Bowflex Max Trainer M8 Reviewed and Rated

8.8
8.8 score
[Editors rating (8.8)] = (Garage Gym Ideas - Ultimate Home Gym Design) score (8.8)/10


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Editor rating: 8.8 / 10
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Bowflex Max Trainer M8 Reviewed and RatedReview Facts

Bowflex is a fitness company that has been creating excellent fitness machines for plenty of years. Their machines are innovative and user-friendly, and the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 is just like that. This amazing elliptical and stepper hybrid will show you new ways to up your cardio game! The M8 is just what any cardio junkie needs for a bigger challenge, and if you want to see what all the hype is about, just scroll down and discover what makes the M8 so great!

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Sturdy, steel frame with updated colors

Two resistance types

20 resistance levels

Oversized, comfortable non-slip pedals

Three sets of handlebars

11 preset programs

Max Trainer Intelligence

Low impact cardio sessions

Up to four user profiles

Cons

Pricey

No speakers or cooling fan

Requires monthly subscription

Size & Weight

Size & Weight

Let's first see how much room you're going to need to make for this exercise machine. The M8 is identical to its predecessor, the M7 when it comes to its weight and size. The Bowflex Max Trainer M8 is a vertical elliptical trainer. Most ellipticals are horizontal, taking up more room than this innovative machine. The M8 is in no way small, but it won't take up as much room as a regular elliptical would. Once you assemble it, the footprint it leaves is 49″L x 30.5″W. It is not that huge, but Bowflex recommends that you create two feet of space around the elliptical to use it safely. This can be problematic if the room you decided to put it in doesn't have that much space! Although it is relatively small, it's no lightweight! The machine weighs almost 150 pounds. The hefty size of this elliptical allows it to be stable and secure, even when you pedal intensely. The weight won't damage your floors, as the base has adjustable rubber stabilizers, and even if the floor is wonky, the stabilizers can be adjusted to fit the uneven floors, making the machine stable. The front of the base has transportation wheels that make it portable to some degree.
Construction

Construction

The frame is constructed out of durable, steel tube framing. The main difference between the M7 and M8 construction is the color of the frame parts. While the M7 had black and gray parts, the M8 has an updated look with slate gray and black paint. The flywheel has a red ring around it, making it pop. The frame is coated with a powder finish that keeps corrosion away, shielding it from cuts and abrasions. The covers that guard the pulley system, the belt and the brakes are made out of sturdy plastic. The flywheel is guarded with a metal casing, as it's very important to the construction, and it cannot be replaced so easily. The pedals are oversized, wide enough to fit most shoe sizes. They have a metal arm connected to the eddy system, and a metal plate underneath them, stabilizing and protecting them. The top of the pedals is decorated with rubber, making them non-slip and comfortable. The pedals support users up to 300 pounds. Once you start pedaling, the pedals will change their angle slightly, letting your feet fall into a more natural angle. The arms connecting the pedals with the rest of the elliptical have rubberized wheels, making the motion fluid and smooth. Every moving part of the M8 has sealed ball bearings.

This elliptical has a total of three pairs of handlebars. The handlebars that serve to activate your arms allow you to grip them in multiple ways. You can grab them sideways, horizontally, way at the top or as low as possible. The fixed handlebars sit below the mobile ones, and they have EKG sensors that track your heart rate. The third set of handlebars, the aero handlebars, sit above the console. If you're using them, the arms below will function as elbow rests. The top part of the aero handlebars can hold tablets and other devices, while the lower portion has resistance controls. Each set of handlebars is protected with a dense foam, giving you comfort and security.
Features

Features

This exercise machine combines the great elements of a stepper and an elliptical machine. This means that the pedals don't follow the slightly circular stride of an elliptical - instead, their stride is oblique, with an angle close to 90-degrees. Once you start pedaling, the movements you will perform will resemble climbing stairs, but the pedals will adapt their angle to your feet, making every step low impact, saving your joints from the stress and pain. The stride cannot be adjusted in any way. The pedals go vertically about 10", while their horizontal movement is close to 4". As we said, you cannot adjust the stride, but the motion the pedals create is enough to accommodate users up to 6'8" tall! Shorter users, of height 5' or below, might have slight issues with the length of the stride, but it shouldn't be troubling too much, and they can comfortably use the machine. The pedals reach a maximum height of 20". This means that you will need to find a room with a ceiling high enough to accommodate your height plus the 20" the pedals add. The pedals are placed 1.5" next to each other, placing your legs in a natural position without any stress.
Resistance

Resistance

This elliptical stepper has two types of resistance. The main resistance type is air, with magnetic resistance helping speed things along. The flywheel sitting at the base is what creates air resistance. The flywheel is dynamic, meaning that the faster you pedal, the more resistance you will generate. The eddy current drive allows you to change the resistance. Two eddy brakes allow this system to work. The middle eddy brake is powered by a small servo motor. Once you change the resistance using the console or the aero bars, the system will move the brake, making it harder or easier to pedal. The second eddy brake is connected to the pedals. The servo motor powering the brakes needs a lot of power, so you will need an outlet. It comes with an adapter strong enough to allow the resistance system to work, so make sure you place it near a socket! There are 20 levels of resistance that you can choose from. The first three levels are great for inexperienced users, while the final three challenge the most experienced users.

The pulley drive relies on two heavy-duty belts. The main pulley is attached to the pedals and the handlebars via a crank. The second pulley is located in the middle of the machine, connecting the larger pulley to the flywheel. You will never need to lubricate the belts, and the noise they generate is almost non-existent, at least when compared to other ellipticals powered by a flywheel! The pulley system can be moved in two directions, allowing you to pedal both backward and forward.
Console

Console

The console is more advanced than the console of the M7. This console doesn't have a cooling system or speakers, which is something we would like to see improve. The console is equipped with two displays. They are both LCD and full-color. The display on the top is slightly smaller. It shows you the number of calories burned, the rate at which you burned them, and it has a section where you can see your performance, endurance, and the amount of fat you burned. The lower display is where the programs are. Besides the programs, you will also see the RPM, the distance you crossed, your goals, the selected resistance level, and the Max Trainer, which brings us to the key difference between the older version of the Max Trainer and this one. Max Intelligence is a built-in personal trainer that will learn what your body looks like, and it will show you realistic goals and new ways to challenge yourself, ensuring you're never bored with the machine. But of course, there is a catch. The Max Intelligence trainer is not free of cost! You will need to download an app, and that app comes with a monthly fee of about 15 dollars, adding to the cost of the machine. You don't have to use this feature, but then you don't need the M8, as the older version is the same as, except for the trainer and the updated look.

This machine has a chest strap heart rate monitor, but if you're not comfortable with using this device, you can always rely on the handlebars to do that job. It also has 11 pre-set programs, and four users can create their profiles with their age, weight, and height. You can connect your Apple or Android device to it using Bluetooth, allowing you to save your data and upload it to the Bowflex app or to MyFitnessPal.
Value

Value

This exercise machine costs as much as the earlier version, which is quite a lot for most people. The machine does come with a three-year warranty, meaning that you can expect to use it at least three years without any issues, although users report that they enjoyed their Bowflex Max Trainer M8 for at least four to five years. With that being said, you will need to pay to use this machine every month if Max Intelligence matters to you, adding to the cost of the M8.
The Final Word

The Final Word

The Bowflex Max Trainer M8 is a great, versatile hybrid of an elliptical and a stepper. The resistance is powered by two systems that allow you to change the resistance to 20 different levels. The frame is made out of sturdy steel, with an updated, fresh look. The pedals are wide and very comfortable, and the three sets of handlebars are contoured and easy to grip. It creates a low-impact session that is great for people who suffer from joint issues. The console has two displays with 11 pre-set programs and a Max Intelligence trainer that is similar to a personal trainer, although this feature requires a monthly subscription. The console still has no cooling and no sound system. If you're willing to pay a hefty price for the machine, plus shell out about 15 dollars every month to use the M8 to its full potential, then, by all means, go for it! If not, just go with the earlier version, as its the same as this machine without the personal trainer.