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The “Free-Style” FS5.9e is currently the most advanced and inclusive elliptical trainer from XTERRA Fitness. In terms of specs, it can be compared to the AFG Sport 5.9AE or the Schwinn MY17 470. It’s a front-drive elliptical with a rear automatic incline. Although it’s not advertised or sold as a commercial-grade unit, it does have the sturdiness and construction of one, and also has an impressive weight capacity.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 82.3L x 21.7W x 67.3H inches (209L x 55W x 171H cm)
- Assembled weight: 216 lbs (98 kg)
- Flywheel weight: 25 lbs (11.3 kg)
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs (181.4 kg)
- Stride: 20 inches (51 cm)
- Incline: Motorized, 20 levels
- Resistance system: Eddy current, 20 levels
- Console: 15 preset programs, 2 custom, 2 heart rate
- Amenities: Cooling fan, sound system, tablet holder, bottle holder
- Warranty: Frame lifetime / Brake Lifetime / Parts 7 years / Labor 1 year
Frame construction & parts
As we’ve mentioned above, the XTERRA Fitness FS5.9e elliptical trainer features a very sturdy construction. Its frame is made of heavy-duty steel tubing and the machine has a weight capacity of 400 lbs (~181 kg), which is quite impressive for a unit in this price and specs range.
The frame construction does integrate several hard plastic parts, though. Among them, we can count the flywheel guards, the incline motor guard, the wheel covers, and several other covers. These don’t affect the frame sturdiness in any way as their role is cosmetic or protective. Your weight is supported by the highly durable pedals and the other steel parts.
The trainer’s base is made of two main parts, the front part with the flywheel and resistance system, and the rear part, with the rails and the incline system. These two parts connect in the middle.
The three main base bars are equipped with adjustable stabilizers. These have rubberized end caps, to provide floor protection and superior adherence. However, stability shouldn’t be a problem for this elliptical trainer as it weighs over 200 lbs; all this weight, plus your own weight are important factors in its stability. So, as a short conclusion here, you can be sure that the unit won’t wobble or rock even if you engage in the most demanding workouts.
On the other hand, despite its considerable weight, the unit is fairly easy to move once it is assembled. Its rear base is equipped with a lifting handle and the front base has two built-in wheels which facilitate its relocation.
The XTERRA FS5.9e is a fairly large machine. With the frame fully assembled, it takes approx. 82″ x 22″ (209 x 55 cm) of floor space, while at the highest point, the handlebar reaches approx. 67″ (171 cm). This being said, it’s not exactly the best choice in terms of a cardio machine, if storage and usage space are an issue. Plus, XTERRA Fitness recommends leaving a clearance of at least two feet all around the unit, for safe operation.
As opposed to many trainers in this price range, the XTERRA FS5.9e is equipped with two articulated and adjustable pedals. They’re made of heavy-duty ABS material, and rest on a metallic bottom structure. As we’ve mentioned above, the machine’s weight capacity is 400 lbs (~181 kg), and the pedals are built to support this weight with no problem.
The pedals have 2° inward tilt, in order to provide a more natural positioning of the feet. They’re also angle-adjustable; each pedal has a pin at the rear which allows its front-to-back angle adjustment. There are three adjustment positions for each pedal, offering angles of 0°, 5°, and 10°. This is quite a useful feature as some users may get foot numbness due to the nerves compression, and adjusting the pedals angle can eliminate this problem.
The rails of the pedals are steel-made, but their top is covered by an aluminum plate, which provides a smoother glide. The pedal bars integrate top-quality wheels, with sealed ball bearings and a thick rubber shell. This being said, the pedaling motion is very smooth, steady, and quiet.
The machine is equipped with two sets of handlebars. The mobile handlebars, or the mobile arms, feature a multi-grip design. They allow a top grip, parallel grip or conventional, horizontal grip. They’re also equipped with incline and resistance controls, a feature that not many other units in this price range have. In case you’re wondering, the mobile arms cannot be locked, or move independently from the pedals. They will continue to move for as long as the pedals are moving.
The fixed handlebars are directly welded to the console mast. They offer a slightly inward grip. They integrate stainless steel pulse sensors. Both types of handlebars feature high-density foam grips for optimal comfort and adherence.
One last aspect to mention here regards the unit’s paint finish. All the steel parts in the construction of this XTERRA Fitness elliptical machine are double coated with a durable, rust-resistant paint. The color used is black, and the pedals, covers and several other non-metallic parts are also black.
Incline, elliptical path, stride & Q-Factor
The XTERRA Fitness FS5.9e elliptical trainer is equipped with a motorized incline system. The incline motor is located at the rear of the unit. When activated, it raises the two rails of the machine. Since the incline is automatic, it can only be adjusted from the unit’s console, or from the controls mounted into the machine’s left grip.
There are 20 levels of incline available. The incline angle of each level isn’t specified. However, the maximum incline level is somewhere between 17° and 20°.
Many elliptical trainers with a front drive have an elliptical path slightly tilted backwards. For this XTERRA Fitness model, the elliptical path is perfectly horizontal (at 0° incline). Therefore, the pedaling motion feels natural, without the slight feeling of going uphill.
The machine features a very narrow Q-Factor; the spacing between the pedals is 2″ (5 cm), and they’re also pretty spacious. Therefore, the positioning of your feet on the pedals is natural, without any lateral stress on the knees and ankles.
The machine offers a mid-range stride, its length being 20″ (51 cm). The stride length cannot be adjusted. This being said, the unit can accommodate users between 5’3″ – 6’5″ (160 – 196 cm) comfortably.
One last aspect to mention here, regards the pedal elevation. At its highest point, each pedal provides an elevation of approx. 20″ (51 cm). Therefore, it’s best to use the machine in a room with a ceiling that’s at least 25″ (64 cm) higher than your own height.
Resistance and drive elements
The XTERRA Fitness FS5.9e elliptical machine features a motorized magnetic (or eddy current) resistance system. This means it must be connected to a power source in order to provide resistance. Also, the resistance can only be operated from the console, or from the controls in the right, mobile grip. An adapter with cable is included with the unit.
The resistance system consists of a magnetic brake and a small servo motor. As you select a certain resistance level from the console, the servo motor will adjust the position of the brake pad in relation to the flywheel, thus adjusting the pedal resistance. Also, if you’re going to use one of the preset workout programs, the unit will auto-adjust its resistance, according to the current workout segment.
This elliptical trainer offers 20 levels of resistance. The first three settings deliver light workouts, perfect for warming up, for elderly users, or for users who require recovery training. The top resistance levels, on the other hand, provide a very consistent pedal tension, giving you the possibility to perform an intense cardio workout.
When it comes to the unit’s internal drive elements, the most important is the flywheel. This XTERRA elliptical trainer is equipped with a fairly heavy flywheel for a machine of this caliber. It weighs 25 lbs (11.3 kg), which means that it provides a consistent momentum. It’s also perimeter-weighted, thus, the pedaling motion is very stable, smooth, without generating the effect of a stairmaster.
The flywheel is bi-directional. In other words, you can pedal in reverse, without losing resistance. It’s actually recommended to alternate forward pedaling sessions with reverse pedaling sessions for a better overall workout.
Like any other magnetic elliptical trainer, this XTERRA unit features a belt drive. It uses a durable, poly-v belt, designed to last for many years of use. Since it’s a belt drive, it doesn’t require lubrication, while the vibration generated during pedaling is almost inexistent.
The XTERRA FS5.9e elliptical trainer includes a console with a large, 7.5″ diagonal LCD display, with blue LED backlight. It shows RPM, speed, time, distance, laps, calories, heart rate, the current resistance level, and the current incline level. The middle section also shows the segments of the program in use.
For speed and distance, you can select between English or metric unit (mph/kmh, km/miles). Distance is also shown as race track laps, each lap measuring 1/4 miles. The unit can monitor your heart rate via the sensors in the fixed handlebars, but it’s also telemetric. An HR chest strap is included, and when wearing it, the unit can read your heart rate wirelessly.
In terms of programs, the unit has 15 pre-set workouts. Some of them use only the resistance, and some of them use both incline and resistance. When using one of these programs, the machine will automatically adjust the resistance level (and incline, if it’s the case).
Along with the preset workout programs which are designed for different goals, the console unit also offers two custom user programs, and two heart rate programs. The custom user programs allow you to define, save, and re-use your own program. The heart rate programs are pre-set to 60%, and respectively 80% of your maximum heart rate.
The console also offers several non-fitness features. Among them, we can count the sound system, cooling fan, accessory space, and a tablet shelf.
The sound system consists of two speakers places one on each side of the unit. It’s compatible with most MP3 players, smartphones or tablets. The sound rendered by it is fairly decent, much better than the sound of a smartphone speaker, for example.
The fan is placed at the top of the console. It’s not extremely powerful, but does provide some cooling if needed. The tablet shelf is placed under the display of the console. Thus, a tablet placed on it, will cover the display. And finally, there’s a small compartment under the console which can serve as support for your MP3 player, phone, or other small accessories.
Assembly and Maintenance
Although the assembly of this elliptical trainer isn’t difficult, it may take up to two hours. The motors and the drive elements come already assembled and attached to the frame. So, what you basically have to do for assembly is attach the two main base parts together, attach the console mast, the mobile arms, the pedal arms, the console, and connect the cables. The manual provides pretty clear instructions for it, and the tools for assembly are included.
For maintenance, it’s recommended to keep the machine’s rails clean, periodically check for loose bolts and parts, and keep water away from the console. Also, if the moving joints develop squeaking noises, some lubrication may be required. The internal parts shouldn’t require any maintenance for a long period of time.
- Sturdy frame, with a weight capacity of 400 lbs;
- Professional design;
- Adjustable stabilizers;
- Transport wheels;
- Lifting handle at the rear;
- Ergonomic, articulated, large pedals;
- Three levels of angle-adjustment for each pedal;
- 2° inward tilt for the pedals to provide a natural, stress-free foot positioning;
- 2″ narrow Q-Factor allowing a biomechanically correct stride;
- Smooth and quiet drive;
- Automatic incline, 20 levels;
- 20 levels of eddy current resistance;
- Multi-grip mobile handlebars;
- Incline and resistance controls integrated into the mobile handlebars;
- Pulse sensors;
- Large LCD display, LED backlit, offering excellent readability;
- 15 preset workout programs;
- 2 custom workout programs;
- 2 heart rate programs;
- Wireless HR chest strap transmitter included;
- Sound system included;
- Cooling fan included;
- Tablet holder included;
- Bottle/accessory holder included;
- Little maintenance required;
- Excellent warranty.
- No online connectivity;
- No USB port for data transfer or tablet recharging;
- A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the console display.
The XTERRA Fitness FS5.9e is a solid elliptical trainer, offering 20 levels of eddy current resistance, 20 levels of automatic incline, a wide array of workout programs, and various extras such as sound system, cooling fan, etc. Although it’s not a commercial grade fitness machine, it has quite a sturdy construction, being able to hold riders up to 400 lbs. It’s perfect for light to intense cardio workouts, rehab training, interval training, stamina training and weight loss. The only notable downside of this machine is that it doesn’t have online connectivity. But other than that is an excellent, durable trainer, offering excellent value for the price.