|Fitness Reality E5500XL|
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|21||1 year limited
The Fitness Reality E5500XL is an elliptical trainer with motor-assisted magnetic resistance, similar in construction to the Kettler Axos Cross P or the Exerpeutic 1000XL. But as opposed to these two models, it features a dual flywheel system and dual belt drive, offering a much smoother pedaling motion. It also offers a higher number of resistance levels and workout programs.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 57.5L x 24W x 66H inches (146 L x 61W x 167.6H cm)
- Assembled weight: 93 lbs (42 kg)
- Max. user weight: 270 lbs (122.5 kg)
- Stride: 18 inches (45.7 cm)
- Incline: No
- Handlebars: Both mobile and fixed (with pulse sensors)
- Resistance system: Eddy current, 24 levels
- Console: 21 workout programs
- Amenities: Tablet holder, accessory holder
- Warranty: 1 year limited
Frame construction and parts
The main body of this elliptical trainer integrates parts made of both steel and ABS. Evidently, the frame, arms and handlebars of the machine are made of steel, while the ABS parts are mostly covers and cosmetic parts, the biggest ones being the covers of the flywheels. All steel parts are powder coated with anti-corrosive silver paint. So far there’s only one version for the E5500XL, the model number 2338, the silver-black one visible in the attached photos.
The machine does not have a folding frame. However, as opposed to other rear drive ellipticals, such as the ProForm Smart 735, this particular model has a much smaller footprint. It takes approx. 58″L x 24″W (146 x 61 cm) of floor space, and can actually fit well even in a smaller room or apartment.
The bases of the frame are simple, cylindrical bars, with plastic, polygonal caps as stabilizers. Although it’s not extremely heavy, with an assembled weight of 93 lbs (42 kg), the elliptical may not be too easy to handle by anyone. Thus, the front base integrates transport wheels, in order to facilitate the machine’s relocation once you’ve finished your workout. By tilting it onto its front wheels, you’ll actually be handling only half its weight.
The Fitness Reality E5500XL elliptical features both mobile and fixed handlebars. They both feature a multi-grip design, being made of fairly thick steel tubes, with rubber-foam handle-grips for maximum comfort. The fixed handlebars integrate stainless steel pulse sensors, thus the console is able to read your pulse.
Needless to say, the pedal bars are also made of steel. Their joints integrate heavy-duty, sealed ball bearings, designed to last a lifetime. They’re directly connected to the crank arms, and don’t glide on any rails such as for the Horizon EX-59-02 for example. Therefore, due to this fact, maintenance of the machine requires much less. You won’t have to bother cleaning the machine’s gliding rails, to prevent roller damage.
The pedals are made of heavy-duty ABS material, with a ribbed surface, in order to provide maximum adherence, regardless what sports shoes you’re wearing. They’re also fairly large, being able to accommodate shoes of all sizes. They don’t feature any type of suspension or articulation, but due to the dual flywheel drive the pedaling motion is still smooth, with a very low impact on the joints.
Stride, Q-factor and step-up height
The E5500XL elliptical trainer features a non-adjustable stride of 18″. This means it should accommodate comfortably users between 4’10” (147 cm) and 6’3″ (190 cm). Of course, taller users should also be able to use it, but they will be exercising under their full range of motion.
The Q-factor (or the distance between the pedals) is 6″ (152 mm), which is actually an important comfort factor. This means your feet will be at a comfortable distance apart, and this way, any extra lateral stress on your knees during your workout will be eliminated.
The machine’s step-up height is also 6″ (15.2 cm). Differently put, even for users with disabilities, stepping up onto the pedals shouldn’t be too difficult. Also, in case you’re wondering, the highest point of the pedals is approx. 18″ (47 cm). Therefore, prior to purchasing this elliptical, make sure to add at least 20″ to your own height and compare the result with the ceiling height of the room where you’ll be using it.
Drive and resistance
As we’ve mentioned above, this elliptical machine features a dual action drive, with a double transmission operating 2 flywheels and 2 belts. This results in an increased momentum and a smoother striding motion. It uses heavy-duty v-belts designed for a prolonged lifespan. It also features a 3-piece crank system, with solid steel crank arms, designed to support users up to 270 lbs (122.5 kg).
Needless to say, since it’s a magnetic elliptical trainer and uses a belt-based drive system, the operation of the machine is really quiet. The noise level created by its operation is far from being loud enough to interfere in any way with the sound of your TV. And if you’re going to use the machine in an apartment building, you can be sure the neighbors won’t hear it.
When it comes to resistance, the Fitness Reality E5500XL features a motor assisted, eddy current magnetic brake. This means that the elliptical needs to be connected to a power source in order to allow resistance adjustment, and the operation of the console. Resistance is adjusted exclusively from the console. As you select the desired resistance level, the command will be given to a small internal servo motor, which controls the magnetic field, reducing or adding drag.
An AC adapter is supplied with the machine, unit which plugs into its body at the front, close to the base stabilizer.
The E5500XL elliptical offers 24 distinctive levels of resistance. The lower levels are great for recovery training, providing minimum impact and drag. Conversely, the top levels of resistance offer you the possibility to engage in a more intense workout, for stamina building and weight loss. The machine does not feature an incline though, so a climbing stride cannot be simulated on it.
Although the console supplied with this elliptical trainer is not the most advanced one, it still packs quite an impressive set of features and functions. First of all, it integrates a 5″ LCD display, with blue backlight which renders it much easier to read, even if sunlight falls directly over it, or in case you’re working out in a darker room.
The display keeps track of time, distance, calories burned, RPM, speed, pulse, and watts, also featuring an odometer function. There are target goal functions for time, distance and calories.
The console also integrates 20 preset workout programs, plus the P1 (Manual) program, which basically allows you to adjust resistance as you like when pedaling. The 21 programs offer workouts of different levels, beginning with P2 (Malibu) and P3 (Quiet Trail), and ending with P20 (High Hurdles) and P21 (Ironman). Evidently, when using one of the preset programs, the machine’s resistance will adjust automatically, depending on the current workout segment of the program.
The console also offers a Recovery function, providing the feedback about the rate at which your heart recovers after a workout. Your recovery rating is calculated by evaluating how large the difference is between your peak heart rate at the end of the workouts and your heart rate after 60 sec. of resting. At the end of the Recovery Test, you will be given a rating between F1 and F6. F1 represents excellent fitness, while F6 signifies poor fitness.
The machine’s console is fairly easy to operate. It has 6 buttons. The MODE button is used for navigation between programs. The ENTER button fulfills the selection function for your program or time, distance or calories goal value. The arrow keys are used to increase or decrease resistance during the use of Manual mode, or to increase / decrease a goal value. The Recovery program has its own button. And finally, the Start / Stop key allows you to pause your workout, button great to have if you combine elliptical workouts with various other workouts.
There are only two main accessories supplied with this fitness machine. One is the tablet holder, and the other is the bottle holder.
The tablet holder is integrated in the console, consisting of a plastic “lip” under the LCD display. It can also serve as a reading rack, and can accommodate tablets or smartphones of all sizes. The console does not have a sound system, cooling fan or audio jack.
The bottle holder is basically a small plastic cup which mounts on the console post. It can also serve as a place to store your MP3 player, keys, TV remote etc.
Assembly and Maintenance
The assembly of this Fitness Reality elliptical machine is fairly easy. Its main body comes ready-assembled, thus you only need to attach the machine’s bases, the console post, console, handlebars, arms and pedals. Assembly shouldn’t take longer than an hour. A comprehensive user’s manual is supplied with it, and provides step-by-step instructions for it. Also a multi-hex tool with Phillips screwdriver and an Allen wrench are included, so basically you won’t need any other tools for assembly.
Maintenance doesn’t really require much. Basically you need to keep the machine clean, and periodically inspect its joints to make sure they don’t need retightening. However, in case its joints develop squeaking noises, which is pretty much common for most elliptical machines, their lubrication may be required.
- Solid frame, study overall construction, pretty close to the commercial grade ellipticals;
- Narrow Q-factor, eliminating any lateral stress on the knees;
- Mobile arms with an ergonomic design;
- Fixed arms incorporating pulse sensors;
- Dual flywheel and belt drive system, providing a very smooth pedaling motion;
- Large pedals with a ribbed design for maximum adherence;
- 24 levels of resistance;
- 21 preset workouts;
- Goal setting functions for time, distance and calories;
- Recovery function;
- LCD backlit display;
- Tablet and bottle holders included;
- Extremely quiet operation;
- Easy to assemble;
- Little maintenance required.
Tablet or magazine placed on the reading rack will cover the console display.
The Fitness Reality E5500XL is mid-range elliptical trainer for home use, featuring a well-constructed, sturdy frame, dual drive, and eddy current resistance system. It offers 24 levels of resistance and 21 pre-set workout programs. It’s an excellent machine for light to medium cardio workouts, stamina building, muscle toning, recovery training and of course, for weight loss. You can actually burn up to 4-500 calories per hour with this machine. It doesn’t have an incline, sound system or cooling fan, but it also costs less than $400, resulting in an excellent price / value ratio.