Monday, 20 May 2024

Elliptical Trainers

Precor EFX 833 Commercial Series Elliptical Machine Review

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As part of their Experience Series™, the Precor EFX 833 features a commercial level of build quality, and offers the same variety of workout programs that you’ll find in gyms around the world.

But how does it compare to the EFX 835 model, and are the upgrades enough to justify the $1000 difference in list price between the two elliptical crosstrainers?

That’s something we’re going to be considering throughout this review, where we’ll take an in-depth look at the design features and technology behind the console, to help you decide if this is the best choice of EFX trainer for your own home workouts.

Part of Precor’s Experience Series™ 830 Line

Precor EFX 833 Commercial Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer

If this is your first time researching Precor fitness equipment, it can be worth knowing that they’re one of the few companies in the industry that release equipment as part of a collection or series.

Current collections available from Precor include their Precision Series, Energy Series, and Assurance Series, but it’s their Experience Series that contains most of the equipment you’re likely to find in commercial gyms.

The Experience Series actually combined the award-winning design that they’ve perfected over the past 30 years with a new range of consoles – the P20, P30, and P80.

But in addition to the knowledge Precor had already built up relating to effective workout experiences, they also established a laboratory in Seattle for a three-and-a-half year research and development project.

The goal of this project was to discover the exact features people were looking for in their workouts, and resulted in 3 separate lines being created – the 830 line, 820 line, and 810 line.

The Precor EFX 833 forms part of the 830 line in the Experience Series, and features alongside other commercial-grade fitness equipment, such as the UBK 835 upright bike, AMT 835 with Open Stride, and its partner EFX 835 crosstrainer.

The 830 line contains the same equipment that you’ll find in gyms around the world, and is backed by Precor’s leading home warranty of 10 years on the parts and wear items, 1 year on labor, and lifetime coverage on the frame and welds.

Precor EFX 833 Commercial Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer

Precor EFX 833 – Features Summary

  • Patented adjustable CrossRamp technology allows you to alter the height of the elliptical path
  • Patented, low-impact EFX motion is smooth and natural
  • Touch and telemetry heart rate monitoring
  • Fixed handlebars provide focuses workout on lower body
  • 10 preset workout programs
  • CrossRamp® technology provides 20 different settings (13-40-degree ramp incline)
  • Self-Powered
  • Muscle Monitor® to keep you informed of which muscle groups you’re currently training

What is CrossRamp® technology?

CrossRamp itself is not a new technology, having been featured on the very first elliptical ever made – the Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (EFX), which was also produced by Precor.

However, one of the reasons this technology hasn’t changed a great deal and continues to prove incredibly popular among commercial and home gyms alike, is that it emulates your natural running stride so successfully.

By using the CrossRamp elevation at the front of the machine and placing the flywheel at the back, this patented motion ensures your feet follow an elliptical path that’s almost identical to the one you would follow when running outdoors.

Having an incline that’s adjustable also allows you to place a greater emphasis on specific lower body muscle groups as you run, via a process called Variable Stride Geometry.

CrossRamp Variable Stride Geometry is a technology that was included on the very first elliptical trainer
The EFX 833 crosstrainer benefits from the full CrossRamp elevation range of 13-40°

Despite the wide range of motion and challenging elevation range of up to 40 degrees, the smoothness of the pedal motion and nature of the rear-driven design means that you can enjoy an effective workout that places very little stress on your joints and muscle tendons.

Although CrossRamp® is not unique to the EFX crosstrainers in the Experience Series 830 line, the elevation range is the maximum you will find on any of their machines, with an adjustable ramp incline of between 13 and 40 degrees.

This is similar to the models in their 2014 Precision Series (EFX 447, EFX 425, and EFX 423), but much more than the maximum 25 degree motorized incline offered by EFX machines in their 2014 Energy Series (EFX 245 and EFX 225).

Touch and telemetry heart rate monitoring

As with all equipment in Precor’s 830 line, the EFX 833 provides both touch and telemetry heart rate monitoring, with the reading being one of the 21 different feedback metrics that’s displayed on the console screen.

Although it’s proven difficult to find a formula that takes into account a person’s physiology, fitness level, age, and a variety of other factors when calculating your maximum heart rate, Precor currently use what’s considered to be the most accurate formula based on a recent study.

Heart rate hand sensors have been built into each handle at a position that’s easily reachable from all incline levels. However, the handles have been ergonomically designed to offer a variety of grip positions, and it may not always be practical to keep your hands in the same place throughout your workout.

This is why the console features a built-in receiver that picks up signals from heart rate chest belts, such as the 5 KHz transmitters from Polar®.

In many cases this proves to be the more accurate method of measuring your heart rate, as it ensures the sensors are in constant contact with your skin.

P30 display console features

The P30 represents a step up from the earliest console in the Experience series – the P20, and includes several key features from the flagship P80 model, such as the addition of motion controls for adjusting the CrossRamp incline and resistance level.

Despite providing feedback on more than 20 different performance metrics, including heart rate, METs, resistance level, and number of strides per minute, the streamlined console has been designed in such a way that makes it quick and easy to find the information you’re most interested in.

This is helped by the fact that several smaller screens have been used in place of a single larger one, although the larger central display is still used for showing the progression through the stages in your current workout.

The 6 workout categories have been grouped together alongside the Quick Start option, making it much easier to select the preset profile you want to follow.

Each of these features is actually an impressive upgrade over the earlier P20 console, which is limited to a single ‘Workouts’ button for program navigation, and a single 2″ x 3″ single color LCD screen for displaying your feedback.

Entertainment options are also available in addition to the integrated reading rack, including the Personal Viewing System (PVS) and Entertainment Cap.

Preset workout programs

Whether you’re looking for an elliptical to expand on your existing fitness routine, or simply need a high quality crosstrainer that won’t need replacing after only a few years of use, the EFX 833 has preset programs for all fitness levels.

Although the selection isn’t quite as extensive as for the EFX 835 model (10 programs compared to 15 on the 835), they can still be a great way to avoid muscle adaptation and for helping you reach your goals more quickly.

The EFX 833 features 10 workout programs in 6 categories
10 programs is less than the 15 for the EFX 835, but the variation can still be used to create challenging workouts

As with other cardio machines that use the P30 console, the preset programs have been grouped into 6 main categories.

10 preset workout profiles in 6 categories

  • Manual – The intensity of your workout is entirely under your control. Incline and resistance level won’t change unless you use the motion controls on the console, and there is no fixed duration.
  • Heart Rate – As with the AMT, exercise bikes, and climber, the console only offers the basic heart rate control program, and not the custom weight loss options (only available on the treadmills).The basic HRC program still allows you to monitor your heart rate, as well as set a target level that you want to maintain throughout your workout. The CrossRamp incline and resistance will then automatically adjust to keep you at this level.
  • Interval – The EFX 833 gives you access to 4 out of the 5 interval programs that are available with the EFX 835 model, including 3 different work to rest ratios, and a custom interval option.The interval ratios you can select from are 1-1, 1-2, and 1-3, where each number is a multiple of two minutes. For example, the 1-2 ratio represents 2 minutes of low intensity exercise followed by 4 minutes of high intensity.
  • Weight Loss – A preset program with a fixed 28 minute duration, Weight Loss is essentially an extension on the interval programs above, with 4 minute work periods followed by 4 minute recovery periods.Although this isn’t a requirement of the program, keeping your heart rate within 50% to 70% of its maximum beats per minute is recommended for best results.
  • Variety – Unfortunately the EFX 833 doesn’t give you access to the custom workouts of the Variety category in the same way that the 835 model does.That being said, you can still choose from the Random and Gluteal workouts, which are both excellent options for improving overall muscle tone in your lower body.This particular model also prompts you to switch your running direction at pre-defined intervals, while the Random program creates a different profile every time it’s selected, which also makes these programs the best choice for adding variation to your routine.
  • Performance – The 833 doesn’t include the Hill Climb of the 835 model, but does feature Cross Training Workouts and a Fitness Test as programs listed under the ‘Performance’ category.The Cross Training program is designed to recreate the feeling of running outdoors over constantly changing terrain, whereas the fitness test grades your current fitness level with a score. This score can then be used to measure how effective your workouts have been at increasing your fitness level over time.

Ease of assembly / Maintenance required

Precor EFX 833 assembly instructions are easy to understand, should you decide against the professional installation

Although it’s probably only a process you’re going to go through once, assembling a new elliptical trainer can be a daunting prospect if it’s not something you’ve done before.

The 338 lb weight of the EFX 833 also doesn’t exactly make it the lightest piece of equipment to move around, even when it arrives in more than one box.

That’s why if you would rather the equipment was professionally assembled in your home, Precor offer a professional delivery and installation service, which retails at around £299 for this particular model.

If you would rather avoid this fee and are happy to assemble the equipment yourself, you should allocate at least 3 hours to getting everything setup and working in a single session. That’s even with the small amount of time you’ll save by not having the moving handlebars to attach, as is the case with the EFX 835.

As with each of the machines in the 830 line, self-assembly is an option that’s supported by the user manual, which is supplied with full textual explanations and detailed drawings of how each part fits together.

Particular attention to detail is paid to the lift cover assembly and cable routing that’s required to connect the P30 console to the base frame.

It would certainly be beneficial if you had someone to assist you with the assembly, even if it was just for the last minute adjustments like correcting the height of the adjustable feet to compensate for any slight movement there may be once it’s setup.

Maintenance required
Despite the dimensions of the EFX 833 crosstrainer being much larger than equipment like the RBK 835 recumbent bike, the recommended maintenance routine and schedule is almost identical.

Cleaning the outer covers of the equipment is recommended before and after each using a soft cloth that’s been moistened with a solution of 30 parts water to 1 part of Simple Green.

This takes care of everything except the console screen, which can be cleaned with a lint-free cloth and a simple solution that’s available from a wide range of stores at a price of around $2 per 16oz bottle.

Even this simple 5 minute, inexpensive cleaning routine performed whenever you use the equipment will ensure that the warranty coverage is upheld, and that the machine remains in top condition.

On a weekly basis it’s also recommended that you vacuum under the equipment where possible, to avoid any dust and dirt being picked up by the motion of the foot pedals and front lift mechanism.

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame and welds: Lifetime
  • Parts and wear items: 10 years

  • Labor: 1 year

Precor Elliptical Guide

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4 / 5

After reviewing each of these crosstrainers in detail, it's clear that the difference in list price is caused by the increase in workout programs and the addition of moveable handles.

Your integrated entertainment options are the same (PVS, Entertainment Cap, Reading Rack), as are the methods of heart rate monitoring, warranty coverage, number of resistance levels, and CrossRamp elevation range.

Although these two features may make the price difference seem like a lot, the moveable handles alone are essentially helping you tone the muscles in your entire upper body, and will result in faster calorie expenditure in a shorter amount of time.

However, whether or not you feel this justifies choosing the EFX 835 over the 833 model will really come down to your own personal fitness and budget requirements.

Overall, the EFX 833 delivers the vast majority of the features we look for in an elliptical at this price point. Although we would have liked to see some form of historical workout tracking and a wider range of preset programs, this is something that Precor have addressed with the top EFX trainers in their Precision and Energy Series'.

If workout tracking is something that's important to you, we've also written detailed reviews for each of these models - the EFX 447 and EFX 245 - if you want to find out more.

Product dimensions: 80" (L) x 32" (W) x 68" (H) Product weight: 338 lbs Weight limit: 350 lbs

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