Put the ProForm ZE5 Elliptical Trainer on Your No Buy List

New for 2011, the ProForm ZE5 elliptical trainer offers an adjustable stride length, iFit® workout card technology, audio plug-in ports and speakers, and 16 programs.

What You Get

The ProForm ZE5 elliptical trainer has an LCD console showing distance, time, speed, and calories burned. It accepts iFit® Cards ($20 each) which are available in Weight Loss, Wellness, Circuit Training and Performance workout categories from Beginner to Advanced. Each card contains 8 weeks of interactive workouts designed by a Certified Personal Trainer.

Proform ZE5 Elliptical Trainer

The list of the specs on the ZE5:

  • 13 lb. Inertia Enhanced Flywheel
  • 16 Digital Resistance Levels
  • 13", 15", 18" Adjustable Stride Length
  • 16 Programs
  • iFit® Workout Card Technology
  • EKG™ Heart Rate Monitor
  • Oversized Pedals
  • MP3 Music Port & Intermix Acoustics™ 2.0
  • Coolaire™ Fan
  • SpaceSaver® Design
  • 275 lb. user weight capacity
  • Warranty – lifetime frame, 1-year parts & labor

*Requires iFit® workout cards (sold separately).

The Word on the Street

The ProForm ZE5 elliptical trainer is equipped with a limited 13-lb flywheel, which is smaller than the 15-lb flywheels on most competitor models at this price level, as well as the 23-lb flywheel on the new Livestrong LS8.0.

As a rule of thumb: the larger the flywheel on an elliptical, the smoother the ride. Equipment pros will warn would-be buyers that while ProForms seem to have many flashy features, they are fraught with cheap components, are backed by poor warranties, and lack in quality control.

UPDATE:  The ZE5 is no longer being sold as it is an old model.  You can check out all of the current models on sale here

From what we can gather in reviews on this elliptical trainer, the ProForm ZE5 suffers from bolts that are too short and constantly need tightening to combat creaks and squeaks.

Additionally, there are a number of reports of grinding, glide bolts breaking, the resistance adjustment stops working, the display panel burning out, plastic trim pieces breaking off, etc.

Even worse, the console runs on D batteries which won’t last more than 2 or 3 sessions. For consistent weekly workouts, you need to buy an AC adapter from ProForm which costs $90 bucks.

Our Thoughts

Way overpriced at $799 MSRP, and even its sale price at $599, the ProForm ZE5 elliptical trainer should be on your NO list. Move on. Nothing to see here.

Check out reviews on Schwinns, Horizons (their upgraded 2010 machines are substantial) and Yowzas. They all have better quality machines in the $599 to $799 range.

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