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The XTERRA FS3.5 is one of the elliptical trainers released by XTERRA Fitness in 2018. As opposed to the XTERRA FS2.5 that we’ve already reviewed here, it features a longer stride and more resistance levels. It’s a machine equipped with a motorized magnetic resistance system made for home use. It also has a slightly smaller footprint than other front-drive elliptical trainers.
Key Features and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 57.1L x 20.5W x 63H inches (145L x 52W x 160H cm)
- Assembled weight: 110 lbs (50 kg)
- Supported weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
- Flywheel weight: 15 lbs (7 kg)
- Stride: 17 inches (43 cm)
- Incline: No
- Resistance: Digital magnetic, 24 levels
- Console: 24 programs, recovery
- Extras: Accessory holder, sound system
- Warranty: Frame 5 years / Parts 1 year
The XTERRA Fitness FS3.5 elliptical machine features a pretty solid steel frame but it also incorporates several ABS parts in its construction. For example, the covers of the drive system and the pedal trays are made of heavy-duty ABS plastic. All the steel bars are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The only exceptions are the covers of the pedal sliding rails which are aluminum-made and they don’t have any paint finish.
As we’ve mentioned above, the XTERRA FS3.5 elliptical has a smaller footprint than other front-drive ellipticals, such as the Tunturi C55-F, or the SOLE E25. It is approx. 57″ (145 cm) long, and 20.5″ (52 cm) wide; its highest point is given by its moving arms which reach approx. 63″ (160 cm) above floor level. Of course, just as for any other elliptical trainer, it is recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance on each side of it and at the rear, for ease of access.
The fully assembled unit weighs approx. 110 lbs (50 kg). This weight adds pretty decent stability to the machine. Its rear base features adjustable stabilizers that allow you to perfectly level it on an irregular floor. Also, the mid-base rests on two extra rubber bumpers while the front base is equipped with transport wheels which facilitate the unit’s relocation if necessary.
The machine’s pedal bars are rated for a weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg) which is not bad for a trainer made for home use. They’re equipped with large wheels that hug their rails for extra stability. The wheels integrate sealed ball bearings for a smooth pedal motion and their outer layer is rubberized in order to dampen noise.
Finally, the XTERRA FS3.5 elliptical is equipped with two sets of handlebars, one mobile and one fixed. The mobile handlebars have long grips in order to accommodate taller users better. The fixed handlebars feature short grips and they integrate metallic pulse. Both handlebars have rubberized grips for improved comfort.
Elliptical path, stride, and step-up height
First of all, the XTERRA Fitness FS3.5 elliptical trainer does not have an incline system. Therefore, you cannot adjust the angle of its elliptical path or the length of its stride. The pedals feature large trays with side and front guards to provide extra foot stability. However, they do not have extra articulation or an angle adjustment system like the pedals of the ProForm Endurance 920 E, for example.
The unit’s elliptical path is almost completely horizontal (maybe one degree inclined forward). This means it provides a natural stride, without the extra focus on glutes or hamstrings. Also, the spacing between the pedals is pretty narrow, so you won’t get any extra lateral stress on your knees and ankles.
This XTERRA Fitness elliptical trainer makes available 17″ (43 cm) of stride. Therefore, it can accommodate users up to 6’0″ – 6’1″ (183 – 186 cm). Of course, taller users can still use this trainer but they may not benefit from a complete range of motion.
The minimum height of the pedal is approx. 14″ (35 cm) above floor level. Conversely, at their highest position, the pedals are situated at approx. 18″ (45 cm) above floor level. Thus, it is recommended to use this elliptical cross trainer in a room with a ceiling that is at least 25″ (63 cm) higher than your own height.
Resistance and drive
The XTERRA FS3.5 elliptical cross-trainer is equipped with a motorized magnetic resistance system. This means it can adjust the resistance automatically. It also means that it requires an external power source (an adapter is included), and that the console has multiple workout programs.
The unit’s resistance system consists of a servo motor and a magnetic brake. As you adjust the resistance from the console, or as the console adjusts the resistance automatically, the motor increases or decreases the magnets’ pull. This results in more or less pedaling resistance.
The resistance system offers 24 difficulty settings. The first few difficulty levels deliver a fairly light pedal tension. The top resistance levels provide considerably more pedal tension simulating a hill climb and giving you the possibility to perform a more intense cardio workout.
The internal flywheel is not extremely heavy; it only weighs 15 lbs (7 kg), but most of its weight is placed in its perimeter. Therefore, it provides a little extra inertia and reduces vibration. It is also bi-directional. In other words, you can pedal in reverse if you want, with the same (selected) resistance.
Like most other elliptical trainers with an eddy current (motorized magnetic) resistance system, the XTERRA FS3.5 relies on a belt-drive system. It uses a poly-v belt highly resistant to stretching and abrasion. The main advantage of a belt drive over a chain drive is that you don’t have to lubricate it. Also, it delivers less vibration and promotes a very quiet pedaling motion.
The XTERRA Fitness FS3.5 elliptical is equipped with a mid-range console. To begin with, it features a 5″ diagonal LCD display with LED backlight. It tracks time, distance, total distance, RPM, watts, calories, and pulse. For speed and distance, you can select either metric or English units. Also, for the pulse reading function, you can either use the integrated sensors or a wireless HR chest strap. The strap is not included, though.
The console doesn’t have online connectivity and is not compatible with any online fitness apps. However, it has several workout programs. To begin with, it has the Manual Program (P1) which allows you to exercise while adjusting the resistance manually during your workout. It also has goal functions; differently put, it allows you to select targets for time, distance, calories, or other workout metrics.
The P2-P13 programs are preset. Each one has a specific profile setting and 24 levels of resistance. Each one is designed for a certain type of workout. For example, the list includes the following programs: Rolling Hills, Valley, Fat Burn, Ramp, Steps, Obstacles, Intervals, Plateau, Climbing, Off-Road, Hill, and FasTrek.
The P14 program is for Watt Control, while the P15 program is the Body Fat program. This allows you to input your data such as gender, weight, height, and age, and the console will calculate your body mass index.
The P16-P19 programs are custom use programs. Therefore, up to four users can create and save their own custom workout profiles. And finally, the programs from P20 to P24 are heart rate based. They are preset for 55% HRC, 65% HRC, 75% HRC, and 85% HRC. If one of these programs is selected, the machine will automatically adjust the resistance if your pulse measurement is ± 5 BPM above or below the selected HRC.
Among other features, the machine’s console has integrated speakers, a tablet holder, and a small accessory tray. The speakers are placed at the top of the console and an audio jack is available at the bottom of the unit. Therefore, you can connect your smartphone or tablet to the console and play your music through the integrated speakers. The tablet holder is above the unit’s controls, while the small accessory tray is under the controls.
Assembly and Maintenance
The front unit of the machine with all the drive and resistance elements comes pre-assembled. However, the other parts pretty much require user assembly. You will have to attach the rear base frame with the pedal rails to the front unit, the front bar, the pedals, the upright post, the moving arms, and the console. This may take more than one hour, but the task isn’t too complicated and the manual provides excellent assembly instructions and diagrams. Also, all the necessary tools are included.
Maintenance doesn’t require much. All you have to do is keep the incline rails clean to prevent any damage to the wheels, lubricate the unit’s joints if necessary, and periodically check for loose bolts and parts.
- Sturdy construction – can support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg);
- Transport wheels on the front base;
- Adjustable stabilizers on the rear base;
- Fixed and mobile handlebars;
- Medium-weight flywheel (15 lbs) for a more consistent pedaling motion;
- Large, non-slip pedals;
- Eddy current, automatic resistance (24 levels);
- Multi-window LCD display with LED backlight;
- The console tracks all the important workout metrics, including time, distance, total distance, speed, RPM, watts, calories, and pulse;
- Goal settings for time, distance, calories, and watts;
- Pulse sensors and pulse reading function;
- Telemetric receiver built-in the console for wireless HR chest straps;
- 24 workout programs available;
- Recovery function;
- Accessory holder included;
- Sound system included;
- Quiet operation;
- Easy to assemble;
- Little maintenance required.
- A heart rate chest strap is not included;
- No bottle holder.
The XTERRA Fitness FS3.5 is a mid-range elliptical cross-trainer made for home use. It features a motorized magnetic resistance system with 24 levels, a medium-weight (15 lbs) internal flywheel, and an LCD console with 24 workout programs. It also has a fairly decent construction with a weight capacity of 300 lbs. It’s an excellent trainer for light to medium-intensity cardio workouts, interval workouts, muscle toning, and weight loss.