Ohiyo!

One of the cool things about the Health & Fitness Expo that went on in Denver this August is that it allowed the Treadmill Sensei to spend some time on brand new units coming out from a number of manufacturers. One of the manufacturers I was particularly interested in checking out was Spirit Fitness out of Arkansas. They produced some very good equipment at the beginning of the busy season last year, but dropped the ball with poor quality control (QC) and poor components at the end of the season that caused a lot of Spirit buyers a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately, the first unit I was able to check out from their new XT-Series line of treadmills doesn’t look good. My first thought when seeing the new Spirit XT175 treadmill was that it looked to be a semi-upgrade (and partial downgrade) of the Spirit XT8/Z8 from last year. For any of you who saw my review of the unit last year, you know I wasn’t a big fan at all.

For a price of almost $1100, the Spirit XT175 treadmill is over priced and sorely under powered. The upgrade to a 2.5 horsepower motor was an excellent addition, but the tiny 20″ x 50″ deck is almost an insult to anyone looking to drop $1100 on a new treadmill. When you factor in the smaller deck thickness this year over last (.75″ this year versus 1″ last year) and that “almost an insult” turns in to a slap in the face to buyers.

Adding in an additional program by bumping the number up to 6 and tacking on heart rate control seems too little too late for the Spirit XT175 treadmill. Luckily, the new plastic pan covering underneath the treadmill should stop at least some of the freight damage that Spirit treadmills were suffering last year due to the lack of such protection. Don’t even get me started on my opinion of their lackluster 4 year deck (???), 2 year parts and 1 year labor warranties. For a minute I thought I was standing on a Proform treadmill.

When my fellow Sensei, Mat, did a quick 2.5 mile-an-hour walk on the XT175 treadmill at the Expo, the entire unit shook more than the San Andreas fault. Now, Mat does come in over the intended 275 pound max user weight of the Spirit XT175, but the unit shook even for the fit and trim Spirit salespeople at their booth, and most of those guys were under 200 pounds!

The positives on the unit are the still great “soft drop” system that all folding Spirit treadmills have, which very gently lowers a folded deck down to the floor without the nasty drop a lot of treadmills have. The additional of a 4 wheel transport carriage now makes moving the Spirit XT175 around your home so much easier.

In the Treadmill Sensei’s opinion, the Spirit XT175 treadmill is a disappointment from a formerly decent fitness company and should have been priced closer to $799 to be competitive. If you’re looking for a solid, well-made treadmill between $999 and $1100, then I’d suggest taking a look elsewhere — BodyCraft, Sole, Smooth, BH/BladeZ and a lot of other manufacturers have better buys in this price range. Hopefully the rest of Spirit’s new treadmill line performs better than this lemon.

For being a huge disappointment, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Spirit XT175 Treadmill 2 out of 5 golden buddahs.


2 gold buddahs out of 5 for the Spirit XT175 treadmill…move along, there’s nothing to see here.

For a best buy treadmill alternative at under $1000, check out the BodyCraft TR1120 treadmill.

Spirit XT175 Treadmill Specifications
Motor:
2.5HP
Max Speed: 10MPH
Max Incline: 10%
Display: LCD
Programs: 6
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Running Area: 20″ x 50″
Deck Thickness: 3/4″
Roller: 2.5″
Folding: Yes
Max User Weight: 275lbs
Unit Weight: approximately 200lbs
Price: $1099

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