Front Drive Ellipticals Comparison
Front drive ellipticals provide a workout motion that is much different from its competitor -- rear drive ellipticals. If you are not sure how the operation is different or if you are concerned about which system is the best read our buying guide below...
|Full Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
|Resistance||20 Levels||20 Levels||16 Levels||20 Levels||20 Levels|
|Stride Length||20 inches||20" - 22"||20" - 22"||20 inches||20 inches|
|Max. Weight||400 lbs||400 lbs||375 lbs||400 lbs||325 lbs|
|Incline||Power Incline||0 - 40%||0 - 30%||None||0-100%
(increments of 5%)
Front Drive Ellipticals Buying Guide
The first decision you’ll need to make when you begin shopping for a new elliptical is “Do I want a front, center or rear wheel drive?” While there is no true “right” answer, the drive system of your elliptical will impact your performance. Some exercise enthusiasts are absolutely steadfast on only using rear drive systems. Meanwhile, others have changed through the years from rear drive to front drive systems. Again, it’s a personal choice.
In order to understand front drive ellipticals, we should begin with the history of ellipticals. The first elliptical trainers started to emerge in American health clubs in the late 90s. Consequently, the elliptical is still a fairly new innovation. Today, ellipticals have all but replaced Stairmasters as the preferred lower body cardio trainer.
Because ellipticals are still a relatively new invention, manufactures are still finding ways to improve the machine. Front drive ellipticals, also known as shuffle trainers, provide a motion that is similar to the old Stairmasters and feature a stepping motion. Rear drive ellipticals, meanwhile, generally feature a smoother, natural heel-to-toe motion that is often seen on commercial models from Precor and Life Fitness.
However, that is not to say that front drive ellipticals are inferior to rear drive ellipticals. Sole Fitness, for example, features a front drive design and their ellipticals are highly regarded for the home market. Meanwhile, Smooth Fitness only produces rear drive design and has several models that are highly touted. Often, it just comes down to the individual preference of the manufacture.
Some experts will tell you that the front drive elliptical trainers are more linear and thus produce a flatter oval motion. Users may say that this design is not as comfortable or fluid. Others will feel that the front drive ellipticals lack the same stability because you are placing more weight toward the front in order to power the trainer. Consequently, the elliptical might wobble noticeably if the frame is not stable.
Regardless, front and rear drive ellipticals are both enhanced when they are equipped with a heavy-duty flywheel. You’ll find flywheels on more expensive models and they are definitely worth the higher price tag. Flywheels allow a much smoother motion and stride, which can make front drive ellipticals as fluid as rear drive ellipticals.
In the end, the decision to buy a rear drive or front drive elliptical will come down to personal preference. If you’re not sure which design works best, it is a really great idea to test ride BOTH drive designs. Do you notice a major difference? If not, you can probably save a little money and invest in a front drive elliptical.
More Front Drive Ellipticals
The following did not make the Top 5 Front Drive Ellipticals, but are still worth a look:
The Schwinn 450 features Eddy Current Braking (16 levels of resistance) and 20 inch stride length. Articulating footplate and heavy-duty flywheel provide a comfortable user experience. The trainer is also music ready.
Read the full Schwinn 450 Review
The Sole E25 elliptical is of good value at under $1,000. The elliptical features adjustable stride length (20 to 22"), incline (0 to 30 percent) and pulse grips for heart rate monitoring.
Read the full Sole E25 Review
The LiveStrong LS8.0E is equipped with 16 individual levels of resistance, 20 inch stride length and SIXSTAR Certified frame backed by a lifetime guarantee. The LS8.0E is also compatible with iPod/mp3 players and features pulse grip heart rate monitoring.
Read the full Livestrong LS8.0E Review
The ProForm 1200e is one of the most environmental friendly exercise products available because all of your energy from the exercise is generated into powering the electronics. The elliptical also features Silent Magnetic Resistance and 20 inch stride length.
Read the full ProForm 1200e Review
The LifeSpan EL3000i is a well built elliptical that is designed to create a natural walking and arm motion. The workout experience is further enhanced by the Impact Absorbing pedals that reduce stress on vital joints and USB dock for quick workout readouts.
Read the full LifeSpan EL3000i Review
The Sole E20 features articulating and 2 degree inward pedals designed to maintain a proper body motion which is specific to how you walk or run. The elliptical also features a cooling fan and mp3 compatibility.
Read the full Sole E20 Review
The Schwinn 431 elliptical is similar to previous models like the Schwinn 420 and Schwinn 430. However, the Schwinn 431 features iPod/mp3 compatibility and several more workout programs making it a hot commodity for 2013.
Read the full Schwinn 431 Review
The Schwinn 420 elliptical is an affordable piece of exercise equipment, packaged with 16 levels of resistance and 18 inch stride length. The performance of the Schwinn 420 is solid and a slight upgrade over the popular Schwinn 430. It also has 16 workout programs and pulse grip heart rate monitoring.
Read the full Schwinn 420 Review
The Schwinn A40 elliptical is priced in the 'Under $500' price range, featuring a 17 inch stride length and Eddy Current Brake resistance. The cheap price tag has forced Schwinn to cut a few corners; however the trainer is a reasonable option for smaller users searching for their first piece of exercise equipment.
Read the full Schwinn A40 Review
The Gold's Gym CrossTrainer 480, though not that competive with higher priced ellipticals, is one of the better Under $500 ellipticals available. The CrossTrainer 480 is compatible with iPod/mp3 players and features LCD display.
Read the full Gold's Gym CrossTrainer 480 Review
The Nautilus E514 features an 18 inch stride length, 16 levels of resistance, built-in cooling fan and LCD display. It's a value elliptical from a manufacture which rarely produces this type of fitness equipment.
Read the full Nautilus E514 Review
The Schwinn 460 is doing some really innovative things in the elliptical market. The Schwinn 460 features new V-Stride technology allowing users to easily change stride length without having to manually adjust the length. It's a very innovative concept featured on an already efficient elliptical.
Read the full Schwinn 460 Review