Elliptical trainers from New Balance have been a favorite of home exercise enthusiasts for the past few years. Of course, New Balance shoes have been a favorite of runners and cross-trainers for many years. The company’s fitness equipment is manufactured in China and Taiwan is marketed by Fitness Quest of Canton Ohio. Fitness Quest also markets many other brands of fitness equipment including Ab Lounge, Edge, and Total Gym.
The company recently started marketing the New Balance 8000 elliptical trainer. Fortunately, an acquaintance of ours recently bought an 8000 and has been breaking it down. She’s a fitness freak like many of us and has already ridden the machine for 50 hours. We asked her if we could test the elliptical and do a review and she gladly agreed.
We used 5 test subjects to evaluate the New Balance 800. Their experience ranged from 6 months to 4 years with elliptical equipment. Testers’ weights ranged from 109 pounds to 265 pounds. We asked each of them to do 3 regular exercises over the course of a week. They had to note ease of use, smoothness, fitness programs, stride length and comfort, sound levels, stability, total body comfort, perceived exercise level, electronics, and all fitness.
According to the manuals, the 8000 weighs about 180 pounds and is 40 by 30 inches long which gives it a relatively good stability. Also rated to 300 lbs. At first our testers liked the pedals because of their size. The ability to change the stride length from 18 to 20 inches is a nice feature, but an even better feature would be the fully adjustable stride length. A couple of testers wanted a little more than an 18-inch stride but not a 20-inch length. The stride length wasn’t an issue when working at normal speeds but when doing an intense workout, these testers ended up using the shorter stride.
The stability wasn’t too bad even for our footballer who made the rock and roll machine on the podium. A sturdier or firmer cushion would have added stability. Sound levels were comparable to all but the loudest on the elliptical, allowing a person to watch TV without headphones at moderate exercise levels. Testers felt that the exercise programs were likely to satisfy all but a few home exercise enthusiasts. The screen was easy to read but did darken for one tester during exercise. We couldn’t get the console to repeat its failure, so we’re not sure what caused the failure.
All testers gave the 8000 a rating of 3 out of 5 for smoothness of operation when compared to more expensive commercial elliptical trainers. Plus, everyone found it easy to use the upper-body handles to enhance the workout.
We were unable to determine the durability of this unit based on the short time it has been in use. So far, there are a few reviews about the New Balance 8000 that would give a real idea of any problems with this model. It should be noted that Fitness Quest does not have the best track record when it comes to customer service. As a result, we recommend an extended warranty to cover electronics and parts. New Balance or Fitness Quest offers a standard 10-year frame, 2-year electronics and 1-year warranty on parts, but labor and shipping costs are not included.
With a combined score of 3.75 out of 5, our testers felt the New Balance 8000 would likely be a good buy for the average home fitness enthusiast. The biggest concern was the fact that this elliptical trainer was marketed and serviced by Fitness Quest which does not have a great reputation among fitness people.