Home » Buying Guide » Best Bowflex TreadClimber Reviews and Comparisons 2017
Treadclimber Reviews Guide

Best Bowflex TreadClimber Reviews and Comparisons 2017

The original Bowflex TreadClimber was first released in 2003, and has since progressed through numerous bestselling designs to arrive at the most recent TC100 and TC200 machines.

Also known as the ‘WalkTC’ collection, each model is a combination of treadmill, stairclimber, and elliptical trainer, which Bowflex report burns more calories than a treadmill at the equivalent belt speeds.

So how does the dual Treadle system actually work, and does the TreadClimber really represent the best choice of fitness equipment for your own home gym?

In this guide we’ll be summarising the advantages and disadvantages of each model, complete with how the technology actually works and how you can use coupons to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

We’ve also included some in-depth TreadClimber reviews for the TC100 and TC200 models, complete with comparisons, to help you decide on the best option for your budget and fitness goals.

Bowflex TreadClimber Comparison

  • Belt Speed: 0.5 – 4.5 mph
  • Resistance Levels: 12
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Workout Programs: 5
  • User Profiles: 4
  • Goal Coach: Yes
  • HR: Touch and telemetry
  • Footprint: 55″L x 31.5″W
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Belt Speed: 0.4 – 4.0 mph
  • Resistance Levels: 12
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Workout Programs: 1
  • User Profiles: 2
  • Goal Coach: Yes
  • HR: Touch only
  • Footprint: 31.5″W x 57″L
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Belt Speed: 0.4 – 4.5 mph
  • Resistance Levels: 12
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Workout Programs: 0
  • User Profiles: 2
  • Goal Coach: Yes
  • HR: Touch and telemetry
  • Footprint: 55″L x 31.25″W
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Belt Speed: 0.4 – 4.0 mph
  • Resistance Levels: 12
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Workout Programs: 0
  • User Profiles: 1
  • Goal Coach: Yes
  • HR: No
  • Footprint: 50.6″L x 30.3″W
  • Warranty: 2 years

Bowflex TreadClimber TC200

Bowflex TreadClimber TC200

Review rating: 5 star review rating
The TC200 is the latest top-of-the-line TreadClimber from Bowflex, with a total of 5 preset workout programs and a variety of achievements on offer. This includes rewards for your current workout (Fastest 3 miles, Every 100 calories burned), as well as for maintaining your new fitness routine (Worked out 3 days in a row, Worked out 5 days in a row, etc.).

Although entertainment options are still kept to a minimum, you do now have a media shelf, which is something that wasn’t available on either the TC20 or TC10. This lets you position your smart device (smartphone/tablet) in clear view during your workout, and also within range of the USB charging port.

The same USB port can be used for transferring your workout data between the console and your BowflexConnect profile. Because the TC200 supports up to 4 users, this makes it much more suitable for family environments, or where more than 2 people want to track improvements in the performance.

Compared to the TC100, you’re getting larger Treadles for increased comfort, a wider choice of workout programs, more user profiles, and a higher maximum belt speed. But are the upgrades really enough to justify the difference in price, or could you see the same workout benefits from the TC100?

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Workout programs: 5
  • Backlit LCD: Yes
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • User profiles: 4
  • Heart rate monitoring: Touch and telemetry
  • G.O. Coach program: Yes
  • Belt speed: 0.5 – 4.5 mph
  • Footprint: 55″L x 31.5″W

In our full review we take a closer look at the design features, console functions, workout programs, assembly process, warranty, and customer reviews to help you decide if this is the best TreadClimber for your own home workouts. You can also use the link below to check the best price, including any discounts.

Bowflex TreadClimber TC100

Bowflex TreadClimber TC100

Review rating: 4.5 star review rating
As an upgrade to the earlier TC10 TreadClimber, the TC100 offers a longer warranty period, more user profiles, and the new feature of being able to monitor your heart rate via built-in touch sensors.

You also benefit from having the same media shelf and USB charging port as the TC200 model, allowing you to sync workout data to your BowflexConnect profile online.

Unfortunately you don’t have the same choice of programs, with none of the goal setting or interval training workouts that you get by upgrading to the TC200. This also means the console is much more limited in its range of features, with no quick-select workout buttons and a more limited display of workout feedback.

Now that the new collection (TC100 and TC200) has been released, it’s become increasingly difficult to find a TC10 (some refurbished models still available). This isn’t something we’re particularly surprised at, given the level of upgrades seen in the TC100 and fact that the two machines are almost identical in price.

But is the entry level TC100 really your best option, or should you invest the extra money in the top-of-the-line TC200?

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Workout programs: 1
  • Backlit LCD: Yes
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • User profiles: 2
  • Heart rate monitoring: Touch only
  • G.O. Coach program:
  • Belt speed: 0.4 – 4.0 mph
  • Footprint: 31.5″W x 57″L

This is one of the questions we answer in our full review by making a complete comparison with the TC200. We also take more of an in-depth look at the design features, workout programs, heart rate monitoring, and console functions.

Bowflex TreadClimber TC20

Bowflex TreadClimber TC20

Review rating: 4.5 star review rating
Until the release of the TC200, the TC20 was Bowflex’s top-of-the-line TreadClimber, featuring the highest belt speed of 4.5 mph, the longest warranty coverage (3 years), and 12 resistance levels via the Hydraulic Cylinders.

The number of user profiles has also doubled since the earlier TC10 model, which means it can now track weekly workout progress for up to two people via the G.O. Coach program.

At 300 lbs, the weight capacity remains unchanged, but there is a slight increase in product weight. The TC20 still weighs less than half of what the Star Trac TreadClimbers do, and features a carry handle / transport wheel combination that makes transport a little easier.

For the first time in the Bowflex TreadClimber collection, the console can also receive a signal from a wireless heart rate chest strap. Although there are no touch sensors built into the handles, this gives you the option to keep track of your heart rate directly via the console, which was one of the key features missing from the TC10 and TC5.

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Functions: 5
  • Backlit LCD: Yes
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • User profiles: 2
  • Heart rate monitoring: Yes
  • G.O. Coach program: Yes
  • Belt speed: 0.4 – 4.5 mph
  • Footprint: 55″ (L) x 31.25″ (W)

Bowflex TreadClimber TC10

Bowflex TreadClimber TC10

Review rating: 4 star review rating
As with the earlier TC5 model, the TC10 TreadClimber can be inclined up to 40% using the dual Treadle system, which helps to increase the rate at which you burn calories.

However, in upgrading from the TC5 Bowflex actually decided to lower the maximum belt speed to 4 mph. This serves to make the TC20 more attractive because of its 4.5 mph belt speed, but considering the difference in price we wouldn’t advise basing your decision on this difference alone.

After the TC5 was discontinued, the TC10 became Bowflex’s entry level TreadClimber, yet still offers a weekly fitness tracking program called G.O. (Goal Oriented) Coach.

When you combine this with the 3-in-1 motion of the Treadles, you can still benefit from the same low-impact workout as the top-of-the-line TC20, but won’t have access to quite the same range of workout goals.

Another of the innovative features that was introduced with the TC10 is user profiles, which wasn’t an option on the TC5. This means you can enter your body weight and store your progress towards each week’s 90-minute workout duration goal.

If you do choose to buy the TC10 you should know that there’s no heart rate monitoring, either via touch sensors on the handles or a telemetry chest strap. This is a feature that’s only available on the TC20.

But due to the shorter Treadles, the footprint is slightly smaller, with around 5″ saved on the length. This is considerably shorter than the Star Trac TreadClimbers, which we’ll be comparing later in the guide.

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Functions: 4
  • Backlit LCD: No
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • User profiles: 1
  • Heart rate monitoring: No
  • G.O. Coach program: Yes
  • Belt speed: 0.4 – 4.0 mph
  • Footprint: 50.6″ (L) x 30.3″ (W)

For more information on the G.O. Coach workout program, design features, warranty, maintenance routine, and more, it’s worth having a read of our in-depth review.

Bowflex TC5 (Discontinued)

Bowflex TreadClimber TC5

The TC5 was Bowflex’s entry level TreadClimber until it was discontinued to focus on development of the TC10 and TC20.

As you might expect from an entry level machine, the features were fairly basic, and there was none of the G.O. Coach goal setting options like you get with the most recent models.

One similarity we found between traditional treadmills and the Walk TC TreadClimber is that the highest belt speed is the same on the TC5 as it is on the top-of-the-line TC20. This is why we were surprised to see it drop to a maximum of 4 mph on the TC10.

Warranty coverage isn’t up to the same standard as modern TreadClimbers, and there’s no way of monitoring your heart rate.

Although the footprint is compact, this comes as a result of having shorter Treadles, which is a feature Bowflex carried through onto the TC10. While they’re certainly long enough to support walking workouts for most user heights, anyone over 6ft tall will find the longer Treadles of the TC20 are a better fit for their natural stride.

When it was available, the TC5 offered a short but useful list of workout feedback, which was limited to the number of calories burned, time, speed, and distance. If you take a look at the most modern TC20 design, you’ll notice this has now been extended to include heart rate via the signal received from a wireless chest strap.

  • Resistance levels: 1
  • Functions: 4
  • Backlit LCD: No
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • User profiles: 0
  • Heart rate monitoring: No
  • G.O. Coach program: No
  • Belt speed: 0.4 – 4.5 mph
  • Footprint: 43″ (L) x 27″ (W)

Overall, despite being the most affordable of the Bowflex TreadClimbers, the TC5 offered limited workout variation, no performance tracking, and offered no target setting motivation for achieving your goals.

It remained popular due to providing the same low-impact stride motion as the higher priced models, but was eventually discontinued to make way for the higher-specced TC10 and TC20.

Bowflex TC6000 (Discontinued)

Bowflex TreadClimber TC6000

The TC6000 TreadClimber was created with the highest specification, featuring heart rate monitoring, an intuitive console menu, and 12 workout intensity levels via the set of Hydraulic Cylinders.

This is actually the only one of the Walk TC TreadClimbers to include the Bowflex Advantage Key, which allowed you to track your workouts and fitness progress.

The console also let you create up to 5 user profiles, each of which could store more information than the profiles on the TC10 and TC20. This includes age, weight, target weight, height, and gender.

Even the workout programs became more advanced than the earlier TC models, with 12 different exercise routines to choose from, each of which offered a unique speed setting profile that automatically adjusted the belt speed as you moved between different segments.

This is much more similar to the workouts we’ve seen on treadmills and elliptical trainers, where the program profile is displayed in a ‘grid’ section of the display.

In terms of what these workouts had to offer, you were prompted to define ‘High Speed’ and ‘Low Speed’ limits, which would then be used in your chosen program.

This level of workout variation and customization is something we would have loved to see on earlier TreadClimber models, but agree that it was more important to make the majority of machines available at a more affordable price point.

After choosing from the manual, Plateau (steady state cardio), Cross Training (Endurance), Interval, and Distance based programs, you could follow your progress via the display screen. You could even create and store up to 2 custom programs per user (10 in total).

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Functions: 18
  • Backlit LCD: Yes
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: Motor: 5 years, Electronics and Parts: 3 years, Hydraulics: 2 years, Labor: 1 year
  • User profiles: 5
  • Heart rate monitoring: Yes
  • G.O. Coach program: No, but does include Bowflex Advantage.
  • Belt speed: 4.5 mph
  • Footprint: 63″ (L) x 32″ (W)

So not only did the TC6000 offer by far the greatest level of workout variation and highest number of user profiles, it also included a fitness test, Heart Rate Control program, and the ability to track your performance over time using Bowflex Advantage.

The user manual also featured the Bowflex TreadClimber Body Leanness program. But all of these added features resulted in a larger footprint, higher price tag, and heavier product weight.

Despite being one of our top 2 favorite TreadClimbers (the TC20 being the other), the TC6000 isn’t available through the Bowflex website directly. We did manage to find a small number of remanufactured models for around $2400, but it’s certainly more difficult to find than the most recent TC10 and TC20 designs.

Bowflex TC5500 (Discontinued)

Bowflex TreadClimber TC5500

As one of the top-of-the-line Walk TC TreadClimbers, the TC5500 offered several important upgrades over the earlier TC5000 model, including an increased number of user profiles and landmark workout programs.

With the TC5000, you had a limited selection of workout programs to choose from, and could only really create your own Stair-Stepper and Treadmill workouts by entering your weight and setting the intensity level.

When designing the console for the TC5500, Bowflex improved upon the basic feedback of time, distance, calories burned, and elevation by allowing you to create personal user profiles.

These profiles meant you could maintain a record of your workout results and compare your fitness goals with those of other user profiles. After achieving these goals, you also gained access to a completely new feature called ‘Landmark Programs’.

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Functions: 5
  • Backlit LCD: Yes
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: Motor: 5 years, Parts: 3 years, Electronics: 3 years, Hydraulics: 2 years
  • User profiles: 4
  • Heart rate monitoring: Yes
  • G.O. Coach program: Yes
  • Belt speed: 4.5 mph
  • Footprint: 55″ (L) x 31.5″ (W)

These were related to the G.O. Coach program, whereby you would set a weekly goal for the distance, duration, or number of calories burned, then watch as the console illuminated different segments of 3 landmarks on the screen.

Initially you start off with just 3 of these workout programs, but for added motivation, you can unlock an additional 6 landmark programs as you achieve your weekly goals.

This is one of the features that was also included in the most recent Bowflex TreadClimber – the TC20, which is the current top-of-the-line model and offers many of the same benefits as the now discontinued TC5500.

Bowflex TC5000 (Discontinued)

Bowflex TreadClimber TC5000

The TC5000 was designed as an upgrade to the TC3000, with additional features such as heart rate monitoring, and an increase to the motor, parts, and hydraulics warranties.

But because the resistance levels still require manual adjustment, it’s difficult to provide the same level of upgrades that we see with elliptical and treadmill collections.

After reviewing hundreds of these machines over the past few years, we found that the console is where you will find the greatest differences. This is where you’ll notice changes in the number of workout programs, entertainment options, and quality of performance tracking.

With the TC5000 TreadClimber, although the added ‘climb indicator’ feature provided some extra workout motivation, there was still no option to setup user profiles. There was also no increase in the number of goal setting workout programs, and the maximum belt speed remained the same as the earlier model (4 mph).

G.O. Coach (Bowflex’s Goal Oriented fitness goal program) didn’t become available until the TC10 was released, and continues to be a feature of the top-of-the-line TC20, with an increased number of goal setting options.

You may still be able to buy a second hand TC5000 on sites like Ebay and occasionally Amazon, but the TC10 and TC20 are now the only models listed on the official Bowflex website.

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Functions: 8
  • Backlit LCD: No
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years motor, 3 years parts, 2 years hydraulics
  • User profiles: 1
  • Heart rate monitoring: Yes
  • G.O. Coach program: No
  • Belt speed: 0.7 – 4.0 mph
  • Footprint: 46″ (L) x 28.5″ (W)

You can find out more information about the stride motion, warranty, assembly, and fitness benefits of this model in our full review. We’ve also included a link to the product listing on Amazon if you want to check the price and current availability.

Bowflex TC3000 (Discontinued)

Bowflex TreadClimber TC3000

The TC3000 was one of the first TreadClimbers produced by Bowflex, which was meant as an upgrade of the entry level TC1000 model.

Discontinued in 2011, this featured a similar footprint to the TC5 due to the shorter Treadles and a lack of step at the back of the machine (seen on the Star Trac models).

The Hydraulic Cylinders that controlled the stepping motion were actually very similar to those used on the current top-of-the-line TC20 model, with 12 intensity settings and a 40% incline range.

There were further similarities at the console, with a user profile that stored your body weight, and three types of workout program: Treadmill, Stair Stepper, and TreadClimber.

Heart rate monitoring wasn’t available, but it did feature on the upgraded TC5000 model if you were wearing a telemetry chest strap, which is the same way it works on the TC20.

The warranty for the TC3000 wasn’t bad either, with 3 years on the motor, 2 years on parts and electronics, and 1 year on the hydraulics. But it did face tough competition from the Nautilus Mobia, which featured what we found to be a much more aesthetically pleasing design.

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Functions: 6
  • Backlit LCD: No
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years motor, 2 years parts, 1 years hydraulics
  • User profiles: 1
  • Heart rate monitoring: No
  • G.O. Coach program: No
  • Belt speed: 0.7 – 4.0 mph
  • Footprint: 46″ (L) x 28.5″ (W)

Although the walking motion and Treadle movement was actually almost identical, the Hydraulic Cylinders were encased within protective covers, leaving just the dial accessible for manually setting the intensity level.

However, despite offering a 52″ track, heart rate monitoring, and being backed with a study by Adelphi University into its efficiency at burning calories, the Mobia was also discontinued (more on this below).

Bowflex TC1000 (Discontinued)

Bowflex TreadClimber TC1000

The Bowflex TC1000 was their very first TreadClimber, which was released in 2003 but discontinued along with the TC3000 in 2011 to make way for the newest series, which includes the TC5, TC10, and TC20 models.

As with most of their other TreadClimbers, the TC1000 featured 12 intensity levels, a 300 lb weight capacity, and compact footprint (46″ L x 28.5″ W) due to the shorter Treadle length.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the belt speed was limited to 0.5 – 3.8 mph, which is the lowest of all the models. The console also lacked many of the features offered by the TC3000 and TC5000 models, such as heart rate monitoring, elevation tracking, and even a display for the number of calories burned.

Despite having much more limited workout feedback, no entertainment options, and support for just one user, this was Bowflex’s most affordable design, and proved incredibly popular when it was released.

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Functions: 3
  • Backlit LCD: No
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • User profiles: 0
  • Heart rate monitoring: No
  • G.O. Coach program: No
  • Belt speed: 3.8 mph
  • Footprint: 46″ (L) x 28.5″ (W)

Over a decade on and the features don’t look quite as impressive or ground breaking as they once were, but the modern TC10 and TC20 models show significant improvement in the level of goal setting and console functions on offer.

Although the TC1000 is no longer available through the official Bowflex website, we’ve seen several online stores with remanufactured models available. Unfortunately they’re not normally covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. You can also find some second-hand models on sites like Ebay.

Nautilus Mobia (Discontinued)

Nautilus Mobia

Despite being released in 2009, the Mobia was discontinued just 2 years later in 2011, as Nautilus switched production to their Walk TC collection of TreadClimbers.

That’s because although Nautilus produce their own line of fitness equipment, they’re also the parent company for other well known fitness brands such as Bowflex, Schwinn, and Universal.

The truth is, the Nautilus Mobia offered many of the same features as the Bowflex TC3000, including a maximum belt speed of 4 mph, and choice of 12 intensity levels.

It’s this combination of resistance, belt speed, and incline gradient created by the Treadles that made the Mobia such an efficient machine for low impact cardio workouts. But the features were too similar to the newly developed Bowflex collection, which proved a more popular design.

The console was incredibly simple, with an intuitive button layout and complete control over changes in belt speed, as the Mobia offered no preset workout programs.

  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Functions: 5
  • Backlit LCD: No
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • User profiles: 0
  • Heart rate monitoring: Yes
  • G.O. Coach program: No
  • Belt speed: 4 mph
  • Footprint: 52″ (L) x 28″ (W)

That’s because the Mobia was created by a company called Frog Design, Inc, who are a different team of designers to the ones who worked on the Bowflex TreadClimbers.

Founded in 1969, Frog Design have a long history of designing technology with a modern aesthetic appeal, which really shines through with the clean, ergonomic design of the Mobia. It’s a look we actually prefer over the Bowflex and Star Trac machines.

This was also one of the earliest TreadClimber designs to offer heart rate monitoring, with much of the same feedback as the modern TC20 design. Feedback such as calories burned, pulse, distance, and speed, but there were no user profiles and no option to set weekly fitness goals.

How does the TreadClimber work?

The TreadClimber is designed to combine the benefits of a treadmill, stairclimber, and elliptical trainer into a single machine.

At the base you have a design similar to the running deck on a treadmill, with belts that rotate around rollers to a top speed of 3.5 – 4.5 mph, depending on the model.

The main difference is that with a treadmill or Incline Trainer, the running deck is a single unit, whereas the TreadClimber uses two belts wrapped around something called Treadles.

By splitting the belt like this it allows the Treadles a freedom of movement that’s unique to the TreadClimber, where they can move independently of one another and create a lower impact workout.

The belt speed is actually the only function you have control of via the console, and although the Treadles can operate at an incline of up to 40%, this is something you need to set manually, prior to starting your workout.

Towards the front of the machine you have two Hydraulic Cylinders, with one end attached to the frame, and the other attached to the Treadle. By rotating the dial at the top of each cylinder, you can influence the degree of vertical motion you would like the Treadles to move through.

Each of the Bowflex TreadClimbers has 12 settings to choose from, with setting 1 limiting the Treadle movement to just a few inches, and setting 12 offering the most challenging workout and widest range of motion.

When combined with the various belt speed settings, this allows you to create a low impact, steady state cardio routine that burns a higher number of calories than a treadmill (based on the equivalent belt speed).

But something that the TreadClimber does not support is running. Even with the longer Treadles that are available on the top-of-the-line TC20 model, you’re not getting the belt speed needed to create high intensity interval (HIIT) workouts, or build up to a full running stride.

It’s this walking motion and responsive dual Treadle system that combine to provide the low impact benefits of an elliptical trainer, with less stress being placed on your joints and lower back.

In terms of safety, the TreadClimber inherits most of its features from a treadmill, with hand rails on either side for stability, and a safety key connecting an item of clothing to the console.

Despite the lower belt speeds, in the event of a fall or moving too far from the console, this causes the safety key to detach and the belts to come to a controlled stop.

History of the Bowflex TreadClimber

As a company, Bowflex have been a leader in the fitness equipment industry since 1986, but didn’t release its first TreadClimber until 2003, which was the TC1000.

Over the course of the next decade they designed an additional 8 models as part of an iterative process which saw improvements made to the Treadles, console functions, workout programs, and warranty coverage. Each model combined features from a treadmill, elliptical, and stair climber in the same machine, with inclines of up to 40%.

But as with companies like NordicTrack, not all models remained in production at the same time, and by 2011 there were just 3 models available directly from Bowflex: the TC5, TC10, and TC20.

By 2014 the TC5 had also been decommissioned to leave just two of the more advanced models available, at a time when Bowflex were also focussed on releasing and promoting the Max Trainer, their newest line of home fitness machines.

The TreadClimber is designed to support low-impact, walking workouts, but thanks to the adjustable motion of the Treadles, can still be used to create high intensity fitness routines. The TC6000 model even offered interval training and heart rate control workouts based on the machine’s ability to automatically adjust the belt speed.

By releasing the Max Trainer M3 and M5 models, Bowflex was now able to provide high intensity interval training, resulting in a higher number of calories burned in a shorter amount of time, all for a more affordable price.

So to summarise, although both types of equipment offer effective low impact workouts, if you’re looking for high intensity intervals and are short on time, we recommend the Max Trainer. However, if you prefer steady state cardio without the sudden increase and decrease of intensity level, the TreadClimber would be the better machine for you.

TreadClimber technology

Although the Bowflex TreadClimber has been through a number of design iterations in recent years, entertainment features continue to take a back seat to creating a more affordable and effective workout experience.

Even when we reviewed the top-of-the-line TC20, we couldn’t find any of the same entertainment features and personalized workout options as on similarly priced ellipticals and treadmills from NordicTrack.

But because the TreadClimber is essentially its own type of fitness equipment, it’s difficult to draw direct comparisons.
Treadmills and elliptical trainers will often have a wider selection of preset workout programs due to the power incline and higher belt speeds. This is what makes interval training, hill climbs, and heart rate control workouts possible.

Even on the best TreadClimber the belt speed is capped at 4.5 mph, with a manual incline and heart rate monitoring but no pulse related workout.

In terms of entertainment features, with the current models you’re unlikely to find any. This includes more basic options like MP3/iPod connectivity, as well as more advanced features like browsing the internet and check social media, which is something we’ve seen on a small selection of modern treadmills, exercise bikes, and ellipticals.

The TC10 TreadClimber doesn’t even offer any storage for MP3 players or smartphones, but this changes with the TC20 thanks to a redesign of the console to integrate two storage areas.

As for workout tracking and keeping a historical log of your fitness goals, this is something that the TreadClimber cannot support.

Until recently workout tracking wasn’t something that Bowflex offered on any of their fitness equipment, but is something that’s now available via the top-of-the-line Max Trainer M5.

With the M5 you can connect the Max Trainer to an app on your phone and sync your data after each workout. This gives you a useful overview of your recent progress, and can also be synced with a MyFitnessPal account.

Bowflex have also developed a personal fitness tracker called Bowflex Boost, which tracks everyday activities like walking, running, and even lifting. It even allows you to set calorie, step, and distance targets, and provides a clear summary of your activity and sleep patterns on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Goal setting is something that’s available on the TC10 and TC20 TreadClimbers via the G.O. Coach program, so we could certainly see how Bowflex could integrate this functionality into an upgraded model. It’s one of the features we would love to see in the future, together with an automated way of adjusting the incline.

Bowflex vs. Star Trac TreadClimbers

Although they may be the better known name in the home fitness industry, it’s worth remembering that Bowflex aren’t the only company whose product line includes TreadClimbers.

Based in Virginia, USA, Star Trac are specialists in developing distinctive and motivational commercial fitness equipment for facilities around the world. This includes everything from group and strength training machines through to traditional cardio equipment like treadmills, and of course TreadClimbers.

So how do these differ from the Bowflex designs, and which company represents better value for money?

Comparison with the Star Trac E-TCi

Star Trac E-TCi TreadClimber

One of the most noticeable differences between the E-TCi and the Bowflex TreadClimbers is the size, with the Star Trac model weighing close to 500 lbs more than the top-of-the-line TC20.

Not only is the E-TCi a much heavier machine, it’s also features a much larger footprint of 83″ (L) x 36″ (W). The main reason for this added length is the step up at the back of the machine, which reduces the distance for when you walk onto the Treadles.

But you’ve also got a larger console at the front, which adds to both the height and length of the E-TCi, but does offer some interesting entertainment options.

In some of our Bowflex TreadClimber reviews we make a comparison with NordicTrack’s Elite ellipticals and Commercial treadmills, because the two couldn’t be more different in terms of entertainment features.

This is mainly because those are the NordicTrack machines that offer a full color touch screen console, but also because the top-end models also include a 15″ HDTV for watching TV, movies, and Blu-Ray/DVDs.

It’s something we said we would like to see on an upgraded Bowflex model, but Star Trac look to have beaten them to it, with a 15.6″ HD Personal Viewing Screen attached to the front of the top-of-the-line E-TCi.

Not only that, but you also have iPod connectivity with music and video support for enjoying your own personal content while you workout.

Moving away from the entertainment options and the Star Trac TreadClimbers offer another innovative design feature that we would love to see on a Bowflex model. That is the option to control the elevation of the Treadles using controls on their ‘Hot Bar’, without the need to stop your workout and make adjustments manually.

The E-TCi has a whole host of additional features which we talk about more in our full review, such as personalized workout programs and adjustable cooling fans. But if you’re making a comparison with the Bowflex TreadClimbers it’s worth remembering the difference in price.

Comparison with the Star Trac E-TC

Star Trac E-TC TreadClimber

The most affordable TreadClimber in the Star Trac collection is the E-TC, which has a marginally lower product weight of 700 lbs, and the same 350 lb capacity as the top-of-the-line E-TCi.

The footprint remains the same too at 83″ (L) x 36″ (W), but you lose the Personal Viewing Screen and iPod connectivity, reducing the height by around 14″.

However, one of the reasons this design has proven so popular with commercial facilities is that the console is still pre-wired for the E Series PVS if you want to upgrade the entertainment options in the future.

Polar telemetry heart rate monitoring is also available, which is one of the features the Bowflex TC20 and Star Trac E-TC have in common. What’s different is that the Star Trac TreadClimbers also have contact heart rate grips built into the handles as a second way to transmit your pulse to the console.

Both TreadClimber collections are built around the same key feature of dual ramping decks (Treadles), but the big difference is that you can adjust the ramp elevation of the Star Trac model using controls on the console. This isn’t currently a feature of any Bowflex model, where you instead need to adjust the range of Treadle motion manually using a dial at the top of the Hydraulic Cylinders.

Despite their commercial design, the Star Trac and Bowflex TreadClimbers are covered by a very similar level of warranty coverage. The Bowflex TC5000 even offers an additional year of parts coverage compared to the Star Trac E-TC.

Although there’s a considerable difference in price, the belt speed range is actually greater on the Bowflex models than it is on the Star Trac machines. While the E-TC and E-TCi have a range of 0.5 to 4.0 mph, the Bowflex machines go up to a slightly more impressive 0.5 to 4.5 mph (TC20 model).

You’re also getting more resistance levels with the Bowflex, with 12 intensity settings available in place of the 5 built into the Star Trac.