Today is a work day at the DOJO so the Treadmill Sensei won’t be able to get to a review until later tonight. However, I wanted to talk about “treadmill specifications” for a moment. Manufacturers like to play games with the listed specs of their units in order to have them look better against other machines. They also do this to make the exact same machine seem different when being sold under different names (Horizon does this with the treadmills they sell online and through brick and mortar stores — they’ll give the same unit three different sets of specifications depending upon which store it is being sold through and which they want to give more sales to). It’s all a little shady, but it is how the industry works.
Another interesting thing is that a lot of the specifications can be changed through the diagnostic settings in your treadmill’s console. You can adjust the incline amount, the speed of the motor, the speed your treadmill starts at, even the resistence levels! Those are all changes which can be made with just a little know how and about 3 minutes of work.
Here is an adjustment I just did this morning to a Sole F83 (you might know it better as a Spirit Z500), but it should work on any of the current Sole treadmills or the Spirit Z series Treadmills (Z100, Z300, Z500, Z700 or Z900). What it will let you do is drop the starting speed of your treadmill down to .2 mph from the factory setting of .5mph. This is good if you’ve got physical limitations. We did it for a really nice lady whose daughter has MS.
Here we go…
First off, remove the safety key.
Second, press and hold down the “star, fast and slow” switches while replacing the safety key. The display will show “Factory Settings.” Once that pops up, release all 3 keys.
Next, hit the “Enter” key and the display will show “units.” It should show English units but you may use the “Fast/Slow” keys to change to metric. Press “Enter” once more.
The display will then show “Wheel Size” and a number will be displayed in the “Time” window (2.74 for the F73/S83 and the Z series mentioned above). Press the “Fast” key until the number changes to 3.50.
Press “Enter” 3 times and then press “start.” The treadmill will then perform the speed and elevation calibration. Once the calibration is finished, the machine will say “Passed.” The console will reset and the new low speed will be set to .3mph even though the display will show .5 mph. You can then use the “Slow” key to reduce the display down to .3 mph but the speed will actually be .2 mph.
And there you have it, a treadmill whose “manufactuer’s specifications” say it has to start at .5mph is quickly and easily changed to .2mph. Using the diagnostic settings you can change your top treadmill speed from 10mph up to as much as 17mph. In the future I’ll go over some other tricks for tweaking out your treadmills.
Take care and good running!
-The Treadmill Sensei