UPDATE: The Bowflex TreadClimber series is no longer available. But, check out the Bowflex Max Trainers for their latest and greatest calorie-burning options.
The Bowflex Treadclimber TC200 is a combination of 3 cardio machines in one, with features from an elliptical, treadmill, and stair climber.
The TC200 represents the current top-of-the-line model, being an upgraded version of the entry level TC100, and newer version of the first generation TC20.
But with a belt speed half that of most treadmills, how can this help with your cardio workouts and fitness goals?
This is one of the questions we’ll answer in our review of the Bowflex TC200 TreadClimber, as we take a look at the design features, workout programs, entertainment options, and performance tracking.
We’ll also be making some important comparisons between this model and the entry level TC100, to discover which machine represents better value for money.
If you want to find out more about the history of the TreadClimber, or about other models in the series, it’s worth taking a look at our TreadClimber review guide.
Design and safety features
The main goal behind the design of the TreadClimber is simple. Take the best features from some of the most effective calorie burning cardio machines and combine them into a single piece of equipment.
In theory this is more cost effective, as the TC200 TreadClimber is priced about the same as a top-of-the-line treadmill or elliptical. But how does this measure up in practice?
One thing we want to make clear at the start is that this isn’t a machine for runners. Although the belts have a higher top speed than the earlier TC100 model, they’re still capped at 4.5 mph. This is a long way off the 12 mph of treadmills like the Sole F80.
TreadClimbers are actually designed specifically for walking workouts, where you can use a combination of incline and resistance levels to control the intensity of your routine. This makes the TC200 ideal for all personal fitness levels.
After stepping foot on the machine, you can use the console to start the belts moving, at speeds of between 0.5 and 4.5 mph. The resistance level can be adjusted for the hydraulic cylinders on each side of the frame, which affects the movement of the Treadles.
The Treadles themselves are the platforms that the belts wrap around, and work in a similar way to the running deck on a treadmill. The main benefit with the TC200 is that the Treadle rises to meet your foot fall, resulting in a lower impact workout.
This is enhanced by something Bowflex call their ‘Easy Step’ Shock system.
The TC200 TreadClimber has similar features to a treadmill, with side foot supporting platforms for you to stand on if you need a break, and a Safety Key port to protect you in the event of a fall.
One end of the Safety Key attaches to your clothing, and the other to the console via a short lanyard. That way, if you were to move too far from the console, the key would detach and the belts would quickly come to a stop.
Unfortunately there isn’t any form of password protection on the console, which is a feature we noticed during some of our Precor treadmill reviews. But with the belts moving at half the speed of most treadmills, it’s already a much safer option for family environments.
Bowflex TreadClimber TC200 – Features Summary
- Set, monitor, and track your personal fitness goals with the free TreadClimber App with integrated Bluetooth® connectivity.
- Tracks and stores up to 4 different user’s data.
- Choose from 5 different workout programs – Just Walk, Calorie Goal, Time Goal, Distance Goal, and Interval.
- New interactive and fully backlit, high-contrast, LCD screen.
- Charge your tablet, phone, or music player on the redesigned media shelf with built-in USB charging port.
Display console functions
Bowflex have always been a company that stays on top of the latest trends in fitness tech, and that continues to be true of the TreadClimber collection.
If you take a look at the TC10 console from an earlier TreadClimber series, you’ll notice how basic the display is. A few LCD screens, no heart rate monitoring, no media shelf for a tablet, and very limited workout variation.
Fast forward to the TC200, and it’s almost unrecognizable. A larger console, more advanced LCD screen, intuitive menu system, multiple user profiles, and BowflexConnect performance tracking are just a few of the features now available.
Being a G.O. (Goal Oriented) console also allows you to take advantage of an interactive program designed to help you achieve future fitness goals.
Heart rate monitoring
Between the latest collection of TreadClimbers and their new Max Trainer collection, it’s clear that Bowflex have put a lot of thought into redesigning their consoles.
This extends to heart rate monitoring, which is now available using the built-in touch sensors, or via a telemetry chest strap (wireless).
As soon as the console receives a heart rate signal, the Zone Indicator Light will activate. The color of the light is based on your current heart rate level, with light green being used to show a resting heart rate, and red used to show a high intensity workout.
If you prefer to workout within a certain heart rate range, you can use the built-in Heart Rate Zone indicator. This displays which heart rate zone you’re currently in, ranging from Zone 0 (no heart rate supplied), through to Zone 4 (80%+ of your maximum heart rate).
You can also use the Quick-Select controls to adjust the belt speed, in increments of either 0.1 mph or 0.5 mph. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the resistance level, which must be set before you step foot on the machine.
Each Treadle uses an Easy Step Shock to absorb your steps. By adjusting the dial on each Treadle you can define their range of motion, with the minimum setting being the easiest, and the maximum setting being your best option for high intensity cardio.
In recent years we’ve seen some incredible improvements in the level of entertainment features found on home fitness equipment.
NordicTrack are currently one of the industry leaders, with their high-end treadmill collection offering features such as a virtual journey of the route you’re running via Google Maps. They’ve also included touch-screen color consoles and added web-browsers to many of their treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes.
In contrast, Bowflex have never provided features like these as standard. Instead, with the TreadClimber TC200 they have built-in a media shelf for supporting your tablet if you own one.
This is actually a much more cost efficient idea, as it allows them to build in more features that benefit your workouts while keeping the price affordable. There’s nothing worse than paying for features that you never intend to use.
So what about the workouts? There’s a built-in USB charging port and a selection of controls to access different programs, but is there a fitness app or software that lets you track your progress?
Workout programs and user profiles
Due to the lower belt speed and manual adjustment of the Shocks, the TC200 TreadClimber has fewer workout programs than you would expect from a treadmill or elliptical at this price.
However, you can still choose from one of 3 goal oriented programs, interval training, and the Just Walk workout. You’re even given a fitness score based on an estimate of your VO2 max and data from your past workout performance.
5 workout programs
- Just Walk – The equivalent of a ‘manual’ program on an exercise bike, treadmill, or elliptical. This is the default program that activates when you set the belts in motion, and is completely open-ended with no goals.
- Calorie Goal – Set a target number of calories that you want to burn during the current workout (default 300).
- Time Goal – Set a target duration for your workout (default 30 minutes).
Distance Goal – Set a target distance for your workout (default 3 miles).
- Interval – The console will provide you with prompts for when to increase and decrease the belt speed. None of the workout programs will adjust the belt speed automatically.
Awards and achievements
Seeing your fitness score improve and listening to your favorite workout music can certainly be motivational, but Bowflex have taken this a step further by including Awards which are given at different stages of a workout.
Certain awards will also span multiple workouts, and include:
- Every 100 calories burned
- Worked out 3 days in a row
- Worked out 5 days in a row
- Fastest 3 miles
We think that rewards for an increase in performance as well as maintaining a regular fitness routine are an excellent idea, and aren’t something we’ve seen on any other piece of fitness equipment.
When you complete your workout, you can sync your data to your BowflexConnect and MyFitnessPal profiles.
The TC200 TreadClimber lets you create up to 4 user profiles, each of which stores basic personal information, such as gender, weight, and age. This is then used to improve the accuracy of the calculations for your maximum heart rate and number of calories burned.
Ease of assembly
Setting up any piece of home fitness equipment can be a daunting prospect, especially something like a treadmill or elliptical.
Although they’re not as large, Bowflex TreadClimbers still require a similar amount of assembly, leading many people to consider professional home assembly services.
But if you want to avoid the additional expense, it can make sense to setup the machine at home yourself if you have the time.
To make things easier, the TC200 user manual is extremely well written and easy to follow, with exploded drawings and written instructions detailing how each part fits together.
The bulk of the TreadClimber actually arrives pre-assembled, but because of its weight (over 200 lbs), it’s useful having someone to assist you if needed.
With the base assembly in place, you can simply start building the machine up, with the Treadle assembly resting on top, followed by the console uprights and console itself.
A large carry handle has been added at the front, and transport wheels at the back to make moving the machine easier if required. But due to its weight, we would recommend finding a permanent a permanent home for your new fitness equipment.
This is made easier thanks to the compact footprint. Measuring just 55″L x 31.5W, it’s half the size of some ellipticals, and even some recumbent bikes.
To help compensate for any slightly uneven ground, Bowflex have added base levellers at the front of the machine.
Full fitness and nutrition plan
As with their Max Trainer collection, the user manuals accompanying their latest TreadClimbers go beyond simple assembly instructions.
In fact, Bowflex give you a complete walkthrough of everything you need to improve your health and fitness, both on and off the machine.
There are sections on what to wear (fitness apparel), how to stretch to prevent injury, how to structure your workouts to achieve different fitness goals, and a complete log for your workouts.
If your goal is to lose weight, it’s worth reading the Bowflex Body Weight Loss guide, which is also included. This is packed with helpful advice on meal timings, how to balance your protein, carbs, and fats, and even a sample nutrition plan with portion size guide.
To help prolong the life of the machine there’s a section on maintenance, with guides on how to properly align the walking belts, lubricate the running deck, and troubleshoot any console errors.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- 3 years coverage on the entire machine
This 3 year warranty covers the frame, mechanical parts, electronics, shocks, motor, and all other components.