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Anyone used Precor Elliptical?
Old 06-07-2014, 12:23 AM   #1
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Anyone used Precor Elliptical?

Has anyone used a Precor Elliptical, particularly, but not necessarily, the EFX 5.33 or 5.37?

I am interested in any feedback on the motion of a Precor Elliptical. I am trying to compare it to other brands (the other elliptical I'm considering is the Life Fitness X1 or X3).

The Precor that I'm looking at (the 5.37 which I have an opportunity to buy at a very discounted price), has an incline that goes from 15% to 40%. That is, it is never flat. It has a rear drive and the wheels move in a track. So, you move in an ellipse, but you go up and down a bit more than in the Life Fitness. The Life Fitness is a much flatter motion.

I really liked the Precor when I tried it out but I curious if anyone has tried it for any length of time and whether or not you had any knee problems from it.

Due to my lack of cartilage in my knee cap, my orthopedic surgeon has suggested that instead of me walking in my hilly neighborhood that I swim, cycle or use an elliptical. I prefer to do a weight bearing exercise so am looking at the ellipticals.

My biggest fear is to buy this elliptical and then find out after a month or two that my knee can't tolerate it. It is a very expensive purchase to then have to sell it. But, if I don't buy this one now, I will not buy a Precor as the undiscounted price is way more than I would ordinarily spend.

I liked the Life Fitness, but it is not as well made and it has a much flatter motion and doesn't have the incline. With the Precor you change the incline in order to focus on different muscles in the leg. I liked that.

I'm leaning toward the Precor, but am curious if anyone with knee problems has used a Precor. Most of the Precors have a similar incline so I would be interested in any experience with a Precor, even using one in a gym.
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:03 AM   #2
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We have had a Precor EFX 5.21i at home for 6 1/2 years now..........happy with it....I have bone-on-bone osteoarthritis in both knees........can't say that it bothers my knees, (any more than regular living does ), but if I'm having any problems with a knee I just use a patella sleeve for a while.

(When I first switched to ellipticals, about 9 years ago, I broke a couple of the lower end types which didn't stand up to the amount of use they were getting.......the only problems we've encountered with the Precor are related to the circuit board on the control panel.......'lifetime' guarantee, but if required they demand that one of their 'authorized technicians' replace it, even though it's a simple procedure.)
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:50 AM   #3
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Thanks Nemo2. THat is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. Does the one you are using have different inclines? If it does, do you find that there is any pain at higher incline levels?
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:45 AM   #4
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I am interested in any feedback on the motion of a Precor Elliptical. I am trying to compare it to other brands (the other elliptical I'm considering is the Life Fitness X1 or X3).
For what it may be worth, I've been using the Life Fitness X3 for about 10 years now, about 1 hour/5.3 miles a day 5 days a week. Last year I did have to replace the 'magnetic brake' flywheel due to a badly worn bearing, and I replaced the old belt at the same time. The wear was obvious, clanking on each turn and visibly wobbling on inspection.

I figure 9 years before a repair isn't bad. I used to use treadmills that rarely lasted a year before something expensive would fail.

I picked this version because it 'felt right' in term of knee and ankle movement.
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:59 AM   #5
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I'm leaning toward the Precor, but am curious if anyone with knee problems has used a Precor. Most of the Precors have a similar incline so I would be interested in any experience with a Precor, even using one in a gym.
I have knee problems too (multiple problems including osteoarthritis, a bad fall off a loading dock in 1998, and too much excess weight). My gym has Precor ellipticals, IIRC. Even so, I have hesitated to respond because I don't really have much information for you.

The ellipticals seem to help my knees rather than harm them, and that is why I used to use them. I always use the lowest incline and they make my knees feel wonderful. That said, I haven't used an elliptical regularly since my fainting episode and fall last October (which was not even on an elliptical). Just writing this post, I am wondering, "Why not?". I know I should get back on. I have been using the seated ellipticals instead.

I can't compare the Precor with other types of ellipticals since I have never tried any but this one type. Also, I don't know if what helps my particular knees would help yours, KWIM? So I hesitate to say much here. Sorry if I am not much help.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:38 PM   #6
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Thanks Nemo2. THat is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. Does the one you are using have different inclines? If it does, do you find that there is any pain at higher incline levels?
The CrossRamp (incline) on ours has 14 settings, the higher the number the higher the slant.......I (being an old fart) use the Interval program, alternating between levels 9 & 11.......the only thing I watch out for, WRT knees, (and the display warns you of a pending transition), is that I'm prepared for the move from 9 to 11 and thus avoid a possible 'jolt' (although 'jolt' is too strong a word) since I also increase the resistance, (there are 20 resistance settings), for the higher level......(going from 11 to 9 is not a factor since it's a decrease).

As to working out on the machine in general I rarely have knee issues......(when I was a kid my grandmother would say "No sense, no feeling" )
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:11 PM   #7
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We are fortunate to live in a university community and are able to use the Recreation Club and its myriad of elliptals. Precor are almost always used before the Life Fitness machines & outnumber the Life Fitness units prob 2 to 1.
I chatted with the facility's maintenance lead one day and asked what he thought of all the different brands. He indicated he would be much happier if the Club would just buy Precor as he spent a lot of his time waiting for parts and repairing Life Fitness products.
Precor originally got in the business offering only commercial grade and got into the consumer side about 5 years ago. I think the models you mentioned are commercial grade, so you will benefit from their studier build. Most fitness clubs have Precor in their workout areas. Maybe join a club for a month and see how you feel have using the Precor for several weeks. Far less of investment, than owning a fancy coat hanger ;-). Most clubs offer a trial month to entice new members any way.
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Old 06-07-2014, 05:43 PM   #8
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These are all helpful posts.

W2R - I do realize that while a Precor might not bother your knees or Nemo's knees it might bother mine. But it is helpful to know it doesn't bother some people with knee problems. For example, if both of you said it killed your knees then that would be a cautionary factor for me.

NWSteve - That is interesting about the Precor/Life Fitness thing. I do think Precor is high quality. I used to have a Precor treadmill and it was very good quality.
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:39 PM   #9
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We compared Precor and Life Fitness, and went the Life Fitness, but DW doesn't use it. The longer flatter stride is great for me but too long for her shorter legs and she complained of ( mostly) hip and knee pain. She uses the Precor at the local Y. The shorter stride is perfect for her and the higher "up,down" motion on the Precor hasn't been an issue.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:23 PM   #10
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Has anyone used a Precor Elliptical, particularly, but not necessarily, the EFX 5.33 or 5.37?
I purchased a Precor EFX5.31 several years ago following knee surgery (torn meniscus) and highly recommend the brand. The 5.31 that I have is the same as the 5.33 that you are looking at, without the arm levers (which I didn't care for).

I use the machine religiously - usually 5 days/week, for 40 - 55 min at a pop. While you/your Dr. are the best judge of your knee issues... I can say that I've never experienced knee pain as a result of the Precor. To the contrary, I use the Precor as way to get a good workout while "nursing" my knees.

The quality of the machine has been exceptional... operating without issue throughout the years I've owned it. My one (minor) complaint is with the heart rate monitor. The on screen readings can get a little wonky. This might be the fault of my chest-strap sender, however... or the fact that I tend to use my iPhone while working out and it might cause wireless interference.

Also, be warned, perhaps as a testament to its quality... the thing is heavy. It is almost certainly a "set-up and leave in place" appliance. Finally, since the rollers and tracks are open to the elements, periodic cleaning is a must (especially if you work up a good sweat like I do).
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:12 PM   #11
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We have a Precor EFX 5.23 for maybe 9/10 years. No complaints. Definitely high quality. Never had a problem with it. Never had to do anything other than cleaning the sweat and dust.

For some random chance, the panel up front fits the iPad perfectly. DH likes to watch shows on his iPad so that works out well.

I have some knee issues years ago and stopped all impact exercise (volleyball, tennis, etc). I never had knee problem with the elliptical.

Agree with Seeking Hobbes that it is big and heavy. Once placed, very difficult to move.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:52 PM   #12
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These are all helpful posts.

W2R - I do realize that while a Precor might not bother your knees or Nemo's knees it might bother mine. But it is helpful to know it doesn't bother some people with knee problems. For example, if both of you said it killed your knees then that would be a cautionary factor for me.
Oh good! Well in my case, for whatever reasons, the Precor elliptical provides the most helpful exercise I have ever found for reducing knee pain and strengthening my knees. And thank you for this thread, which reminded me of that fact! I need to get back on the Precor elliptical, the sooner the better.
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Old 06-08-2014, 01:24 PM   #13
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I know you didn't asked, but I'm a lover of SOLE.. we have the E95 and can't say enough good things about it and bought their treadmill this year too. Just in case your open to other options, the brand is very good for home use.
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:57 PM   #14
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I know you didn't asked, but I'm a lover of SOLE.. we have the E95 and can't say enough good things about it and bought their treadmill this year too. Just in case your open to other options, the brand is very good for home use.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:02 PM   #15
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We went back to the couple of stores we were looking at and tried everything again. We are probably not going to get the Precor 9.37 that we looked at although I think it was the best elliptical that we tried.

I tried it and had no pain with it at all. Of course, I realize using it in the store and using it several times a week may not be comparable.

At this point, I am strongly leaning toward the Life Fitness X1.

Basically, the price of the Precor -- even discounted considerably -- is twice that of the Life Fitness X1. I have no doubt that the Precor is better. But, I'm not at all sure that it is that much better.

And, part of this is that I am reluctant to put all my exercise eggs in one basket. Given my knee issues, while I do want an elliptical so I can get some weight bearing exercise, I also think it would be prudent for me to use a recumbent exercise bike about half the time.

Basically I looked at the Life Fitness X1 (Go console) and a Vision Fitness R40 (Elegant Console) cycle and the price of the two of them together is about $400 more than the price of the Precor elliptical alone.

To put it another way, if I spend $4000 on the Precor elliptical I won't have the budget to buy the exercise bike at this time.

I wouldn't get an elliptical that is a piece of junk, but I also like the Life Fitness X1. I don't think it is as good quality as the Precor and in a gym setting I could see that being a factor. But, I'll be using the elliptical probably 3 days a week (DH will probably use it some as well) and then using the bike the other days. So it is likely the last for a good long time and is half the price of the Precor.

Haven't totally decided but that is how I'm leaning.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:52 PM   #16
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Amazon has a nice discussion about ellipticals. Precor and Life Fitness have rear flywheels. We went to a fitness equipment store and were lolling for a smaller footprint machine. We ended up getting a Spirit elliptical. I really like it-/it's quiet, sturdy, has a variety of programs and settings. It's stride length is about 20-21 inches so there is less up and down than other ellioti. Another nice feature is that the footpads have a gel-like padding. I can exercise in bare feet or socks and it feels like a foot massage.

Good luck in your search for your perfect elliptical.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:24 PM   #17
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At the gym yesterday I thought of this thread and took a photo of the Precor ellipticals there. They have several different models, but this is the one I like best. It doesn't have the moving arm exercise features, and that is why I prefer it; I feel less likely to fall when holding on to something that is not moving. It's a lot easier for me to compare machines and figure out which ones work best for me, at my gym where I can try them out over a period of time.

Edited to add: IIRC the model number is EFX 546i. Inspired by this thread, I spent half my workout on this machine yesterday.. At that point I got too hot in this beastly heat and humidity, and had to switch to the Octane Fitness seated elliptical for the rest of my workout.
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Old 06-14-2014, 08:12 PM   #19
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So, here is what we decided.

First, I bought and had delivered the Vision Fitness R40 exercise bike with Elegant Console. I plan to use this as something that will be easy on my knees and that I don't have to worry about it. It has an exceptionally comfortable seat and back (important to me in a bike) and a reasonable number of exercise programs.

Second, we are deferring the purchase of an elliptical for a few months. We were leaning toward the X1 but my great fear was that I spent a lot of money for an elliptical and then I found after using it awhile that it hurt my knees. Ellipticals don't bother most people with knee problems but do bother some.

What we are going to do is rejoin the Y and I will use the elliptical there at least 3 days a week. The other days I'll do the bike at home. This will give me the chance to (1) see if the elliptical bothers me with extended use (2) see if I like the elliptical with extended use and (3) determine what elliptical features are important to me so that I can better choose an elliptical to buy.

After a few months of this, if the elliptical doesn't bother my knees I think I'll be in better position to choose an elliptical to buy.
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Old 06-15-2014, 04:36 PM   #20
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You might consider buying used equipment if you don't want to spend $4K. I bought a used but refurbished Precor recumbent exercise bike on Ebay a couple of years ago for about $1500 and $250 shipping. I looked at all the Ebay vendor reviews, etc. The one I chose gave the history of the used equipment. Most of the equipment came out of a commercial gym - I chose one that had been in an exercise room in a NY condo complex because it would have less wear and tear. Some of the vendors had warranties. I had used the same Precor model while staying at a hotel in Houston. Whenever I traveled and used the hotel exercise facilities, I started writing down the models of the bikes that I liked.
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