Most helpful positive review
113 of 116 people found the following review helpful
Very nice... but not perfect
on July 28, 2008
Assembly time took just over 45 minutes and illustrations were clear. Assembly was easy and straight-forward. Only issue with assembly was that one of the leg cushions were a little too snug and I had to keep on twisting and turning it to get it to slide into the pole, but eventually I got it to go in with a lot of twisting. Bolt holes all lined up nicely and inserted quickly. Assembly tip: when assembling the frame to the board it is easiest if you turn the boards upside down and then place the frame on top of it instead of placing the board on top of the frame, just easier to align holes that way.
Supporting staples on the underside of the boards seemed to be clustered closer in some regions while other regions a bit farther apart than what I would have preferred. I would have like to see more staples used to support the vinyl to the board. Not really a big deal though as it probably looks good enough for now, maybe I'll dig out my staple gun and add a few more for extra measure.
While other reviewers noted tears in the vinyl or other folds in the corner, my boards and vinyl were in pristine condition, no rips, tears or folds.
The vinyl is nice material because it wipes clean easy but again I worry about long term durability. My previous bench was by Weider and it had some type of really durable molded firm rubber/foam material for the boards so never had to worry about vinyl coming loose or ripping, wish Bowflex made this bench with that same material (maybe version 2.0 :)).
The ease of changing from incline/decline/flat positions is very quick and smooth, a real pleasure to use. The engineering quality there is top notch, bravo. My old bench had a metal rod I had to pull out and insert into the frame and ohhh what a pain because it would never line up right and I would have to pull the bench board on a slight angle to get it to line up and then the rod would make a metal-to-metal screach sound (think of running finger nails across chalk-board) when I pulled the tightly position support rod out to change to incline... none of that with the Bowflex design, there is no pins or rods to pull out, simply lift board and swing support arm. Very very nice and quick.
The four positions (90 degree, 45 degree, 0 degree, and -10 degree) are plenty enough for my workouts and probably for the majority of other lifters. I wouldn't spend the extra money for the 5.1 bench, just no need for the extra positions as the 3.1 model is more than sufficient.
This bench has a 90 degree position and that is extremely helpful in doing seated overhead presses because it provides strong and high support for the back, something my older bench didn't have. I like this feature alot.
The decline angle seems sufficient but I would have preferred a bit more of a steeper decline for doing my sit-ups. That brings me to the next feature the leg holder/support.
The leg holder/support comes with this bench and can be easily detached by removing the support pin. I am disappointed with the engineering / positioning of the leg support. It seems to have been an after-thought feature that was thrown together at the last minute by Bowflex. It is just not comfortable as other reviewers on here have already mentioned. This is really unfortunate because it would have been a really nice feature if it was executed better (maybe improved in version 2.0?). The problem is that the leg support makes it really uncomfortable on your legs when you perform sit-ups on this model. I have tried various positioning of the leg support (tried putting pad closer to ankles, closer to calfs) and all of them have been uncomfortable. Even though it is uncomfortable to use I think it is still bearable to use the leg support for sit-ups (it also becomes annoying/irritating after using it for a while). Now I am an ectomorph and real skinny at the moment so I can imagine that a heavier individual would probably be even more uncomfortable in using the leg support for sit-ups.
The wheels is an okay feature I guess but really how often do you need to roll around your bench. Even if you do have to move it, you can just as well lift it up (it is about 55-65 pounds). One nice feature to have for those living in very limited space would have been a fold-up version where the frame and legs fold for real compact storage and sliding under the bed or tossing in the closet (maybe version 2.0).
The overall aesthetics of the bench is nice, sexy. I like the touch of red near the top of the board.
This is a very nice bench but with a few of the above suggestions this could turn from very nice to perfect. This is a good value for the money, get this bench you won't be disappointed. And last but not least don't waste your money on the 5.1 model.