If you can find it on sale, the Xterra FS5.6 is a pretty good elliptical, with a number of attractive features that you don't find on many other brands. With a solid 20" stride, 20 levels of resistance and 20 incline levels, there's enough here to give you a varied, effective cardio workout.
The FS5.6 is all black with silver accents, with stationary and moving handlebars and a blue backlit LCD display.
Let's take a look at some of the best features...
The Xterra FS5.6 elliptical was recently introduced as a replacement for the previous FS5.5 model, with enhanced features including a heavier flywheel for quieter/smoother motion and an upgraded, more intuitive console.
It is one of only two elliptical trainers offered by the company...the other is the up-level FS5.8. Both offer a number of unique features that make these ellipticals very appealing, although they have not caught on as well as the parent company's other brand, Sole Fitness.
For starters, you have a Q factor of 2", which is an important feature that most companies do not focus on. The Q factor is simply the distance between the pedals, and ideally it should put you in the most natural position possible, i.e. mimicking your stance when you walk or jog. Some machines have a wide Q factor, which spreads out your stance and puts you in an unnatural position, which obviously is not good from a biomechanic standpoint.
On top of the ideal Q factor, you get a 21 lb. flywheel, an upgrade from the 19lb. flywheel on the previous model. This means a smoother, quieter workout for you. The pedals also tilt 2 degrees inward for more comfort.
The FS5.6 gives you the triple 20: a 20" stride, 20 incline levels and 20 resistance levels. Coupled with the 7 built in workouts you can really change things up from one workout to the next. The incline especially is something that you don't find often, especially at this price level.
You can change your resistance and incline on the hand grips, and also measure your heart rate with the integrated grips. You have the option to measure your heart rate wirelessly, but the chest strap is only included on the higher end FS5.8 elliptical.
There is integrated audio with speakers, oversized pedals, a 6.5" LCD display, transport wheels and a swivel fan included. You also get a very solid warranty, just like you do on Sole ellipticals, and a high max weight capacity of 375 lbs.
Anything we didn't like on the Xterra FS5.6? As of this writing, the Xterra ellipticals did not have tracking capability, something that you do find on more and more machines these days. At around $999 on sale, it should offer some kind of ability to track your workouts or sync with other fitness apps. Perhaps that will be introduced when they next update the models.
Other than that, there's plenty here to be excited about and you can definitely get a good workout in with this one.
The Xterra FS5.6 is a solid elliptical, with a generous stride length, incline capability and plenty of resistance levels. You have the ideal Q factor pedal spacing and tilt, as well as some good built in workouts and heart rate monitoring.
The only thing missing here is workout tracking, so if that is something that's important to you take a look at Sole ellipticals, which offer many of the same features as well as Bluetooth syncing.
If keeping tabs on your workouts isn't necessary, then by all means go for one of the two Xterra ellipticals. The FS5.8 will give you a heavier flywheel, more workouts, a larger display and a better warranty for about $300 more...so that one is worth considering as well.
UPDATE: Spring Elliptical Sales are going strong!
Here is your chance to rant or rave about the elliptical you use at home or at the fitness center.