Every so often one of the Treadmill Sensei’s reviews sparks an email or two full of desperation from a reader. Usually the reader has made up his mind on a treadmill or elliptical he really wants to purchase and has come online to validate his choice. Sometimes, generally in the case of an Icon Fitness or Bowflex product, the reader discovers that his choice might not be the best one based on low quality or performance problems in a given machine. At this point the reader will sit down and write the Sensei a frustrated note.
Today we’ve got such a note from Mike, who was looking for a high incline trainer treadmill to help him workout with a bad back. Let’s see what Mike has to say…take it away, Mike!
If you don’t recommend the nordic track x5, what would you recommend if you want more than 15% for walking. Running jars my back to much so to burn more calories, I wanted a steep incline. Thanks -Mike
Thanks for your note and your question. Believe it or not, there are a lot of readers out there who have asked that very same question. Unfortunately, the Nordic Track X5 incline trainer just doesn’t hold up to the intense level of most high incline workouts. The low quality components give it a lifespan of less than a year in a most cases and, even if it does last, the unit specs really aren’t that impressive.
Now, I received Mike’s note a while ago and took extra time to answer it while I searched out a solution to his problem. I then took an additional week to run (well, walk!) some intense testing on the treadmill I found for him. If you’ve got a bad back or if you are looking to do the steep incline, or hill style workouts, there is an excellent option for you in the same price range. A company out of Canada called JK Fitness produces an incline trainer called the Mileage ST 7100 Treadmill and its performance is as cool as its look.
The first thing I want to say is that I’m a guy…and, as a guy, I love cool looking futuristic gadgets. I must admit that when we popped open the box for the Mileage ST7100 treadmill I was excited at the incredibly slick design of the unit. The design has nothing to do with the performance, but they really did WOW me with the ST7100’s design. Very spiffy indeed.
How cool does the Mileage 7100 Treadmill look? Very cool indeed!
The assembly on the Mileage ST7100 really isn’t all that complicated but because of its size I do recommend getting someone to help you. The instructions were very easy to follow and we had the unit here together in less than 30 minutes. A lesser mechanically-inclined person might take as long as an hour or hour and a half if forced to do it alone. Still, not a daunting task at all.
For an incline trainer, the most important things to look at are the unit’s sturdiness and stability, the main motor, the incline motor and the position of the handgrips. All of the other stuff — the 20 programs, the heart rate monitor and control, the monstrous 20″ x 58″ running area — means nothing if the unit doesn’t hold up as an incline trainer. Luckily, the Mileage ST7100 exceeded my expectations in all of those regards.
In stability, the Mileage ST7100 ranks up there as one of the most stable and sturdy treadmills short of a higher priced Landice or Star Trac. This machine is solid — and it has to be to hold up during a 40% incline workout. The design and quality of the upright supports allows a user to place his (or her) full weight on the machine while climbing. The design also factors in where and how a user will be holding the handgrips on the Mileage ST7100 treadmill…the very cool curved supports are an excellent example of form following function. Plus, they more than held up to my weight on them. Even Hikaru said the machine felt solid to him and his rather copious bulk.
The other two important factors are the twin motors on the ST 7100 treadmill. If JK Fitness skimped on cost and placed smaller, higher RPM motors in the machine, everything would just burn out, leaving a customer with a very cool but worthless $2000 piece of equipment. Thankfully, they decided to put in a pair of very powerful, very large and very cool-running motors which function at low RPMs and pull in very low AMPs – even running at the upper end of capacity.
Hikaru and I both took turns working on the ST7100 over the course of 6 days and we wore out before the treadmill did!
With high quality components and a truly outstanding design, JK Fitness has produced an excellent contender for “best incline trainer” at any price. The Treadmill Sensei, and his very tired legs, give the Mileage ST7100 treadmill 4.5 out of 5 golden buddahs.
High quality and class exudes from the Mileage ST7100 and gets the treadmill 4.5 golden buddahs out of 5.
Mileage ST7100 Treadmill Specifications
Max Speed: 11mph
Max Incline: 40%
Readouts: Distance, Calories, Pulse, Time
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Running Area: 20″ x 58″
Max User Weight: 300lbs
Unit Weight: 275lbs (approximately)
Cost: Under $1800
-The Treadmill Sensei