The Precor TRM 211 is the lowest priced treadmill in Precor’s Energy series of home gym equipment, and the entry level machine in their 2014 collection.
In this review we take an in-depth look at the design, SmartRate heart rate tracking, preset workout programs, and much more, to help you decide whether this would be the best choice of treadmill for your own home workouts.
Reduce stress on joints with Energy Stride™ Technology
According to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, many runners tend to develop a term known as Runner’s knee – a condition related to stress being imparted on the knee joints on a regular basis.
To help reduce the stress being placed on your ligaments and joints while running, Precor have developed a number of different technologies to cushion the impact, with Energy Stride™ being the system of choice for their Energy series treadmills.
This technology uses the patented deck mounting system from their commercial treadmills to reduce stress on your joints by giving areas of the deck optimal amounts of underfoot cushioning and rigidity for the most comfort throughout your stride.
Although you’re missing the Integrated Footplant Technology™ stride support built into the Precision series treadmills, the Energy Stride™ cushioning still manages to significantly reduce the impact of your foot fall compared to conventional road running.
Precor TRM 211 Energy Series – Features Summary
- Energy Stride Technology reduces stress on joints by providing optimal deck cushioning and rigidity underfoot
- Non-folding design provides a structurally sound and stable platform
- 100% no-maintenance design eliminates periodic service calls
- Easy-to-use, streamlined console with Quick Start and 6 preset workouts
- Powerful 3 HP continuous duty motor runs cool and quiet providing plenty of power and torque for interval training
- Maximize your workout results with touch sensor heart rate monitoring and Smart Rate system
- Deck: Phenolic surface, 1 inch / 2.54 cm fiberboard
- Deck Elevation Range: 0% – 15% Incline
- Speed Range: 0.5 – 12.0 mph / 0.8 – 19.3 kph
- Running Surface: 20 inches W x 57 inches L
- Handrails: Running style
- Number of Workout Metrics: 9
- Workout programs: 6
- User IDs: 0
- Console Display: Blue and white LCD
- Speed & Deck Elevation Controls: Membrane Switch Keys
Storage and safety features
Despite being slightly more limited in its range of safety features compared to later models in Precor’s Energy series, the TRM 211 still includes a number of design features put in place to improve you safety when running at home.
If you’ve already read our review of the TRM 223 then you might remember that we mentioned the password key sequence, which effectively locked the console’s functions until the correct key sequence was entered. Unfortunately that’s one of the unique benefits of the 223 model, and isn’t available on either the TRM 211 or the top-of-the-line TRM 243.
However, the console still includes a clip for attaching one end of the safety key, while the other is attached to an item of clothing via a short lanyard. In the unlikely event of a trip or fall while running, this will quickly bring the tread belt to a stop.
The second safety feature is the addition of short length handlebars. Although they don’t extend along the running deck as far as the full length versions you find on other Energy series treadmills, they are still a useful option to have if you want a little extra support at any time during your workout.
In terms of transport, Precor treadmills are designed to be non-folding, in order to provide a more structurally sound and stable platform compared to most folding types. While the 227 lb weight of the TRM 211 doesn’t make it their heaviest machine, it’s a good idea to complete the assembly in the area where you intend to perform your workouts. (See our Ease of Assembly section for Precor’s location guidelines)
Display console design
The Precor TRM 211 features a stripped down version of the series 40 console, with its streamlined design making it the only console to not provide a SmartGrip™ holder for tablet, smartphone, and MP3 player support.
The membrane switch keys used to control the incline and belt speed, workout program selection, and quick start/stop functions have also been grouped together closer to your running position, making for more intuitive operation mid-workout.
The TRM 211 display console features intuitive button placement and a streamlined design
Alongside the central screen is where you’ll find the SmartRate display, which is used to provide a clear visual representation of your current heart rate level.
Meanwhile, the blue and white LCD screen is used to keep you constantly updated with a wide range of accurate workout feedback, including average heart rate, total distance, average incline, and total calories burned.
Preset workout programs
The Precor TRM 211 includes a total of 6 workout programs, all of which are preset. This is one of the reasons for the price difference between this model and the TRM 223, although both of these models are lacking the custom workout programs provided by the top-of-the-line TRM 243.
But by taking a closer look at these workout programs, we actually found that many of the options provided on the TRM 243 were variations on a smaller group of 6 key workout concepts, which you can still find on the 211 (with the exception of heart rate controlled).
The TRM 211 offers 6 preset workout programs, but is misses the personalized suggestions of later models
The following 6 workout programs have been preconfigured on the TRM 211 console:
- Manual – The only program out of the 6 that doesn’t strictly follow a preset profile, instead allowing you to define the incline and speed settings as your workout progresses.
- Weight Loss – Whereas the Manual program allows you to define your workout duration, the Weight Loss program has a fixed workout time of 28 minutes.
This combines feedback from the heart rate hand sensors with your age in order to calculate your maximum heart rate. From this, the console will calculate a range of 55% to 70% of your maximum, which should be considered your optimum fat burning zone.
Although the Weight Loss program won’t make a historical log of your workouts or make personalized suggestions in the same way that the TRM 243 will, it can still remember the changes you make to the running deck incline for upcoming intervals in your current workout.
- Interval – A higher intensity version of the interval profile created by the Weight Loss program above, the Interval program is better suited to improving your overall cardiovascular health.
The workout itself follows the conventional interval pattern of cycles, with a rest and work period in each. Incline can be adjusted at any time, and will be remembered for all subsequent cycles in your current workout.
- Hill Climb – With fat burning and cardiovascular health covered by the two programs above, Hill Climb is optimized to improve your endurance, using the full 0% to 15% elevation range.
- Walk – As the name suggests, this is a lower intensity workout that’s ideal for serious walkers and anyone that’s just getting started with running.
- Fun Run (10K) – Whereas the duration for the Weight Loss program is fixed at 28 minutes, the length of the Fun Run program is fixed at 10 kilometers.
The incline level will automatically adjust throughout the workout, but the speed is entirely dependent on your own selection.
The TRM 211 lacks the same level of equipment settings as later models, but you can still switch the units of measurement used in the feedback for these workouts between Metric and U.S. Standard.
SmartRate heart rate monitoring
Whether you’re training for a weight management goal or simply to improve your physical fitness, ensuring your heart rate is within a specific percentage range has been found to assist with achieving specific goals.
But if heart rate monitoring is one of the primary types of workout you want to include in your routine, it’s worth knowing that the TRM 211 doesn’t support telemetry heart rate monitoring (with a chest strap).
Although the console still features Precor’s SmartRate heart rate zone display, the feedback will only be shown when you hold onto the heart rate hand sensors built into the handles.
The earliest Precor include telemetry heart rate monitoring as a feature is on the next model up in the Energy series – the TRM 223. In terms of the list price, there’s an $800 difference between the two machines, but this does include a number of other upgraded features, such as increased feedback metrics and workout programs.
SmartRate itself is based on the traditional formula of 220 minus your age, multiplied by a percent to determine which of the 4 bands your current heart rate falls into; High Peak(85%), Cardio (80%), Fat Burn (65%), or Warm Up (up to 54%).
Because it’s required to increase the accuracy of the heart rate measurement, you will be prompted to enter your age before starting a workout. This is slightly different to later treadmills in the series, as the information won’t be stored against any user profile, it’s simply used for this calculation.
Once you start your workout and while you maintain a grip on the pulse sensors, SmartRate will then display a blinking bar as an indication of the range your heart rate currently falls into.
Ease of assembly / Maintenance required
Before starting the assembly, it’s worth ensuring that the location where you intend to position the treadmill is a suitable size. Although their guidelines differ based on equipment type, for treadmills Precor recommends keeping the machine at least 40 inches away from walls of furniture, with at least 80 inches of space behind the running deck.
Once you’ve decided on a suitable location, the assembly process itself has been made incredibly straightforward.
The treadmill will arrive in two boxes, and has been carefully tested and inspected before being dispatched. What happens upon delivery will depend largely on who you actually purchased the treadmill from.
While Amazon will tend to offer a curb-side delivery, Precor provides a professional delivery and installation service, albeit at an additional fee. For consumer treadmills such as the TRM 211, this is currently around $199, while for their larger AMT machines this increases to $349.
If you would like to avoid this additional cost and are happy to assemble the machine yourself, you’ll be happy to know the user manual walks you through the process with a comprehensive step-by-step guide.
There are actually very few parts to worry about, and once you have the running deck in position, you simply need to attach the uprights, console support, and display console.
All the tools you need are provided, together with exploded drawings and clear textual instructions as to what’s required at each stage. Because of this, it shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes before you’re enjoying your first workout.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and welds: Lifetime
- Parts and wear items: 5 years
- Console: 3 years
- Labor: 1 year