Introduced in 2011, the TreadClimber has garnered thousands of positive reviews. The Bowflex TreadClimberTC10 is not the latest treadmill-like product to come out of the Bowflex stable, but it is one of its most popular. Even though it can no longer be purchased from the official Bowflex site, it is available liberally online – and represents quite a savings over the latest basic model, the Bowflex TreadClimber TC100, that the company is selling.
In this article, we get up close and personal with the Bowflex TreadClimber TC10 to discover if it really deserves the high praise it has received, and, more importantly, whether it belongs in your home gym. We’ll look at the brand new and updated TreadClimber TC200 and discuss why it might be better.
We’ll also compare the TreadClimber with three leading competitor cardio machine models.
What We Found
The TreadClimber TC10 is a quality cardio trainer that triples as an elliptical, a stepper, and a treadmill. However, it is limited by short stride length and unnatural treadmill motion. We prefer the ProForm Cardio Elliptical Trainer, which doubles as an elliptical and a stepper and offers a much greater stride length and more built-in programs.
- Burns fat faster
- Eliminates stressful impact
- Compact size
- No internet access
- Top speed of only 4 miles per hour
The Bowflex TreadClimber TC10 is actually three machines in one. You get an elliptical, a stair climber, and a treadmill all in one unit. This makes it great for people with limited room to exercise in their home. The dimensions of the TreadClimber are 50.6 inches in length, 30.3 inches in width, and 52.3 inches in height. The weight of the TreadClimber is 185 pounds, but it can easily be moved around thanks to it’s wheels.
The TreadClimber actually provides you with four LCD screens. They track the speed, distance, time, and calories burned. The ergonomic console display is very easy to read and features large display numerals. A quick start feature on the console means that there is no waiting – you go directly into the workout.
On the TreadClimber TC10, you get a lot of workout data to allow you to track and analyze your training. It features a great innovation known as Goal Oriented Coach Technology, which allows you to set specific training goals that are translated into complete 90 minutes workouts.
A Climb Indicator function has you imagining that you are scaling an exotic mountain peak. Whenever you reach another 100 foot marker on the indicator, you get an encouraging acknowledgement.
Fat Burning Potential
With the TreadClimber TC10, you are able to burn calories about twice as fast as doing traditional cardio training on a conventional treadmill. Because this machine is so easy on your joints, your level of perceived exertion is very low. This allows you to work harder and burn more calories compared to conventional trainers. Yet, when you’re done, you won’t feel as tired. A 2011 study out of the University of Wisconsin indicates that the TreadClimber technology lets you burn up to 3.5 times the calories in the same amount of time as with other cardio machines.
Dual Treadle System
The secret to the versatility of the Treadmill TC10 is its unique dual treadle system. That is what allows you to have three machines in one unit. In action one, the TC10 performs like a treadmill with the belts moving forward as you walk. In action two, the TC10 takes on the persona of a stair climber. During this action, two independent treadles move directly up and down. The third function, the elliptical trainer, is a combination of these two previous actions. This provides you with a smooth, low impact motion.
By combining the three functions, you will stave off boredom as you burn calories to lose weight. It will also increase your energy level, improve your bone density, reduce back pain, and make you leaner, according to the manufacturer.
The TC10 includes a few extra features that add to your user comfort level. These include an onboard water bottle and magazine holder. The ergonomic design of the console and handle bars fit perfectly with your body allowing you to get the ideal body positioning. A rear step platform allows for easy access to the training area. You also get a Bowflex body weight loss plan.
What’s Not So Good
The first thing to note in the not so good column is that the TreadClimber TC10 is no longer being produced by Bowflex. You cannot purchase it from the official Bowflex website anymore. However, it can still be purchased through Amazon – and it is considerably less money than the latest Bowflex models.
The top speed on the TreadClimber is just 4 miles per hour. That means that seasoned athletes are not going to get a challenging workout on this machine. This machine will also require regular lubrication, which same people may find to be a hassle.
The range of motion of the elliptical training aspect of the TreadClimber TC10 is also quite limiting. This makes it a problem for taller users, who will not be able to get a full stride length. To get the best elliptical for home gym use, check out our Best Elliptical article.
There is no integrated heart rate monitor on the TC10.
The treadmill function on the TreadClimber (all models) does not operate like a conventional treadmill. The two treads are designed to operate independently of each other and will not operate as a single track. Each tread will go up and down all the time. This takes some getting used to.
Upgrade to the TreadClimber TC200
The latest version of the Bowflex TreadClimber is the TC200. This is a more stylish looking version of the 3-in-1 cardio machine. It features integrated Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to sync your training data to such apps as MyFitnessPal, Google Fit, and Apple Health. There is also a new TreadClimber app, which has been specifically designed for this machine.
The TC200 includes 5 inbuilt workout programs as follows:
- Just Walk
A new heart rate zone light bar tracks your heart rate across four training zones. You can monitor your heart rate by way of either hand sensors or a chest strap. There is also a USB charging port. The maximum speed on the new TC200 is the same as the TC10 at 4 miles per hour. The TC200 is slightly bigger and a little heavier than the TC10. It has a maximum weight limit of 300 pounds.
Bowflex TreadClimber Alternatives
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Trainer
- 20 inch elliptical stride
- 20 resistance levels
- 22 pre-set workout programs
- Two user profiles
- No pedal angle adjustment
- Manual incline only
The Schwinn 430 elliptical trainer is a stand alone elliptical, so it will only provide you with one third of the functionality of the Bowflex TreadClimber TC10 range of cardio machines. However, the elliptical functioning of the 430 is superior to what you get on the TC 10.
The Schwinn 430 has moving handlebars, meaning that you can work both your upper and lower body at the same time. The handlebars are ergonomically aligned to allow for perfect body positioning while working out. The elliptical stride length of the 430 is 20 inches, which is rather impressive for a machine within this price range.
The resistance on the 430 is scientifically calibrated with magnetic braking. There are 20 resistance levels that you can work through. The flywheel weight is 13.2 pounds. The incline on this machine is manual as opposed to auto, which means that you have to get off the machine to adjust it. There are six incline settings, with the maximum angle being nine degrees.
The 430 features a dual track LCD display, providing you with a large, clear view of your goal tracking and built-in programs. All of your key training diagnostics are covered on the console. Large, cushioned footplates contribute to comfortable, low impact workouts. The unit features a high speed, high inertia drive system for easy start up and smooth, quiet workouts. The max user weight on the Schwinn 430 Elliptical is 300 pounds.
Overall, this is a high spec, smooth functioning elliptical that comes in at a very competitive price point.
ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer
- Total body trainer
- Low impact pedalling
- High quality handlebars
- 24 settings
- 32 programs
- Fixed stride length
- Inaccurate pulse monitor
The ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer is a high intensity interval training device that is easy on your joints. Referred to as the next generation step machine, it goes beyond other elliptical trainers by introducing a more elliptical footpath. The moving handlebars also introduce an upper body workout component to complement the lower body workout that you get on this machine. The handlebar motion is unlike other ellipticals. With the ProForm, you go through a boxing-like motion. This allows you to burn more calories. Gripping the handle bars in different positions will work you upper body muscles differently.
The innovations of this machine have made it into a hybrid between a stepper and an elliptical. The design of the pedals and handlebars allow you to burn more calories than on a conventional machine. This machine has been specifically designed for high intensity interval training (HIIT). As such, it is very easy on the joints, making it superior to most other HIIT cardio training options. There are a number of HIIT training programs built into the console of this machine. You also have the option of adding the iFIT app, which will give you access to an unending supply of extra workout programs.
You get a total of 32 workout programs on the ProForm Cardio trainer. There are 24 resistance resistance settings to allow you to progress the intensity of your training as you get fitter. A 7 inch data monitor with backlighting provides an easy to read display.
The warranty on this product provides a lifetime cover for the steel frame, with 3 years for parts and 1 year for labor.
Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer
- Dual track LCD display
- 20 inch stride length
- 22 pre-set programs
- 2 user profiles
- Acoustic chambered speakers
- Makes a squeaky noise
- Inaccurate mileage
- No auto ramp adjustment
The Nautilus E614 elliptical trainer is a high spec mid-range elliptical that provides the quality build features that you would expect from Nautilus. You get a 20 inch precision elliptical foot path, six position manual ramp adjustments, and generously sized articulating footplates that feature extra cushioning for a more comfortable workout. Unfortunately, the frame is not as robust as would be expected. If the 300 pound weight limit is reached, you may feel a little wobbly on this machine.
The heart rate monitor on this elliptical is built into the grip handles. This is not the most reliable method of collecting a person’s pulse rate. However, the console on the Nautilus E614 features a number of impressive components, including dual track which gives yo not 1, but 2 LCD windows. Your data automatically syncs to the Nautilus Connect app to provide you with in-depth analysis of your training diagnostics, including your heart rate, time, speed, time spent, RPMs, and user settings. You get 22 workout programs on this machine, providing you with plenty of choices for all ages and fitness levels. The effective flywheel weight on the E614 Elliptical trainer is 18 pounds.
Programs include 9 profile programs, 8 heart rate controlled programs, 2 user profiles, 2 fitness programs, and a quick start program. The unit also features in-console speakers with an MP3 input port, media shelf, USB media charging, and adjustable fan. Nautilus offers a 10 year frame warranty, 2 year mechanical warranty, and 1 year warranty on the electrical componentry. There is only a 90 day warranty on parts and labor.
The Bowflex TreadClimber TC10 is an impressive offering from Bowflex in that it provides you with the facility to train on three cardio machines in one. This allows you to burn more calories than you can on traditional cardio equipment. However, the functionality of the machine is limited by short stride length and an unnatural treadmill motion. We believe that the ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer, which is a hybrid between an elliptical and a step climber, is a better way to go.