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1,486 of 1,506 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2008
My husband and I bought the Bowflex Treadclimber TC 5000 in February 2006.

We love this machine for some reasons, and don't like it for other reasons. I'll explain below.


We assembled this machine ourselves. The assembly instructions were fairly easy to follow. Two persons must work together to lift and assemble some parts. It took us about 2 hours to put the machine together.


We chose this machine because of its compact size. The space available in our home does not allow room for a treadmill or elliptical machine.

We feel great, invigorated, and sweaty at the end of each workout on this machine.

My husband says that this machine gives him a more vigorous workout than regular treadmills.


Since 2006, I've been using this machine 5 days a week for 35-45 minutes, at medium speeds ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 mph.

For nearly 2 years, my husband stuck to a fast-paced (3.5 to mostly 4.0 mph), 5-days-a-week, 80-minute regimen. He now reduces the workout to 3 days a week

Before buying this machine, we were in good health. Now, we're in excellent health, God willing.

I've lost about 3 lbs. My husband has lost about 7 lbs. We've toned up visibly over the last 2 years, but not entirely because of this machine.

After each Treadclimber workout, we add 30-40 minutes of lifting weights (25-50 lbs).

When time and energy permit, I also add a 10-15 minute abdominal exercise, and about a 25 minute Taebo workout to my daily routine.


We started at the lower resistance levels. Within a few weeks, we quickly progressed to the maximum setting.

Since then, we leave the resistance at the maximum level. We feel no need to interrupt any workout to adjust the resistance level.


We put a rug under our machine for cushion and noise reduction.

When we began to use this machine, the right hydraulic piston made squeaky noises. Terribly annoying.

We sprayed silicon oil on all the hydraulic joints we could think of. But the noise continued.

After a month or so, we sort of became tone-deaf to this squeak. Eventually, it disappeared.

Thereafter, from time to time, we hear unusual noises from the machine. Not loud, but clearly noticeable.

Out comes the silicon spray can. A squirt here. A squirt there. Silence restored.

If you own this machine, arm yourself with a lubricant spray can, and prepare for sporadic battles to vanquish weird noises.


After almost 2 years of usage, our machine broke down. The odometer reading was 49,400. (This is the number that briefly flashes on the console after you insert the safety key.)

Through the phone, Bowflex customer service department walked us through different diagnostic steps to pinpoint the source of the problem.

Yes, one needs to be next to the machine (i.e. at home) while calling in for help. Calling from work is futile without the machine.

The final verdict? The motor died, within the 5-year warranty period. Thank God.

We weren't happy to learn that the warranty covers parts, not labor. Customers must replace the parts themselves. This is an important point that you need to keep in mind, if planning to buy a treadclimber.

After our machine was kaput for 5-weeks , the motor finally arrived. Without instructions. Perhaps a shipping oversight. Again, we called Bowflex. They sent the instructions by e-mail.

We're the do-it-yourself type. In spite of previous engineering degrees, we found the written instructions hard to follow. But the photos in the instructions were helpful.

It was a great challenge to replace the motor. The most difficult part was pulling the tight, new drive belt over the roller pulley and motor flywheel.

Without my husband's muscles, there's no way I can do the work myself. Together, we spent over 3 hours on this project.


We keep the treadles and belts regularly lubricated, even more often than instructed in the manual.

Almost immediately after we installed the new motor, the belt on the treadle began to make a scraping noise.

We squirted silicon oil, and adjusted the belt tension. But the noise got worse and more annoying.

When the odometer reached 49,600 or so, the scraping sound progressed to a loud screeching noise.

The belt was tracking excessively to one side, and scrape against something under the treadle.

Again, we called Bowflex customer service. We had the number memorized and on speed dial by now.

The customer service representative told us to adjust the belt tension. Several times. No good. She could hear the screeching noise over the phone.

The final diagnosis? The belt got old, and over stretched. So, they sent new belts, under the 3-year warranty. Thank God.

A few days later, a set of new belts arrived. With instructions this time, luckily.

Unfortunately, the belt replacement instructions is a complete enigma.

No pictures. No drawings. No idea what they're talking about.

Again. Two laborers. Two engineering degrees. Much head scratching and muttering. Many cuts, scrapes, and grunts. More than 4 hours later. Two aching backs. New right belt.

The left belt? It's worn, too. But not making any noise yet. And we had no energy left to replace the left belt.

The left belt is tougher to replace than the right. We must remove the drive belt, roller pulley, and motor flywheel to remove the left belt.

With fresh memory of our struggle with these parts, we want to leave them in peace for now.

So, we're walking very carefully on the left belt, and hope to delay its replacement as long as possible.


If you buy this machine, guard the receipt with your life. When problems develop, to get parts under warranty, you must first fax your receipt to Bowflex.

Their customer service department is open on weekdays, from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST.

This meant having to juggle our work schedules to be at home during the times that we contacted Bowflex.

You need to be next to your machine when calling Bowflex for help. Their customer service representative will walk you through certain steps.

You'll have to follow each step, and describe over the phone what your machine is doing.

It's like getting your car mechanic to figure out, over the phone, what's wrong with you car.

He'll send you the replacement parts and instructions. Although in English, some written instructions make absolutely no sense to you.

At the end, you'll have to take your machine apart and fix it yourself.

Below is our tally of contacts with Bowflex after our machine broke down.

- 13 phone calls to Bowflex - too many wasted hours to recall without pain.
- 10 days delay for Bowflex to return our 1st phone call.
- 9 Bowflex representatives - some inept, 2 helpful, 1 knowledgeable.
- 3 wrong diagnoses (replacement of speed sensor, jumper wire, and circuit board).
- 3 failed attempts to take the machine apart pursuant to wrong diagnoses.
- 1 correct diagnosis (motor replacement), finally given by the 6th representative.
- 1 shipment delay due to bad data entry - wrong shipping address.
- 4 e-mails sent to 2 representatives - no reply received.
- 3 weeks delay for new motor - part not available.
- 1 run-around attempt to get supervisor's contact information - wrong information given, still no clue who's the head honcho of customer service.

The above is the good, bad, and ugly account of our experience with our TC 5000 Bowflex Treadclimber over the last 2 years.

We hope that you find it helpful in your decision whether to purchase one for yourself.

April 23, 2008 Update:

We tried to replace the left belt, but ran into a problem. We couldn't remove some of the button head screws. They got stripped without budging. Really bad quality screws. We looked for the manufacturing label on the machine. Made in China. Didn't surprise us.

We spoke to 3 Bowflex customer service representatives. None had any idea how to deal with the problem. We ordered replacement screws. As advised by our local hardware store, we'll try a screw extractor when the replacement screws arrive.
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358 of 386 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2009
We bought this because the Dr told my wife she needed to lose 50 pounds to ensure her diabetes could be controlled. We went with the TC5000 because it has the heart monitor display built in, and we wanted to ensure we did not over do it.

The machine arrived as scheduled; assembly took about 2 hours (1 bolt missing, but I had a one that fit so was no problem). Instructions are not that clear, but if you use the pictures and think a bit before you tighten something anyone should be able to assemble this (does take two people for a couple of steps).

We watched the DVD and read the operating manual before we ever got on it; neither of us are in too fit so the first week we just went about 20 minutes in treadmill mode every other day. We have continued the every other day routine to ensure our bodies have a day of recovery. 2nd week I started with a 3 minutes of treadmill, 18 minutes of tread climber, and finishing with 3 minutes of tread mill. Wife increased her treadmill time to 25 minutes. Week 3 I am doing 3 minutes of the tread mill, 24 minutes of the tread climber, and 3 minutes of tread mill. Wife is doing 3 minutes of tread mill 15 minutes of tread climber, and 3 minutes of tread mill.

We are both very aware of the importance of keeping our heart rate in the target zone (not too low and not too high) while excercising, the speed control and the heart rate display makes this very easy to do.

Each of us has lost several inches and has experienced modest weight loss, 5 pounds for me, and 7 pounds for her in 3 weeks. Both of us feel much better and so far we each look forward to our exercise day. We have put the Tread climber right in the middle of the living room so we can watch TV, or have a conversation with each other as a routine part of our exercise. This was a very conscious decision our part to ensure it did not become out of sight, out of mind.

I would recommend this to anyone who is serious about increasing their fitness and/or losing weight.
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84 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2013
Part of the allure for the Treadclimber is that it will give you a great workout by simulating a fast walk / slow run pace up a hill. By design, the treadles move independently so each foot has it's own resistance as though you were hiking a mountain. That's where the good news ends. My husband and I used the TC5000 somewhat daily for the first year or so before we needed our first repair. Small plastic washer like spacers wore out at the back of the treadclimber resulting in a offensive grinding noise that affected the performance of the machine. He was able to replace the items, thankfully it was still under warranty. Within the next two years we required two more visits that required technicians. Four years in we were told they could do nothing about the uneven rotation and it had reached the end of it's life span. What a waste of money I thought. I will never recommend any product like this and have told over 50 people I care about now to NEVER by a product like this. List price was $2500, or $3500 if you want to pay over two years. This product might be worth half. If I knew I was about to invest in a disposable product like this I NEVER would have considered paying what I did. Run, (no pun intended) do not walk from this type of product, especially from Bowflex.
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108 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2012
Do not waste your money. This machine might actually throw you off it by automatically increasing the speed. The noises are irritating and, their customer service and warranty are crap. I am more than disappointed, I'm disgusted.
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294 of 342 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2010
This piece of equipment arrived later than it was supposed to and the let's just say the delivery personnel looked or acted like they get paid 5.15/hr. Not impressed. But that was the least of my worries as it would turn out. I used this machine for two weeks. It would periodically make weird noises, but it would go away after awhile. I was motivated - who isn't if you have 2500 dollars to spend on getting in shape? It turns out this is the most expensive piece of junk on the market. I made the mistake of ignoring the negative comments myself. I wanted something that was good quality and usually price reflects this. Granted it did give me a helluva workout, it also ruined my motivation when it broke after only two weeks :( I got on the thing at my normal time, turned it on, turned up the speed to 2.5. It immediately started running at 4.0 with no warning nearly throwing me off the back and into a dresser. With the unusual behavior was a loud screeching noise. I turned it off and took the side plate off. The noise was from the motor that was obviously taxed more than it should be. I adjusted the spring tension (essentially, it moves the drive pulley closer to the treadle pulley. This stopped the noise. Now it's obvious some how it has gotten out of alignment so apparently its fixed?. Nope. Now the stupid thing requires that it be re-calibrated - but it fails every time. When this thing breaks down, if it doesn't calibrate, it will not come back on to allow you to workout. I called the company who was nice on the phone, but at the same time, you have to troubleshoot it over the phone. Doesn't work too well if you are a working man like myself. What this equates to is if you buy a new car, rather than the company doing the leg work to fix the problem, they assume you are going to take it all back apart, fix it yourself, and be happy. New parts = you install. I'm sorry, but for 2500 dollars, they literally should send a tech to your house as far as I'm concerned. There is no excuse for putting this piece of crap on the market. All of the reviews show that people across the board experience these type of problems and that means it is defective. My war of getting my money back is just beginning. Save yourself from this!!! Look elsewhere for better equipment or get a high quality treadmill. This is flat out over-priced non-working junk!
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219 of 258 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2008
This is the consumer version of the Nautilus Treadclimber. It's smaller than the Nautilus machine but otherwise very similar.

24 Hour Fitness gyms bought a bunch of these a few years back and introduced them with great fanfare.

The good news - excellent workout. Far better than treadmills or ellipticals in my experience.

The bad news - they were all recalled after most wore out.

Nautilus introduced a new improved version. Again - excellent workout. Sadly, again, most wore out.

Hopefully someday Nautilus/Bowflex will solve all the problems and release a version 3 that lasts. Till then, given the "no labor" and the short hydraulic warranty I'd be very cautious about purchasing one.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2013
Hydraulics never functioned properly, so we decided to just use the machine in the locked down position. (like a conventional treadmill) After three years it will not longer turn on and the control surface (where the buttons are) has cracked and is falling to pieces. Not at all worth the $2500 paid for it. Would never recommend it.
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90 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2010
If I could give it zero stars I would. I recieved a lemon.... the machine does not work. Customer service has been giving me the run around. They are rude and unprofessional I would expect more from a company with the reputation that bowflex has. That being said I am still waiting for someone to come and "evaluate" the machine. If I return it I am responsible for the shipping because the no hassle return witthin 6 weeks only covers returns based on a working machine. Since my machine never worked the 6 week window does not begin until I have a working machine. Go figure. Just say no to bowflex.
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78 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2013
I have the TC5000 from Bowflex. I purchased it about 2 1/2 years ago. The assembly was a nightmare. The instructions were vague and the pictures were too dark to even see where or what you were doing. After 2 1/2 years the thing wouldn't run. I called Bowflex. They told me to go to the machine and they would walk me through troubleshooting. I told them that I couldn't physically do this. I asked about having it serviced. That is when the bombshell was released. They have no service technicians in the state of Montana. I told them with disgust what do you mean?? They again related that they had NO service technicians in Montana. They told me to check around and see if any health clubs had technicians that could come and service it. I tried that and all the health clubs didn't work on Bowflex. I told Bowflex that I had paid a lot of money for a piece of equipment that now doesn't work. They didn't reply. Before anyone buys this, you should ask about the service. What if you have a problem with the machine? What then? Find out if where you live it can be serviced and the fees for such service???
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76 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2010
I also purchased the most expensive model of tread climber. It is absolutely worthless! Tread runs off track and rubbed from day one. Oh I set it up wrong! No I paid for the garbage I mean gold service. The delivery guy never set one up before! Cylinders lost their function with in a month. Non-impact my as!! aching knees. garbage! Come and get mine from WI free!!, if you can get it out on my basement without wrecking anything. Don't make the $3,000 mistake I made! I'm 6'2", 185 lbs, 46 years old. I know fitness equipment! Again this is nothing but junk!
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