Bowflex Treadclimber vs NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer

treadclimber vs x9i

One of the hot new products out right now in the exercise equipment world is the treadclimber. You’ve probably seen the commercials on TV that have gorgeous models with great abs walking effortlessly on one of these machines. They claim that with a treadclimber you can burn twice the amount of calories you would on other machines like treadmills and ellipticals and also reduce stress on your joints. They make the treadclimbers out to be really special.

I’m here to tell you that I believe the Treadclimbers by Bowflex are complete crap. I ordered one and put it together myself then took it for a spin expecting to be amazed since the video advertisements seem to guarantee satisfaction and amazing results.

How does the treadclimber even compete?

There must be some amazing marketing going on over at Bowflex for the treadclimber to even be considered competition to treadmills like the NordicTrack X9i. If you were to ask me how Bowflex can charge $2,200 for the treadclimber TC10 I would not be able to give you an answer because I have no idea. I will be either sending my treadclimber right back to Bowlflex (if they’ll take it back) or selling it because I don’t think it’s worth a penny over $1,000.

Watch the Video

Back at the shop, we put a video together comparing the treadclimber TC10 with the NordicTrack X9i for your benefit. I want the world to see these two treadmill back to back. To help me with the comparison I had my friend, Dan, give his honest input of the two machines. Take a look..

TreadClimber: Not as good as advertised to me

If you watch the videos on the the Bowflex TreadClimber website you’ll notice they say or hint at a few things that I found misleading about their trusty machines:

You can burn 3.5 times more calories with the TreadClimber than you can with other machines.

If you watched our video above, in 2.5 minutes you burn roughly 60 calories with the NordicTrack X9i and only 20 calories on the treadclimber! Three times the amount of calories were burned on the X9i than were burned on the treadclimber. I don’t know how Bowlfex makes this claim or what research they cite, but by their own Treadclimbers measure they didn’t burn near the calories you could with an incline trainer.

You’ll have a great chest, abs, biceps, triceps, and back.

According to their website, a TreadClimber’s Body looks something like this:

“Anatomy of a TreadClimber Body”

treadclimber body

They post the above diagram and then sneak in a few things about how the treadclimber won’t do much more than boost your metabolism. I have used the treadclimber and can promise that you are not going to get a shoulder or arms workout with it. There are no moving handles like with an elliptical for example. If you can manage to keep your balance (something which can help your core), you might get a good thigh and butt workout but that’s it. This whole-body workout implication is silly to me. I don’t know why they would lead you to believe the TreadClimber gives a full body workout, but it most definitely does not.

And this woman must be short because a TreadClimber just doesn’t seem safe for people over six and a half feet tall. My friend is that tall and his shoe got caught in the treadbelt. The walking surface just isn’t long enough for folks with a long stride.

NordicTrack’s Comparison

NordicTrack, appalled at the fact that Bowflex compares the treadclimber to incline trainer treadmills, put together a little comparison chart of their own. I think it outlines the differences in features and capabilities quite nicely.

x9i vs treadclimber

Gosh, there sure are a lot of features “NOT AVAILABLE” for the TreadClimber that are available on the X9i. And yet, the TreadClimber is actually more expensive than the incline trainer most of the time (this changes occasionally with sales and whatnot). Why in the world would anyone go with the treadclimber?? I just don’t understand it.


I hope I’ve opened your eyes to the reality of these TreadClimber machines. The TV ads make them look really cool but when it comes down to it, I honestly think they suck. If you can afford to drop $2200 on a treadclimber, reconsider, and check out a traditional treadmill or incline trainer. They are much more worth your money and can do way cool stuff. With the technology we have available today, there’s no reason why you should bother with a treadclimber and its old fashioned console and risk hurting yourself on a poorly designed treadmill. In this reviewer’s humble opinion, they are just not worth it.

About The Author

Treadmill Review Guru is an expert on all things related to treadmills and running. He is a former cross country runner and soccer player and hopes to soon be able to run a marathon. He loves training on his treadmill whenever he gets the chance. Check out his recommendations and see what he thinks are the best treadmills.