Bowflex Elliptical Reviews – A Behind The Scenes Look

Welcome to my Bowflex elliptical reviews.  In this post, I will be looking at two elliptical models including the Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical and the Bowflex BXE216 Elliptical.  I am going to walk through the features and benefits of each model and let you know what I do and do not like if anything.  So sit back, relax and enjoy.Bowflex Elliptical Reviews

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Click here for details.

First, I want to tell you a little bit about why I am reviewing elliptical trainers.  I have a history of back problems and most of my adult life I have been dealing with a bad back.  In late 2015, I blew a disc in my back and sprained my SI joint.  This was the latest in a long history of back troubles for me.

I worked with a chiropractor for months; my goal was to avoid having another back surgery (I had surgery in 1999). My chiro is a huge advocate for building muscle to protect your spine.

I tell you all of this so that you will have some understanding of where I am coming from.  Elliptical machines were the first thing I was able to do when I returned to working out.  Working out with an elliptical is a great, low impact way to work your hamstrings, glutes, quad as well as other muscles that make up your core.

Okay, with that said, I would like to dive into these elliptical machines from Bowflex.  Bowflex has been designing high-quality equipment for many, many years.  They are constantly innovating, which is awesome.

You may want to check out my post about tips for buying an elliptical trainer as well.

Bowflex BXE116 Ellipticalbowflex-elliptical-bxe116

Let’s start with the BXE116, which is the less expensive model of the two elliptical trainers.

First the specs:

  • Max user weight – 375 pounds
  • Minimum ceiling height: User height + 29 inches
  • Unit weight – 263 pounds
  • Height – 70 inches
  • Width – 31 inches
  • Length – 77 inches
  • Warranty: 15 years (frame), five years (mechanical, electronics), two years for labor

Other features include:

  • 25 resistance levels
  • 22-inch stride length
  • 30-pound Effective Flywheel System
  • Nine workout programs
  • Motorized incline
  • Multi-grip handles, with built-in heart rate tracking
  • Oversized media rack with charger
  • Fan
  • Water bottle holder

Display

The BXE116 comes with a vibrant 7.5-inch color backlit display, which is easy to use and shows all of your vital statistics as you are working out.  The display lets you easily select from nine different workout programs.

There are nine pre-programmed workout modes built into the display and range from “Weight Loss,” to “Endurance” and “Performance.”

You can also set up four individual user profiles.  The user profiles are nice, so you can enter your weight, age, etc. before working out and then you do not have to do that each time you workout. This is great if you have multiple people who will be using the machine.Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical display

Adjustable incline and resistance

The right side of the console has the options to change the resistance level of the workout you choose.  There are 25 resistance levels, which honestly is a lot.

The left side, allows you to adjust the incline of the machine.  The adjustable incline is a great feature not available on all ellipticals.  The incline adjustment is one more way, in addition to added resistance, that you can increase the intensity of your workout.

Pedals

Bowflex has designed a unique foot pedal with this machine.  The foot pedals have three different levels of tilt that will allow you to change the angle of your foot.  Changing the angle of your foot will help with muscle activation and will allow you to have a comfortable experience that fits you. Adjusting the foot pedals is also a great feature when you have multiple users so everyone will be able to have the best experience. The adjustable pedal offers more or less cushion for your foot as you pedal.

Flywheel

The flywheel is what controls how smooth the ride is on the elliptical.  Many home elliptical machines will have a flywheel with a starting weight of about 13 pounds.  This unit from Bowflex has a 30-pound flywheel.  The heavier the flywheel, the smoother the ride.

The flywheel orientation is also important.  This unit has a front flywheel, as opposed to a rear flywheel, which is beneficial for a couple of reasons.  For instance, it is easy to access the pedals on a front drive unit, your body is straighter, and the machine will be more stable since the weight of the unit is under your body.

Handles

The BXE116 has two sets of handles, one set is fixed and has built-in heart rate grips, and the other set is dynamic and moves with you.  The moving handles help you to get a complete, full body workout. You can also change the incline and resistance, on the moving handles, so you do not have to change your hand position when you want to make a change.

Stride length

Stride length is how far the pedal travels as you pedal.  The stride length of this unit is 22 inches.  Really, the stride length should mimic your steps as you are walking or running. This 22-inch stride length is good for most people.

Bluetooth connectivity

With Bluetooth, you can hook up your devices to the machine and listen to your favorite music.  Oh yeah, the unit comes with built-in speakers too!  Also, the Free Results Series App is available for download so you can track your fitness progress.

Pros:

  • 30-pound flywheel
  • Smooth ride
  • Nine preset workouts
  • 25 levels of resistance
  • Motorized incline
  • Great LCD console

Cons:

  • The power cord is 6 feet which may limit where you can plug it in
  • You have to build it yourself or pay for in-home assembly

 

==>Click here to purchase Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical<==


 

Bowflex BXE216 Ellipticalbowflex-elliptical-bxe216

Now we will move on to the BXE 216

Specs:

  • Max user weight – 400 pounds
  • Minimum ceiling height: User height + 29 inches
  • Unit weight – 263 pounds
  • Height – 70 inches
  • Width – 31 inches
  • Length – 77 inches
  • Warranty: 15 years (frame), five years (mechanical, electronics), two years labor

Other features include:

  • 25 resistance levels
  • 22-inch stride length
  • 35-pound Effective Flywheel System
  • 11 pre-set workout programs
  • Motorized incline
  • Multi-grip handles, with built-in heart rate tracking
  • Oversized media rack with charger

Display

The console is full color and is a whopping 9 inches, allowing you to monitor your statistics every step of the way (pun intended).  The display is large and really easy to use, with 11 preset workouts including, Manual, Fat burn, Varied interval to name a few.  You will easily find a workout that is good for you.

Like the other machine, you can set up four user profiles with weight, age, etc. and have those ready to go, saving you some time when you workout.  This is a nice feature if multiple people will be using the machine.

Adjustable Incline and resistance

There are 25 resistance levels to keep your butt in shape.  Combine that with 15 levels of incline, and you are sure not going to get bored on this machine.  The console includes buttons for preset resistance level adjustments on the right side and incline adjustments on the left.  You can also adjust the resistance, and the incline level from the dynamic handgrips discussed a little later.  The variety of incline and resistance levels will really help to keep you engaged and make sure you don’t outgrow this machine.

Foot pedals

Bowflex has designed the pedals so that they are adjustable as well.  You can increase the tilt angle to find just the right fit for you.  This is yet another feature that makes this elliptical so versatile.  Increasing, the angle of the pedals will help with muscle activation and helps if you have multiple users who need a different foot angle.

Flywheel

I described the flywheel earlier as to how smooth the ride of the elliptical is.  This BXE216 as a 35-pound flywheel, which is a step up from the 30 pounds on the BXE116.  The heavier flywheel will provide a smoother ride, joined with the front flywheel placement; you should love the smoothness this machine provides.  The front flywheel makes the machine more balanced and easier to access the foot pedals.

Handles

The BXE216 comes with a fixed set of handles and a dynamic set of handles.  The fixed handles have built-in heart rate monitor, so you can keep an eye on that as you are working out. You can also adjust the resistance and incline from the dynamic, moving handles.  The moving handles allow you to engage your upper body and you can achieve a full body workout this way.

Some other things I use the stationary handles for are leaning back in a squat position while I am working on an elliptical.  This allows you to target different areas of your legs, and butt.  So the fixed handles are there for balance as well.

Stride length

Same as the other model, the stride length is kind of what it sounds like, the length of your stride.  Although the stride length is not adjustable, 22 inches should be good for most people.  Some machines do come with an adjustable stride length, which is great if you are short or tall.

Bluetooth connectivity

Connect your devices and listen to music through the built-in speakers.  These are great features, Bluetooth, and built-in speakers.  I wish more ellipticals had speakers.  You can also synchronize your workouts with the app from Bowflex and track your fitness progress.  Loads of options with the connectivity. You can also access RunSocial and Daily Burn.

Pros:

  • 11 preset workouts
  • 25 resistance levels
  • Portable
  • 35-pound flywheel
  • Front flywheel orientation for easily accessing the foot pedals
  • Adjustable angle foot pedals

Cons:

  • A little on the expensive side
  • You have to put it together or pay for assembly
  • The 6-foot power cord may limit where you can plug it in

==>Click here to purchase Bowflex BXE216 Elliptical<==

Some stuff that is pretty much the same for both models, assembly, and portability

Assembly

Yes, you will have to put the machine together when it arrives at your house.  This unit will arrive in one box weighing about 300 lbs. This assembly can take two people about 3 hours to complete.  Bowflex does offer in-home assembly, for a price of course. Therefore, if building an elliptical is not your thing you can always opt to have them build it for you.

The power cord is about six feet long, so you will need to account for this when you build and place the unit.  Again, you will just need to make sure you have enough room to plug it into the wall.

You may want to invest in a machine mat as well.  This non-slip mat will help to protect your floors.  This is a great thing to add if you have wood floors.

Portability

Both machines are portable.  These units have rollers on the front, and a transport handle on the back, so you can move them around if you need to. Once you have the unit where you want it, you can use the levelers to make sure the machine has a nice solid base on the floor.

A few other positives

The owner’s manual for each unit has some specific workouts you can do, stretching exercises and a workout log.  It also has the assembly instructions and goes into more detail on the different modes of pre-set workout modes.

Some customer reviews:

“I recently had back surgery and needed to find a low-impact machine to help strengthen my core to prevent any further injuries. I absolutely love this machine, and I have fun using it.”

“Sturdy machine. Very well made and I cannot be happier with it.”

Bowflex does offer financing for those who qualify.  They also offer a 6-week guarantee (less shipping and handling) if you do not like the product.

Conclusion: Bowflex elliptical reviews

Both of the models offer good value for the money in my opinion. I do like the front flywheel, which does take up less space than the larger, rear flywheel models.  This front flywheel is also upright, which helps with posture.

So what is the difference?

The BXE216 is the top of the line model from Bowflex and offers a few more features.  Of course, these additional options come with a cost. The resistance and incline are the same on both models.  The warranty is the same as well.

The BXE216 has the following advantages over the BXE116:

  • Larger display: 9-inches 7.5-inches
  • Heavier flywheel: 35 pounds 30 pounds
  • More pre-set workout options: 11 9
  • Higher max user weight: 400 lbs 375 lbs

I have spoken with the customer service folks at Bowflex, and they seem friendly and knowledgeable.  That always makes me feel better when I make a large purchase, knowing the company will back me.

If you are interested in looking at other equipment from Bowflex, you can check out my reviews on the Max trainer series

Bowflex Max Trainer M3

Bowflex Max Trainer M6

Bowflex Max Trainer M8

These are some other great options Bowflex has for you.  Also, be sure you check out my full lineup with my best ellipticals post.  There are a lot of options listed if you want to explore further.

==>If you want to purchase a Bowflex BXE116, click here<==

==>If you want to purchase a Bowflex BXE216, click here<==

I would like to know what you think of the elliptical machines from Bowflex.

Are you leaning toward one of the other?  What features are you most interested in with an elliptical machine?

As always, I want to thank you for taking some time out of your day to read this review. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Steve@BuildingStrongerBodies.com


Disclosure: Some of the links in this review are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.  Click here for details.

14 thoughts on “Bowflex Elliptical Reviews – A Behind The Scenes Look”

  1. Great article. Anything that connects to Bluetooth, and I’m sold! I guess it is time to get rid of my outdated treadmill.

    • Thanks for your comment. I prefer an elliptical machine to a treadmill, just for the low impact aspect of it. Let me know if you have any questions, I would love to help.

  2. Thank you for your thorough review! I have been interested in an elliptical for some time now but have had no idea how to choose one. I will definitely be returning when I am ready to buy!

  3. My gym uses these ellipticals and I’ve always wanted one. I would probably have to go with the cheaper model if I did get one, but even that seems like it has a lot of great features.

    My favorite thing about these machines is how sturdy they feel, like they would last forever. My current exercise bike was super cheap and I feel like it’s going to fall apart as soon as I get on it.

    I also think elliptical training is so much easier on the joints than running or treadmills. I can get through 30 minutes or an hour like a breeze, and I’m not really a hard core exerciser.

    • I am glad to hear you have first-hand experience with these machines. Elliptical machines are one of my favorite pieces of equipment, because of the low impact, and full body aspect.  There are alternative ways to use an ellipitcal as well, to target the glutes more, by leaning back and using the fixed handgrips.  

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it.  Let me know if you have any questions, I am here to help.

  4. Great thorough product review. Both workout machines look powerful and futuristic. I especially like display and its numerous features, where everybody can choose a difficulty level he wants. Bluetooth thing is also a great innovation because everyone likes to listen to their favorite music when works out. One day, I would like to have one of these at home.

    • Thank you Mario, I appreciate your comment.  I really feel like these are a solid option if you are in the market for an ellipitcal machine.  As you said, the display is great, and there are a lot of levels to keep everyone happy.  Thanks again for stopping by.  Let me know if you have any more questions, I am here to help.

  5. I absolutely love the elliptical. I have one at home I got at a garage sale. It’s a bit outdated, you can actually sit down and ride it like a bike lol. I’m looking to upgrade in the future. It is my favorite equipment to workout on, even when I go to the gym. Much better than the treadmill. I also get a full body workout from it. Great info, I’ll have to keep Bowflex in mind.

    • Thank you for stopping by. I agree with you, ellipticals are one of my favorites too. Due to my back problems, I look for low impact ways to workout, and an elliptical sure fits in with my style.  Please let me know if you have any questions, I am here to help.

  6. These two elipticals look very good and something I lit consider buying in the future.

    I really like he fact that they are easy on your joints and have so many settings to help give you the kind of workout you want.

    Do you think these are better than treadmills or about the same?

    • Thanks for your comment Michael. I am a big believer in elliptical machines due to the low impact nature of them. My experience with back problems has lead me on a journey to find low impact ways to work out and ellipticals fit the bill.  You can get a great work out and target different areas of your legs, and core, by adjusting your orientation on the machine.  Thanks again for stopping by, I appreciate it. Let me know if you have any questions or need any help.

  7. Thanks for sharing these elliptical reviews.  I have been in the market for a machine for my home and I really think the Bowflex BXE116 will be a great fit for me. I like the price and the functionality of that machine.  Is it possible to buy an extended warranty?  I want to make sure I am covered for the long term.  Thanks again, you did a lot of the heavy lifting and I appreciate that.

    • Yes, you can purchase a five year extended warranty for the BXE116.  This will extend the labor covered for a full five years, the standard warranty on this model is two years labor.  Thanks for your comment, I appreciate you taking the time to stop by today.

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