Bowflex BXE216 Elliptical Trainer
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The Bowflex BXE216 shares many similarities with the Bowflex BXE116 that we’ve already reviewed here. There are, however, several differences between the two units. For example, the BXE216 offers a higher user weight capacity, a heavier flywheel, and several more workout programs on the console.
Although it’s a heavy-duty machine and can definitely perform well within the premises of a commercial club, this Bowflex elliptical is not labeled or sold as a commercial unit. Its warranty specifies that the damage sustained by the unit while used in a gym club is not covered. But on the other hand, this is one of the most solid ellipticals for home use that you can find at the moment.
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: 35 lbs (15.8 kg)
- Supported weight: 400 lbs (181.4 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: 11 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
The Bowflex BXE216 elliptical trainer has the same dimensions and footprint as the BXE116. It’s a fairly large fitness machine and with the frame fully assembled it takes 77″L x 31″W (197 x 79 cm) of floor space. On top of that, Bowflex recommends assigning a workout area for this unit of at least 125″ 79″ (315.5 x 200.7 cm).
Considering its size, the unit is also very heavy. It weighs approx. 263 lbs (119 kg) and due to this fact, it is recommended to be transported and assembled by two persons. But on the other hand, once it is completely assembled, its relocation isn’t too difficult as its front base features transport wheels, while the rear base has a lifting handle. The rear base is also equipped with a set of covers that can serve as footrests.
Needless to say, the machine’s frame is made of heavy-duty steel tubing. It has quite an impressive sturdiness, being able to support users up to 400 lbs (181.4 kg). However, there are several hard plastic parts in its construction as well. These are the covers of the drive system, and several other covers which don’t affect the unit’s overall sturdiness. All its three base bars are equipped with large, adjustable stabilizers, so you can perfectly level it on any type of flooring.
This elliptical trainer features a different paint finish than the BXE116. Only its base frame and the console mast have a black finish; the moving arms and the bars of the pedals are light gray. Evidently, the paint finish used for all the metallic parts is rust-resistant and abrasion-resistant, and with proper care, it can remain good as new for a long period of time.
Incline, stride & step-up height
Similar to the Schwinn MY17 470 and Nautilus E618, this Bowflex elliptical trainer features an automatic incline system with a range between 0% – 15%. The incline system integrates a small motor and a lever connected to the unit’s pedal track assembly. Therefore, when you adjust the incline, the internal motor will move the lever and adjust the ramp of the track assembly.
Since the incline system is motorized, it can only be adjusted from the unit’s console. The machine also requires being connected to a power source.
The machine’s incline is adjusted in increments of 1%. There are incline controls in the left mobile hand-grip. 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.
The Bowflex BXE216 elliptical machine 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. So, in case you’re looking for a unit with an adjustable stride, you might want to have a look at the Octane Fitness Q47x.
When it comes to pedal step-up height, at their lowest position the pedals are approx. 16″ (41 cm) above floor level. At their highest point and with the incline set at maximum, the pedal height reaches approx. 29″ (73.7 cm). This being said, it’s recommended to use the machine in a room with a ceiling height that’s at least 35″ (89 cm) higher than your own height.
One of the most important features of the Bowflex BXE216 is the Switch Select™ pedal articulation system. The trainer’s pedals integrate a mechanism that allows their angle adjustment. Each pedal has an adjustment lever which lets you set the angle and firmness of 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 pedals glide on dual aluminum tracks. The double track system considerably improves stability promoting a sure-step stride. Each pedal arm is equipped with two large wheels with sealed ball bearings and rubberized shells for a quiet and smooth pedaling experience.
This Bowflex elliptical trainer features two sets of handlebars, one mobile, one fixed. The mobile handlebars have a multi-grip design; they integrate controls for incline and resistance adjustment. Their connection points with the pedal bars and the console mast integrate heavy-duty ball bearings, delivering a smooth, drag-free motion.
The fixed bars feature stainless steel pulse sensors. They are connected directly to the console mast. Both types of handlebars have rubberized grips, providing superior comfort an hand adherence.
In case you’re wondering, the pedals and the moving arms are connected to the same pulley system and move simultaneously. You cannot lock the arms and move only the pedals, and vice-versa.
As we’ve mentioned above, this elliptical trainer features a slightly heavier flywheel than the BXE116 model. Its flywheel weighs 35 lbs (15.8 kg), and has most of its weight situated in its perimeter. This being said, it delivers a higher inertia and a more consistent momentum than many other models, offering the possibility to perform workouts of higher intensity. However, even though the weight of the flywheel is pretty close to the flywheels in most spin bikes, the pedaling motion generates very little stress on the joints.
The machine’s transmission is powered by a heavy-duty v-belt which delivers a very smooth, vibration-free motion. 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 Bowflex BXE216 elliptical trainer features an automatic eddy current resistance system. Therefore, the resistance can only be adjusted from its console, or from the controls in the right mobile grip. Also, the machine requires being connected to a power source. It needs a 120V power source, and a 120V AC, 60 Hz input, 2 Amp adapter is included. The adapter plugs into the machine close to its front base.
The unit’s resistance system consists of a small servo motor and a magnetic brake pad. As you select a certain resistance level, the motor will adjust the position of the brake in order to deliver more or less drag onto the flywheel. Some of the unit’s onboard programs directly control the resistance; so, when using one the machine will auto-adjust the resistance according to the current workout segment.
This Bowflex elliptical trainer offers 25 levels of resistance. 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 top resistance settings allow you to perform workouts for strength development, or high-intensity cardio workouts.
The console included with the BXE216 treadmill offers quite an impressive array of features. To begin with, it’s equipped with a large, 9-inch diagonal display, full color and with LED backlight, offering superior readability. It keeps track of all the workout metrics a professional athlete would want to keep an eye on, including time, distance, speed, incline, total calories burned, average calories burned per minute, heart rate, and heart rate zone. It also 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 unit is telemetric. Not only that it can track your pulse through the metallic sensors integrated into the stationary handlebars, it can also read it via an HR chest strap transmitter that operates in the 4.5kHz – 5.5kHz range. An HR chest strap accessory is included with this trainer.
The BXE216 is a trainer of the Bowflex Results Series™, thus, its console is Bluetooth 4.0 enabled. It’s compatible with the Bowflex Trainer app, so you can sync it with your mobile device in order to stream your workout directly to this app. The workout data can be exported via USB and uploaded on various fitness websites such as Bowflex Connect, MyFitnessPal, or UnderArmour. The USB port also doubles as a docking recharging port for your smartphone or tablet.
RunSocial is also an online application compatible with this fitness machine. This app allows you 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 console unit has 11 onboard programs. These are Manual, Fat Burn, Calorie Burn, Calorie Goal, Target Heart Rate, 5k Distance, Varied Interval, 8 Min. Interval, 16 Min. Interval, Strength, and Custom. The Manual program allows you to freely exercise on the machine adjusting the incline and resistance as you like during your session. The Custom program gives you the possibility to design your own workout. The rest of the programs are preset, but you can always make adjustments for them.
There are 4 user profiles available on the console. 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 other amenities, this console integrates a sound system, a cooling fan, and a tablet holder. The sound system and the fan are placed at the bottom of the unit. The sound system consists of two speakers which deliver a pretty decent sound rendition. It’s compatible with most smartphones, MP3 players or tablets. The fan is located in between the two speakers; it has three speed settings. And finally, the tablet is placed at the top, above the unit’s display, so in case you place a tablet on it, it won’t block the view of your workout data.
Assembly and Maintenance
The core of the machine, in other words, the drive and resistance system, comes pre-assembled, attached to the front part of the frame. So, for assembly 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. This may take up to two hours. However, it’s not a complicated process; the included manual provides very clear schematics and step-by-step instructions. Also, all the tools necessary for the assembly are included.
For maintenance, it’s recommended to periodically check the unit for loose bolts and parts. A bottle of lubricant for the unit’s joints is included. The tracks of the pedals should be kept clean to prevent any damage.
- Sturdy construction, similar to commercial machines;
- Extremely solid frame, crank, and pedals, being able to support users up to 400 lbs;
- Adjustable stabilizers on all base bars;
- Adjustable pedals, with three position angles and three pressure levels;
- Heavy, 35 lbs flywheel, being also perimeter-weighted for a consistent momentum and smooth pedaling;
- Multi-grip handlebars, with incline/resistance controls;
- Pulse sensors integrated into the fixed handlebars;
- Motorized incline, with a range between 0% and 15%;
- Quiet operation, ideal for apartment use;
- 25 levels of eddy current resistance;
- 11 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 9-inch LCD display;
- LED backlight for each monitor, for better readability
- Sound system included;
- Cooling fan included;
- Media tray included;
- Bottle/accessory holders included;
- HR chest strap transmitter included;
- Little maintenance required;
- Excellent warranty.
- The cooling fan is not too powerful.
The Bowflex BXE216 is an elliptical machine that makes available 25 levels of magnetic 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. Although it’s not labeled as a commercial trainer, it has an impressive weight capacity of 400 lbs, and a heavy, inertia-enhanced flywheel. It’s perfect for light to intense cardio workouts, muscle toning, intervals, strength and stamina development, and weight loss. In all, it’s a pretty complete fitness machine, with an excellent price/quality ratio.