Every week the Treadmill Sensei and his crew repair a lot of treadmills. A LOT of treadmills. One of the units we have quite a bit of experience fixing is the Bowflex Series 7 Treadmill. The majority of the ones we service are either freight damage (which seems to happen about 30% of the time with Bowflex) or units that are just over a year old — which means their labor warrantees have expired. I do believe Nautilus has the timing of their warranties down to a science and know exactly when most of their treadmills will fail. For the Bowflex Series 7 that seems to be at about 14-16 months from the date of purchase.
Anyway, we have 4 of the Series 7 Treadmills sitting in the DOJO waiting to get fixed so I thought I’d get them up and running and do a quick review.
To start off, the Bowflex Series 7 treadmills are actually very sturdy machines with a lot of weight to them. My guess is that they weight around 215-220 pounds, which is quite a bit for a $1400 treadmill. The exceptional 60″x20″ deck and steel frame will hold up to a lot of abuse.
Unfortunately, it’s the rest of the treadmill that has the problems. Starting off with the motor. The manufacturer may list the Bowflex Series 7 as having a 3.0 horsepower treadmill motor, but in reality it’s more like a 2.0 horsepower motor which spins at very high RPMs. Most Series 7 owners probably notice the very loud sound coming from under the motor hood. That’s the motor straining to keep up with their workout. It’s a shame to see such a solid treadmill with such a bad choice of motors.
The next batch of problems we run in to is with the electronics. They tend to short out after long periods of use. They seem to be fine for shorter runs. We replace more consoles and control boards on Bowflex units than almost any other brand out there.
A non-repair issue with the units is the poor user interface of the consoles themselves. They are harder to read and even changing programs themselves can be a bit tricky.
Finally, the absolute worst thing about the Bowflex Series 7 treadmills is…Bowflex itself. Their customer service is now legendary for being some of the worst in the industry. If you do wind up with problems on your treadmill, don’t expect Bowflex to solve them anytime soon or, in some cases, at all. They difficult to get in touch with and very unresponsive when you do get someone on the phone.
Now, not to be totally negative on these well-built machines, the Bowflex Series 7 treadmill is a great machine for someone just starting out and wanting a more solid and stable feel than anything else in this price range. At $1400 there isn’t much else out there with a 20×60 deck on a 220 pound machine. When you stand on a Bowflex you will get a feel much closer to what you might experience on a commercial grade machine. If you take extra special care with the machine — keep the motor clean and dust free, place the treadmill on a mat and keep the console free of moisture — then it might give you a couple of years of good use. However, I’d suggest getting an extended warranty to beef up the terrible 2 years for parts and 1 year for labor that comes standard on the units.
For being a solid machine with some solid problems, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Bowflex Series 7 Treadmill 2.5 out of 5 golden buddahs.
The Bowflex Series 7 gets a surprisingly kind 2.5 gold buddahs out of 5 from the Treadmill Sensei.
Bowflex Series 7 Treadmill Specifications
Motor: 3.0 HP
Max User Weight: 300 lbs.
Max Speed: 11 MPH
Max Incline: 12% grade
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, pulse grip and wireless
Rollers: 2.5″ inches
Deck: 20″ x 60″ inches
Unit Size: 83″L x 35″W x 55.25″H
Unit Weight: 220 lbs.
Parts Warranty: 2 years
Labor Warranty: 1 year
-The Treadmill Sensei