Moshi Moshi!

Two days in a row…I think the Treadmill Sensei is back on track! Things have slowed down a bit here in the DOJO as the summer winds down and we get a bit of breathing room before the busy season starts back up in October. The DOJO was actually closed yesterday for the first time in a long time as Hikaru, Johnny and the other young senseis took the day off to head down to the beach. Given that I was going to be alone in the shop for an entire day I decided to do a good old fashion treadmill test and review. I had finished the clean up and repair of a 5.25 Treadmill from Smooth the night before and thought that would be an excellent candidate.

Here is what I found.
But, first, let’s talk a bit about Smooth Fitness. Smooth has been around since the mid 1980s and started off as a fitness retail store in Pennsylvania. In the mid to late 1990s they moved their retail operation online and became one of the first fitness dealers on the internet and have since focused most of their sales there.

For a lot of years Smooth has been one of the top names in treadmills and ellipticals, but your own results may vary from year to year because the Smooth equipment has been made by a lot of different companies over the years. What this means is that Smooth is a repackaging company — someone else makes their units and then Smooth relabels and ships them out. There’s nothing wrong with that — look at Sole, their units are just Spirit treadmills and ellipticals with a Sole sticker on them! I know that for a few years the Smooth quality had really dropped, but the Smooth 5.25 treadmill I have here in the shop was well built and ran well.

After having seen a lot of problems with Smooth treadmills over the past couple of years, I was a bit leary when I stepped on to the newly repair Smooth 5.25 treadmill sitting in the center of the main DOJO warehouse. I half expected the thing to fall apart when I got on it. I was pleasantly surprised to find a very solid, well built treadmill in the Smooth 5.25. This 5.25 harkened back to the earlier days of Smooth when their units were built by Sportsart and dominated their price range.

Feeling a bit more confident I set the machine for the quick start program and did a 5 minute warm-up jog. Then, to give the Smooth 5.25 a good workout, I jumped up to the 20 minute running program and finished off with the 40 minute jogging program. During the jogging routine I would jump up and down increasing the impact to the Smooth 5.25. I do have to say, the treadmill held up spectactularly. The 5.25 was surprisingly rock steady for a treadmill under $1000 and the belt speed didn’t slow or change at all no matter how much pressure I put on it. Keep in mind, tho, your Treadmill Sensei is on 5’7″ and only weights around 150 pounds soaking wet!

The 2.5 horsepower motor on the Smooth 5.25 treadmill was a good size and ran quiet. Being used to working with commercial treadmills I wished it was a little bigger and ran at lower RPMs, but for a home unit at a great price,the Smooth 5.25 ran great and I had no complaints with the motor performance.

Big 2.5″ rollers on the Smooth 5.25 are a nice addition to a home treadmill and beyond what most other companies are putting on their budget treadmills. The bigger rollers help with the consistancy of your belt performance and will actually extend the life of your belt.

The belt is a little short for my taste at 20×53 but isn’t anything to laugh at. If the belt size was 20×55 I think this would easily be the top choice under $1200 and far beyond anything else at $999.

Finally, as a cheap bastard myself, I love the longer warranty on the Smooth 5.25 treadmill. At 3 years for parts and 1 year for labor, you can tell Smooth has the confidence in their equipment to back it up for a long time.

To wrap it all up, I was very impressed with the newest incarnation of the Smooth 5.25 treadmills and whole-heartedly recommend it. The Treadmill Sense gives the Smooth 5.25 4.5 golden buddahs out of 5.



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Smooth 5.25 Treadmill Specifications
Motor: 2.5 hp continuous duty
Speed: 0.5 – 10 mph
Incline: 15 degrees
Belt: 20″ x 53″
Folding: Yes
Unit Weight: 195 lbs
Max User weight: 275 lbs
Programs: 6
Display: LED
Heart Rate Monitor: Pulse Grip
Cost: $999

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