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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One classy workout machine!
Updated Nov 11, 2011: The 5.23's comfortable ride still blows me away. With Netflix playing on my iPad (which fits very nicely into the book rest), I barely notice an hour fly by. However, the lack of user memory and the awkward positioning of the power button are still a source of annoyance.

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This Precor EFX 5.23 replaces my 4 year old...
Published on June 6, 2011 by Ammy_Evaluator

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More stair stepper than elliptical--short stride length, constant incline, unnatural motion--get a Life Fitness machine!
First, let me say that I don't lightly give 2-star reviews. But this machine warrants it, unless you have tried it in person and are sure this what you want--but it's not a "true" elliptical machine. I did my research before making this purchase--checked Consumer Reports and of course Amazon reviews for this specific machine. I have used dozens of different ellipticals...
Published 12 months ago by JenBar


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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One classy workout machine!, June 6, 2011
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Updated Nov 11, 2011: The 5.23's comfortable ride still blows me away. With Netflix playing on my iPad (which fits very nicely into the book rest), I barely notice an hour fly by. However, the lack of user memory and the awkward positioning of the power button are still a source of annoyance.

#############

This Precor EFX 5.23 replaces my 4 year old Schwinn 438 - a well rated unit.

At the time I reviewed the Schwinn (see link in my comment below), I was afraid it would end up as "an expensive clothes horse". And, though I thought it might be our "starter elliptical" that would eventually end up sold, I never had the heart to get rid of it. Back then, I'd also suggested that those who knew what they wanted, might prefer to go straight to a Precor instead.

Well, fast forward to today, and that Schwinn is my favorite machine in our home gym and I've logged hundreds of hours on it. It still works, and works well. Of course, it isn't in the same league as this Precor, but I paid about half of what the 5.23 retails for. Proving that there is such a thing as "good enough" quality.

Delivery and unpacking:
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The EFX 5.23 arrived at our curb in one very large box that was both heavy and unwieldy, at 7' long, 3' wide, and 2' high, and weighing north of 200 lbs. I was barely able to maneuver it into its first stop within the garage. However, with the help of our Shoulder Dolly LD1000 2-Person Lifting and Moving System and a couple of helpers, we were able to get it to its final location in the basement.

Opening up the box, I was very impressed with the care that went into the packaging of this machine. The main unit rests on a 2x4 glued to the bottom of the box; each part is wrapped in plastic and encased generously in thermocol; and the box's corner supports are made of extra-strength cardboard. It would take a force of nature to get at this equipment within its protective cocoon. The box arrived with a couple of punctures on its sides, but because of this extraordinary packaging, there was no damage to the unit - nary a scratch!

Assembly:
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Despite my legendary mechanical ineptitude, it only took us about 90 minutes to set this up. That says a lot about the quality of the spare but functional instructions. Assembly mainly consisted of securing the stabilizer bars, handlebars, and the console onto the main unit.

A few points to note:
1. All tools needed are included - except for a rubber mallet, which as it turned out, we didn't need.
2. Some screw holes are very low to the ground. Using some packaging material to raise the front of the elliptical makes access easier.
3. Assembly is a lot easier with two people.
4. Remember to affix the rubber feet before moving the elliptical to its final location. The illustrations show these feet already in place - so we didn't even notice it until the very end.

The awesome:
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1. The construction quality is to be seen to be believed. My Schwinn is anemic by comparison.
2. Mechanically, the 5.23 compares favorably to its more expensive siblings, which mostly add an anodized aluminum frame and an automatic CrossRamp.
3. This is one smooth ride - a very tangible and noticeable difference from the Schwinn. The pedals adjust to my feet very naturally.
4. Its support for reverse pedaling really changes my workout substantially.
5. The console has great contrast, and has a generous amount of simultaneously displayed telemetry (so no multiple clicks to setup the display).
6. The platform is very stable - especially once you adjust the stabilizer's levelers.
7. The resistance range is great. At the max of 16, I can barely move the pedals, so I'm not going to outgrow this anytime soon.
8. Manually adjusting the CrossRamp only takes a couple of seconds.
9. SmartRate gives you clear indication when you are exceeding your heart's safety threshold.

The "not so good":
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1. The EFX 5.23 has no user memory. Worse - it has no "last use" memory. At each start up, you must enter your age, weight, and program duration.
2. It does not turn on automatically when used, and neither does it sleep automatically when left alone. Worse - the power switch is tiny and not easily accessible ... at the bottom of the flywheel.
3. It cannot record a custom program.
4. QuickStart mode uses its defaults (age:35, weight:150 lbs); making the calorie readouts meaningless.
5. The hand grip heart monitor really only works well once your palms are moist. I don't favor chest straps - but a Polar-compatible strap might work better here.

Conclusion:
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The Precor EFX series is the gold standard when it comes to ellipticals (after all, Precor invented them), and so I had very high expectations going in. And, YES, the EFX 5.23 met all my requirements for a solid machine - with headroom to spare! It simply oozes quality, and everything about it screams of attention to detail. Every aspect of it feels solid. The pedal motion is a dream. The foot rests are generous, comfortable, and provide good support across the motion. The display is clear. The handlebars are comfortable. In short, once you are up on this elliptical, time absolutely flies.

This is one classy workout machine.

In order to keep costs down in their lower end models, Precor chose to trade off controls/programming, rather than sacrifice build quality. I applaud this decision. The drawbacks listed above are eclipsed by the sheer joy of working out on such a splendid machine.

So in one corner, I have my trusty Schwinn 438 - with decent electronics and an average build; and in the other, I have the Precor 5.23 with jaw dropping build quality but average controls/programming. Which do I prefer? It's really no contest - the Precor wins hands down. It is truly hard to describe just how much fun it is to use once your workout starts. I've been a big fan of ellipticals for a while now, but this unit has won me all over again.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely and unreservedly!

Happy exercising!

NOTE: If you are using the manual to aid your purchase decision, note that its console image incorrectly displays "CrossRamp" instead of "Calories/min"; and that there is no "User key" (page 19).

NOTE: This elliptical is not designed to be moved once assembled.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really well-built machine, June 28, 2012
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
Precor recently dropped their prices on their entry-level ellipticals, so I took the plunge and purchased one (my first elliptical). Of course, their entry-level ellipticals are still more expensive than the top of the line models from most other manufacturers, so it was with some trepidation that I ordered it from Amazon (how do you repack and ship out a 200 pound elliptical if you decide to return it?) Anyway, I'm pleased to say that the Precor was everything I hoped for.

Assembly was straightforward, but you definitely want some help to get it out of the 7 foot box and to put it together (having a dolly was a lifesaver since I had to turn the damn thing around when I found out it was facing the wrong direction). There are no wheels, so you are basically lifting and moving extremely heavy pieces. Precor includes all the tools you'll need, and all the parts fit very nicely together (which is a major major plus if you've ever dealt with the maddening experience of building Ikea furniture).

The elliptical itself is sturdy and exudes quality. The motion is extremely smooth - with my eyes closed it would be hard to tell the difference from the club-quality Precors. Where you really come to realize how this is Precor's budget line is in the feature set. You have to program all your info (weight, etc) each time you start. There are only a few programs built-in (if you crave a lot of variety, you'll need to pony up the extra bucks for the 5.25 or higher). The incline adjustment is manual and can't be adjusted on the fly. And as one previous reviewer noted, the power switch is in the most inconvenient location near the bottom of the machine, at the rear.

However, if you know all these issues up front and just want a high-quality machine to get a great workout, this is definitely the model for you. Note: you can save about $400 and get the 5.21 if you don't need the moving arms.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Call Me SLIM in A Couple of Months....OK?, July 17, 2012
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
The wife and I have had some exposure to Precor products thru the machines at our local AnyTime Fitness, but over the years, we've found all and any excuse not to go, to the point were we could have bought one of these years ago from the monthly membership we've been paying..."lesson learned"...!!! We know Precor makes quality products and settled on this model for all the basic features we know and like, and the fact that we do not want to pay for "bells and whistles" that most likely won't be used. Well, we took delivery on this this morning and, first off, the $175 for delivery and assembly was well worth the cost; just looking at the size of the box it comes in, I'd still be opening it, in the time the two technicians took to unpack and put it together...took them in total, less than 30 minutes...IN and OUT...!!! I'll be updating this review if needed, but just based on this first day of use, we are positive we picked the right machine for our family. 3 out of 4 of us have given it a test run and are very pleased with how solid it feels, how quiet it operates and we can tell there is quality thru-out. In fact, in my research before purchasing, the only consistent negative comment I see on this model is the position of the "on/off" power switch, and even that, I find is NO BIG DEAL because, along with the manual ramp adjustments, you've easily saved "a grand" over a higher cost model and these are all subjective features that any "99%-er" can live without, believe me...!!! That's it for now, excuse me while I return to "melting away the lbs"........
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More stair stepper than elliptical--short stride length, constant incline, unnatural motion--get a Life Fitness machine!, March 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
First, let me say that I don't lightly give 2-star reviews. But this machine warrants it, unless you have tried it in person and are sure this what you want--but it's not a "true" elliptical machine. I did my research before making this purchase--checked Consumer Reports and of course Amazon reviews for this specific machine. I have used dozens of different ellipticals over the years--Precor, LifeFitness, etc. I knew that I couldn't expect a $2000 machine to perform like the $8000+ ones at the gym. Nevertheless, I invested in the EFX 5.23 because I trusted the brand and most of the reviews were good. I've never really used an elliptical that I didn't like, so I was excited to have one in my own home.

It arrived fine, and I had a local fitness store put it together (the reviews on the Treadmill Doctor service were mixed and it was way too much money). I just googled "elliptical installation" and my zip code. Looking back, I DEFINITELY would have put it together myself (or rather, with my husband). It was simple and took the guys about 20 minutes. Kind of a waste of money to have it professionally done unless you're not able to lift the pieces at all.

Anyway, once it was installed, it looked pretty nice. Not as high-end as you would hope considering the brand and price tag, but a solid elliptical. The installation guys warned me that after a while, a white chalkish substance would come from the wheels. I should just wipe it away with a rag and it would eventually stop, so no big deal (I mention that in case this happens to you).

It wasn't until I actually used the machine that I realized my mistake in buying it. Again, I'm no stranger to elliptical machines. I've used the ones with free-floating (suspended) pedals and the ones, like this, with wheels in grooves. Never been on one I didn't like. But this one was terrible...the STRIDE LENGTH is ridiculously short. I'm only 5'3 and I couldn't stretch my leg at all. My husband, who is 6' even, tried it and was even more uncomfortable than I was. But the worst part is that it's constantly at an INCLINE--yes, I read the manual and yes, I lowered the ramp (which you have to dismount the machine to do--but I saw that in the reviews so it's fine) to its lowest setting. But even on the lowest setting, the ramp is at a significant incline. This means that the pressure is put on your knees and thighs. Within minutes, my thighs were burning--but I felt nothing in my core, glutes, etc. That's because the motion of this "elliptical" is really more of a step-machine. The wheels move smoothly in the grooves, but there is no fluid motion because you're not able to stretch your legs at all--so it's more of an abbreviated elliptical shape, one that feels exactly like being on a step machine.

The fact that it's always at an incline also means that there's no way to do a light stride--say, to warm up or cool down--because you have to use a significant amount of force just to get it going up the incline. You don't feel anything in your core because it's all in your legs (because of the stepping motion). Usually on an elliptical, on a low ramp setting, you feel the pull in your core as you alternate legs and arms. The incline prohibits that. As i said, my thighs were burning within minutes, because it feels like you're walking up a flight of stairs--not gliding in a running-like, elliptical motion.

Basically, this machine had promise and I liked its relatively small footprint and brand name. But the design is terrible--there's no way to NOT have an incline, and it's a pretty steep one at that...which makes the "elliptical" motion much more compact. Then, the stride length overall is ridiculous--the fact that I, a rather short woman, found it to be limiting says it all! And there's no way to adjust it. If they made it so you could lower the incline to completely flat and adjust the stride length, I'm sure it'd be a fine machine...but you can't do either, and for $2300, I'm not keeping a machine that doesn't give me the workout I need. I'm returning it--which, although Amazon's return policy is great and they were prompt in helping me with it, is a huge hassle.

Please do yourself a favor...go to a local fitness equipment store and TRY THIS OUT before you spend $2k. If I had, i would have realized it was more of a stair-stepper machine with cheap wheels in grooves than an elliptical, and would have saved my time and money!

UPDATE: I went to a fitness equipment store today and learned that all of the Precor machines in this price point are really "cross-trainers" as opposed to ellipticals. They don't have the true elliptical, running-like motion that Life Fitness or other machines have. Also, all Precor models have the "mandatory incline"--so you can't start off flat at all. Do an Amazon search for Precor elliptical and you'll see that they all have wheels-in-grooves, on ramps that are never flat.

I ended up buying a LifeFitness X5 Life Fitness X5 Track Cross-Trainer. It has suspended pedals (free-floating, not wheel-in-groove pedals) and the motion is MUCH more natural and much more like running than the Precor...which was basically a stair-step machine with a very limited range. The LifeFitness X5 also has an adjustable stride length from 18-24 (the Precor is 18) and there is no incline because it's not cheap wheels in a ramp but rather suspended pedals. The motion is much more natural and much more what I've used in gyms. Looking back, I think it must have been LifeFitness that I primarily used (as opposed to Precor). It's a very different motion, more natural, I would argue, and seems to be of higher quality construction. To be fair, the X5 runs about $1k more expensive than this elliptical I'm reviewing, so that may put it out of reach for some people...and the less expensive models don't feature adjustable stride length. HOWEVER, even on the "basic" model (the Life Fitness X1 - Life Fitness X1 Go Cross-Trainer I tested today, the range of motion felt much more natural because again, no wheels in grooves--they're all suspended and much more like running than a cross-training ramp (which is what all the Precor models are). I'd take the cheapest Life Fitness over a pricier Precor any day, simply because of the more natural motion and better quality. Try this Precor EFX 5.23 and the Life Fitness X1 in a brick-and-mortar store. You may be okay with the Precor motion, but definitely make an informed decision.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelmingly happy!, April 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
Set up was fine,took about 90 minutes,you need 2 people for sure. It is extremely sturdy and stable( you can adjust the black pads under the front so that each side rests independently to make sure it sits flat on the floor.) It is quiet and really delightful. My downstairs neighbors hear NOTHING... You could almost use it in a room with someone sleeping it is that quiet. The construction is top notch. This is fancy gym quality in terms of construction and "durability" Definitely a great purchase..... I have Prime-so delivery was free, they brought it all the way into the final spot where we set it up....thrilled!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Machine, July 14, 2013
By 
David K Norton (Indianapolis, IN) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
For the price, this is as good of a machine as I could find. We have been using it for the past 6 months and have had no problems. It glides well and gives a solid workout. I've used better machines in gyms that allow the slope to change on the go, but they were way too expensive for me to buy for home. The power switch is in a fairly inconvenient location at the low rear of the machine. It is pretty sturdy and does not rock side to side very much - even without bolting to the ground. It also was not that difficult to put together. It took about 1 1/2 hours, mostly because it is hard to unpack and organize the parts.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak..., December 31, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
The build quality seems very good with this unit, but as others have stated online AND what is printed in the owners manual, the wheels are squeaking. The owners manual says the squeak will go away after 10 hours of use. My unit is currently around 20 hours and one wheel has squeaked since the beginning. I'll give it 10 more hours and then I'll contact Precor to see what the fix will be.

A comment on the shipping - We have a Precor 9.35 treadmill, which is a beast at 335 lbs. So buying a Precor elliptical from Amazon (Precor charges $195 for delivery/setup) had me worrying a little about getting it into the house. We have Amazon Prime, so getting this shipped for free was deal I couldn't resist and decided to take my chances. The shipping company will deliver the unit to your garage but they will not go up any steps. The item comes on a long skinny wood pallet in a very sturdy box. When you open the box, the item is in a few pieces. The largest and heaviest piece is the base unit. My wife and I were able to carry this into our house without much trouble and then careful assembly took a couple hours.

**UPDATE**
Just might have turned a corner. Just completed a 40 min workout this morning and the unit did not squeak.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crosstrainer, August 8, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
Simple to assemble. Solid. My wife loves having her own instead of having to wait in line in the fitness room. Recommended - don't buy the cheap under-the-bed fold-down stuff.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Precor is THE BEST, February 5, 2013
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
I have bought cheap exercise equipment before (stairclimber, elliptical, treadmill), and learned my lesson - if it's not fun to work out on, I won't use it. For this reason, I decided that if I'm going to buy another piece of equipment, it MUST be something that I will use and enjoy using.

If you go to Dick's Sporting Goods, Academy, etc... you will find a variety of ellipticals, but you will also notice that when you get on them and begin striding, the machine will sway slightly. When you get on a Precor, it is rock solid. The strides are smooth, and the quality is obvious. There are not as many bells and whistles, but the machine itself is meant for business. Precor is definitely worth the extra money. I wanted a machine that I would have for years, enjoy using, and benefit from - this has fulfilled every expectation.

The only thing I'm not wild about, is the manually adjusted incline... however, I couldn't afford $1000 more for that feature so I sprung for the Precor EFX 5.23 until I can afford to upgrade. I found it at thefitnessoutlet.com for the same that Precor is selling it for ($1999), but they do not charge tax and offer free shipping. I also found a coupon code, TFO100, which will save you an additional $100 - plus you get a free mat and heart rate monitor. So I spent $1899 flat.

You cannot go wrong with this product or any Precor above it. A+++ Nothing compares.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome machine, January 19, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (Latest Generation) (Sports)
I went to the mechanic at the gym to help me choose a machine for my wife. It made sence that the guy maintaining them would know best. We decided on this one because it fit all of my wife's needs. It turns out that the 3 inches that it is shorter than the comerical one at the gym was exactly what my wife needed. The handles are closer to her center of gravity and fit her perfectly. This machine is as smooth as the commerical ones at the gym. I myself am a gym rat. I am 5' 10" 205, and this machine on carpet doesn't move. Don't waste your money on a commerical one unless you don't have a power outlet, or your going to use it 24/7.
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