New Balance elliptical trainers have been a favorite of home fitness enthusiasts for the past few years. Of course, New Balance shoes have been a favorite of runners and elliptical trainers for many years. The company’s fitness equipment is manufactured in China and Taiwan is marketed through Fitness Quest of Canton Ohio. Fitness Quest also markets several other brands of fitness equipment, including Ab Lounge, Edge, and Total Gym.

The company has recently started marketing the New Balance 8000 elliptical trainer. Luckily, an acquaintance of ours recently bought an 8000 and was breaking it down. She is a fitness fanatic like many of us and she had already ridden the machine for 50 hours. We asked if we could try out the elliptical and do a review and she was happy to do so.

We used 5 test subjects to evaluate the New Balance 800. They had between 6 months and 4 years of experience using elliptical trainers. Tester weights ranged from 109 pounds to our linebacker’s 265 pounds. We asked each of them to do 3 normal workouts over a one week period. They had to consider ease of use, smoothness, fitness programs, stride length and comfort, sound levels, stability, total body comfort, perceived fitness level, electronics, and overall fit.

According to the brochures, the 8000 model weighs around 180 pounds and has a 40-by-30-inch footprint, which should give it relatively good stability. He is also rated at 300 pounds. Our testers initially really liked the pedals because of their size. The ability to change your stride length from 18 to 20 inches is a nice feature, but a better one would be a fully adjustable stride length. Two of the testers wanted a bit more of an 18-inch stride, but not the full 20. Stride length wasn’t an issue when working at normal speeds, but when doing intense training, these testers ended up having to use the shorter stride length.

Stability wasn’t too bad even for our soccer player who actually made the machine rock on the pad. A more durable or harder pad could have added stability. Sound levels were comparable to all but the loudest ellipticals, allowing for headphone-free TV viewing at moderate workout levels. The testers felt that the workout programs would likely satisfy all but a few home workout buffs. The screen was easy to read, but it went dark in one of the fitting rooms during his workout. We couldn’t get the console to repeat its crash, so we’re not sure what caused the crash.

All testers gave the 8000 a rating of 3 out of 5 in terms of smoothness of operation compared to more expensive commercial ellipticals. Also, everyone found it easy to use the upper body handles to enhance their workout.

We were unable to determine the durability of this unit based on how little time it was in use. To date, there are few reviews of the New Balance 8000 that give any real clue as to any issues with this model. It should be noted that Fitness Quest doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to customer service. As a result, we recommend an extended warranty to cover electronic components and parts. New Balance or Fitness Quest offers a standard warranty of 10 years on the frame, 2 years on electronics, and one year on parts, but labor and shipping costs are not included.

With an overall score of 3.75 out of 5, our testers felt that the New Balance 8000 would likely be a good buy for the average home fitness enthusiast. The biggest concern that was raised was the fact that this elliptical trainer was marketed and serviced by Fitness Quest, which does not have a good reputation among the fitness crowd.

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