The Yowza Fitness Captiva Elliptical Trainer features several major improvements in the stride and incline design, with a longer variable stride and higher incline potential than their earlier Sanibel model.
This review takes a closer look at what this means for your training, as well as the display console design, workout programs, and assisted assembly options to help you determine if this is the best choice of elliptical for your own home workouts.
Reversible VME stride motion with power incline
Building on the success of the Sanibel i35, Yowza Fitness have developed an upgraded version which is also often available for under the $2000 mark.
One of the most noticeable improvements is in the Variable Motion Elliptical Technology (VME), which has been increased from a range of 18″ to 26″, up to a more impressive 18″ to 28″.
The Swing Up Reactive Elliptical technology (S.U.R.E.) has also been enhanced, with the incline now rated up to 50%, compared to the 35% offered by the Sanibel.
Increasing the range of the incline adds an extra level of workout intensity, on top of the already challenging 16 levels of electromagnetic resistance.
It’s innovative design features like these that have led to the creation of an elliptical that’s incredibly silent to use, and virtually maintenance free.
This is due to the lack of glide rails, a common feature amongst larger front-driven ellipticals which also have an incline function. While they certainly have their uses, keeping the rails free from dust and dirt is a task that you would have to perform relatively frequently if you wanted to keep the stride motion running smoothly.
The welded steel frame of the Yowza Fitness Captiva also maintains the same strength levels we’ve seen on their earlier models, with an industry leading 400 lb weight capacity and extensive warranty being testament to its overall build quality.
Yowza Fitness Captiva – Features Summary
- Variable Motion Elliptical Technology changes the reversible path and length of stride from 18″ to 28″ deepening the height and intensity
- Patented counter-rotational Core motion
- Sure-Fit self-pivoting pedals
- Built in “ramp-less” incline
- iPod docking station and built in Hi Fidelity speakers
- Vivid Blue Backlit LCD display
- Polar heart rate control
- 50% SURE incline
- 16 resistance levels
- 9 preset workout programs
Stability and transport
Unlike the incline and running stride, stability and transport are an area of design that really doesn’t change at all between machines.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as unless Yowza were to completely redesign the center of the frame to make the machine foldable, there’s not a whole lot else they can do to reduce its footprint or make it easier to move.
Having larger wheels at the front improves the ability to roll the machine over carpet and slightly uneven surfaces.
With the earlier models in the range, the entire elliptical usually didn’t weigh much more than 170 lbs. Now that the Captiva is weighing in at over 230 lbs, the strength and diameter of these wheels is even more important than ever for moving the machine around between workouts if required.
Even with its 220 lb+ frame weight, reinforced transport wheels make moving the Captiva much more manageable
For increased stability, base levellers have been attached to the underside of the rear base stabilizer. The height of these is adjustable, but this does mean lifting the heaviest part of the machine up to do so.
Although the transport wheels make it easier to move the machine around, if you want to avoid making minor adjustments to the base levellers on a regular basis, we recommend finding a space where the Captiva can remain permanently assembled.
By relying on their VME technology instead of glide rails, this helps to reduce the overall footprint, making this an easier task than with some larger designs.
Display console design
An important part of deciding which elliptical is right for you is balancing the importance of ergonomics and functionality with entertainment features like tablet shelves and integrated workout apps.
After reviewing a series of Yowza Fitness ellipticals recently, it’s clear that they tend to focus predominantly on the quality of your workout, and less on the entertainment side.
This is made clearer if you take a look at some of the recent Precor ellipticals, from either the Precision or Energy Series’, which manage to offer tablet compatibility without obscuring console screen information.
Although these are in a different price range, they represent an excellent example of how modern fitness companies are integrating technology and fitness apps with modern day home gym equipment.
That being said, the console for the Captiva isn’t completely void of entertainment, with the addition of an iPod docking station and Hi-Fidelity speakers making it easier to listen to your favourite music.
There’s also a cooling fan with various speed settings for keeping you cool during your workout, but we would have preferred if this was lower down the console to prevent being obscured by the CardioCore handles.
In terms of the various feedback metrics available, you have all the usual information, such as distance, calories burned, pulse, and speed, but also some information that’s more unique to the Captiva.
This includes a Bluetooth connectivity indicator, stride length, and motion level. There’s also a useful display matrix for showing your chosen workout program profile, together with an indication of your current progress.
Patented CardioCore and SmartFit technology
Excluding the standard motion Navarre elliptical, the majority of the machines produced by Yowza Fitness fall under the category of ‘CardioCore’.
This is the patented technology that places more of an emphasis on training your abs and obliques than the standard linear plane of motion that the moving handles on an elliptical tend to follow.
Pivoting around a central point between the different tiers of the console, this leads to greater stimulation of your core muscles by twisting your upper body in a similar way to when you’re performing standing bar twists.
While this does represent an improvement in terms of training these particular muscle groups, it does mean that your biceps, shoulders, and back muscles aren’t doing quite the same amount of work as they would with the Navarre.
But excluding the different types of muscle activation, which is more effective for a cardio workout?
As this technology is still so new, there isn’t a whole lot of information available that compares the differences between this lateral handle movement and the traditional linear handle movement.
Although the number of calories burned depends on a lot of personal factors which can differ greatly between individuals, it would certainly be interesting to see if an independent study is carried out in future comparing the two variations.
In addition to CardioCore, you also have the SmartFit pivoting foot pedal technology, which is designed to adapt to your natural ankle movement as you run.
This not only reduces the strain placed on your calf muscles and ankles, but also helps to distribute your bodyweight over the areas where you will naturally be driving forward with the most force, helping to ensure a more efficient workout.
Preset workout programs
YouTube video showing the Yowza Fitness Captiva Elliptical Trainer in action:
Ease of assembly and maintenance required
With a similar physical design to the Sanibel i35, the Captiva also offers the same level of pre-assembled parts, with the base frame, SureFit pedals, and flywheel casing arriving as a single unit.
The other two major pieces that have been put together for you by Yowza Fitness are the console upright support, and the incline frame assembly.
This saves a large amount of time that would otherwise have been spent struggling to locate all the smaller bolts and washers that were needed to get these larger sections setup.
With some professional services requesting over $200 to come to your home and assemble fitness equipment for you, this also saves on any additional expenses beyond the actual cost of the machine.
In browsing their website, you’ll notice Yowza Fitness actually offer two assembly services of their own:
- Professional Assembly Standard – The Captiva would be delivered to your garage by the delivery company, then carried to your room of choice by Yowza techs at a later time, and assembled for you there at a cost of $229.
- Professional Assembly Deluxe – Similar to the Standard service, the Deluxe ensures the delivery company themselves carry the machine to your room of choice immediately, without having to wait for Yowza’s trained technicians.
The cost for the Deluxe service is slightly higher at $299, but this does include traversing up to 2 flights of stairs.
With both of the services, a representative from Yowza Fitness will call you to agree upon a window of time during which the delivery and installation will take place.
These are certainly nice options to have if you live alone or can’t arrange anyone else to be available that has the time to help.
If you don’t want to pay the extra charge for these services, then the box will be delivered to your doorstep, and you will need to complete the assembly yourself, using the user manual as a guide.
Flicking through the manual, you’ll probably find that most of the pages can be put to one side, as they simply list every part that went into the construction of the machine.
The section that really matters is the assembly instructions, which have been split into a number of easy-to-follow steps, each with their own exploded drawings and details of the parts you’ll need to complete it.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and magnetic braking system: Lifetime
- Parts and electronics: 5 years
- Labor: 2 years