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The Bowflex TC200 Treadclimber- Is It Really Worth The Money?

Bowflex TC200 Treadclimber 

Best Price: Check On Amazon

Average Review Online: 3.3/5

3 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty

 

I’ve seen the commercial on tv for the Bowflex TC200 Treadclimber several times. I have to admit, my first impression was not a very positive one. It just looks silly to me. But I also have to admit that I was curious. I figured it’s time for me to do a little research and figure out what this piece of equipment is all about.

Let’s start with a description of the Bowflex TC200 Treadclimber and see what it is designed to do.

What is the TC200 Treadclimber?

The TC200 is one of the two now available models of “treadclimbers” offered by Bowflex. The treadclimbers have been on the market for awhile. There have been many different models available over the years, but the only 2 models currently being offered by Bowflex are the TC100 and the TC200. We will compare these 2 in a minute. I want to review what the treadclimber actually is first. Is it a treadmill? Elliptical? Stairmaster? Not quite, it’s really a combination of all 3.

Bowflex claims that the treadclimbers are actually a combination of all three: a perfect synthesis of treadmill, elliptical, and stairmaster. If you ever wondered what magical piece of equipment could provide you the perfect combination of walking, stepping, and elliptical-ing all at once, wonder no longer. The treadclimbers are here!

Ok, so it’s a combination of all the classic gym equipment (minus the stationary bike). How is this good for me, the user? Well, the TC200 claims to provide a high-intensity workout while avoiding high impact on your joints. You are standing on 2 treadles, each with its own treadmill belt. As you step, the treadles go up and down like a stepper. After your foot comes off the treadle during the swing of your step, the treadle rises to meet your foot, thus producing the “low-impact” on your knees and hips.

Walking on the treadclimber has been described as walking in sand.

“All you do is walk”…the treadclimber takes care of the rest. Ok, sounds interesting enough. Let’s examine the 2 available models and see what the difference is.

TC 100 vs TC 200

Looking at photos of the two machines side by side, right off the bat the TC200 looks more durable. All of the supports look a little thicker, a little more robust, a little sleeker. According to the dimensions, the TC200 has a slightly smaller foot print (2 inches shorter).

Looks like the TC200 can go a little faster, top speed of 4.5 mph compared to 4.0 mph for the TC100. Remember that these machines are designed for walking. And honestly, walking at 4.5 mph is difficult on a flat surface, I can imagine how difficult that setting is on a Treadclimber.

Both models offer water bottle holders, media shelf, backlit displays, USB charging.

Both models have a 300lb weight limit.

The biggest benefits the TC200 appears to have over it’s little brother are:

  • Bluetooth connectivity – connect with the free treadclimber app to track fitness goals, etc
  • 5 workout programs- “Just Walk”, “Calorie Goal”, “Distance Goal”, “Time Goal”, “Intervals”
  • Wireless heart rate monitor- works with chest strap (not included)
  • Track stats for 4 different users
  • 3-year warranty vs 2-year warranty

Here is a nice comparison between the 2 machines offered by Bowflex.

Big price difference between the 2 models as well: full retail for the TC100 through Bowflex is $2199 and the TC200 is $3299.

Both models are currently on sale through Bowflex.com, but still significantly cheaper on Amazon.com… but more on that in a bit.

The Treadclimber’s Claims

“Burn up to 2.5x the calories than a treadmill at the same speed”- Bowflex bases this claim on 2 studies cited on their website comparing the calories burned on the TC200 at 3.0 mph (max treadle setting) and walking on a treadmill at 3.0 mph (0% incline). According to the studies, the treadclimber burned 423 calories while the treadmill only burned 165 calories. The stepper burned 191 calories at workout level 3.0.

Personally, I think it would have been a little more fair to compare it to walking on a treadmill at a 3 deg or 5 deg incline for comparison’s sake. If you are going to advertise to folks that “all you have to do is walk” to burn 400 calories in 30 min, we should mention that you are definitely not walking on a flat plane. I don’t know what angle max treadle setting would equate to, but it’s gotta be more than a 0% incline. I just want to make sure we are comparing apples to apples… or treadclimbers to treadmills.

Low impact- this makes sense. The treadles are coming up and meeting your foot at heel strike of each step. This should significantly reduce the impact felt through the knees and hips. Low impact exercise is great for individuals that suffer with arthritis, or who have already had knee or hip replacements.

High-intensity- This one is believable. It takes a really intense workout to burn over 400 calories in 30 min! If these numbers are legit, that’s a pretty serious workout. Think about it, let’s say the average guy running a mile burns 125-150 calories per mile (running). Thats the workout equivalent of running about 3 miles in 30 min… 10 min/mile pace.

All this intensity while walking at 3 mph? I find that a little hard to believe, but if it’s true you should expect a very challenging workout. You can’t casually burn this many calories in half an hour.

Ok, enough clowning around. Let’s decide whether the TC200 is worth the investment.

Pros

  • Bowflex is a respected manufacturer of fitness equipment
  • Decent warranty (3 years)
  • Offers low-impact workout
  • Can offer high-intensity workout without running
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Takes up less space than a lot of treadmills

Cons

  • Price
  • Only a 3-year warranty, at this price range I would expect 5-10 year, if not lifetime
  • Only 5 workout programs
  • Doesn’t fold for storage
  • Lot of moving parts = lot of opportunity for malfunction
  • Difficult customer service

Verdict

Is the Bowflex TC200 Treadclimber worth the money? If you ask me, there are much better ways to spend $3000 for your home gym. This is a lot of money for most of us to spend on a piece of fitness equipment. For comparisons sake,  you could get yourself a couple of nice folding treadmills or 1 high-end running treadmill. High-end exercise bikes and elliptical machines can also be purchased for much less.

Also, is it me, or is there little difference between the TC200 and the TC100? For an extra $1000, I expect a little more than Bluetooth and a handful of preset workout programs. At this price range, I would expect more than 5 workouts on both machines and I’d like to see a nicer warranty.

The TC200 only comes with a 3- year warranty and there is some consensus online that the machine is kinda flimsy to begin with. For a durable piece of equipment, I would like to see a higher weight capacity limit as well. Plenty of treadmills that are half the price come with lifetime frame and motor warranties and max user weights of 350lb.

If you have the money and are looking for a unique exercise machine, the Bowflex Treadclimbers might be a nice fit. Personally, I’m a little weary of how many moving parts are involved and how much possibility there is for malfunction. I also feel the price is a bit high for this type of machine. Bowflex is a great company and produces a lot of awesome products, if they lowered the price a little I would definitely be on board.

If you are interested in a treadclimber, I would recommend getting the TC100 though and save yourself a little cash. Not much difference between the 2 models. Not enough to warrant an extra $1000 bucks anyway. I would also suggest you spend some time reading the user reviews on Amazon. Although it has an average rating of 3.3/5, 25% of the reviews gave it 1 star.

If you are looking for a more affordable piece of fitness equipment for your home gym and aren’t interested in a treadmill, you may want to consider an elliptical machine. There are some really affordable options and offer a similar low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise.

I hope this review was helpful. I personally don’t believe the TC200 Treadclimber offers enough to warrant the price, but a lot of folks are really happy with it. If you are considering making the purchase, do your homework and make an educated decision.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I’ll get back to you soon.

Will

10 Comments

  1. Interesting analysis you have here. I’ve never been too much about the idea of anything Bowflex related. As you mentioned, it is a good company but doesn’t seem like you would get good results with equipment like these. I remember the original Bowflex from when I was a kid seeing it on TV. I always wanted one until I grew up lol.
    Running on treadmills on the other hand, is a pretty good option. I tend to run at a 1% incline instead of flat to give it a bit more resistance. I feel like it builds pretty good endurance, and when I go and run outside I feel great. Don’t really know how that trio Bowflex combination would feel…

    • It’s funny you mentioned the original Bowflex, I’m the same way, when I first saw it on tv it looked so cool. Now I’m not so interested, ha. Nice work on the treadmill, adding a little incline to resemble the feel of road running is smart.

  2. Very informative post. I never heard of those 2 equipment before. Based on the info on your post I have to agree with you that it is not with the money. Thanks for the review!

  3. Thanks for the review. When I saw this I was quite intrigued but I was skeptical for the amount of calories burned in 30 minutes and especially with all these grandiose claims that it’s a 3-in-1 machine. I’ve heard that the amount of calories burned on every machine is usually inaccurate anyway as there a lot of factors that influence how much you burn. Am I right?

    What’s curious is that up until June I was going to the gym and always using the elliptical machine. I would be doing 40 minutes workouts and I wouldn’t be sweating much even when I used a difficult program. The weird thing is now that I got my own elliptical to use at home, I do 20 minutes workouts and I sweat like crazy. I’m wondering why is that?

    • I agree, I have heard that most cardio machines over estimate how many calories are actually burned. If the machine lets you put in height and weight, it may help a little. But yeah, take the number of calories any machine tells you you are are burning with a grain of salt.

      Good question on the elliptical. Different machines have different levels of resistance, maybe the machine you have at home provides more resistance? Different ellipticals tend to have slightly different stride lengths as well, a longer stride length tends to work you a little harder, so that could be a possible reason too. You don’t have the heat on when working out at home do ya??

  4. Will,
    I agree that it is a lot of money to spend on a machine; but I absolutely love this machine, although I’m not sure about the amount of calories they claim we can burn. I haven’t been using my machine much now because I prefer HIIT and free weights. Is it worth the money, probably, but only if you use it.

    • I’m glad you enjoy it. You bring up a good point, anytime you are planning on purchasing a piece of home equipment, make sure you are going to use it enough to get your money’s worth.

  5. Ended up here after googling “treadclimber reviews”. My question is– have you used the machine yourself and if so, what are your thoughts about it? Otherwise, this whole thing that you wrote feels like, if a film critic puts out a review based on what he’s read about it without actually having seen the film ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It’s honestly not super helpful.

    • I’m sorry you didn’t find this discussion helpful. I haven’t used this machine- I researched it with the mindset of someone trying to decide whether they should buy it or not. Based on what I saw, I don’t think it’s worth the asking price.

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