The Precor 225 Energy Series Elliptical Cross Trainer is the first in the range to offer the CrossRamp incline as a motorized option, rather than relying on manual adjustments.
In this review we take a closer look at design features like these, as well as the user profiles, ease of assembly, and comparisons with other ellipticals in the Energy Series to help determine if this is the best choice of fitness equipment for your own home gym.
The main benefit of the Precor 225 Elliptical is the way it combine the features of rear-driven and front-driven designs into a single machine.
This is also one of the 3 Energy Series models which includes moving handles to activate your core and arms, as well as lower body muscles.
With the CrossRamp incline set at its lowest angle, you have the same smooth, low impact running motion that you would expect to find on a rear-driven elliptical.
As soon as you start to increase the incline, you’re able to switch the focus onto your quads and calf muscles more, in a similar way to the range of motion created by a front-driven design.
The angle of the foot pedals also automatically follows your natural foot position, helping to reduce the pressure placed on the front of your feet.
By positioning the flywheel unit at the back of the frame, this also allows your body to be positioned much closer to the handles, which in turn promotes a more natural upright posture.
It’s this patented elliptical path and Precor’s own research into running stride biomechanics and variable stride geometry that creates the same comfortable, effective, and ergonomically correct workouts as you might be used to experiencing in a commercial gym.
To ensure there’s no unwanted movement in the machine, Precor have added 3 strategically placed base levellers, which can be adjusted to compensate for any slightly uneven ground.
While this does help with stability and distributing the weight at the front of the machine more evenly, it does unfortunately mean that there isn’t a front base stabilizer for attaching a set of transport wheels to.
Weighing in at close to 200 lbs, this is certainly something worth bearing in mind if you may need to move the elliptical at any point in the future.
Precor 225 – Features Summary
- Precor Cross Ramp technology adjusts the shape of the elliptical path your feet travel so you can target specific muscles
- 10 preset workouts help you stay challenged
- Use the console’s headphone jack and on-screen volume control to safely & securely listen to music from your own player
- CrossRamp Movement: Motorized variable
- CrossRamp Elevation Range: 15° – 25°
- Heart Rate Monitoring: Touch sensor and wireless with any Polar compatible chest strap transmitter
- Number of Workout Metrics: 13
- User IDs: 2
- Resistance System: Magnetic
- Resistance Levels: 16
- Console Display: 5-inch high contrast LCD
- CrossRamp & Resistance Controls: Tap style Dome Keys
Whether your workout involves lifting weights or running on an elliptical trainer, it’s always important to ensure you are as safe as possible when doing so, particularly if you are training at home.
This is something that Precor understands, which is why their 225 elliptical comes complete with a number of useful safety features.
One of the most obvious is the locking pin that prevents the foot pedals from moving. If you are buying a piece of fitness equipment for use around small children, then this would certainly be a useful feature to have to prevent any issues with moving parts.
You also have Precor’s Safety Code technology available if you need it.
The Safety Code works in much the same way as a password, and is something we’ve seen on the earlier 221 model, as well as on some of their 9.3x models of treadmill.
All that this requires is for you to enter a sequence of key presses which will then be used as a way to unlock the functions of the display console.
YouTube video showing the Precor Energy Series Elliptical in action:
There is also one final feature we wanted to mention purely because it’s so unique, but also because it is loosely related to safety.
When you’re first setting up the console, as well as having the option to define a Safety Code, you can also set a maximum for the incline and resistance levels.
Although this will need to be lower than 16 for the resistance and less than 25 degrees for the incline, this can be a useful way to restrict the possible range of motion for anyone with low mobility, or who is performing the exercise as a form of rehab.
If you wanted to, you could also set limits on the maximum workout time, and adjust the default workout duration.
Precor CrossRamp Technology
In terms of treadmill design, one of the biggest differences we come across is the way in which the incline settings are adjusted.
With the incline feature being so important for increasing the intensity of your treadmill workout, it’s often one of the features that’s worth the price difference when you compare a manual incline with a power incline.
This is essentially the same as the way Precor have structured their Energy Series of ellipticals, with the Precor 225 being the first machine to offer the motorized CrossRamp.
Although this is a feature that is also found on the earlier 221 and 222 models, for both of those machines you need to manually set the incline to one of 3 preset positions before you actually start your workout.
While this doesn’t take long to do, many people prefer to be able to adjust everything via the console, to save any interruptions to their running stride.
Compared to the earlier two models, the 225 also offers a wider range of incline settings. Despite having the same maximum incline angle of 25 degrees, you can now adjust this in much smaller increments than you could before, with 8 possible positions compared to the 3 offered by the 222 and 221 models.
You can monitor and adjust the angle electronically rather than manually, thanks to the addition of some subtle new buttons and an additional display screen on the console.
Display console design
As we compare the ellipticals in Precor’s Energy Series, we’ve found that very little has changed when it comes to their display consoles.
This is certainly a good thing though, as the high contrast of the white and blue feedback against the black continues to ensure your most important workout information is always clearly visible.
The top of the console also still has plenty of space for tablets, MP3 players, and smartphones, which can be held securely in place thanks to the SmartGrip holder.
Although there aren’t any speakers like you might find on some of the Sole Fitness ellipticals, in many cases people didn’t rate the quality of the sound particularly highly anyway.
This doesn’t really come as a great loss, due to the fact that you can still listen to your favourite music and films using headphones connected via the side socket.
Your MP3 or tablet can then be connected to the console by threading the cable through the opening in the reading tray and into the jack that’s hidden under the access cover at the back.
In terms of the button functions, this is actually the last elliptical model in the range to require actual button presses.
This is because Precor decided to use touch screen technology with the later 245 model, together with a slightly different form of incline and resistance adjustment.
However, this also introduces the need for an options menu, which means it takes slightly longer to select your chosen workout.
The Precor 225 does however still provide the same level of workout metric feedback, which includes elapsed time, calories burned, target heart rate, distance, and strides per minute.
You also have the additional screen alongside where the resistance is displayed for keeping you informed of the current incline setting.
User profiles and SmartRate Heart Rate Tracking
Even if only one person will be using the Precor 225 for their workouts, it can still be useful to have multiple user profiles.
As with the earlier 221 and 222 models, the 225 provides you with two user profiles for storing basic personal information against, such as weight and age.
These can then be used to ensure much more accurate feedback is displayed for the calories burned and heart rate feedback metrics.
Unfortunately there aren’t any custom workouts that you can store against these profiles, and we haven’t seen any increase in the number of profiles you can create over the earlier models.
Precor 225 vs. Precor 245:
Whilst we would have liked to see an increase to 4 or 5 profiles to cater for family environments better, it seems like this is another of the features Precor have held back until the top of the range 245 model.
When you combine these additional user profiles with the 14 additional workout metrics in the feedback on the console and the 16 custom workout programs that are available with the 245, the difference in price certainly makes it feel like a sensible upgrade option.
The Precor EFX 245 is also the only elliptical in the Energy Series to offer compatibility with the Preva mobile app for tracking your goals and achievements.
However, the 225 model still allows some basic form of workout tracking, but only in the form of their SmartRate feature. This lets you track your current heart rate through different key levels.
By monitoring how many bars are highlighted on the SmartRate section of the display console, you can quickly tell if you are in the optimum heart rate range for your specific fitness goal.
This can be any one of the following 4 levels:
- Fat Burn
- Warm Up
Preset workout programs
Unlike treadmills, elliptical trainers are generally much more limited in the number of workout programs they can provide. This is generally due to the fact that your running speed is self generated, rather than relying on keeping up with the speed of a tread belt.
In fact, even if you were looking at the EFX 833, one of Precor’s leading Commercial Series Ellipticals, you wouldn’t find any more workouts than you get with this 225 model.
A lot of thought has also gone into ensuring these programs aren’t too similar, and can provide enough variation while at the same time allowing you to work towards specific fitness goals.
- Cross Country – This is a program that really follows no strict pattern, with constant automatic adjustments being made to the incline to simulate the feeling of running outdoors.
Similar to the Crosstrainer, Gluteal, Cross Country, and Hill Climb programs, Cross Country will also prompt you to take advantage of the bi-directional pedal motion by switching your running direction after 25%, 50%, and 75% of your total workout time has passed.
- Gluteal – As the name suggests, this program places a much greater emphasis on your glutes and thighs, with a continuous increase in intensity.
The gradual increase in resistance will help build strength and endurance in each of the associated muscle groups (glutes, hamstrings, quads), which are most responsible for improving your posture and reducing the risk of lower body injuries as you build up the muscle around the joints.
- Aerobic – Designed to improve cardiovascular health by gradually increasing the incline as the workout progresses. The incline will then return to its lowest position at the end of each cycle, with resistance adjustments being possible at any point.
- Crosstrainer – Featuring a workout profile that gradually progresses through climbs and declines, the Crosstrainer workout helps to strengthen and tone all lower body muscles, including your calves.
As with the other workout programs, resistance can be adjusted at any time to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout.
- Manual – The ideal option if you’re not looking to follow any strict profile and simply want to start your workout.
There are also 5 other workouts you can choose from that will help you gain lower body strength, as well as increasing aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
These are referred to as Interval 1-1, Interval 1-2, Weight Loss, Basic Heart Control, and Hill Climb.
Note: For more information about the type of workout these 5 programs provide, please see our review of the Precor 221.
Ease of assembly
If you already have experience with assembling an elliptical trainer, you probably already know how difficult they can be due to their weight and size.
Fortunately Precor have simplified the process by keeping the parts and assembly steps to a minimum, and doing most of the assembly before the box even leaves the factory.
Once you start unpacking everything, you’ll notice a hardware kit that contains all the bolts, washers, and tools you need to complete the remaining steps.
Because the majority of the frame design is so similar, the assembly instructions for the Precor 225 are actually blended together with the instructions for the other ellipticals in their Energy and Precision Series’.
The base frame, lower link arms, and ramp have already been put together for you, which actually leaves very little for you to do to get the machine up and working.
With the left and right stabilizers attached, all that’s required is to attach the console bracket, console, and moveable arms.
Even the connecting of the cables from the base frame up to the console has been made easier thanks to the cable already being threaded through the stabilizer, with the only slightly difficult part being feeding it through the console bracket.
Taking into account the fact that the bulk of the parts have been pre-assembled by Precor, and that the assembly instructions are so clear, the total assembly time should be much the same as the 221, at less than 60 minutes.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and welds: Lifetime
- Parts and wear items: 5 years
- Console: 3 years
- Labor: 1 year