The Treadmill Sensei has talked about it time and time again, but fancy consoles, lots of programs or bells-and-whistles are not the things to look at when picking a treadmill. Those things are nice but all that really matters is stability and a large, cool-running motor — well, those are the main things. A good warranty is also a factor. Too often we get questions about Proform or NordicTrack treadmills that are “fully loaded” on the outside but are shallow where it counts.
One of the best treadmills on the market in the $1500-$2000 range is the Smooth 7.1HR Pro Treadmill and it is a great combination of stability and bells-and-whistles. We received one to install for a client here at the DOJO about 2 months ago and were very excited by what we found.
As with all of the Smooth Treadmills, assembly was a breeze. It took my son about 15 minutes to put the Smooth 7.1HR Pro together and shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes for someone with average mechanical ability. Smooth has done a great job with their instructions. My son normally comes away with extra pieces left over, but not with the Smooth treadmill, surprisingly enough. This treadmill was a 2008 Ichi-Ban Best Buy Award Winner.
Something that seems a bit redundant to mention in regards to a Smooth treadmill, but the 7.1HR Pro felt as sturdy as any commercial treadmill out there during our workouts. My 165 pounds don’t test the limits of the machine, but Hikaru’s near 300 pounds do and, let me tell you, the Smooth 7.1HR Pro held up with flying colors. The frame is solid, sturdy and well-constructed.
Following the cue of the frame, the 2.75 horsepower motor is a monster. It’s large size and low RPMs allow it to pull fewer amps than other motors in its class, and let it run cooler. Those things all add up to a much longer motor life and less maintenance problems. Interestingly enough, even with such a large motor the Smooth 7.1HR Pro runs incredibly quiet. Smooth has picked an excellent motor for the 7.1HR Pro.
The Smooth 7.1HR Pro treadmill also comes with 8 preset programs, 9 user profiles for those of you with multiple users, heart rate monitoring and control, and the very cool power folding feature. With the touch of a button the 7.1HR Pro folds up or down all on its own, saving you from the strain of lifting the heavy deck up yourself.
The only real downside in an otherwise fantastic machine is the smallish runner area. If Smooth upped this to a 20″x56″ deck then they’d have a perfect machine on their hands. It’s a minor nitpick on a great treadmill.
For being a solid treadmill with some nice shiny features to boot, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Smooth 7.1HR Pro Treadmill 4.5 out of 5 Golden Buddahs.
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Smooth 7.1HR PRO Specifications
Running Area: 20″ x 54″
Rollers: 2.5″ commercial grade
Readouts: speed, distance, time, calories burned, heart rate and more
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Max User Weight: 350lbs
Unit Weight: 280lbs
Price: Under $1700
-The Treadmill Sensei