When it comes to elliptical trainers there is no one player who dominates the entire price range of models. There are different manufacturers who excel at different prices. For example, Icon Fitness rules the sub $ 1,000 price range through their various subsidiaries, including ProForm, Image, Weslo, Reebok and Nordic Track. The high-end is dominated by companies like Life Fitness and Precor.
In the mid-range category you have a number of contenders, but one company that is worth noting is Smooth Fitness. They are building quality elliptical trainers at a price that makes them a good value.
Selling Direct to the Consumer
For those unfamiliar with Smooth Fitness, they predominantly sell on the Internet. In fact, you cannot find their elliptical trainers at any stores. Their value proposition is to sell direct, thus cutting out the expenditure of the middleman.
Think about the expenses that are incurred when a company sells fitness equipment in a retail store. Besides the cost of the space, you also have to factor in the commissions paid to the salespeople. Selling online not only saves on retail costs, but also avoids the addition charge of local taxes. That can add up.
It should be noted that Smooth Fitness makes some exaggerated claims regarding the reduction in price. That is typical marketing hype. And although you may not be saving over 40% on an elliptical trainer, you could be saving 5% -15% in comparison to purchasing through a retail store.
Smooth Fitness was one of the first businesses to sell high-end fitness equipment online. Initially they private labeled other brands like Spirit, Keys and Kettler. Approximately 5 years ago they started designing and manufacturing their own fitness equipment. In ten years they went from minor player to their recent inclusion in the Internet Retailer's Top 500 Guide, 2006-07 Edition. SmoothFitness.com came in at number 277 on the overall list, and was ranked the 15th largest e-tailer in the Sporting Goods category.
Smooth Elliptical Trainers Offer Value
The line-up of Smooth elliptical trainers is a perfect example why they have become a major player in the fitness equipment industry in such a short period of time. Their machines are engineered to be durable and yet provide a rewarding workout. For example, the Smooth CE 3.2 offers one of the better values in the $ 1,500 + price range. It is designed with a rear drive, which many find preferable, and claim it provides a smoother motion.
The machine itself weighs a hefty 175 lbs, adding to the stability. You get ergonomic pivoting foot pedals, that further reduce strain and impact. It comes standard with wireless heart rate control, for those who like to control and optimize their workout through their heart rate. You get a lifetime warranty on the frame and electromagnetic brake system, in addition to a 2 year parts and 1 year labor warranty.
One feature I particularly like is the built-in heart rate sensors in the upper handlebars . You will find that most elliptical trainers have heart rate monitors, but they are built into stationary handlebars. In order to get your heart rate you have to discontinue the upper body workout and hold onto the stationary handles, which defeats the purpose of the dual action workout.
Smooth Fitness currently has three elliptical trainers that are priced from $ 1,300- $ 2,000, they are the Smooth CE 2.1, 3.2 and 7.4. All their prices include shipping. Like other fitness equipment companies, the standard delivery is to your curbside. You may want to pay the extra few dollars to have their turnkey service, which includes inside delivery and set-up.
There is no question that there are better built elliptical trainers on the market. For example, Precor makes commercial grade elliptical trainers for the home. But they come with a commercial grade price, which is more than twice the cost of the Smooth Ellipticals. Of course, there are cheaper machines, but they are built with cheap components, which is reflected in a very limited warranty. The coverage is often 90 days parts and labor.
Combining quality and a average price, the Smooth elliptical trainers are one of the better values in the $ 1,000 – $ 2,000 price range.