Ohiyo!
Once more from the depths of the DOJO do I rise. The Sensei is ready once more to hand out pearls of treadmill wisdom.

Tonight I am going to gush a bit about one of my favorite treadmill manufacturers, Spirit, and one of my favorite home treadmills, the Spirit Z9 treadmill. Let’s start with a bit of background on Spirit the company. Spirit Treadmills has been around and making some of the best quality residential units for over 25 years now. That makes them one of the oldest treadmill companies out there.

This quality shows in one of the best home treadmills on the market, the Spirit Z9 — also known as the Cardiostrength 3000 and the Inspire IN400.

A quick aside here. One of the confusing things about Spirit is the fact that they release their units under a number of different names, depending upon where you buy them. Spirit is also the manufacturer of Sole, Smooth and Cardiostrength treadmills…in truth, the Sole, Smooth and Cardiostrength units are just Spirit units with a different label on them! Which is funny when you see other reviewers building up Sole or Smooth at the expensive of Spirit — when they are the exact same units!! If you’ve bought a Sole F83, for instance, then you’ve just bought a Spirit Z500 with a Sole sticker on it. Knowing that is a great thing because you’ll then be able to purchase the units from Spirit dealers at a much reduced price over the Soles. There are also matching Sole units (treadmills and ellipticals) for Smooth and Cardiostrength both.

Ok, maybe the aside wasn’t all that quick.

Back to the Spirit Z9. This unit, which you’ll be able to find for around $1300, comes with some of the best features you’ll find in this price range. The unit comes with one of the great Spirit 3.0 horsepower motors and a mind-blowing 30 year warranty. Why I call them “great” is because you’re getting a 3 HP rated motor that really is a 3 HP motor. They’re strong, durable and run cool even during the longest of work outs. Truth be told, the motor in the Spirit Z9 will probably outlast any treadmill owner…I wish I had a 30 year warranty! That’s not even mentioning Spirit Treadmill’s 5 year parts / 1 year labor standard warranty.

Next we come to the LED console. Slightly different in design from the Spirit Z100 series (or the comparable Sole units), it still follows along the same lines as Life Fitness and other commercial treadmills in displaying all of your information — heart rate, speed, incline, program, etc. — in their own windows. No more do you have to fiddle with hand or console controls to flip through information on a single screen. It’s all right in front of you and easy to see. Add to that heart rate control which will adjust your workout automatically to keep you at preset heart rates, and you have a masterpiece of modern treadmill technology.

One of the things about the Spirit Z9 treadmill which impressed me so much I recommended it to not one, not two, but three different sets of in-laws (my wife’s parents, brother and uncle), was just how sturdy the Z9 treadmills are. As those of you who have been to the DOJO know, my assistant, Hikaru, is a large boy. He stands nearly 6’2″ and weighs in somewhere in the neighborhood of 285 pounds (that’s a big neighborhood!). A big boy. Hikaru can jog on a Spirit Z9 and the treadmill does not budge. They are solid and well built. If onyl Hikaru could hold up as well to a workout!

Going over the rest of the specs, the Spirit Z9 treadmill has huge 2.5″ rollers, a double-woven two-ply belt, a tough 1″ thick deck, 10 programs, 12 mph max speed and 15 degree incline. This machine can handle walking, jogging or even running.

Features and quality make the Spirit Z9 Treadmill one of the best treadmill buys under about $1500.

UPDATE: The Spirit Z9, for some unimaginable reason, has been discontinued by Spirit Fitness. Check out the New Balance 1800 Treadmill as an excellent replacement.
4 Gold Buddah Rating for the Z9 Treadmill from Spirit
The Treadmill Sensei gives it 4 Golden Buddahs out of 5.


A discontinued unit.

Spirit Z9 Treadmill Specifications
Horsepower: 3.0 HP
Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
Folding: Yes
Maximum Speed: 12 MPH
Maximum Incline: 15%
Heart Rate Monitoring: Yes, pulse grip
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Programs: 10: 5 standard programs, 3 user defined, and 2 heart rate control programs
Display Type: 6 window LED display
Special Features: Quick Touch speed and elevation controls
Grade: Residential

Dimensions
Roller Size: 2.5″
Deck Thickness: 1″
Running Area: 20″ x 55″

Warranty
Frame Warranty:
Lifetime
Motor Warranty: 30 year
Electronics Warranty: 5 year
Parts Warranty: 5 year
Labor Warranty: 1 year

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