Thursday, 23 May 2024

Elliptical Trainers

Yowza Fitness Islamorada Elliptical Trainer Review

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The Yowza Fitness Islamorada Elliptical Trainer features a number of impressive upgrades, including to the incline and stride length, as well as a collection of innovative new features.

As an upgrade over the earlier Captiva model, this review takes a look at exactly what’s changed, including the workout programs, SuperCore motion, and Intelligent Weight Management system.

Patented Supercore Motion and a 60% Incline

The combination of SuperCore and CardioCore handle motion creates a much more effective ab workout

As part of the same CardioCore collection that also includes the Sanibel, Pompano, and Bonita, the Islamorada features another impressive upgrade in the incline over the earlier Captiva model.

Due to the Swing Up Reactive Elliptical (S.U.R.E.) technology, this also means an increase in the maximum stride length, with the incline increasing from 50% to 60%, and the variable stride now measuring 18″ to 30″.

Although this isn’t the same big increase as we saw when upgrading from the Sanibel i35 to the Captiva model, you also have an entirely new handle design named SuperCore.

This new patented motion design has resulted in an extension in the length of the moving handles, as well as the addition of two unique egg-shaped rotating grips for better isolation of your abs and obliques.

Even with this increase in incline and stride length, due to the roller-less rear-drive system, there actually hasn’t been that much of an increase in the overall dimensions.

Just 3 inches has been added to the length of the machine when it’s in use to take into account the longer stride, while the width and height remain the same.

Taking these new dimensions into account, it does start to measure slightly larger than the E95 and E98 ellipticals from Sole Fitness, and many of Precor’s commercial quality EFX ellipticals.

The closest we found in terms of size was the EFX 447 from Precor’s Precision Series, measuring 84″ (L) x 31″ (W) x 67″ (H), but even this was the largest elliptical we could find that’s available for domestic use, even surpassing the Precor AMT in terms of overall footprint.

Not that this has any negative impacts on the quality of the actual workouts, but it’s certainly something worth bearing in mind if you’re short on space.

Yowza Fitness Islamorada Elliptical

Yowza Fitness Islamorada – Features Summary

  • SuperCore Patented motion handlebars
  • 18″-30″ Electronic Adjustable Stride
  • 0-60% Electronic Adjustable Incline
  • IWM Weight management software, Wireless weight scale included
  • SureFit Soft Pivoting Foot Pedals
  • 21 preset, 9 custom workout programs
  • 16 resistance levels

Surefit Pivoting Pedal Design

As your feet are in constant contact with the pedals, and moving through a much wider range of motion than they would on an exercise bike, Yowza have developed a more comfortable pedal design named SureFit.

Unlike many elliptical trainers, this means that the pedals on the Islamorada are self-pivoting, allowing them to replicate much of the natural flexion that your ankles move through when running.

This helps to reduce the pressure on your ankles and calf muscles, while the thicker soft gel inserts on the surface of the pedals provides a more comfortable running surface.

Storage, Transport, and Safety

With your natural running posture being so much higher on an elliptical than it is on a treadmill, particularly with the new 60% incline, it’s important to ensure the machine remains stable at higher resistance levels.

Although the weight of the machine has increased from 234 lbs to 259 lbs, you still need to ensure the main base of the elliptical is stable. This is why Yowza Fitness have added the base levellers at the back, and extra wide lift assembly stabilizer at the front.

The rear level adjusters are used more to compensate for any uneven flooring which the Islamorada may need to rest upon, and can be easily adjusted by hand with a simple rotation.

Yowza Fitness

An extra wide front lift system and rear carry handle make it easier to move the Islamorada, despite its 259 lb weight

The added width that comes as a result of the Captive Motion technology in the front lift assembly helps add stability of its own, while keeping the overall footprint of the machine to a minimum.

These oversized transport wheels can be used in conjunction with the carry handle at the back of the flywheel casing to transport the Islamorada to a different location if required.

That being said, these are the same type of transport features that we have seen on Yowza Ellipticals since the Bonita, which weighed close to 100 lbs less.

Therefore, although transport features are included, in order to prevent constant adjustments to the base levellers and lifting a heavy elliptical, we recommend finding a permanent space in your home where this machine can remain assembled.

Display Console Design

The console features new feedback relating to the Intelligent Weight Management program

In terms of the actual feedback metrics presented on the screen, these are much the same as the ones we saw on the earlier Captiva model.

To make it more intuitive to locate the information you need in the middle of a workout, Yowza have continued to split the screen into 3 main sections; user information, elliptical configuration, and workout results.

User information includes feedback such as age, height, and weight, and is really just displayed as confirmation of the user profile you’ve currently chosen to workout under.

The center of the screen is dedicated to providing you with information on the current resistance setting, stride length, incline angle, and workout program. This also includes a display matrix for showing the profile of your chosen workout program, together with your progress.

The final section includes your current heart rate, distance, calories burned, speed, and watts, and is probably the section you’ll be paying closest attention to if you use any of the preset ‘goal setting’ programs.

In terms of the entertainment options you have available, we still have the same iPod docking station and Hi-Fidelity speakers that we’ve seen throughout Yowza’s CardioCore collection.

While this allows you to listen to your favourite workout music, the cooling fan at the top of the console helps with keeping you feeling refreshed, and can even give you more energy.

Button functions are again similar to the Sanibel i35, with motion control buttons for adjusting the stride length and incline, resistance, and fan speed. You also have the IWM button for accessing the Intelligent Weight Management program, which we’ll be taking a closer look at later in our review.

Preset Workout Programs

YouTube video showing the Yowza Fitness Islamorada in action:

Intelligent Weight Management

Yowza Fitness Intelligent Weight Management includes a set of weighing scales

One of the most interesting new features we’ve found on the Islamorada is the addition of an Intelligent Weight Management system (IWM), which also includes a set of scales that can sync with the display console on the elliptical.

When you’re setting up one of the 7 user profiles, this improves the accuracy of the body weight measurement, as well as the accuracy of the calories burned feedback during a workout.

One piece of feedback that we’ve seen before on the Sanibel i35 is ‘Recommended bodyweight’, although for that particular model this wasn’t linked to the IWM system, and no information was really provided about how Yowza calculated this measurement.

We suspected that it was based on a healthy range based on your BMI, which has actually been confirmed in the user manual for the Islamorada.

After providing a few additional pieces of information, such as user age and height, the IWM program will automatically generate a program designed to burn the optimal number of calories based on the weight difference between your current bodyweight and the recommended body weight.

This is similar to the ‘Calorie Goal’ preset workout program we mentioned above, but tailored specifically to your body type, instead of simply setting an arbitrary target.

Ease of Assembly

You can choose to assemble the elliptical yourself, or pay an additional cost for Yowza's home assembly service

When it comes to assembling larger cardio machines, such as ellipticals and treadmills, it can often be a time consuming and frustrating task.

However, the assembly instructions in the user manual explain each step in enough detail to make setting up the Islamorada an extremely simple process, through the use of exploded drawings and clear parts lists.

But with the weight of the machine now at over 250 lbs, simply getting the box into the room where you would like the machine assembled is starting to become more difficult for someone to do on their own.

This is why if you have a busy schedule, or would simply like someone to carry the elliptical to the room where you want to workout, then set it up for you, Yowza Fitness have a service for this (US customers only).

Essentially this means that after ordering the elliptical, it would be delivered to your local freight terminal. From there, a member of the Yowza Fitness installation team will arrange a convenient time for the machine to be delivered and installed.

There is of course an additional charge for this of around $299. Alternatively, you will often find free shipping on Amazon, which will deliver the elliptical to your door step.

From there, you would either need to either carry the machine to the room where it needs to be assembled, or ask a friend or family member to assist you.

There’s nothing really complex about the setup itself, apart from perhaps the attachment of the front lift assembly that controls the incline and stride, but it’s still nice to know home installation services are available if you need them.

What’s Covered by the Warranty?

  • Frame and flywheel magnetic braking system: Lifetime
  • Parts and electronics: 7 years
  • Labor: 2 years

The majority of this warranty coverage has been kept the same as for the earlier CardioCore ellipticals, with the exception of the parts and electronics warranty, which has been extended for a further 2 years.

As with most of the home fitness equipment we review, this level of coverage only applies to the Islamorada if owned by the original purchaser.

This means that if you’re considering buying a used model, then you won’t be covered against any faults with the frame, parts, electronics, or for any labor that’s required.

Yowza Fitness Elliptical Trainer Guide

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4 / 5

Although the increase in running stride adds a whole new dimension to your training, it also adds to the space required to take full advantage of it. It's this space and increase in weight that need to be taken into account before buying, making sure that you have a space that can permanently be allocated to the Islamorada.

In terms of the features, the increase in incline and stride length combine with the focus on foot pedal comfort to provide workouts that are both challenging and enjoyable.

But for what is usually a $500 price increase over the earlier Captiva model, is this enough of an improvement to still represent good value for money?

Once you start getting near the $2500 price point, the Sole Fitness ellipticals become less of a valid comparison, and Precor's EFX collection has to be considered in its place. These are also commercial quality machines, which offer integration with Apple tablets and phones, and not just the iPad.

In our opinion the Islamorada may still just about beat the earliest model in the Precor EFX Energy Series, which is available for around the same price.

Product dimensions: 84" (L) x 33" (W) x 66" (H) Product weight: 259 lbs Weight limit: 400 lbs

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