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Space is premium in any home gym. It’s why you have to be sure about the type, make, and size of any gym equipment before you buy.
On paper, the French Fitness FT500 Folding Treadmill meets these criteria. We take a deeper look at how the treadmill weighs up in terms of type, size, running speed, specs and more below.
French Fitness FT500 Design Features
When it comes to cardio gym equipment, you want a product that allows you to increase your heart rate, push your limits, and break a great sweat. For most, a treadmill is a good option.
You can easily see why the treadmill is a cardio favorite when you consider that it’s used by walkers, runners, and health enthusiasts of all fitness levels.
If you’ve decided a home treadmill is for you, you need to take type, make, and size into account. You need to ensure you have the room for it.
In addition to that, you want to make sure it ticks all the boxes for a good quality treadmill too. Like running speed, LED display, motor power, and incline gradient.
Let’s take a look at the French Fitness FT500 and how it measures up.
In terms of type, the FT500 is a light commercial folding treadmill. This treadmill type has many benefits that makes it ideal for a home gym.
Storage space & mobility
Firstly, the FT500 saves on storage space. You can fold it up and pack it away after your cardio workouts.
Although this is sound on paper, you will need to measure your space. The treadmill will still take up room when folded and packed away.
It’s marketed as light, suggesting that it doesn’t take much effort to move around. For clean freaks, this makes it easier to clean than other treadmill models. You can wipe down the whole treadmill and access the space beneath it without issues.
However, even though it’s said to be light, the FT500 weighs 313 lbs (142kg). You will still need to use some strength to tilt it back and move it around.
A common disadvantage among foldable treadmills is a less sturdy frame compared to non-folding versions.
If you’re planning on setting up the product yourself, you need to follow the manual’s assembly instructions with utmost care.
Ensure all the bolts and screws are tightened correctly so the FT500 is safe to use. We recommend having it professionally assembled and installed. In this way, you maximize its solidity and stability.
Luckily, the FT500 is built to withstand multiple users so you can share it with other family members. Its durability also means it can tolerate lengthier sessions.
The max user weight is 330 lbs (150kg).
You will need to factor the size of your treadmill into your decision.
The FT500’s dimensions are 82″L x 41″W x 54″H (210.6cm x 106cm x 139cm).
Treadmills do vary in size and features. But, on average, their dimensions are approximately 81” long, 34” wide, and 55” high. Other sources state 64” as the average length.
This suggests that even though the FT500 is a folding model, it still takes up considerable floor space.
The larger-than-average width is beneficial, however. Products with smaller widths make the belts difficult to walk on and dangerous for running.
A treadmill isn’t much use if you can’t use it for what it’s intended. Rule of thumb is that a treadmill running belt should be 22” wide and at least 55-60” long for runners.
Compared to these suggestions, the FT500’s belt measures up favorably. Its dimensions are 22.8″ x 62.9″ (580mm x 1600mm).
The length and width give some wiggle room for error. And, this means it’s a good match for taller men and women with longer stride lengths.
The French Fitness FT500 is equipped with a 2.0 HP AC motor. This provides for running speeds of up to 15.5 miles per hour.
With a max speed like this, it means you can use it for low-intensity exercise, jogging, steady running, sprints, and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
However, if you’re looking at buying a treadmill for marathon training purposes, you may need a bigger motor. Training for endurance and running sessions that last for hours may need a motor from 3.5 HP to 4 HP continuous.
In terms of incline, the FT500 features a 10% incline and 18 gears adjustable electric gradient. Most treadmills have 10% as a minimum incline.
Interesting to note is that many runners struggle with poor form when using inclines greater than 10%. A 5% incline is considered a challenge for walkers and runners with an intermediate level of fitness.
If you’re looking for more resistance, you may want to consider a manual curved treadmill. Since these products are self-propelled, you have to use more muscle groups than a traditional treadmill.
Console & LED screen display
French Fitness’s folding treadmill comes with a 7” LED screen display. The readouts include:
- Incline (%)
- Speed (km/h)
- Distance (km)
- Calories (kcal)
- Heart rate (bpm)
The console includes two cup holders, a USB port, an emergency stop button, and MP3 headphone port. You’ll also find heart rate hand grips to the front of the treadmill.
The centered hand grips are a nice touch. Some treadmills have grips on the side arms rather than at the front.
We find it difficult to get a heart rate reading from side grips while running. It’s more difficult to keep your hands steady to the side. Personally, we believe it’s more natural and supportive to have these in the center.
The FT500 comes with the added perks of air foot protection and a shock absorption system. These features bolster your push off and increase your cushioning for landing.
This means your joints are protected from impact, reducing the chances of injury
French Fitness FT500 – Features Summary
- Soft Running Board 0.7″ (18mm)
- 110 VAC 60Hz standard
- 0 HP Continuous AC Motor Peak: 4.0HP
- Rated Power of 1500W
- 50/60 Hz
- Display Readouts: Incline (%), Speed (km/h), distance (km), calories (kcal), heart rate (bpm), time
- MP3 (Headphone) Port & USB Port
- Touch Hand Grips for Heart Rate
- 62 – 15.5mph (1-25 km/h) Speed Range
- Incline: 0-10%
- Step-Up Height: 8″
- Running Belt: 22.8″ x 62.9″ (580mm x 1600mm)
Budget is always a factor when buying gym equipment.
You can get any run-of-the-mill tread for about $600. For quality, you’re looking at $1000+.
For treadmills with stronger frames, reliable stability, better features, and more programs, you’re looking at a range of between $1500 and $3500.
The FT500 sits at roughly $2500. It won’t be a hit with your wallet, but it will be a hit with your workout.
You can’t compromise on stability and quality when it comes to budget. Keep that in mind if you do opt for a model from the lower end of the price range.
- 10 Years Parts
- 1 Year labor (Light Commercial)
Final Thoughts: French Fitness FT500
The French Fitness FT500 checks all the boxes.
The 15.5mph running speed and foldable style make it extremely likeable. And it has an affordable price tag.
On top of that, the 2 HP AC motor, 10% incline, and shock absorption means it will support your hardest workouts.
The only thing to bear in mind is this. It may be foldable, but when it’s set up, it will take the same amount of space as the average treadmill. So, measure your gym and make sure it’s a good fit.
Other French Fitness Products:
- French Fitness FSR90 Smith Machine Review (Insider’s Guide)
- French Fitness Wall Mounted Mirror Functional Trainer Review
Nadia is a USA-HomeGym.com Senior Editor with 15 years+ experience in the health, supplement and nutrition niches. Nadia became a health & fitness evangelist after rebuilding her gut health in 2008 using the Weston A. Price method. She developed a Facebook group that grew to more than 15,000 members sharing information on diet for allergy reduction, eczema & psoriasis cessation. Since 2011, Nadia has been an avid stair climber, achieving race times in the top 5% of her age group and maintaining average times of 3’40 – 3’55 minutes per 12 floors.