|$9,300 and no cup holder!|
This morning was a washout so I decided to do today's workout indoors. I could have used the treadmill, but I decided to elliptical. I was mostly curious about how a plain old elliptical trainer would feel compared to the three "alternative" cardio machines I've been testing.
"Been testing" is the operative phrase here. We've all finished our formal workout sessions and documented our experiences. That feedback, plus the data generated by the machines, will help the organization determine the value of these models. The test team, who have been asked not share their opinions up to this point, will be brought together to compare perspectives. I'm curious to hear which machines people liked and why they liked them.
The average cost of the machines I tested is about $5,000. Our Pro Form CE 6.0 elliptical cost less than a tenth of that. There's no debating that a $5K unit would be better constructed than a entry level elliptical machine. But do you really need something like that? After a few minutes on my elliptical, I started to appreciate both sides of the argument.
Although my Pro Form machine feels about as stable as a seesaw, it does exactly what it's supposed to do. It has various levels of resistance and, after 45 minutes, I felt properly worked out. On the other hand, the hybrid running machines (2 out of the three especially) felt rock solid and the dynamically variable stride length provided another dimension to the experience.
It's not clear to me that it's worth spending an extra $1,600 to $8,900 (not a typo) to attain that dimension. If I did most of my workouts on fitness machines I would want to have a rock solid unit with the flexibility to change my stride. Since I use my elliptical as an occasional cross training tool, buying a big expensive machine would not be wise or practical. However, if these hybrid machines provided a true run-like experience, I'd view and value them in a much different way.