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on May 21, 2011
Update to prior reviews - the screen went dead (yet again - replaced it previously), the flywheel had problems (yet again - replaced it previously after considerable pain with customer service), and I eventually gave up and decided to pay the trash people to cart it away...I really liked this at first, but the quality just turned out to be terrible, with multiple major problems, customer service issues, and net-net it was just not worth the price that I paid for the use I got out of it.....Older review data: First, some quick background to give some context on my comments here. I have been a very heavy user of a stepper for a few years. I essentially wore mine out and am a big fan of steppers; but in looking for a new one, the market now is small and the prices for quality steppers have gotten a bit ridiculous compared to other cardio machines. Additionally, I've been a bit worried about my knees over the long haul, so I started looking at alternatives. I ended up purchasing the Yowza Captiva from the company's website. I went with this one in large part because of the adjustable motion on the Captiva, but viewed it as a bit of a risk because of a lack of objective reviews (but what was available online was favorable).

After about a month of near-daily use, here are my impressions:

Delivery and setup: Delivered within specified window by friendly professional people. Box was in good condition. Inside the box, some shifting of contents had occurred, but nothing major and everything in good condition. The manual for setup was better than most, parts were well-marked/organized, and setup was uneventful with only a few minor bouts of confusion.

General impressions: I am very very pleased with the workout I receive with this machine. The longest end of the adjustable stride is where I spend the vast majority of my workouts and the motion is like a very smooth cross between running and a stepper motion, which is ideal for me. The range of resistance levels is quite large and I have no concerns that I will outgrow the machine on that front. I don't have a lot of prior experience with elliptical machines, but the shorter end of the variable motion stride spectrum (which is supposed to be more of a standard elliptical motion) seems very short and people looking primarily for a standard elliptical may be disappointed, though again my prior elliptical experience is very limited. The somewhat unusual upper-body motion is surprisingly not awkward and I find it useful. I tend to use both the motion handles and stationary handles, depending on the day, and will experiment more with different grips, etc - but I generally like the upper-body motion.

Console: Some of the reviews/pictures/advertizing materials show a multicolor display. That has been replaced with a monochrome (blue) display with the same layout shown in the pictures. This does not bother me at all - just pointing it out for people that might be important to. The console is well laid out for use while in a particular workout; but it is NOT intuitive for switching between workouts and the manual is essentially required to find the workout that you want to do. I generally stay on the manual settings. The workouts laid out in the manual are bewildering. The iPod dock appears to be just that - while described in many reviews as an "MP3/iPod dock" it appears to be only for iPods, does not come with any adapters for different types of iPods, and does not seem to have a "line-in" for non-Apple MP3's. Admittedly, I have not played with this, so there may yet be a way to make it work with other MP3's.

Usage: The manual, while pretty good for setup is exceedingly poor for general use. The various workout program descriptions are just okay, but there is essentially zero info on what should be obvious FAQ, or on the iPod dock or the heart rate monitor use. I tried to use the chest strap heartrate monitor that it comes with, but the machine does not seem to pick up its signal at all and there are no instructions whatsoever for pairing it with the machine (if that's necessary). Maybe the battery it came with is dead - I haven't tried replacing it. I was just trying it to explore the functions & don't care much about that so it isn't a big deal to me. Also, the website also does not cover the obvious FAQ or other items mentioned at all, so that can't be used to supplement the manual like one would typically hope.

Concerns: While I love the workout I get (very smooth, challenging, great motion, quiet), the machine does intermittently make some noises that make me wonder if I should be concerned about how well it will hold up over time. To be clear, the noises are temporary and minor clicking/clanking noises that only surface occasionally and don't affect the motion or workout. The great warranty, with in-home service and parts for 2 years (later, parts covered for a full 5 years, frame forever) makes me not worry too much about this, but thought I should point it out.

Summary: I really love the workout I get with the Yowza Captiva and its challenging but smooth variable motion, nice integrated fan, and resistance levels that I will never outgrow. Ultimately, this is the most important factor for me, so I'm happy with the purchase. More and better info in the manual or on the website would have been greatly appreciated, but aren't that big of a deal. Time will tell how well it holds up....
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on April 15, 2012
I bought the Captiva directly from the company at the time it wasn't available on Amazon or I would have bought it here. I have had mine for 1 year and a little over 1 month. I have a medical condition that owns me if I do not stay in shape. Which also restricts the type of work out I can do and elipticals are best for me. As a result I work out 3 or 4 times a week 30 minutes each and I maintain target to maximum heart rate the entire work out (220 - age = max heart rate).

First I am only average in nearly every regard and I put the thing together easily without misstep I expect that means the instructions were adequate or better. The ipod dock was a nice thought from the company and it does work but I didn't buy a music machine from Yowza so I have an ipod dock on my receiver which I did buy for that purpose.

I programmed my own work out in the machine which is an agressive cardio from a previous machine I owned which was easy to do. I am always motivated but rarely graceful which means I sometimes jerk and pull as I work out waiting for the natural high that hits after about 10 to 15 minutes when my breathing can keep up easier and I begin to feel "into it". The machine takes my abuse and remains tight and noise free. I really appreciate the upper mechanism working in a more circular way as apposed to the back and forth of others. I feel it helps me expand my ribs better and that is important to me since my condition causes my ribs to fold in reducing that area.

I generally do not look at the display much I like to keep my eyes closed and focus on my work out however when I do peek at the read out I see what I need easliy and clearly (for instance using the grips to check heart rate). I have not used the band for checking the heart rate that way since I do not like things around my chest.

I can honestly say this machine is prolonging my life. Even though I would have spent more since this is important to me I am relieved I didn't have to. After a year and a month of frequent and sincere abuse from me it is still solid as a rock.

I do not sell Yowza I really don't care if you buy one. Except I hope people do and they stay in business because when or if I do break or wear this thing out I am getting another one.
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on January 1, 2011
I've had it for 3 months. Works well, very quiet, very smooth. I am glad I bought the Captiva ( not the Sanibel). worth the extra $500 because of the stride adjuster and incline adjustment feature. having that is a must with this machine. the LCD is only adequate, not very fancy. That is my only complaint but it's not enough to drop down from 5 stars. I paid $1999 for it. That was a big factor. My first choices were ellipicals that cost roughly $3800 which were out of my price range (Landice).
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on April 29, 2012
I had another elliptical trainer that I used regularly for several years, until it recently died. When I began researching a replacement, the unique capabilities of this product intrigued and the good reviews swayed me (all over, not just here) enough to buy one. I've just gotten it setup and tried it only once so far. Compared to my old elliptical however, there's no comparison. I'm convinced I picked the right machine for me, and hopefully it will continue to deliver down the road.

A few comments:

I was surprised to see that the handlebars are not one piece as you might think, like a bicycle handlebar . They are independently geared to the leg motions, and the acceleration of the bar appears to change throughout its travel enough that your two arms are performing slightly different motions. I believe this is more beneficial that it might appear from watching the videos. As other reviewers have reported, I was pleased to see that the motion does indeed feel much more natural than it looks. I'm excited to see the potential benefits of this combined with the variable stride. The elliptical motion is very fluid and natural as well, which of course is subjective but is extremely important if you expect to use it continually. At first it had more of a "pogo-ing" effect that I expected, but this motion came to feel natural after on only a few minutes. Personally, I find this type of motion much more comfortable and easier on my bad knees (one of the prime reasons I use an elliptical) than the ramp-style mechanism of the Precor or Cybex machines.

The machine seems rock solid overall, though the central column does rock slightly as one reviewer pointed out on another site. I don't see this as a real problem, since airplane wings are engineered to flex rather than break under load, so this may well be a similar design consideration. To make it completely solid would probably require a completely different, less elegant and much more bulky, heavy frame design. This small amount of sway really is not noticeable during the workout unless you make a point to pay attention to it.

Nitpicks:

Some of the plastic parts do creak and groan if you put pressure on them, but they are in areas that are designed to be mainly cosmetic, not load bearing. The location that concerns me most is where the control button panel "wraps" upward from the column to cover the pivot points of the handlebars. It seems a bit flimsy and not very solid. In general, I believe the console would benefit from a major re-design. It's understandable that he unique motion of the handlebars requires some compromises here, With careful consideration however, I'm sure a better design could be engineered. The buttons are not in your direct line of sight, so are a bit hard to locate and use. I would have expected more controls, as well as better buttons instead of the cheap membrane panel. Even some of the cheapest remote controls seem to be able to manage nicer looking and feeling buttons. I also find it pretty ridiculous that the music player dock limits you to the use of Apple products. How hard would it have been to make this feature more universal?

The display is clear and easy to read for the most part. I was initially concerned about how much it would be blocked from the motion of the handlebars, but the effect is much less pronounced than expect. The reality is that though it occurs repeatedly, the portion of the screen obscured is relatively small and the amount of time that any significant info is covered is pretty short. Mine is one of the later models that is all blue as opposed to the earlier multi-colored ones. I was disappointed at first when I saw that they are no longer making the multi-colored one, although seeing it in person and actually using it, I can't see that it could really make a huge difference. The biggest problem I see is that the labels for displayed values are not actually on the display alongside the values, but instead are located on the printed console graphic overlay along the edges of the display in pretty small print. They are very difficult to read if you have the machine in a somewhat dimly lit corner as I do, and I suspect I will be affixing more legible labels.

As for the fan: as much as it is touted in the product literature, it seems fairly worthless to me. First of all, it is a very small fan, such as you would find in a computer case. Worst though, is the fact that it is positioned high up on the console far away from the user, and is not even pointed directly at your body. It may cool your face ok, but I would have much preferred a fan aimed at my core.

By the way, I hope you like commercial bottled water in disposable bottles, because those or a baby bottle is all that will likely fit in the bottle holder. It's really small.

Don't let my critique of some of the finer points disuade you from purchasing one of these if you like what it offers, I'm merely pointing out things that you wouldn't know unless you'd seen the machine in person. Even though I contacted one of the people listed on their website who will supposedly let you try the machine in their home, I couldn't get a response. Hopefully, some of the details I've offered will fill in the gaps for others who are having a hard time deciding without being able to try one out in a store. I'm pleased with the purchase however, and I'm really looking forward to using my new elliptical.
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on June 29, 2012
June 11 2013 Update:
Okay, it's my fault that I didn't pursue getting Yowza to replace their heartrate monitor transmitter strap a year ago. Worse, since I lost the strap in the meantime, I had to replace it myself to ($39 PLUS $10 shipping charge!) to determine whether the problem was the transmitter or the Captiva. As it turned out, it seems to have been the strap that came with the Captiva originally that was faulty. The replacement works just find. I'm kicking myself for my procrastination.

================================

May 30 2013 Update:
Mixed results on the service call...

The good news:
+ customer service readily available by phone and e-mail.

+ they knew about the flywheel issue and sent a replacement flywheel, bearings and brackets. The root cause of the noise was a faulty design that is hopefully remedied
by the replacement of the flywheel bearings and the installation of the new mounting brackets.

+ the unit was still under warranty, and Yowza sent me these parts gratis.

+ they offered to send a technician out to install the parts.

+ a follow up call to ask for a missing screw resulted in that part being mailed.

The bad news:
- I chose to do it myself. Taking this apart and putting it back together was no joy (more design flaws that have supposedly been remedied in later models). Three tapped holes had to be drilled out to accommodate installation of the new (and necessary) flywheel mounting bracket.

- When questioned about the seemingly low calorie burned data, I was told that the formula used to calculate calories burned was basically a function of time and watts. So, why bother prompting for age, height and weight when setting up users programs in the computer? As far as I'm concerned this device delivers only three useful metrics - workout time, miles traveled and heart rate (if you grab the lower handles).

- ... about that mileage metric, it too seems low. I cover a mere 2 miles in 45 minutes. Now, I easily manage 3 miles an hour taking the dog for an easy walk that doesn't task me nearly as much as the Captiva does. As with calories burned, mileage feedback from health club machines is substantially different than the Captiva. If accurate feedback is important to you, see if you can test drive a Captiva before you buy one.

- Yowza customer service ignored my question about the Captiva's included chest strap for the heart rate monitor. As I said, it never worked, so I basically forgot I even had it until I reread MSVT's most helpful positive review. I contacted Yowza again today to question them about this and they suggested I buy a new strap (proprietary?) from them. For what it's worth, I have Polar, Garmin and Cateye heart rate monitors; none of these transmitters are recognized by the Captiva. Too bad for the consumer that Yowza didn't make this machine compatible with any of the more popular brands of heart rate monitor. Oh well...

- The screw that was mailed was not the Allen head screw I needed. Right thread, right length, right washer included - but Phillips head, not Allen head like the others. It also took a week to arrive. Needless to say, I didn't wait and bought one at a hardware store.

================================

May 05 2013 Update!
I've had the Captiva for about 10 1/2 months now. During my last three or four workout sessions, an annoying rattle began to emanate from the rear of the machine, under the plastic cover in the flywheel area. It doesn't start immediately, rather after several minutes of working out. I sent an e-mail to Support at Yowzafitness.com. As long as I'm dealing with this rattle issue, I mentioned the calorie burn rate being half what I expect (compared to say a PreCor Elliptical Trainer), and the fact that the heart rate monitor that came with the machine hasn't worked from day one. I will make it a point to update this post until the issues are resolved. If they deliver on the warranty repairs as I expect, you'll be the first to know, as you will if they disappoint. Stay tuned

=================================

June 29, 2012
I took delivery of my Captiva on Tuesday and spent a couple of hours assembling it on Wednesday. The minor flaws I mentioned have mostly to do with the manual and a couple of small engineering question marks.

If you don't have two very strong individuals available to get the box to the room you intend to use the elliptical, then pay to have the shipper drop it where you need it. This box weighs about 250 pounds. Once assembled, it's fairly easy to move around on the wheels in the front using the handle on the rear of the Captiva.
You can assemble the machine yourself, but if you prefer to avoid aggravation, go ahead and pay to have it installed too. Yowza was sweetening the deal at the time I purchased mine to include inside delivery, which I took, and assembly, which I ultimately passed on. The local installer was slow to contact me, and having gone through the manual and seeing that assembly wasn't exactly rocket science, I called Yowza and asked if I could be refunded for the assembly portion of the purchase. They were very accomodating and sent me a refund check.

It should never have taken two hours to assemble, but while the photos in the manual are mostly correct, the instructions were definitely written by a foreigner, and are almost indeciferable. There were times when I regretted my decision to assemble it myself. My advice, refer to the photos and ignore the text. Be careful with the screws and refer to the descriptions associated with the hardware part numbers. Have a millimeter ruler handy to check screw lengths! The screws and bolts come in a very nicely labeled plastic tray and if you don't accidentally drop the tray spilling out the contents (like I did), you'll be off to a good start.

Some of the screws actually need to cut threads into metal components. That's one of the engineering flaws I mentioned. These holes should have been tapped. That's not to say you can't drive these screws home. Three of them went in with moderate effort using the provided screw driver. (By the way, all the tools you'll need to assemble this machine are provided with the Captiva). The hardest screw to drive home was the one holding the water bottle onto the frame. This required my pulling a heavier duty phillips head driver from my tool box. I almost stripped the Phillips slot, but managed to get the job done. The water bottle holder serves as a place to store a TV remote control...

The fan isn't a super high capacity unit, but having it on does indeed make a difference while working out.

I have an i-pod, but given how quiet this machine is, I prefer to watch television programs I've recorded on my DVR to kill two birds with one stone. I'll report on the effectiveness of the built in docking bay and speakers later, but can't imagine there being a problem with insufficient volume - again, because the Captiva is very quiet.

The control panel is fairly intuitive, but you'll still need to refer to the instruction manual to get started. One concern I have about the computer is that the number of calories reported burned seems to be about half of what I'm used to seeing on my health club's Precor or Life Fitness machines. Sweating bullets for 40 minutes yielded a meager 200 calories burn. Whereas the Precor, Life Fitness, and Cybex (arc-trainer), which I consider to be the Captiva's competition, usually deliver a result closer to 400 calories burned.

Another oddity is that the calorie display defaults to 50. This threw me initially and I thought they were using a different scale. I set my program up for a 600 calorie burn and had to hold the advance button - seemingly forever - to get to my 600 calorie setting. While in setup mode, I went ahead and set up programs for my wife and children. In practice however, no one uses these preset programs. We all just adjust motion and resistance manually.

As for the meat and potatoes of the device - the actual workout, it's good. The Captiva is solid, smooth, quiet, and delivers an good workout. The swinging arms took no time at all to get used to and I found myself using my arms more than I ever did on any standard elliptical. Resistance and motion adjustments provide decent variety, but the different gait took some getting used to. If you like a long stride, this may not be for you and, as mentioned, that the feedback from the control panel isn't consistent with other machines I've used. I've grown accustomed to simply doubling the calories burned on the display to match what I'm used to seeing at the health club.

In an unprecidented move for me, I didn't buy the Captiva from Amazon, but directly from Yowza. I had many questions I needed answers to before buying, and since I spent so much time on the phone with Yowza's sales support, I gave them the business directly. My impression from talking with several people at Yowza is that this outfit seems to be a class act. You can actually reach someone on the telephone if you need to. I wish them every success.
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on May 8, 2013
After having problems with my order and needing to return the product, which Yowza did accept the return and refunded my money due to a product description that was not consistent with what I received, I have modified my original review. I am giving this product three stars because while it is smooth, I do not understand how this can have a 32" stride length. I adjusted the elliptical to the full extent of its range and it definitely was a shorter stride length than my 22" elliptical, that my wife and I used side by side. For anyone that is over six feet tall I suggest that you really understand the stride length calculation before you purchase this because I do see how it comes close to 32". FYI - Yowza customer service was responsive to my questions and Amazon refunded my money upon return of the product.
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on January 18, 2013
While assembling my new Captiva - Elliptical Trainer Machine the 507 bolt stripped out when it became flush with the opposing side. We could not help but notice that the incline frame holder was stamped steel and welded rather than machined; the welds pulled the steel causing a misalignment. If this is a typical issue a machine grade bolt, B-7 or B-16 would not have stripped. Now I have a half assembled machine, no way to disassemble it no way to complete either. Am very disappointed with this situation for the money I just spent I was expecting better QC and bolts that don't strip. So again I am at a stuck point and want to know what yowza intends to do. Or should I just return it? Will update upon Yowza response.
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on March 3, 2012
First, I want to write this review to hopefully save someone the zillions of hours of research I did before deciding to buy the Captiva. (I hate just buying something without researching). We debated between a Sole (probably E95, but then a few reviews of any Sole were pretty negative); Smooth (3.6, 7.4, but they seemed too big), a True (probably TSXA, but they're expensive, and have a newer center drive that doesn't have a lot of history yet).

Everything had something to not love. The Captiva has great reviews. It has a great 5 year parts and 2 year in-home labor warranty, and we got the extended warranty making parts and labor MUCH longer. Everyone said it was SUPER quiet and smooth, and based on the warranties, you know it's built very well. It took 3 and a half somewhat leisurely hours putting it together. The instructions were OK, but you could tell English wasn't the primary language of the person who wrote them. A couple of parts numbers were also wrong. But overall, it was pretty good, and assembly was actually pretty easy. My wife had to lift two parts while I put in bolts, and had to help me carry it into the house from the garage. Otherwise, one person can handle it.

Then I rode it for 30 minutes. It's VERY smooth, and VERY quiet! It made a noise from one arm, and all I had to do was tighten a bolt that had said do NOT overtighten, and it was good as new.

The stride isn't very intuitive yet for me, but the arms ARE surprisingly. I'll have to see if I'm doing something with me feet that I shouldn't be. The adjustable stride is cool. My wife and I say it doesn't get LONGER, it gets HIGHER - which is different than a normal elliptical. The only thing I don't love is that it feels like my heels are facing down, but I'm betting I just have to get used to it on this machine. You can also stand forward on the pedal, and it feels totally different, so there are several ways to adjust the way you stride on this machine.

The fan actually blows on me too! I have a TV and stereo in the room, so I didn't try the iPod connection. There isn't a place for a book, but I'll be watching TV anyway. The water bottle is pretty narrow, but I usually set a stool next to me so I can put my phone, water, etc there too. So no big deal there either.

We went with: warranty, smooth operation, quiet, smaller footprint than almost any other rear-drive elliptical, and also that this machine should last a LONG time based on the quality. What's not to love!!

So don't waste all the time I did researching. If this review sounds like you'd like the Captiva, buy it!
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on September 18, 2012
My Experience:
- The build of Captiva is good. There are other products with same build quality at lesser price.
- The instructions on assembly are not very clear and some of it is wrong for some of the screws provided, but fortunately these are not for the main parts.
- Though it is smooth, at times you could get some click sounds, which can be annoying.
- The motion of the product is different, but I didn't find the benefits as the company describes in their videos.
- Though the company advertises it as a core body elliptical, its manual specifically states that it is for lower body. To be frank, for me, lower body is where the intensity of the workout was felt.
- Since the motion is different, my advice is to try out the elliptical for some time before you buy.
- Service is good. When you call them they are eager to hear your issues and try to resolve them. I ordered a few screws which were missing and they arrived quickly.
- Assembly/repackage requires more than one person as the components are heavy and unwieldy.
- If you are dissatisfied with the product, the return may cost much in terms of repackaging, shipping & restocking. You may end up losing around $900.
- Take pictures of how the product is packaged before assembly as it would help in case you decide to return. Also, keep the carton for return.

Conclusion:
It is good product with some good service to backup from Yowza. Try it for sometime before you decide to buy it. For that you may need to enter a deal with Yowza on shipment cost, return shipment cost & terms, repackaging, restocking etc.
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on January 21, 2013
I researched for hours before deciding to buy this elliptical machine directly from the company. I had read reviews stating that the machine would make a very loud clicking noise after using it for a little while, so I decided to pay the extra money to have it professionally installed, hoping that it wouldn't happen to me. Well, after just a few uses, the clicking started up and hasn't stopped since. It's very annoying and makes it hard to hear anything else, so beware. I also wanted to buy this machine because it boasts the biggest stride. My husband is 6'5" and I'm 5'11" and it doesn't feel natural, even for me. My husband doesn't like it at all, and it puts strain on my knees, so needless to say, we haven't used it much at all. Very disappointed to pay so much money for a machine that isn't quite what we were looking for!
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