Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3804 Elliptical Trainer
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|Frame: 3 years
Parts: 180 days
The Sunny SF-E3804 is a more inclusive version of the Sunny SF-E3803 that we’ve already reviewed here. These two fitness machines basically have the same design, but the SF-3804 offers several extra features, a slightly longer stride, and a greater weight capacity. It’s an elliptical made for home use, one of the models released by Sunny Health & Fitness in 2018.
Key Features and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 54L x 25W x 63H inches (137L x 64W x 160H cm)
- Assembled weight: 81.4 lbs (37 kg)
- Supported weight: 286 lbs (130 kg)
- Stride: 13.5 inches (34 cm)
- Incline: No
- Resistance: Manual magnetic, 8 levels
- Fitness meter: Time, distance, speed, RPM, calories, pulse, goals, recovery, BMI
- Extras: Tablet holder
- Warranty: Frame 3 years, Parts 180 days
Frame and parts
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3804 features a steel frame but also has several ABS parts in its construction. For example, the covers of the flywheel and pulley, the pedal trays, and several other small covers are made of heavy-duty ABS material. All the steel frame parts are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish; the color used is gray, this being the only color available for this trainer.
The fully assembled unit is not extremely large, compared to other ellipticals, such as the NordicTrack SE9i, for example. However, it still is 54″ (137 cm) long, and 25″ (64 cm) wide, so it may not be the best fit for a small room. Plus, it is recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance around it for ease of access and usage.
The Sunny SF-E3804 weighs approx. 81 lbs (37 kg). It’s not an extremely heavy machine but does offer enough weight and a low center of gravity, in order to deliver excellent stability. Plus, its rear base bar features two adjustable stabilizers.
The machine’s frame does not fold. However, its front base has a set of wheels which facilitate its relocation, if needed.
Like most other elliptical crosstrainers, the Sunny SF-E3804 features two sets of handlebars. One is fixed, the other is mobile. The fixed handlebars are directly attached to the front mast of the machine. They cannot be adjusted; they integrate stainless steel pulse sensors so that the console can monitor your pulse if you hold on to them.
The mobile handlebars are directly attached to the bars of the pedals. This being said, they cannot be locked, so they will continue to move for as long as you pedal. They have long grips, with ball grips at the top. They are not equipped with sensors as the fixed handlebars, and also do not have any resistance controls built-in them. Both sets of handlebars have rubberized grips for optimal comfort and superior hand adherence.
Elliptical path, stride, and step-up height
First of all, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3804 is equipped with a heavy-duty set of pedals which can support users up to 286 lbs (130 kg). The pedal trays are made of durable ABS material; they have a textured surface and inner guards for extra foot stability. However, they are non-adjustable and do not integrate any additional cushioning, like other more expensive crosstrainers, such as the Bowflex BXE216, for example.
Since it’s an elliptical trainer with a rear drive system, its elliptical path is slightly inclined forward. This being said, the pedaling motion resembles a descension on a soft ramp. This can be considered a plus, as the workout will put more focus on your glutes. It is also important to mention here that the machine does not have an incline system. Thus, you cannot adjust the position of its elliptical path.
The Sunny SF-E3804 features a medium range stride. It measures 13.5″ (34 cm). This being said, the machine should accommodate comfortably users up to 6’2″ (188 cm). Taller users may find the stride a bit short.
The pedal step-up height is approx. 8″ (20 cm). Conversely, at their highest point, the pedals are situated at approx. 14″ (35 cm) above floor level. Therefore, it is recommended to use the machine in a room with a ceiling that is at least 20″ (51 cm) higher than your own height.
Resistance and drive
The Sunny SF-E3804 elliptical trainer features a manual magnetic resistance system. This means the console does not adjust the resistance automatically, and the machine does not have an internal motor. Also, you don’t have to connect it to a power outlet; the only power source it needs is two batteries for the console.
The unit’s resistance system consists of an internal magnetic brake which is connected to the tension dial on the front mast of the machine. As you turn the dial clockwise, the magnetic brake moves closer to the flywheel; this increases the intensity of the internal magnetic field, which results in a higher pedaling difficulty.
The machine makes available 8 tension levels. The first one delivers very little pedaling difficulty. Conversely, the 7th and 8th tension levels provide considerably more resistance, offering the possibility to quickly achieve a higher heart rate and a more intense workout.
The machine’s internal drivetrain uses a heavy-duty poly-v belt. This being said, the pedaling motion is very quiet. Also, a belt does not require periodic lubrication as a chain.
The crankset is equipped with two heavy-duty, solid steel crank arms. The pedal bars are connected to the crank arms directly, and the connection points integrate ball bearings for a smoother pedal motion. As we’ve mentioned above, the pedal bars and the pedal trays are designed to support users up to 286 lbs (130 kg).
Last but not least, the internal flywheel is perimeter-weighted. Its exact weight is not specified, but considering the machine’s weight, it probably weighs around 20-30 lbs (9-13.6 kg). These being said, it provides a pretty consistent momentum. It also permits pedaling in reverse.
As we’ve mentioned above, the console of the Sunny SF-E3804 elliptical is battery-powered. It requires two AA batteries which are included. It features a large LCD display which is divided into 6 sub-sections. The bottom smaller sections show speed, RPM, time, distance, calories, and pulse. Speed and RPM share the same section; they’re shown alternatively. The top, larger section gives you the possibility to either select one of these metrics to be shown at all time, or select the Scan mode and each one will be shown for 6 seconds.
Speed and distance can only be displayed in imperial units (MPH and miles). There is no setting for metric units. Also, the console is not telemetric. This means it cannot read your pulse via a wireless HR chest strap. So, in order to benefit from a pulse reading, you will have to use the sensors integrated into the fixed handlebars.
The console does not have any preset workout programs. However, it does have goal settings for time, distance, calories, and pulse. If a goal is selected for time, distance, and/or calories, the console will show the remaining amount until you reach your goal. If a goal is selected for heart rate, the console will beep when you achieve the selected pulse rate.
A Recovery function and a BMI function are also available. The Recovery function requires you to use the pulse sensors. It measures the amount of time your heart takes to return to a normal BPM after the workout, and based on the result, it will give you a fitness rating between F1 (best) and F6 (poor). The BMI (Body Mass Index) function calculates your percentage of body fat based on the personal data that you input, such as height, weight, age, and gender. Therefore, these two applications give you the possibility to keep track of your fitness level and weight loss.
The console also integrates a tablet holder. This accessory consists of a small shelf placed above the console display; this shelf is large enough to accommodate any tablet. Also, the top section of the console features a grid with the heart rate zones that you should aim for depending on your age, in order to benefit from a better aerobic output, fat burn, etc.
Assembly and Maintenance
All the elements of the drive and resistance mechanisms are already assembled, connected to the base frame, and encased by the ABS covers. However, the machine still requires quite a bit of assembly. You will have to attach the base bars, the front mast, the pedals, the moving arms, the stationary handlebars, connect the cables, and install the console. This may take more than an hour. The manual provides very clear assembly instructions and schematics, though, and a set of basic tools for assembly is also included.
The internal components of the machine don’t need any maintenance, at least not for a long period of time. Therefore, in terms of maintenance, it’s only recommended to wipe off the sweat that may drop on the frame at the end of the workout and periodically check for loose bolts or parts. The unit’s joints may also require lubrication from time to time.
- Sturdy construction – can support users up to 286 lbs;
- Small footprint;
- Adjustable stabilizers on the rear base;
- Transport wheels on the front base;
- Fixed and mobile handlebars;
- Bi-directional and balanced flywheel providing a smooth and steady pedaling motion with a consistent momentum;
- Extra-large, non-slip, durable pedals;
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance;
- Multi-panel LCD display console to show all the workout metrics simultaneously;
- The console can track time, distance, total distance, speed, pulse, and calories burned;
- Goal functions for time, distance, calories, and pulse;
- BMI function included;
- Recovery function included;
- The display shows date, clock, and temperature when in idle mode;
- Tablet holder included;
- Heart rate intervals sheet on the console;
- Quiet operation;
- Easy to assemble;
- Little maintenance required;
- Decent warranty.
- No backlight on the LCD display;
- The calories reading isn’t too accurate.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3804 is a manual magnetic elliptical trainer designed for home use. It offers 8 levels of resistance, a capacity of 286 lbs, and a console which tracks all the important workout metrics and has a BMI and a Recovery function. It’s an excellent machine for light to medium cardio workouts, muscle toning, stamina development, and weight loss. It’s also an affordable machine compared to most light-commercial models, offering great value for the price.