As a significant upgrade over their Lido model, the Yowza Fitness Osprey Transformer Treadmill includes a much more competitive collection of features, ranking it amongst the top treadmills to buy in the sub $1000 category.
To find out just how much has changed and how this compares to other highly rated machines at the same price point, we’ve put together a detailed review of the design features, workout programs, assembly process, warranty coverage, and display console functions.
Our aim is to provide you with all the information you need to decide if this is the best choice of treadmill for your own home workouts and fitness goals.
What does it mean to be a Transformer treadmill?
Transformer treadmills represent a whole new category of folding treadmills, with the Osprey representing the best value in its class.
Unlike other “hinged” folding treadmills, the Osprey looks and feels as good as any treadmill you have ever used. You can also benefit from the new one-touch speed and incline buttons, as well as the progressive shock absorption deck that delivers just the right amount of flex based on your speed and body weight.
Running deck design and power incline
One of the biggest improvements over the entry level Lido treadmill is the switch from manual to power incline adjustment.
Whereas with the Lido you had to step off the machine and lift the running deck to change between incline settings, the power incline of the Osprey means this whole process can be controlled directly from the console.
The size of the running area has also seen an upgrade, with an extra few inches added to the width. While this still doesn’t entirely cater for the stride of taller users (5 ft 8 ins+), you do have a lot more freedom to adjust your running position.
Although it’s not quite up to the 60 inch length of some of the commercial grade machines, at 52 inches, it’s still more than enough to support walking and jogging workouts for all user heights.
Further improvements include increased motor power, higher weight capacity, a more advanced 8 point shock absorption system, and a wider belt speed range of up to 11 mph.
The reason these upgrades are so important is because of how the Osprey is now balanced against other treadmills in the same price category.
If you read our review of the Lido treadmill, you’ll have noticed we made so interesting comparisons with the highly popular TR 1200i from LifeSpan.
When you combine these new features with the fact that Yowza have still managed to keep the price of the Osprey under the $1000 mark on many ecommerce websites, this certainly seems to have closed the gap on the TR1200i.
You also still have the same efficient folding design, whereby the console and upright supports can fold down to lie almost completely flat against the running deck for easy storage.
Yowza Fitness Osprey Treadmill – Features Summary
- Commercial Grade 2.75 HP Continuous Duty motor with heavy precision balanced flywheel
- Progressive Shock Absorption Deck rests on multi-udometer elastomer rings providing a soft landing surface in front
- Full 20″X 52″ multi-ply Running Belt
- Triple phenolic laminated deck is reversible and requires no regular maintenance
- Speed range: 0.5-11 mph (0.8-18 kph)
- Incline level: 0 – 12%
- Scratch-resistant powder-coated Unibody steel frame
- Transport wheels
Transport, safety, and stability
If you’re likely to be working out at home on a regular basis, it can be useful to know which safety features are in place, as well as how quickly the machine can be folded down and stored if needed.
Featuring a similar design to the one we saw on their Lido treadmill, the safety key is our most obvious option. This can be inserted into a slot in the console, which then enables the motion of the running belt.
With one end inserted into the console and the other clipped onto an item of your clothing, this should cause the key to disconnect from the console in the event of a fall, which quickly brings the belt to a complete stop to prevent any risk of injury.
The fold up / unfold mechanism is what gives the Transformer its name
Underneath the belt and running deck system, you also have an innovative design feature in the form of an additional fold down transport wheel.
By combining this third wheel with the two already attached to a front base stabilizer, Yowza Fitness have managed to make it considerably easier to lift and move the machine around, particularly considering the entire machine weighs just 154 lbs.
As soon as you move the Osprey treadmill to a new location, you can then fold the wheel under the running deck and bring the frame gently back down to the ground.
If you find that the treadmill feels slightly unbalanced after the move, it might be worth checking the floor it’s resting on. Even slight deviations in the level of an otherwise flat floor can cause unwanted sideways movement or rocking in the machine once you get to higher incline and speed settings.
To save you having to keep lifting and maneuvering the machine until you find an area that’s perfectly level, Yowza have added base levellers to the underside of the rear stabilizer bar.
These weren’t seen on the earlier Lido model due to the style of manual incline, but you can now adjust their height independently to compensate for floors that aren’t completely flat.
Display console design
Apart from concentrating on your running stride, your main area of focus when using any treadmill is always going to be the display console.
This is why it’s important not to overlook the importance of its design, especially when there have been a clear number of upgrades over previous models in a collection.
That certainly seems to be the case with the Osprey, which features a complete redesign compared to the console we saw in our review of the earlier Lido model.
The simple 5 button layout has now been expanded to something that feels much more like what we’d expect from a treadmill at this price point.
Not only do you now have a series of quick select buttons for the workout programs, but also for the incline and speed settings.
Being able to switch between workouts at the touch of a button, or increase the intensity not only increases the likelihood of varying your training, but also cuts down on the time it takes to setup user profiles and make adjustments while running.
As we mentioned earlier, the Osprey is the first Transformer treadmill in the Yowza Fitness collection, and offers a power incline instead of the manual settings you get with the Lido machine.
There’s even enough space to display a clear key as to which program each of the workout options relates to, which combine with the custom icons to create a design that’s both feature-rich and intuitive.
Workout feedback metrics: Tracking your progress
In terms of the workout feedback, we’re still seeing the same bright, backlit screen that we’ve come to associate with Yowza Fitness equipment, which is useful for keeping track of important metrics in low light.
This includes your current speed and incline, heart rate, calories burned, time, and even a display matrix to show the profile of your current workout.
In addition to the new button functions and console design, you also have large storage areas for your water bottles, MP3 player, or smart phone. Despite being a fairly simple addition, it’s certainly a welcome one, especially considering how much a lack of hydration can affect your performance.
Preset workout programs
As well as the physical design improvements, such as the power incline and Transformer folding system, the Osprey sees a major advancement in the variation of preset workout programs.
Whereas the Lido focussed around two main categories, the programs for this particular model are much more diverse, giving you a wider range of options when it comes to switching up your routine.
Together with a difference in workout profiles, we also noticed some notable changes in the number of intensity levels available.
These tend to be based around a combination of speed and incline. For example, if you find the Weight Loss program effective but don’t quite have the stamina to keep up with the 11 degrees of incline at level 9, you can always lower the intensity to level 3, where the incline will never go above 5 degrees.
YouTube video showing the Yowza Fitness Osprey Transformer Treadmill in action:
So that you can decide whether this increased variation is enough to support and challenge your current fitness level, we’ve put together a quick guide on what you can hope to gain from each program.
Programs to help you achieve your goals
- P1 Manual Program – The opposite of the target setting workouts we saw on the Lido, Manual is the ideal choice for if you want to have full control over changes in the incline and speed settings.
- P2 Interval Incline – Based around a preset duration of 24 minutes (adjustable), this is the first of the preset programs to offer varying intensity levels.
There are 9 to choose from, each based around a different configuration of incline angles for the rest and work segments, as you follow this highly effective HIIT model of interval training.
- P3 Interval Speed – Identical to the Interval Incline program above, but with the 9 intensity levels varying the belt speeds for each segment instead of the incline.
- P4 Weight Loss – With a profile that resembles a much more gentle version of the interval programs listed above, Weight Loss again offers 9 different intensity levels to cater to different levels of personal fitness.
The maximum speed and incline are lower than for the interval programs, as more of a ‘steady-state’ style of cardio that keeps you at a lower percentage of your maximum heart rate (65% to 75%) has been found to be optimal for the highest level of fat loss in the least time.
- P5 5K Self Learning / Competition – The first of the programs to be target based, this lets you run towards a target distance of 5km, following an incline profile that’s been designed by the team at Yowza Fitness.
The speed is entirely your own choice, and won’t follow any pre-defined factory setting.
- P6 Heart Rate Control – There’s a lot more to this program than we can really go into in this review alone, but this is essentially a very safe way of performing a workout based around your heart rate.
The reason it’s so safe is due to carrying out a series of pre-workout tests, as a form of check to make sure that you can reach and maintain the level of intensity that this program requires.
If you manage to reach 65% of your maximum heart rate, only then will you progress on to the actual workout.
Until then, you will carry on the warm-up as the machine switches between adjusting the incline and speed, trying to find the combination that will be most effective for keeping your heart rate raised.
Your heart rate will then be measured at set intervals throughout the program, using the built-in heart rate hand sensors on the console hand rail.
Creating user profiles
If the accuracy of the calories burned and heart rate feedback is important to you, there’s no getting away from the fact that you need user profiles.
If you were to read through the majority of negative reviews for lower priced treadmills that don’t offer user profile creation, you’ll find the main reason for lower ratings is inaccuracy of feedback.
While the calculations to determine your maximum heart rate and level of calorie expenditure do vary, neither is possible without you providing your age (heart rate accuracy) and weight (calorie accuracy).
The Yowza Fitness Osprey treadmill actually offers 9 of these profiles, which allow you to store your age, weight, and fitness level, making this an ideal fitness machine for individuals and family environments alike.
Ease of assembly and maintenance
One of the more subtle benefits of having a membership to a commercial gym is that there’s usually someone available who checks the machines on a regular basis, so you never have to worry about maintenance.
If you’re looking to recreate this as closely as possible at home, it can be useful to know the complexity of the maintenance routine, and if there are any specific steps you need to follow to stay within the warranty.
The fact is that if you have a spare 5 minutes each week, this should be more than enough time to carry out the recommended checks that will help improve the life of the Osprey treadmill.
This includes tightening and inspecting the bolts, aligning and lubricating the tread belt, and quickly wiping down the frame after use.
Due to the triple lamination of the wax-impregnated running belt, lubricating with silicone spray doesn’t actually need to be performed anywhere near as often as some of the lower priced machines.
Yowza Fitness have taken this into consideration when putting together the user manual and deciding what to include in the box.
The manual includes detailed step-by-step instructions for how to carry out the tasks listed above, and even includes a bottle of silicone lubricant to ensure the belt runs smoothly from the very first use.
In terms of the assembly process, although the Osprey requires marginally more work than the Lido, it’s still considerably less than you would expect to find on more expensive models.
That’s because the majority of the machine arrives already setup, including the running deck, uprights, console support, and console itself.
All that’s required is to screw into place a handful of bolts to hold the console and uprights in position, and attach a couple of covers over the top to improve the aesthetics.
If you happen to encounter any problems that can’t be answered by the troubleshooting section in the manual, Yowza do have a customer service number you can call 5 days a week, and a contact form on the website if you prefer to ask your questions via email.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and motor: Lifetime
- Parts and electronics: 5 years
- Labor: 2 years