Ohiyo!

For today’s episode of the reader mailbag we have the fitness version of the Celebrity DeathMatch, this time featuring two very solid performing best buy ellipticals priced under $1000. Brad from Pennsylvania wants to know how the Bladez 850E Ellipticalstacks up against the Horizon E900 Elliptical when it comes to value, durability and performance. Let’s see what Brad has to say. Take it away, Sir!

Ohiyo!

Gotta say, I’m a recent discoverer of your site, but thanks so much for the time you put into it — It’s a fantastic service. I’m hoping you can answer a question for me, if you have a moment, though I realize you are busy so anytime.

First, a bit of background – My girlfriend and I are looking to purchase our first elliptical. This will be the only piece of cardio equipment we have. We’re on a budget. But at the same rate, I don’t want junk. Just the best for my money. I currently use high end Precor ellipticals at my gym so I am used to them. My girlfriend likes treadmills but is anxious to try an elliptical. She is in her 20’s and I’m in my early 30’s. Weights are average, nothing too high or too low (she is actually quite light for her age). I’m around 180 so no weight issues.

Anyway, here’s my issue – The Bladez 850Ereview you wrote really has me thinking, do I want to throw caution to the wind and order it? I dunno how important the pedal spacing feature is to us, but it seems like the main reason you love it so much. The pro is the price is SO good, it’s got a 20″ stride, I pay no tax or shipping on it. We’re in Pennsylvania, and have Dick’s all over the place, so if I buy there, I gotta pay 6% tax. I was looking at the Horizon E900 which you gave 4.5 and the Dicks site visitors unanimously LOVE. Is that a better built unit than the 850e? I realize it’s costing me $300 more plus tax, but I’m wondering, comparitively, is it better?

My biggest fear with ordering the 850e is that once I get it, I am stuck with it. I can’t try it ahead of time, and if I don’t like it, sending it back would cost a fortune. With Dick’s, I can try it, even take it back to the store, though I don’t want to pay the extra cost if the Bladez unit is superior.

Basically, I just want something that is built solid, not wobbly, not noisy, etc. I don’t care about bells and whistles. I realize it’s not going to be the smooth quality of a gym Precor elliptical, but I want the best smart buy for my money.

So what do you think? Do I take a risk with the Bladez you gave 5 buddhas too, or should I play it safe with the Horizon or another Dick’s model? If only I could try both of them, it would be so much easier, but I do value your opinion given my stats.

Much thanks for all you do! -Brad

Brad:

Thanks for your note and your very kind words. Believe it or not, you’re in a really good position. You’ve picked two very strong, well-designed ellipticals and which ever way you go you are in a win-win situation. The two units are going to feel very similar when you get on them. They have nearly the same stride-length and unit weight – the Horizon E900 is about 160 pounds with a 19″ stride and the Bladez 850e is around 175lbs with a 20″ stride length. They are also both based on a shorter frame style, similar to the Sole E25 elliptical in feel…although I believe both units are more sturdy and durable. If I was placing a bet, I’d say strides on the two units are actually the same — closer to 19.5″ from what I’ve seen.

The Bladez has a heavier flywheel upfront, but the Horizon E900 is balanced with its heavier backend to even things out. The only significant differences in the two units (since they are both based off the same basic elliptical trainer design) is going to come in the form of the incline and additional price on the Horizon E900. You’re paying for the ability to add an incline to your workouts, which can be a great thing for sure.

If I was nitpicking, I would say that the Horizon E900 has a sturdier upright support which does make a difference during heavier-duty workouts. Of course, just to be difficult, the adjustable width technology is a fantastic new feature and is great if there is a major height differential between your wife and yourself.

I’d suggest going in to Dick’s and trying the Horizon E900 out. The Bladez 850e will feel very similar to the E900, but you can also hop on a Sole E25/E35 for another unit with a similar design. That should give you a decent comparison in regards to the basic feel of both units. Just keep in mind that you will be able to adjust the pedals with the 850e to your individual stance style and that will make a bit of difference in comfort.

Yes, Brad, I realize I’m probably not helping you make your decision! I’m going to make it even worse by saying, if you’re used to a Precor then you really should go out and get on a home grade elliptical to see how you like the feel. There is a difference (it’s kind of like going from driving a BMW to driving a Nissan…both are good cars, but they’re hard to compare).

My advice would be to buy the Horizon E900 if the incline feature is important to you and something you’ll use. If it’s not, I’d suggest saving the $300 and going with the Bladez 850E Elliptical (and, really, the savings will be closer to $450 or so after shipping and tax is factored in).

Thanks again for the note and the fantastic question, Brad. I hope I didn’t make things worse for your decision-making!

-The Treadmill Sensei
http://www.treadmillsensei.com