years, Electronics 5 years, Labor 2 years
Frame construction and parts
To begin with, this Bowflex elliptical trainer features a highly durable, steel frame construction. Its pedals, incline system, and crankset can support users up to 375 lbs (170 kg). The machine’s body does integrate several plastic parts though, such as the covers of the motors and flywheel, joint covers, and several other covers. These don’t affect its overall sturdiness, though.
All the steel parts in the unit’s construction are double-coated with a scratch-resistant and corrosion-resistant paint. The only exception is the pedal tracks which are aluminum-made and have their own natural finish.
Considering the fact that it’s a machine mostly made of steel, the Bowflex BXE116 is quite heavy. With the frame completely assembled it weighs ~263 lbs (119 kg). Due to this fact, its unboxing and assembly should be carried out by two people. But on the other hand, all this weight is a plus for its overall stability. And on top of that, all its three base bars feature adjustable levelers which give you the possibility to perfectly stabilize the unit on any type of floor.
Despite its weight, the relocation of the fully assembled unit shouldn’t be a problem, though. Its front base integrates transport wheels, while its rear base is equipped with a lifting handle. Thus, moving the machine to a storage place once you have finished your workout isn’t too difficult.
The unit’s frame doesn’t fold. It’s also fairly large. The fully assembled unit is 77″ (197 cm) long, and 31″ (79 cm) wide. Plus, the recommended workout area for it is 125″ x 79″ (315.5 x 200.7 cm). So, these being said, the Bowflex BXE116 is not exactly a good choice for a small room or apartment.
One of the best features with regards to this Bowflex elliptical trainer is pedal cushioning and adjustability. The unit’s pedals are equipped with the Switch Select™ technology which gives you the possibility to adjust their angle and impact resistance. Each pedal features an adjustment lever which allows you to set the angle and firmness of the action according to your weight. The 0 position is the lowest cushion setting (flat). The 1 setting is recommended for users under 150 lbs. (68 kg). The 2 setting is for 150-225 lbs. (68-102 kg), and 3 setting is for users who exceed 225 lbs. (102 kg).
The machine features dual tracks for the pedals. This is quite a plus as it considerably improves pedal stability. Each pedal has two large wheels with sealed ball bearings and rubberized shells for a quiet and smooth pedaling experience.
There are two sets of handlebars available on this Bowflex trainer, one fixed, and one mobile. The fixed handlebars are attached directly to the console mast, under the console, and give you the possibility to exercise without moving your arms. They also integrate pulse sensors.
The moving arms feature a multi-grip design. They’re equipped with incline and resistance adjustment controls. The points where the moving arms connect to the pedal bars and the console mast integrate heavy-duty ball bearings, delivering a smooth, drag-free motion. Both types of handlebars have rubberized grips for improved hand adherence and comfort.
Incline, stride & step-up height
The Bowflex BXE116 trainer is equipped with a motorized incline system. Therefore, you can only adjust its incline from the console or from the controls integrated into the left moving handle, while the machine is connected to a power source. The incline system consists of a small lever attached to the unit’s pedal track assembly. As you select a certain incline setting, the incline motor will move the lever and adjust the ramp of the track system.
There are 15 incline levels available, the total incline range being 0%-15%. The incline increments are 1%. However, the console is equipped with quick keys for the 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 incline settings. Also, some of the unit’s programs involve incline and will automatically adjust it.
This Bowflex trainer offers a fairly long stride, of 22″ (56 cm). This means it can accommodate comfortably users between 5’2″ and 6’5″ (157 – 196 cm). The stride is non-adjustable.
One last aspect to mention here regards the pedal step-up height. At the lowest position, the surface of a pedal stands at approx. 16″ (41 cm) above floor level, while at the highest position, with the incline set at maximum, the pedal elevation reaches approx. 29″ (73.7 cm) Therefore, to avoid any issues, make sure that the ceiling height in the room where the machine will be in use is at least 35″ (89 cm) higher than your own height.
Resistance and drive
The Bowflex BXE116 is a motorized-magnetic elliptical trainer. Its resistance system consists of a servo motor and an eddy current brake. Just as the incline system, it can only be controlled from the console or the controls in the right mobile handlebar, while the unit is connected to a power source. It requires a 120V power source, and a 120V AC, 60 Hz input, 2 Amp adapter is included. The connector for the adapter is situated at the front of the unit, above the base stabilizer.
Needless to say, the unit’s resistance can be adjusted as you pedal. Also, if you choose to exercise by using one of the onboard programs, resistance will be adjusted automatically, depending on the current segment of the workout.
Although the Bowflex promo video for this trainer specifies that there are 20 levels of eddy current resistance, there are actually 25 available. The console unit also has quick resistance adjustment keys for the 1, 3, 6, 9, 15, and 25 settings. The first 5 resistance settings promote light workouts, perfect for warmups or recovery training, while the 23-25 resistance settings allow you to undertake workouts for strength development, or high-intensity cardio workouts.
Since it’s a magnetic resistance fitness machine, this elliptical trainer features a belt drive system. It uses a heavy-duty v-belt which delivers a very smooth, vibration-free transmission. Also, since there is no contact between the resistance elements, while the pedal wheels are rubberized, the operation of the machine is almost silent.
The unit is equipped with a fairly heavy flywheel; it weighs 30 lbs (13.6 kg); it’s perimeter-weighted, and therefore it delivers a pretty consistent inertia. But overall, the pedaling motion is very stable and steady, while the lowest resistance settings are far from being difficult.
The flywheel is bi-directional; in other words, the machine offers the possibility to pedal in reverse. Therefore, you can add diversity to your workouts.
The Bowflex BXE116 elliptical machine is part of the Results Series™ and therefore its console is Bluetooth 4.0 enabled. It’s almost identical to the one on the Bowflex BXT116 treadmill. It features a large, 7.5″ LCD display with LED backlight, providing excellent readability. It indicates time, distance, speed, incline, total calories burned, average calories burned per minute, heart rate, and heart rate zone. It has a multi-color Burn Rate Display which indicates the rate of calories burned for a minute at the current workout levels. It has a Sprint Display section for the remaining sprint segment during an interval program. It also shows the segment grid of the workout program in use.
The console is compatible with Bowflex Connect and the Bowflex Trainer app, so you can sync it with another Bluetooth device that has this app and directly stream your workout data online. It also has a USB port so you can save your workout data on a flash drive, or transfer it manually on your online fitness account. This USB port also serves as docking and recharging port for your smartphone or tablet.
The unit is also compatible with the RunSocial online app. This app gives you the possibility to view and run on a virtual trail on your smart TV, tablet or phone, based on a GoogleMaps trail. You can create running events, run with friends and benefit from many other interactive and fun features through this app.
The usage of all these apps and the Bluetooth connection is not necessary, though. The unit itself makes available 9 workout programs. Each program has its own button, so they’re very easy to access. The first workout program is the Manual mode, the next 7 are preset workouts, and the last is a custom program.
The Manual mode allows you to exercise while freely adjusting the incline and resistance. The 7 preset programs offer different types of workouts. These are Fat Burn, Calorie Burn, Calorie Goal, Target Heart Rate, 8 Min. Interval, 16 Min. Interval, and Strength. The 9th program is a Custom program; it gives you the possibility to create your own workout, save it and re-use it whenever you like.
The console unit offers 4 user profiles. Therefore, if multiple persons use the machine, each one can have their own settings. For each user profile, the user can input their own specific data, such as weight, age, and gender, so that the unit can calculate the calorie consumption more accurately.
In terms of heart rate reading, the console is telemetric. It can read your pulse via the included wireless HR chest strap. It’s also compatible with various other types of HR straps that operate in the 4.5kHz – 5.5kHz range. However, if you don’t want to use the strap, there are pulse sensors integrated into the machine’s fixed handlebars.
Finally, the console unit of the Bowflex BXE116 elliptical trainer includes several extras. These are a cooling fan, a sound system, and a tablet holder. The cooling fan is placed at the bottom of the console. It has three speed settings. The sound system features two speakers, placed one on each side of the cooling fan. The tablet holder is placed above the unit’s display so that if you place a tablet on it, it won’t cover your workout stats.
Assembly and Maintenance
Although most of the machine comes pre-assembled, there still are quite a few parts to put together. Therefore, the complete assembly of the unit may take up to two hours. As a general idea, you will have to connect the rail assembly to the front, main frame part, connect the front base stabilizer, attach the console mast, the handlebars, the pedals, the console, and several plastic covers. All the necessary tools for the assembly are included. Also, the manual provides very clear assembly instructions.
Lubricating the machine’s joints during assembly is recommended. This will save you a lot of trouble in the long terms, as they may not need extra lubrication for a long period of time. Also, a small bottle of lubricant is included. Other than this, it’s recommended to keep the pedal tracks clean, keep liquids away from the console, and periodically check for loose bolts and parts.
- Sturdy construction, similar to commercial machines;
- Impressive weight capacity – 375 lbs;
- Adjustable stabilizers on all base bars;
- Adjustable pedals, with three position angles and three pressure levels;
- Mid-range, 30 lbs flywheel, being also perimeter-weighted for a consistent momentum and smooth pedaling;
- Multi-grip handlebars, with incline/resistance controls;
- Motorized incline, with a range between 0% and 15%;
- Quiet operation, ideal for apartment use;
- 25 levels of eddy current resistance;
- 9 workout programs;
- 4 user profiles;
- Bluetooth 4.0 enabled;
- Compatible with the “Bowflex Trainer” app, Bowflex Connect, MyFitnessPal, and RunSocial;
- USB port for manual data transfer online, and for recharging your smartphone or tablet;
- Goal tracking functions for time, distance and calories;
- Large, easy-to-read 7.5″ LCD display;
- LED backlight for each monitor, for better readability
- Cooling fan included;
- Sound system included;
- Media tray included;
- HR chest strap transmitter included;
- Pulse sensors integrated into the fixed handlebars;
- Bottle/accessory holders included;
- Little maintenance required;
- Excellent warranty.
- The cooling fan isn’t too powerful.
The Bowflex BXE116 is an elliptical trainer that offers 25 levels of eddy current resistance, 15 levels of automatic incline, adjustable & cushioned pedals, and a Bluetooth enabled console compatible with the Bowflex Trainer app and RunSocial, and 9 workout programs. It has an extremely durable frame construction with an impressive weight capacity of 375 lbs. It’s a heavy-duty fitness machine, great for light to intense cardio workouts, interval training, muscle toning, stamina development and weight loss. And finally, although it’s not exactly one of the most affordable trainers, it definitely offers an excellent value for the price, and a quality level similar to commercial models.