The Bowflex TreadClimber is one of the most popular cardio machines on the market, combining a treadmill, elliptical and stepper into one compact trainer. It is different than anything else on the market, and promises maximum results in a shorter amount of time.
Currently Bowflex offers just two TreadClimbers: the TC100 and the more advanced TC200. Both are very sleek looking machines, with the modern, high-tech look that the company is known for.
The machines feature two treadles, independently moving belts that rise up as you walk. It kind of looks like a treadmill that was cut in half. The fact that the treadles move up as you step, and they move in sort of an elliptical pattern, is why the TreadClimbers are considered three cardio machines in one.
The main draw of the TreadClimbers, as well as the equally popular Bowflex Max Trainers, is the fact that you can burn more calories in less time than on other machines. According to studies cited on the company site, you can burn 423 calories in 30 minutes walking 3mph on the TreadClimber, as opposed to 191 on the stepper and 165 on the treadmill.
For some reason the elliptical is not mentioned in that study, but it is impressive nevertheless. It does make sense that walking in a stepper motion will burn more calories than walking flat, but since you don't have the rotating arms here, the TreadClimber probably does not burn more calories than an elliptical.
At any rate, the TC100 and TC200 are similar as far as the workout that you get, but the latter is more advanced with more features and capabilities. Let's take a closer look at both...
The TC100 has a max speed of 4 mph, an LCD backlit display, grip heart rate monitoring, UBB charging port, transport wheels, water bottle holder, tablet shelf and a 300 lb. weight capacity.
The TC200 has a max speed of 4.5 mph and all of the features of the TC200 plus 5 workout programs built in, Bluetooth workout tracking, longer treadles, and grip as well as wireless heart rate monitoring (free strap included).
It is almost 50 lbs. heavier than the TC100, slightly shorter and a little taller. It's definitely much more solid and durable, and hence carries a longer warranty (3 years vs 2 years on the TC100)
As we mentioned, the Bowflex TreadClimbers are extremely popular, almost as much as the company's Max Trainers. They are a bit pricier though, at $1999 and $2999 for the TC100 and TC200, respectively.
Our reviews showed that what sets them apart from the competition is the unique combination of three different cardio machines, the compact design and of course the ability to get a great workout in in a short amount of time.
These three things make them very appealing for the home user, who is often pressed for time and doesn't necessarily want to spend an hour or more working out each day to see results.
The TreadClimbers do take some time to get used to, especially if you are a treadmill or elliptical user. But after about 5-10 minutes, we were able to get comfortable on the machine.
We gave both machines a try, and we definitely preferred the TC200 as it is a bit sturdier and durable. It also offers the built in workouts, the tracking, the wireless heart rate monitoring, etc. so it is more like the typical elliptical or treadmill you'll find on the market.
It is not the most challenging workout in the world; rather it is more of a way to simply walk and burn calories. As such it is probably not ideal for someone who's been working out for years, or a very serious athlete. Yet for beginners, intermediates, elderly and rehab, it's definitely a good choice.
Anything we didn't like during our Bowflex TreadClimber reviews? Sure. Although they do offer a unique workout experience, the TC100 and TC200 are not the most advanced machines. At that price level you will find ellipticals and treadmills with a more club-quality feel, plus more workouts, more advanced consoles, and other features and capabilities.
The warranties are also not so great. You get just 2 years coverage on the TC100 and 3 years on the TC200. If you compare that to lifetime frame and maybe up to 5 years on parts/electronics on similarly prices ellipticals, you can see how the TreadClimbers fall a little short.
However, there are a lot of things to like about these machines, including their three-in-one workouts, very low impact, space-saving design and calorie-burning ability. Those are all very good features and you don't often find that combination.
We like what the TreadClimbers have to offer, and the fact that they are so popular is a testament to the fact that they give people what they want.
The combination of a treadmill, elliptical and stepper in one compact machine, and all of the inherent health benefits of each, is quite appealing to people. Also the fact that you can burn a lot of calories in a shorter amount of time is ideal for most people.
If you have the budget for it, it's definitely a good fit for the home gym. We would opt for the TC200 over the TC100, but if you want to save a thousand dollars, the TC100 will give you equally good results.