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Orbitrek Elite Elliptical Trainer

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UnitSizeSupported
weight
Flywheel
weight
ResistanceExercise
meter
Orbitrek Elite

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L:33"
W:21"
H:59"
275 lbs20 lbsFriction,
Manual
Time,
Distance,
Speed,
Calories,
Scan

The Orbitrek Elite is one of the elliptical trainers released a few years ago, but it is still available at the moment. Unlike other elliptical trainers made for home use, the Orbitrek Elite features a friction resistance system. In terms of features, it is similar to the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E1405. However, it has a slightly heavier flywheel and a superior weight capacity.

Key Features and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 33L x 21W x 59H inches (84L x 53W x 150H cm)
  • Shipping weight: 67 lbs (30.6 kg)
  • Flywheel weight: 20 lbs (9 kg)
  • Supported weight: 275 lbs (125 kg)
  • Stride: 8 inches (20 cm)
  • Incline: No
  • Drive: Chain
  • Resistance: Friction
  • Fitness meter: Time, distance, speed, calories, scan
  • Warranty: 1 year

Frame construction

The Orbitrek Elite elliptical machine features a steel frame combining oval, rectangular, and cylindrical tubes in its construction. All the steel parts are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish black in color, this being the only color available for this particular model. The only exception is the flywheel which has a chrome plating finish.

The machine also integrates several plastic parts. The most notable ones are the pedal trays, the side panels that cover the flywheel, and the chain guard.

The Orbitrek Elite has a rather small footprint. It is approx. 33″ (84 cm) long, and 21″ (53 cm) wide. This being said, it should fit pretty well even into a small room or apartment. It is recommended, though, to allow at least two feet of clearance all around it, for easy access and safe usage.

The trainer is not super heavy. Its gross weight is approx. 67 lbs (30.6 kg) so it can be carried and assembled by only one person. Once it is assembled, it can be moved even easier as its front base features a set of small wheels. Also, its rear base stabilizer features polygonal caps which rotate and can serve as floor levelers.

The trainer does not have fixed handlebars like the Body Power StepTrac BST800, for example. It only has a set of moving arms that attach the pedals. These cannot be locked, so they will always move for as long as you pedal. They do not have pulse sensors or other controls. Their top grips feature PVC foam sleeves for improved contact. Their height reaches approx. 59″ (150 cm) above the floor level.

Pedal construction, stride, and step-up height

First of all, the Orbitrek Elite elliptical trainer does not have an incline system. This being said, you cannot adjust the angle of the elliptical path or the length of the stride. It offers a fairly short stride of approx. 8″ (20 cm). This being said, it is not recommended for taller users than 6’0″ (183 cm) as they may not benefit from a satisfying range of motion.

Since it’s a rear-drive elliptical (the crankset is placed at the backside of the unit), its elliptical path is slightly inclined forward. Therefore, the ride resembles a descent on a soft ramp. This leads to a bit of extra workout for the glutes and thighs.

As we’ve mentioned above, the pedal trays are made from a durable thermoplastic material. They do not have any additional cushioning or articulation. They have a textured surface and side guards for improved foot stability. They are non-adjustable, but they are large enough to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes.

The pedal trays attach to a set of steel tubes connected to the machine’s crank arms and to the moving arms. They are durable enough to support users up to 275 lbs (125 kg).

At their lowest point, the pedals are at approx. 7″ (18 cm). Conversely, at their highest point, the pedals are situated at approx. 14″ (35 cm) above the floor. Therefore, it is recommended to use the machine in a room with a ceiling that is at least 17″ (43 cm) higher than your own height.

Drive system

The Orbitrek Elite elliptical trainer is equipped with a perimeter-weighted flywheel, similar to the ones on spin bikes. It is also pretty large in diameter, so it is not concealed by the guards of the drive system as is the case for many other elliptical trainers. It weighs approx. 20 lbs (9 kg), so it provides a pretty decent momentum. It is chrome-plated and features a set of ABS side panels.

The flywheel is bi-directional, so reverse pedaling is possible on this machine. Evidently, when pedaling in reverse, the resistance remains constant, given by the amount of friction applied by the brake on the top side of the flywheel. Also, coasting is not possible on this machine. When you stop pedaling, the flywheel also stops spinning.

The machine is equipped with a chain drive system. It integrates a chain similar to a standard bike chain, which is completely covered by a set of large ABS guards. The chain is pre-lubricated from the factory and considering that the machine is for indoor use only, and comes with a closed chain guard, it shouldn’t need any further lubrication for a long period of time.

The unit’s crankset is pretty sturdy as well. It features a small pulley and a set of sturdy steel arms similar to the ones on road bikes. The spacing between the pedals (Q-Factor) is approx. 240 mm, so it’s a bit wide. Thus, the machine may not be the best choice for users with knee problems as it may generate extra lateral stress on the knees for them.

Resistance system

The Orbitrek Elite elliptical trainer is equipped with a friction resistance system. The adjustment of the resistance is done manually, so you don’t need a power cord or a power adapter for it. But on the other hand, the unit’s fitness monitor cannot adjust the resistance automatically.

The machine’s resistance system consists of a brake with a large felt pad. This brake is attached to the top frame section of the frame above the flywheel. It is also connected to the tension knob above the frame. Thus, when you turn the knob right or left, the pad applies more or less friction to the flywheel.

The machine’s resistance system doesn’t have pre-determined tension levels. You simply turn the knob until you get a pedaling difficulty that you’re comfortable with. As a general idea, you can tighten the brake pad on the flywheel up to the point you can barely pedal.

It’s important to mention, though, that the machine’s brake pad will eventually wear out and will need replacement. However, the pad should last for at least a year even if the machine is used for a few hours daily. It also may need a few drops of silicone lubricant from time to time for a smoother flywheel motion.

Fitness monitor

The Orbitrek Elite elliptical is equipped with a basic fitness monitor. It features a small LCD display that indicates time, speed distance, and calories burned. It does not show RPM or watts, and it does not have a pulse reading function.

The monitor unit doesn’t have any pre-set workout programs or a target-setting function. It only has one button that covers all its functions. By pressing the button repeatedly, you can scroll through the workout metrics and select the one you want to view. You can also press and hold the button to clear all the data on it to zero.

The unit has a Scan Mode. You can select the Scan Mode by repeatedly pressing the button. In Scan Mode, it automatically rotates the workout metrics showing each one for a few seconds.

The fitness monitor unit is battery-powered. It requires two AAA batteries which are not included. You can turn it on by pressing the button, but it should also automatically turn on if it detects flywheel movement. It also has a sleep mode; it will enter sleep mode automatically if it does not detect any flywheel movement for more than four minutes.

Assembly and Maintenance

The main body of the machine comes pre-assembled. The flywheel, the crankset, the chain, and the brake are already attached to the main frame. You only need to add the front and rear base stabilizers, the lower arm and pedal bars, the pedal trays, the upper sections of the moving arms, and the fitness monitor. This shouldn’t take more than one hour of your time. The manual provides clear assembly instructions and all the necessary tools are included.

For maintenance, it is recommended to keep the machine clean. The chain is pre-lubricated but after a while, it may need extra lubrication. The brake pad may also need lubrication if it makes a loud noise when in contact with the flywheel. And finally, it is recommended to periodically inspect the machine, to make sure that all the moving parts still function correctly, and all the fixed parts still hold tight in their places.

The Pros

  • Pretty sturdy construction – can support users up to 275 lbs;
  • Small footprint;
  • Adjustable levelers on the rear base;
  • Transport wheels on the front base;
  • Perimeter-weighted flywheel for improved inertia;
  • The flywheel is bi-directional;
  • Extra-large, non-slip, durable pedals;
  • Durable chain drive;
  • Standard friction resistance;
  • Fitness monitor included – it tracks time, distance, speed, and calories burned;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required.

The Cons

  • No fixed handlebars;
  • No pulse reading function;
  • The batteries for the monitor are not included.

Summary

The Orbitrek Elite is an elliptical trainer made for home use. It is equipped with a 20-lb flywheel, a friction resistance system, and a set of large pedals. It also includes a basic fitness monitor that tracks time, speed, distance, and calories burned. It’s a machine designed for low-impact cardio training, great for stamina development, muscle toning, and weight loss. Finally, it’s not exactly the most affordable trainer in this feature range as it costs quite a bit more than other similar elliptical machines.

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