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Universal E40 Elliptical Trainer

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Universal e40

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275 lbsEddy
7Frame: 3 years
Mechanical: 1 year
Electrical: 1 year
Wear: 60 days

The Universal E40 elliptical trainer almost identical to the Schwinn A40 when it comes to specs. It’s a fitness machine designed for home use but does feature a decent construction. Its console offers quite a bit more than a basic one, as it offers 6 pre-set workouts and also has a built-in sound system.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 56L x 24W x 64.5H inches (142L x 61W x 164H cm)
  • Assembled weight: 94 lbs (42.6 kg)
  • Max. user weight: 275 lbs (125 kg)
  • Stride: 17.5 inches (44.5 cm)
  • Incline: No
  • Footplates: Standard with articulation
  • Handlebars: Both mobile and fixed (with pulse sensors)
  • Resistance system: Magnetic, motor-assisted, 8 levels
  • Console: 6 pre-set workouts, 1 manual
  • Amenities: Sound system, media tray, bottle holder
  • Warranty: Frame 3 years, Mechanical 1 year, Electronics 1 year, Wear items 60 days

Frame construction

The Universal E40 elliptical machine is built around a durable, steel frame. In fact, most of the machine is steel-made; the only exceptions are the pedals, the console and the guards of the drive and resistance elements. All the steel parts in its construction are double-coated with a high-grade, corrosion-resistant finish, silver in color, this being the only version available for this machine.

Compared to other elliptical trainers, such as the new Schwinn MY17 470 or the LifeSpan E2i, the E40 model has a smaller footprint, especially lengthwise. Its footprint is 56″L x 24″W (142 x 61 cm). However, when in use, its pedal bars will extend a bit over its front base. Therefore, it will require some clearance at the front. In fact, Universal recommends maintaining a clearance of at least 2″ (61 cm) all around the machine, for safe operation.

Even though it’s a smaller trainer than others, the Universal E40 is heavy enough to supply an excellent stability. It weighs approx. 94 lbs (42.6 kg) when fully assembled. Its relocation can easily be carried out once it is assembled as its front base is equipped with two small transport wheels. By leaning the machine onto its wheels you will only handle approx. 30 lbs of weight.

The machine’s frame features three base bars, which considerably bolster its stability. On top of that, the rear and middle bars are equipped with adjustable stabilizers with rubber pads. Thus, you should be able to perfectly level the machine on any type of flooring.

Drive system, stride, and elevation

The Universal E40 elliptical trainer features a quiet belt drive system, using a heavy-duty rubber belt. It integrates a medium-size flywheel which delivers a consistent momentum. The flywheel is perimeter weighted; thus, it adds stability and smoothness to the striding motion.

The machine is equipped with pedals large enough to accommodate athletic footwear of any size. They’re made of durable PVC material; along with their bars and the machine’s cranks, they’re rated for a maximum weight capacity of 275 lbs (125 kg). They’re also articulated, which means they have a bit of flex, which reduces tension on the ankles when using the machine.

The bars of the pedals are equipped with large rollers, which integrate sealed ball bearings. This being said, their gliding onto the rail bars is extremely smooth and quiet.

When it comes to stride, the Universal elliptical machine offers a medium range one. Its stride is 17.5″ (44.5 cm), which means it can accommodate comfortable users between 5’0″ and 6’0″ (153 – 183 cm). Taller users may find the machine’s range of motion a little short, but nonetheless, they should also be able to use it with no problem. The elliptical path is horizontal, delivering a natural motion. Also, the pedals’ Q-Factor (the distance between the pedals) is 4″, which means that the positioning of your feet on them is natural, without resulting in extra lateral stress on the knees or ankles.

The highest point of the pedals is approx. 16″ (40.6 cm) above floor level. Therefore, add at least 20″ (51 cm) to your own height and compare it with the ceiling height of the room where you will be using the machine, in order to avoid any ceiling issues.

One last aspect to mention here regards the machine’s arms and handlebars. The machine’s moving arms feature a multi-grip design, with rubberized grips for optimal comfort. Their highest point is 64.5″ (164 cm), so even tall users should benefit from a natural grip onto them. The fixed handlebars integrate stainless steel pulse sensors, so by holding onto them, the console will be able to monitor your heart rate.

Resistance system

The Universal E40 elliptical machine is equipped with a motor-assisted magnetic resistance system. This means its resistance can only be adjusted from the console. The console itself is can be powered via batteries or an AC adapter. It requires either 4 D-type batteries, or a 120V 60Hz Input, 9VDC 0.5A Output adapter, none of these being included with the machine.

The elliptical’s resistance system consists of a small servo motor and a magnetic brake pad. As you select a specific resistance level from the console, the servo motor will move the magnetic pad closer or farther in relation to the flywheel, this way adjusting the machine’s resistance. You can adjust resistance as you pedal, or, if you select a preset workout, the machine will adjust its resistance automatically.

This elliptical trainer offers 8 levels of resistance. The first two levels deliver light workouts, great for warm-ups or recovery training. Conversely, the 7-8 workouts supply a more consistent workout, offering the possibility to obtain a substantial burn, being great for intense cardio and weight loss.

Control unit

The console supplied with the Universal elliptical trainer is not an advanced one but does offer much more than a basic console. To begin with, it features a 4″ LCD display with backlight and large digits, which is easy to read. It can track time, speed, distance, RPM, calories burned and heart rate. It also displays the selected resistance level.

The console can be set up to display distance and speed in English Imperial or metric units. It’s not telemetry enabled, which means it cannot track your pulse via an HR chest strap transmitter. It can only track your heart rate if you hold onto the EKG pulse sensors built-in the stationary handlebars.

The console unit doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities, nor it offers the possibility to transfer your workout data online. However, it does have 6 preset programs, plus the Manual Program.

The 6 programs are divided into three categories. These are Fun Rides (Rolling Hills and Ride in the Park), Mountains (Pike’s Peak and Pyramids) and Challenges (Uphill Finish and Cross-Training). Each program has a default workout time of 15 minutes, being set up to difficulty level 3 (the max. level is 8). You can adjust the difficulty level of each program, as well as the workout time.

Of course, the Manual Program doesn’t have any preset parameters. It gives you the possibility to train freely, adjusting the machine’s resistance as you like during your pedaling routine.

Although the console does not integrate highly advanced features, it is equipped with two amenities that we should mention here. One of them is the sound system, the other is the tablet (or media) tray. The sound system consists of two speakers situated one on each bottom side of the console. It’s compatible with most MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets. The sound rendered by it, although it’s not of exceptional quality, it is considerably superior to the sound generated by the speakers of most phones or tablets. The tablet holder is placed under the console display; it can accommodate tablets of all sizes.

Last but not least, the machine’s control unit is extremely easy to operate, featuring straightforward commands. Its Quick Start button makes available the Manual Mode, while each program category has its own key. The resistance adjusts from the Up/Down arrows keys on the right side, while the Start/Stop key gives you the possibility to put your workout on hold and resume it without losing the workout data. The unit is powered on when it detects pedal movement and has a sleep mode to which will enter after 5 minutes of inactivity on the machine.

Assembly and Maintenance

The machine’s assembly is far from being complicated and the included manual provides clear and concise step-by-step assembly instructions. The machine’s flywheel, belt, crank, motor and magnetic brake are already assembled, attached to the front part of the frame. So, basically, you will have to attach the two main frame parts together, add the rear and front base tubes, the console mast, the pedal bars and mobile arms, the fixed handlebars, and the console. This may take up to two hours. All the tools required for the assembly are included.

Maintenance requires keeping the machine’s rails clean, to protect the pedal wheels. The bar joints may require periodic lubrication. Other than this, there isn’t anything much to be done in terms of maintenance.

The Pros

  • Sturdy and stable frame able to support users up to 275 lbs;
  • Elegant design lines;
  • Rubberized, adjustable foot stabilizers;
  • Transport wheels;
  • Ergonomic, articulating pedals;
  • 8 levels of magnetic, motor-assisted resistance;
  • Smooth and quiet drive;
  • Perimeter weighted flywheel, delivering a stable motion and a consistent momentum;
  • Pulse sensors incorporated into the fixed handlebars;
  • LCD console with a backlit display and large digits, easy to read; 
  • 6 preset workout programs (plus the Manual Mode), each one with 8 levels of difficulty;
  • Sound system included;
  • Tablet holder included;
  • Bottle holder included;
  • Fairly easy to assemble;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Excellent warranty.

The Cons

  • A tablet or magazine placed on the media tray will partially or totally cover the console display;
  • Batteries/adapter are not included.


The Universal E40 is an elliptical trainer featuring a sturdy, steel frame, a motor-assisted magnetic resistance system, and a console with 7 workout programs. It offers 8 distinctive levels of resistance, being perfect for light to medium cardio training, recovery training, stamina development, intervals and weight loss. When it comes to price, it’s not exactly one of the cheapest machines within this range of features, but quality definitely matches its price.

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