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Bowflex TreadClimber TC20 Review

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For what felt like days, we went through and researched so many different pieces of equipment in order to find what we believe is the best. We’ve looking at an interesting rowing machine, spin bike and even a recumbent exercise bike, which really caught our attention.  To be exact, the Schwinn 430 elliptical, Schwinn 270 recumbent bike and the Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike looked really good. We even liked the proform 505 cst treadmill. However, the one we settled with was the Bowflex Treadclimber TC20 and if you read this review, you’ll understand why we chose this path.

At the time of writing this review, the Bowflex Treadclimber TC20 is currently the top-of-the-line “must have” model in a collection that has also featured TC5, TC10, TC5000 and TC3000. For those of you that have never been around a TreadClimber before, basically it is a combination of features from three other great cardio machines – the stairclimber, treadmill and an elliptical trainer all in one.

Exactly what is it that sets the TC20 apart from the earlier models and why did we choose this?

Not only does the design that offers heart rate monitoring make us like the machine, but it also has a wide array of target setting workout programs and even longer Treadles than the TC10, making it a better choice for those users that are taller.

In our TC20 review today, we’re going to take a closer look at everything from the upgraded features to the assembly process in order to help you decide if this TreadClimber is suitable for your fitness goals …

Bowflex Treadclimber TC20 - Features Summary

  • Customizable goal-oriented programming that allows you to customize your workout
  • 3 Landmark challenges that will keep you more energized – it’s like being monitored by your own personal trainer
  • G.O Coach Technology that is capable of delivering customized programming for two separate users as well as goal progress displays.
  • Set, monitor and track your personal fitness goals

 

Amazing Ergonomic Design Features

The design of this Bowflex TreadClimber appears to be focused around creating a fitness routine that is low-impact and uses Treadles that independently move.

Of course, we know, Bowflex is’t the only company that produces TreadClimbers, there’s many other good ones currently on the market, but Bowflex is the only company we know of that produces them at this price point – the price appears to be more affordable than most of the other home gyms.

Around each Treadle, you’ll find a tread belt – this is similar to the belt that you would find on a treadmill, but it doesn’t move as fast as a treadmill. In fact, the maximum speed on the TC20 is 4.5 mph, which is decent. However, most treadmills offer at least 12mph, so if you’re looking for a fast treadmill, you’re probably not going to want this machine.

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So, for this reason, if you’re looking to take part in running workouts, we wouldn’t recommend the TC20 as there’s not enough speed. However, if you’re looking for a good machine that is great for walking, this would be a good choice. It offers 12 levels of resistance and up to 40% incline, which is great.

In all honesty, we don’t want to make many comparisons between TreadClimbers and treadmills, because in all actuality, the two of them are very different machines, but we definitely needed to mention the difference in resistance.

Most of the treadmills have a quick-select button on the console or handrails, allowing you to increase the incline. The TreadClimber allows you to adjust the Treadle range of motions by using a dial that is on top of each Hydraulic Cylinder – making the adjustments aren’t hard to do, but this is a manual process. You will literally have to stop moving, get off of the machines and make the adjustments. If only it was automatic, right?

In regards to the actual motion the Treadles create, essentially, it is broken down into a total of three actions including:

Action One: Belts move at your speed. You control via the console. It recreates the motion of the belt on a treadmill.

Action Two: The stair climber motion. The Treadles move up and down.

Action Three:  Your stride influences the vertical Treadle motion. This follows a low-impact path that is a lot like an elliptical trainer.

When you take these three actions and mix them together with the Treadles set at their highest level, Bowflex claims that you can burn up to 3.5 times more calories than you could on a treadmill. That right there is something that really caught our attention because that is exactly what we want to do when we’re working out – quickly burn calories.

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Display Console Design

The display console design on this Tread Climber is pretty cool. With the modern cardio equipment, we have witnessed many of the fitness companies putting a large amount of focus into how they design their consoles as well as the technology they put into them.

In terms of treadmills and ellipticals, this is especially true as more and more machines are capable of connecting to the Internet and syncing their workout data to an individual’s online profile. However, the truth is, not everyone is willing to pay for those extra features they don’t ever plan on using and this is what we really like about Bowflex. If you’re familiar with this company, you probably already know that the focus for Bowflex has always been on delivering the most affordable, high quality workout machine they possibly can.  This is one of the main reasons why you’re not going to find an MP3/iPod connectivity on the TC20 – this is what you may find on a traditional treadmill or elliptical, but it’s not something you’re going to find here.

If you are specifically looking for entertainment features like this, then you may want to go with a NordicTrack treadmill or Nordictract elliptical. These are machines that go as far as offering web-enabled consoles as well as full color screens for watching all of your favorite television shows while you’re working out.

Now let’s get back to talking about the TC20. Since the earlier TC10 model, this console right here has received some pretty satisfying improvements.

Let’s take a look at those improvements …

First, you have the actual G.O Coach button, which is responsible for offering quick access to your chosen workout  - those are based around landmark structures, instead of simple columns.

The amount of user profiles has been increased since the TC10. While the TC10 only had one user profile (that is a major downfall if someone else in your home plans on using it), this one right here includes two user profiles. You can easily switch between the profiles by holding down the same G.O. Coach button.

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When it comes to workout feedback, the TC20 still displays your weight, time, speed, distance, amount of calories you have burned and your G.O Coach weekly progress, but now, what’s really interesting about the TC20 would be the fact that you are now able to keep track of your heart rate. Many people specifically set out to find a machine that offers heart rate monitoring, because that’s something they’re interested in. However, you’re going to notice that there’s no heart rate touch sensors that are built into the handles, so you’ll have to wear a chest strap in order to transmit your pule reading to the console – this is fine, because most people prefer chest straps to keep track of their heart rate while they’re exercising.

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The way these stats are displayed is another feature that has changed with this model. While the TC10 featured multiple screens that weren’t backlit, the TC20 takes this information and combines it into one backlit screen. This not only makes receiving feedback easier to read in low light conditions, it also creates room enough for two accessory trays so that you can store your smartphone, MP3 player, water bottles or whatever else you may need by you as you exercise.

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Assembly

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If you are interested in the TC20 and you decide to buy it, you’re going to want to hear about the assembly process. Mind you, if you do not like the idea of putting a machine like this together on your own, Bowflex offers a professional assembly service that you can use.

However, you might find the quality of the instructions in the user manual to be quite helpful. If you follow them properly, you shouldn’t run into any problems with putting them together.  Most of the steps are similar to the ones you would follow if you were assembling a treadmill. The Treadle assembly is similar to a running deck and only contains a couple of extra steps for getting it mounted to the base of the frame. From there, most of the heavy lifting will be out of your way.

For the assembly process, we definitely recommend having a second person help you.

Here it is, all put together:

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Conclusion

All in all, we must say the Bowflex Treadclimber TC20 is a big hit and we are glad we decided to go with it. It has everything we want in a TreadClimber.

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