I have the Schwinn 430 elliptical, which in my opinion, was the best elliptical in its class for under $1000. It has an 18" stride that works for most people.
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Trainer
There is now a new successor in home fitness equipment. This is it!
Whenever someone thinks outside of the box and creates a new machine to appeal to more people, they create a winning product that will set the standard. Schwinn/Nautilus and their engineers/experts have done it with the Schwinn 460 Variable Strike Elliptical Trainer.
How is this different? Without making any adjustments in the machine itself, you can vary your stride from 2 inches to 26 inches. This translates to anyone in your family (of adolescent to adult age) to exercise on this piece of fitness equipment without cumbersome settings or having to get off of the machine to make adjustments.
When it comes to elliptical trainers, you really need to try the various strides to see what is comfortable to you. Some are circular and some are truly elliptical in feel. With Variable Stride Technology, this is less of an issue and I feel this is going to be comfortable for everyone who enjoys using this method of cardiac activity. Variable stride technology involves changing the length of stride based upon the pressure that you exert on the pedals - the more pressure you exert, the longer your stride, the less pressure, the shorter your stride. This is something that will take some time to get accustomed to but it doesn't take that long once you get the hang of it.
This machine can accommodate people up to 300 lbs. I weigh about 200 lbs and it's very comfortable and stable.
The dimensions are 54"L x 34"W x 73"H where as the 430's dimensions were 59" L x 26" W x 68" H.
The machine is 5 inches taller in total height than my Schwinn 430 (and the pedals are about 3 inches higher from the floor) which may be a little difficult for people under 5 feet tall, but it is manageable. There are 3 hand settings, the moving swing arms, the stationary handles with heart rate capability and the stationary handles more forward in position without heart rate capability. However, there is an integrated wireless heart rate monitor capability utilizing a strap across the chest. The strap is more responsive to your heart rate over the stationary handles.
My model came with prepackaged hardware with all of the tools necessary to assemble except for a 17 mm wrench. I opted to check the sizes of the various hardware and used a ratchet and my own screwdriver. Although it took about 20 minutes to get it out of the box, when you get into the assembly time, it only took a little over an hour. Luckily extra parts were included since some were missing in the prepacked 'bubble wrap'. I didn't get operating instructions so I had to refer to the website to get the manual. The assembly guide is outlined well and easy to follow step by step. It recommends using 2 people, at times (placing the base and the pedals, for example), but I was alone when I put it together. If you do the assembly by yourself, just watch your fingers when you are putting the pedals together.
My suggestion is to bypass the included tools and use your own toolbox. However, I do not recommend electric screwdrivers or other devices with high torque which would strip the screws and probably damage the unit.
The machine is solid steel in construction. It is higher grade steel than the 430 with a gray matte finish. It is not textured like the super expensive gym equipment. The length is about the same as the 430, albeit slightly wider. The pedals are solid in construction, rubber coated/slip resistant and the action of the stride is smooth and quiet - you can watch television at a normal volume unlike other elliptical trainers and treadmills.
The handles are comfortable, rubber coated and have an ergonomic design in any of the 3 standard hand positions. It is markedly taller in height than the 430, also.
The unit comes with a back-lit, touch screen that is intuitive, easy to read, and shows your progress in calories, distance, time (interval and total time), pulse, speed, calories, and level. The LED text is clear and easy to read. You have manual mode and 16 programs but in your profile, you can create 2 customizable workouts one interval at a time. I miss the Calorie Goal feature (i.e. pre-set workout to burn 500 calories).
The customizable feature keeps track of your progress over time: total distance, change in weight, total calories, time spent, etc.
Depending upon what measurement system you are familiar with, you can toggle between Metric and American Standard. Contrast of the touch screen can also be adjusted with a toggle of the button (see instructions).
When it switches from one interval to the next, it does beep to alert you.
One practical note: You cannot extend the length of the workout in a programmed mode (i.e. add minutes) - all you can adjust is the resistance.
The default level is level 3 which is a good start when trying a new variation of elliptical trainers. You can go in forward and reverse rather easily. Even at a faster rate and longer strides the machine is stable/quiet. The stair stepping function is comfortable, as is the walk and running function. With the different strides which can be done on the fly, including reverse, you can concentrate on different muscles in the same workout.
I don't know if this is a matter of the design but I cannot seem to go beyond a cadence of 60 RPM, no matter how low the resistance is set. On the 430, I found myself going as high as 76 to 80. As long as your workout is intense enough, I suppose that is OK since my heart rate is rising with increased cadence.
There are 16 different resistance levels but beyond 14 is more resistance training than cardiovascular work.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the most effective and efficient methods of burning calories during and after your workout. You can easily do it on this machine. I personally think that this machine was designed for that purpose (my opinion).
On my profile, I created a customized workout simulating climbing a mountain and going down a mountain whereas the other customized workout is an interval of high resistance alternating with lower resistance for recovery.
With the heart rate monitoring strap, you don't have to worry about losing track of your heart rate by switching from the stationary to moving handlebars. It works well and I only infrequently lose signal. It is instantaneous and this feature really only appears on the premium exercise equipment.
A large water bottle cage is sturdy/stable. It can accommodate a 1 liter water bottle, my remote controls or anything reasonably small that you may need to have nearby (i.e. cordless phone, pager, cellular phone).
A fan works in 3 speeds and actually works well and it is a nice feature. Definitely allows me to go 'the extra mile' when I am getting overheated. I would have preferred the fan to be at the top of the instrument panel, as opposed to the bottom of it - it is fixed in angle so it cannot be adjusted.
My only gripe is the size of the plastic support for placing a book over the top of the control panel. It accommodates for a book of only a thin size, not a medical text book (unlike the 430, where I mounted my laptop onto the reading rack with ease). The 430 had a book support made of steel.
2 users can be entered to monitor progress and customize workouts. Entering names utilizing the limited toggle switches takes some practice and is slightly cumbersome but not a deal-breaker. Your weight and Body mass index (BMI) are tracked which aid in your progress.
This is a rather heavy machine and where it is assembled, is going to be the place where it stays. The handle in the back and small wheels in the front allow for pushing and pulling. It is mobile but will require a good boost up to get the front wheels onto the ground. However, it really requires a 2 person evolution to prevent back injury.
If you are looking for a more versatile machine to have variability in the same workout, or even looking for a machine that has a wider range of strides, look no further than this machine. Out of the box, this piece of equipment can accommodate for a wider range of size of users (with regard to height, stride, leg length and fitness levels). It is comparable to machines much higher in price ($2000 and up) but with a significantly smaller footprint which does not compromise stability (or space).
I highly recommend this product. Through Amazon.com you get free shipping; other sellers may charge a hefty shipping charge. So, make that New Year's Resolution early and do yourself a favor, get this machine.
The following link is the User's Manual from the Manufacturer:
After 80 miles (so far), I still enjoy using this product. To simulate a 'stair stepper', I find the best way to use this unit is to pedal backwards (with an up/down motion) at a higher intensity level (about 10-14). You can make your quads and calves burn, in the process.
I am typically only going at an intensity of 6 (except when simulating a stair stepper at level 14).
UPDATE 2 (Jan 2009)
Still going strong and I am still using the machine. It has not ended up as a coat rack/clothes dryer, yet.
I can only go about 64 to 66 RPM, by forward strides at the lowest setting. Beyond that, it doesn't feel as stable and the sounds of the cam is unsettling. With that, I would recommend that you try it before getting the machine since it may not meet your expectations - if you want a faster rate. However, it does not take away from the machine, for a majority of users.
One limitation that you will notice that you will have no upper extremity resistance, unlike other elliptical machines. You cannot adjust upper extremity resistance, and its motion is dependent upon the pedal action. Your work around is to alternate between upper body and lower body emphasis.
So I tried the stair stepper function in the past week.
I always hate stair stepping, since my thighs light up on fire! However, I was on level 8 on hills doing intervals for 1:15 with the stair stepper stroke (it is a backwards stroke going up and down while I rotate my hips - no, sorry, I will not post a video of this). I was hitting anywhere from 77 to 88 RPM! My heart rate was flashing at 155 beats per minute. So, yes, you can go above 65 RPM, in the stair step mode. You need to concentrate and stay in a rhythm or you easily come out of the up and down motion, and go reverse.
It kicked my tail but I burned 460 calories.
The more I use this, the better it gets, for me. 'Running' strides do not work for me, it sounds like I am going too fast for the mechanism in the housing (flop - flop sounds).
on November 20, 2008
I ordered this directly from Nautilus and just recieved it a week ago 11/11/2008.
When you open the box everything is packaged very well and it honestly takes almost as long to unwrap everything and get everything out of the box as it does to assemble.
It states that assembly needs two people but I was able to put it together myself without any problems. After all Men don't listen to instructions anyways right? It took about 3 hours from the moment I started cutting tape to open the box to having it fully assembled and ready to go.
The elliptical looks great and is suitable for any room. Just a note about this machine. I was going to put this in my home gym which is in my basement that has 7 foot ceilings, but after halfway through assembly I realized that this elliptical will make you about 14 inches taller so just something to be aware of.
I was unsure about the "Variable Stride" system and thought the description was a little vague before I ordered it. I assumed that this was controlled via the display console as you would select walk, run, or step. In fact the variable stride is simply determined by how hard you push on the pedals as you are moving. There is two wheels that stick out of the side that hook up to slides below the foot pedals. Although it was not what I expected it is a very effective design and I like how you can determine the amount of effort that you want to put into your workout. I started sweating after about 5 minutes and after 45 minutes had what I felt to be a very good cardio calorie burning workout. One thing I thought was pretty cool is that during a workout it will occasionally tell you Good Job! I know you're probably thinking "so what?" but you'd be suprised what it does to your motivation. It's like there's a little personal trainer in there cheering you on.
The handlebar heartbeat monitor seems to be accurate but takes time to display. The telemetric heartrate monitor seems to be more effective. The cupholder is large enough to hold a remote control and a water bottle at the same time which is nice.
I found it most comfortable to use the moving handlebars when exercising and the motions felt very natural. The stationary handles were nice when taking a drink of water, or taking a little break from the more intense work.
The display is bright and has some useful information including time, distance, calories burned, wattage being used, and rpm. It is easy to change resistance or display info with a simple touch of the finger. For taller people the contrast starts to get dull but this is adjustable.
Overall I am very happy with this elliptical and consider it to be just as effective as the $4000 elliptical at my health club. I am 6' 1" and my girlfriend is 5' 4" and we both felt very comfortable with the feel of the machine. The stroke feels very ergonomic and it is great operating in a forward and backward motion which is very helpful when you get real tired, you can take a mini break by walking backwards for a minute or two while still working your muscles and keeping your heartrate up.
The only reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5 was because I felt that the variable stride wasn't explained clearly enough before I recieved it, but then again I am just as happy if not happier than what I expected in the first place. I highly recommend it and do not regret getting it in the least - get ready to lose some weight and feel better about yourself with this affordable, stylish, and effective machine!
on December 9, 2008
This is a difficult review to write because I really wanted to like this machine - there are so many good things about it. The construction is awesome, consisting of heavily overbuilt steel tubing with bronze and steel bearings on all moving parts (way outclassing any machine in its prices point), it's well engineered, everything fits well and works smoothly, it's rock solid in operation, etc. This is really a well engineered and well executed machine.
The problem I have with it is in the basic concept of how the variable stride is accomplished. Basically, the "pedals" (and their associated platforms and tubes) slide over rollers that turn a bicycle style crank driving a flywheel. The sliding action drives the crank only with the friction/resistance of the pedals over the rollers - there is no direct connection to the crank. If you want, you can stand still and slide the pedals back and forth over the rollers without moving the crank. Once you get the flywheel going, it's very smooth, but (and this is the rub) the only real force you can apply is in the vertical direction at the forward end of the stroke where you're pushing down on the rollers. The fore and aft parts of the stroke have only minimal resistance as the pedal structure slides over the roller. The hand bars also provide some resistance but, unlike a regular elliptical machine, pulling on the bars does not speed up the rotation of the flywheel. They simply increse the speed/distance of the pedals moving over the roller - which varies the stride length.
Bottom line: it's a great workout for your quads and, yes, you can vary the stride length. But it's not as satisfying or as complete a workout as a conventional elliptical. I'm sending mine back and ordering a Sole e95 - more money, but I tried it at Dick's and loved it.
on June 14, 2011
BACKGROUND ONLY: When I make a big purchase, I generally do a LOT of research. Buying a piece of fitness equipment that I would actually use was really a task. A little about me: I'm 42, have a hectic job producing events that lends itself to some very unhealthy lifestyle choices. I'm 6'4" and have peaked at about 288 pounds. My one big vice is Pepsi whicj is certainly not good for my BMI. I have three daughters: 13, 8 (from ex-wife) and a new-born with my current wife. Often, I come home so exhausted I have to take a nap. I don't have the energy that I need for physical activities with my family. Suffered from chronic depression all my life, history of heart disease and diabetes on both sides of the family tree and I have a lot of stress from work and my ex-wife. All-in-all a recipe for a very early heart attack. Did I mention the herniated discs in my back?
FACTORS: Beside my weight pushing 300lbs, I have flat feet and some knee discomfort. And I tend to get distracted easily (oh, look a butterfly). Told my wife that this was something I had to do for myself or I was going to implode.
REQUIREMENTS: Had to support 300 lbs
Had to be low impact
Had to be built like a tank cause I'm going to rock some Billy Bragg and Clash during my workout
Had to have some electronic program for motivation
Had to have good reviews
Had to have a heartrate monitor
Perfered an elliptical because I have had success with them in the past but wasn't married to the idea
OTHER MACHINES I CONSIDERED: The Sole products (particularly the E35 - which would have been my second choice but I would have payed almost $600 more for), Lifestrong (good warranty but a bit overpriced), The Nordictrack ACT, Pathfinder and it's twin. There was a Horizon (529 perhaps) that looked promising. All had pretty good reviews. Some have better warranties than others, the Schwinn warranty is not that great but Amazon has a fairly inexpensive 3 year in-home warranty that I may still get.
WHY I GOT THE SCHWINN: The more I looked, the more the variable stride stance made sense to me. Also, did I really need Julian Michaels calling me a pussy through Ifit live (subscription needed)? It can be used to target different muscle groups depending on your stride. And let me tell you: it does! All the reviews on Amazon were very positive. One negative review likened it to an expensive Tony Little Gazelle: yeah...NO! I must have picked the very right time to buy my machine. It was on sale for $814.95 with no sales tax and free shipping. The day after I ordered mine the price went up to $999.95.
GREAT: Very solid machine. Solid welds, heavy-duty hardware. The mechanics of the machine are so simple I thought I might be missing parts. The pedals are nicely padded, the flywheel is very heavy for an elliptical. The unit is over 200 pounds and is (mostly) solid. I really like the bright LCD touch screen. The programs are simple but effective. I was surprised when I first used it that the machine told me to reverse my stride. After an akward moment I was moving backwards utilizing muscles seldom used. The heart monitor works well for me and I have a 50" chest. You must remember to wet the contacts on the inside of the band before you start the workout or it won't read. The grips are really nice. There is a convienent tray for my IPhone. I didn't feel like I was giving up by not having speakers on the unit, I like the isolation of the headphones. The headphones do NOT get tangled in the machine. The ECB braking system is very smooth. Many of the fitness sites suggested this was the best form of resistance. I am very pleased.
GOOD: It's fairly compact compared to the other ellipticals, which is great because we don't have a lot of space. But the machine does put you up 14". Where i have the machine I have just a few inches clearance with my head but it isn't a problem. You really don't notice it because the nachine is so smooth. The machine is much quieter than other machines. There is a slight creak from the floor from the weight of me on the machine. The machine is surprisingly easy to manuever around given the weight of the unit. This is very important: I'm built like a football player and I don't feel like I'm going to damage the machine, even when I giving it my all. I like the fact that there is some upper body resistance in the machine. The machine will actually tell you during the workout to use your arms.
ALLRIGHT: The water bottle holder sits maybe an inch or two too low for my taste. No big deal: I like that's it's big to hold a lot of stuff. I wish there were more than two fitness profiles for the machine. Again, not a huge thing but it would be nice.
BAD: The front of the machine has a wide, heavy tube for stabilization. The rear seems like an afterthought. It makes it a little rickety at times. A couple times, I felt like the machine might tip over. Almost like the feeling of falling in a dream and waking up before you hit. The unit would be absolutely rock solid if the rear had mirrored the front. SCHWINN: easy engineering fix. Please send me a rear stabilizer bar. I'll probably end up getting a welder to fashion some sort of "fix."
That said, It's not a deal breaker and It's really more of an annoyance at this point.
UGLY: This has nothing to do with either Schwinn or Amazon. IT is for entertainment purposes only: feel free to skip to the next section. The carrier used for shipping (ABP I believe) was horribly inept. I ordered the unit Friday night. It arrived (from Washington state to West Virginia no less) by Tuesday. They called me and said it was at their terminal (less than a mile from my house) but they didn't have a lift gate truck so they couldn't deliver it until Thursday. I asked if the box was small enough to fit in my Caravan. I was told no. I make arrangements with my step son to be at the house for the delivery. It was scheduled for a morning delivery. Two o'clock comes and still no machine. I call. I'm told they are delivering something about 45 minutes away and they are having trouble there. But I'm next and it shouldn't be much longer. I get home at six: no machine. I call, no answer.
The next day I call, the guy apologizes. Says that as soon as they get the truck with the lift gate they'll bring it down. Wasn't my order next? So I have to get the step son to stick around the house for a second day. I get off work drive an hour the other way, pick up my two daughters, drive an hour back, stop and pick up dinner for family. Get home: no machine. Call the terminal: the guy I have talked to has left for the weekend. "Would you like it delivered tonight?" I wanted it yesterday! "Well we have a guy who can bring it in his pickup: is that okay" Yes (expletive-deleted grumble). "He'll be about an hour"
Almost three hours later, this guy who was pushing 80 pulls up in a really beat up pick-up truck. In the bed is the box holding my Schwinn. The box could have easily fit in my Ford Escort station wagon, let alone my mini-van. The guy says he needs help with it. Fine. He asks if he has to take it up the three small stairs to the front door. Yes, it's a threshold delivery. Get it inside, finally...but I could have had it three days earlier.
SETUP: It was easier to put together than expected. I am not that mechanical but my 13 year old and I had it together in less than an hour (a cordless drill and a ratchet are highly recommended). Hardware is shrinkwrapped to white cardboard and includes a legend. The instructions are concise.
RESULTS: I have had it for about three weeks and I love it. The difference is dramatic. I'm at that stage where I'm building lean muscle mass and it's burning fat. That's the time when I might have actually gained some weight but I've managed to lose a few pounds. I've already lost two inches in my waist and a shirt size. I did one workout for an hour and burned close to 1200 calories. My posture is much better and my core is much stronger. I have more energy.
IN CONCLUSION: I'm very happy with my Schwinn, I give it four stars instead of five just for the rear of the machine not being as stable as the front. I hope this review helps someone with their decision or at least, give you a chuckle.
on January 10, 2010
I will try not to make a book out of this.
Delivery / Packaging:
This machine is heavy (200#'s). Make sure you either have help getting it where you are going to unpack it or, unpack it piece by piece and move it that way. You are NOT going to carry this bad boy by yourself. It is packaged unbelievably well. The packing alone speaks volumes in regards to Schwinn's attention to detail and quality.
I am mechanically inclined, but, even if you are not, you will have no problems if you read the directions which are very, very simple. It is as easy as; grab screw / bolt, add washer, line up holes, insert screw, tighten with provided tools. I used my own socket and allen set. The one it comes with will work but you will save much time with better tools. If you can't set this machine up on your own (minus someone to help you hold certain parts) you probably have no business buying a home elliptical machine. It is that simple. Easy as it is it will take you about 2-2.5 hours to unpack and assemble.
I can not tell you how well built this machine is and have you comprehend my words. Schwinn used all quality materials. Apparently they did not cut corners anywhere. I set the machine up yesterday and then today, while out with my wife at Wal-Mart (yes I hate that place too but I am a married man so...), I strolled by the fitness area and checked out their ellipticals. One word for WM's machines as compared to this one, junk. I have no doubt this Schwinn will last many, many years. These people are serious about quality.
I did my first work out about an hour ago. I used one of the pre-programmed routines. The machine performed wonderfully. I have read many reviews here criticizing the variable stride and how it is on a bicycle crank. This may be how they accomplished the variable stride , but, it works wonderfully. It is a smooth flowing motion that will get your heart rate up if you choose to take advantage of the full length of stride. I have used an elliptical at the gym which I am sure cost much much more than this one, but, I have to tell you, I got about the same work out. I was able to get my heart rate up to 163 with out difficulty. My rate was 125-130 and I wanted more so, I started taking longer strides. Presto! Heavy breathing and copious amounts of sweating started almost immediately.
Some people seem concerned with the lack of resistance when using the handles. True, it works differently than a gym model but, I gotta tell you, it felt pretty close to the same as the one at the gym. Personally I do not want to use the hand holds to speed up the fly wheel. To me that seems like cheating. I like using my legs to go faster. Pulling with my arms takes away from the level and amount of work my legs should be doing. If I want an arm work out, well I will go do an arm workout. I know, I know, some people want to do both. I feel you will get close to the same arm work as a gym model. Again a personal thing, I wish I was coordinated enough to run on this machine with my arms swinging naturally like when running. That, however, is disaster waiting to happen.
A great machine. A fantastic machine for under $1000.00. I am sure you could find one that does everything to include the dishes, but, you are going to pay for it.
For me, this is exactly what I was looking for. Superior quality, great workout, and a good looking machine I don't mind placing in my living room, which I did.
On that note, it is a tall machine. I am 6'1". I have high ceilings so not a problem. If you have low ceilings though, I would be careful and take measurements. At my height I think a 7.5 foot ceiling would be to short. I think average ceilings are 8' though.
Another note for all you mechanically inclined guys (and a few gals), do not watch the mechanics when you are trying this machine for the first time. It is confusing to watch the pedals stride forward and the crank turn round. Save yourself some embarrassment, just look at the horizon and don't think. It will be easier that way.
Almost forgot one other thing I wanted to say. I am 6'1 215, my wife is 5'1 120. She loves it as much as I do. If that doesn't tell you how good the variable stride works, well, I guess nothing will.
Great machine for the price. If you don't get it, you will regret it.
The hunt for the ideal home elliptical is tough, unless you want to spend a fortune. There's so many choices, even in the under $1000 range. I spent a long time researching various ellipticals and decided to purchase the Schwinn 460.
My girlfriend and I are both over 6' tall, and though the standard 18" stride length of most sub-$1000 range machines works just fine, it's not ideal, and it's nicer to have a longer stride, if you can find one. I liked the idea of the Schwinn 460 because it offers variable stride lengths from 2" to 26" depending on how fast you're moving. But it's worth noting, you don't adjust it manually, it depends on the amount of work you put in!
This is also good if you just want to step a little, or want to go all-out and run like crazy with a 26" stride. I might have been happy with a Schwinn 430 or 431 (or various other 18" stride machines) if both myself and girlfriend were not so tall.
Delivery/Packaging: Yes, this is heavy. I was happy the delivery man was kind enough to bring it into my apartment for me. Schwinn did a great job packing this thing up and it seemed well protected while shipping. It took me a while to take all the parts out, and some are fairly heavy, but none showed any sign of damage except a few scratches on the mast (conveniently covered by the cupholder).
Assembly: I must admit, I was dreading this stage, but to be honest, it was seamless and much more straightforward than I expected. The instruction manual has decent sized pictures, all the parts are well labelled, and I found nothing confusing. They recommend someone to help at various stages, but I did it all myself. Admittedly, I probably could have done with some help in places, because there's a few spots when an extra hand would be useful, but it's not essential. Some of the parts are heavy though, especially the main body. With a bit of concentration and effort, it's straightforward. If anything, it's more 'fiddly' than strenuous. The tools provided are perfectly passable. You might want to use your own 17mm socket wrench, but I found the supplied one just fine, because on the whole you just use that for leverage and twist bolts tighter using the hex key.
Appearance: Steel tubing on this machine is thick and well constructed. All the parts are smooth and well-engineered and everything feels very stable. No squeaks, no rattles, smooth operation. I was aware of Tiffany's review below stating some issues with the machine feeling like it can topple over... I really can't see that, I have to give the machine a damn good shake to even get it to wobble. On a purely aesthetic note, the 460 does look a little different to other ellipticals, it's certainly more angular than most other machines, but I like it. The LCD display is clear and the touchscreen functions well. Being tall, there's a little bit of 'fade' from up high looking down on the display, but it's still very legible. The machine does stand quite tall though, at their highest point, the pedals are over 20" off the ground, so those with low roofs might need to be careful.
Operation: So this is the key thing, and so far I'm delighted with the Schwinn 460, and greatly relieved I made a good choice. The variable stride pattern does take some time to get used to and the strides are independent, so to begin with it can feel a little disorienting and I sometimes got myself 'out of sync'. But even when this happens, it's not like you fall off the machine or feel unsafe, and within a short time you get used to it. I love varying my work out from longer strides to shorter strides. I know some others have commented that there's no arm resistance, but I disagree: longer strides require longer arm pulls, shorter strides require less. Pull harder and you go faster and work out more. Up the resistance, and you WILL work your arms if you're striding long! This is common on all cheaper ellipticals, and I've only seen very expensive gym machine offering separate upper-body arm resistance independent of your legs. The 460 offers a nice range of resistance, some good workout courses, the ability to construct your own workout patterns, and of course, the 'inspiring' messages telling you you're doing great or not working hard enough!
Anyway, I hope this review is helpful for anybody looking into this machine. There's some good reviews here on Amazon so far, but fewer out on the web, and some of the seem suspiciously 'spammy' or are those generic fitness equipment blogs where you're not quite sure who's really offering the review.
I think there's some discussion as to whether the variable stride thing is a gimmick, or perhaps that it doesn't work you as hard as a regular elliptical or exercise the 'right' muscles because of the independent strides, but even at the very simplest level (let's say you never varied your stride at all) it appears to be working me out as well as any other elliptical machine, and that's the key thing, but offers a few features to make it more varied and fun.
My family has owned a Schwinn 430 elliptical machine for over a year now and have come to trust the quality and dependability of the Schwinn exercise machines. With that trust we were quite intrigued by this new elliptical because of its variable stride and we couldn't wait for it to come to the door.
To start off with, we needed to set it up. Schwinn recommends that two people are used to set this up. Actually, the only thing you need two people for is moving the box around it comes in. Otherwise I had no trouble unloading and setting this up on my own. Two people might help, but anybody of average strength and dexterity should be able to do it. If not, then I'd suggest finding help. All in all, it took about an hour and a half to set up, including the time to take it out of the box. I've put a few of these machines together and that timing seemed just about right for something like this.
The trainer runs quite well. The strides are quite smooth and this doesn't rock back and forth as much as the cheaper elliptical trainers. There is still a little bit of swaying, but not a lot. It isn't as sturdy as something you would pick up in the 3-5 thousand dollar range. I'm a bit on the heavy side by my really thin wife still noticed the sway.
The variable stride is very different and takes a little bit to get used to. Hold on to those handle bars, some people who use it have said they felt like they were about to fall off of it. It really isn't that bad, but get a good hold of the handle bars until you feel comfortable with the variable stride. It took me about five minutes to get used to it, some need a bit longer.
Also, make sure this isn't very close to the wall. You want at least 18 inches of clearance in the back to make sure you don't bang into something.
The best thing I can say about this is that it does work you. I was showing it to somebody once and ran out of breath within a minute. And since you can set a resistance it can really work you once you get going on this thing.
There are some nice amenities that come with it. The huge drink holder is nice as it can hold a drink, a towel, and a remote all at once. It's pretty big!! A friend of mine wondered why it came with a urinal. Oops. The variable speed fan that comes with it is very nice, and it works well too. The LED is easy to read and follow. I don't like the programming on there. It enables you to set up individual users but I found it easier to just use their guest setting. I thought that could have been a lot more intuitive. Also, I don't like very much how the plug is in the front. It should be in the back which is more likely to be next to a wall.
My biggest gripe would be the price tag. It is a lot better than some of the multi-thousand dollar machines you might find at the gym. But I have the Schwinn 430 which cost 40% less and gave me just as good a workout and felt just as finely built. My wife has even come to prefer the 430. As good as this is, and it is good, I would suggest you do a comparison with the 430 before making your decision. Both ellipticals are great.
on December 8, 2008
Ok let me first say I'm pathetic in the fitness department at this point. I reciently had a baby and am way more out of shape than I thought. I was so excited to get this machine home and a little nervous too since I couldn't try it out. It was package really well and arrived 5 days sooner than expected! My husband opened and assembled with his own tools from start to finish in 1.5 hrs. He definitely wasn't dainty with the package removal process armed with his pocket knife he went to town. He also used his own tools to assemble which makes a HUGE difference. He is a heavy equipment mechanic so that could explain the record time assembly, compared to a CATERPILLAR this was no biggy. FYI the tools in the box were pretty silly.
Ok on to the machine! I've been using the Schwinn 460 almost two weeks. This is such a quiet and smooth workout. The touch screen is really easy to use and the machine itself is comfortable, it doesn't feel awkward to me at all. I don't have experience with elliptical machines so unfortuneatly I can't compare. Once I got the hang of it and had a good rhythm switching strides forward then backwards is a breeze. Since I'm such a wuss it will take me awhile to use this machine to its full potential but as of right now I'm sweating my butt off more than I ever did on my treadmill!! I don't feel sore the next day either from joint pain. I feel like I've gotten my body moving but not like I've been hit by a bus which has made working out easier to look forward to.
Overall I would recommend this machine highly! I've been using it everyday adding more and more time to my workout and have gotten up to 30 minutes everyday and feel great. If you are having any doubts about purchasing this machine DON'T!! I'll write more when I've had more experience with the other features. I felt I needed to write something since the few reviews before me were the reason I purchased this machine on blind faith and I'm so happy I did!
on February 1, 2009
Being 4'10" and having a smaller stride than most, I thought it would be better to spend extra money for the variable stride machine. I was concerned from some of the reviews regarding handling the delivery of the machine into my house & then putting it together alone (That wasn't recommended, I know & I had lined up a friend to come over if I needed). Fortunately, I decided the best location to set it up was within 20 feet of its delivery. The hardest part was getting the equipment into the house (I had to get each piece out of the box on the porch first--The packing was very secure). After that, putting it together went really well, only taking about 3 hours. Using the recommended 17mm socket wrench (less than $5) really helped out. I have been using the elliptical now for a month (30 minutes 3-4 times a week), and I am now seeing the results! This a great machine--it is very smooth and quiet! I highly recommend it!
on January 7, 2009
I love my recent purchase of the Schwinn variable stride elliptical. It was fairly simple to assemble and has allowed a short legged person ease in transferring my exercise regime from a treadmill to an elliptical. I work up a great sweat and heartrate in 25 minutes without any back or knee pain. I highly recommend it. I am also a physical therapist by trade so it is nice to see what I can recommend to my clients