|HCI PhysioStep MDX|
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The HCI Fitness MDX is one of the sturdiest recumbent elliptical trainers offering an impressive weight capacity of 500 lbs (226.7 kg). It’s larger and heavier than the HCI HXT model that we’ve already covered here and has a swivel function for the seat. It also offers more resistance settings and workout programs.
Key Features and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 60L x 32W x 44H inches (152L x 81W x 112H cm)
- Assembled weight: 210 lbs (95 kg)
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs (226.7 kg)
- Stride: 12 inches (30.5 cm)
- Seat: Adjustable, 14 positions
- Resistance: Eddy current, 32 levels
- Console: 20 programs, recovery function, workout summary function
- Extras: USB port, accessory tray
- Warranty: Frame lifetime / Parts 3 years / Electronics 3 years / Labor 1 year
Although HCI Fitness doesn’t advertise the MDX PhysioStep recumbent elliptical as a commercial-grade machine, it definitely has the sturdiness and range of features of one. It is built in a steel frame combining oval, rectangular, and cylindrical tubes in its construction. All the steel parts are double-coated with a black paint finish. The only exceptions are the seat adjustment rail and the pedal wheel trays which are made of extruded aluminum, and the posts of the handlebars which are chrome-plated.
The trainer also integrates several plastic parts. The most notable ones are the covers of the drive system and the pedals. These are made from durable plastic polymers.
The fully assembled trainer is fairly large. It is approx. 60″ (152 cm) long, and 32″ (81 cm) wide, while its highest point is marked by the top of the console; this reaches approx. 44″ (112 cm) above the floor level. It is also recommended to allow at least two feet of clearance all around the unit for easy access and safe usage.
The machine is also very heavy. Its net weight is approx. 210 lbs (95 kg). Thus, the transport of the packaged unit requires at least two people. Once it is assembled, it can be moved by only one person, though. Its rear base bar is equipped with transport wheels.
Seat and handlebars
The HCI Fitness MDX PhysioStep recumbent elliptical trainer is equipped with a seat designed to deliver superior comfort. To begin with, both the backrest and the bottom pad integrate a thick layer of foam cushioning. They are contoured to cradle the user properly. Their covers are made from a durable faux leather material which is sweatproof and easy to maintain.
The seat also offers superior adjustability. First of all, it is attached to an extruded aluminum rail with 14 adjustment positions. Thus, the bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm). It is also rated for a maximum user weight limit of 500 lbs (226.7 kg), which makes this elliptical bike a great piece of fitness equipment for anyone who wants to begin their weight loss journey.
The backrest is also adjustable. It has a knob at the base which allows you to adjust its angle. Plus, the seat can swivel 360° offering superior entry and exit possibilities. The front-to-back adjustment and the swivel functions are lever-based. The levers are right under the seat, so you can easily pull them and adjust or turn the seat while you are seated.
The trainer only has one set of handlebars. They are mobile and attach to the pedal bars. Thus, they will move for as long as you pedal. They are adjustable. Their posts have multiple adjustment holes so you can secure them closer or farther from your body, for more or less motion range. They also have a multi-grip design. However, they do not have pulse sensors and the trainer does not include fixed handlebars for the seat, similar to most other recumbent bikes.
The HCI PhysioStep MDX is equipped with a set of large pedals. They’re made from a durable ABS material. They are not size-adjustable but are large enough to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. They have a textured surface and straps for improved foot stability.
The pedal bars are equipped with large wheels. These integrate sealed bearings and have a rubber layer on the outside for a smooth and quiet motion. Unlike the pedals of a recumbent bike, they generate an elliptical motion with a stride of approx. 12″ (30.4 cm). The elliptical path is slightly inclined backward so the pedaling motion generates an extremely low impact on your joints.
The weight of the machine’s internal flywheel is not specified. However, it probably doesn’t weigh more than 30 lbs (13 kg) which is already a bit too much for a recumbent bike. It has a balanced design for a steady pedaling motion. It is also bi-directional, so you can pedal in reverse if you want.
The machine is equipped with a belt drive system. This type of transmission comes with two main advantages. First of all, the belt does not require lubrication. And second of all, it generates slightly less vibration than a chain.
The HCI PhysioStep MDX recumbent elliptical trainer is equipped with a motorized magnetic (eddy current) resistance system. It does not integrate a kinetic power generator though, like the BodyCraft ECT500G elliptical, for example. Therefore, you will need to connect it to a power source in order to start up the console and control the resistance. A power adapter is included.
The machine’s resistance system consists of a servo motor and a magnetic brake. The servo motor connects the brake with the console. Thus, when you adjust the resistance, or when a program is in use, the motor changes the magnets’ pull on the flywheel, which increases or decreases the pedaling difficulty.
The magnetic resistance system comes with quite a few advantages over a standard friction resistance system. The most important one is that there is no friction between the brake and the flywheel so the pedaling motion is very smooth and quiet. You also don’t need to worry about brake pad lubrication or replacements.
The MDX PhysioStep trainer offers quite an impressive micro-adjustability when it comes to resistance. It makes available 32 resistance settings. The lowest ones deliver a very light difficulty level, great for beginners or for users that require recovery training. Conversely, the highest levels of resistance provide quite a challenge, great for stamina and strength development.
The HCI Fitness MDX trainer is equipped with a multi-function console. It features a 9-inch LCD display with LED backlight for improved readability. It tracks time, speed, distance, heart rate, steps per minute, calories, watts, METs, and the selected resistance level. Speed and distance can be set either to English units (MPH and miles) or to metric units (kmh and kilometers). The pulse reading function is telemetric only. The machine does not have pulse sensors, so in order for the console to read your pulse, you will have to wear an optional HR chest strap.
The console offers multiple workout programs. To begin with, it has the Quick Start mode which simply allows you to just pedal while adjusting the speed from the console controls as you like. There is a Manual program which is similar to the QuickStart, but it allows you to set a time duration for it. Next, there are 12 pre-set programs that automatically adjust the resistance, depending on their segment layout. For reference, these are Warm Up, Interval, Ramps, Mountain, Rolling, Climb, Random, Hill, Fat Burn, Cardio, and Strength.
The console also offers 2 heart rate programs, a SPM program, and a Watts program, as well as Goal programs for calories and distance. The heart rate programs are pre-set for 65% and 85% of your full HR. If one HR program is selected, the machine will auto-adjust the resistance in an attempt to keep you within the selected HR range. Of course, the HR programs require you to wear an optional HR chest strap.
The Watts and SPM programs are similar to the HR programs, but the machine will auto-adjust the resistance in order to keep you within the selected Watts or SPM range. If a calorie or distance goal is selected, the console will count down from the selected value. And finally, there is also a pulse recovery function.
The trainer does not have online connectivity (no Bluetooth, no WiFi) and it is not compatible with any fitness apps. However, it has a workout summary function and you can export your workout data on a USB stick. The workout report is saved as a .csv file and can be opened in Excel, so you can keep track of your progress.
Assembly and Maintenance
The base frame of the HCI MDX recumbent elliptical comes pre-assembled. However, the rest of the parts require assembly. You will basically have to attach the front support bars of the console, the console itself, the handlebars, and the backrest. The whole task isn’t too difficult, the manual provides step-by-step assembly instructions and a basic toolkit is also included.
For maintenance, it is recommended to keep the machine clean, especially the tracks of the pedal wheels to prevent any damage to the wheels. The internal parts don’t require any lubrication. It is also recommended to periodically inspect the trainer to make sure that all the parts function properly and all the bolts still hold tight in their places.
- Heavy-duty construction – can support users up to 500 lbs;
- Aesthetic design;
- Superior stability;
- Transport wheels integrated into the rear base stabilizer;
- Large padded seat base and backrest;
- Reclining function for the backrest;
- Swivel function for the whole seat assembly for easy entry and exit;
- Lever pull system for the front-to-back seat adjustment and for the swivel function;
- 14 levels of adjustment for the seat (user range 5’0″ – 6’5″);
- Adjustable moving arms;
- Large pedals with straps and heel guards;
- 32 levels of eddy current resistance;
- Multi-function console featuring a large LCD display with LED backlight;
- 20 programs on the console;
- Recovery function;
- Workout summary function;
- USB port for the workout summary data export;
- The workout summary files can be opened and worked with in Excel;
- Phone/accessory tray integrated into the console;
- Fairly easy to assemble;
- Little maintenance required;
- Excellent warranty.
- No online connectivity;
- No compatibility with any fitness apps;
- HR chest strap not included.
The HCI Fitness MDX PhysioStep is a heavy-duty recumbent elliptical machine. It is equipped with a 32-lvl eddy current resistance system, a console with multiple workout programs and a workout summary function, and a high-comfort seat with superior micro-adjustability. It offers an impressive maximum user weight limit of 500 lbs. It’s a great machine for users of all levels, for recovery training but also for high-intensity training, stamina, and strength development. It’s not exactly an affordable machine but definitely offers excellent value for the price.