Reader Mailbag – Elliptical Advice for a tall person


Tonight we have a question that comes from one of our taller readers. Kevin comes in at 6’2″ and has long legs. Let’s see if we can help him figure out which elliptical is right for him!

First of all, AWESOME Blog. I read 10-12 political/sports blogs per day and your blog’s content is second to none. Thanks so much for the information you give anyone with a computer.

I’m a 25 year old male who actually used to be somewhat athletic. I’m 6’2 but have legs that could fit on someone 6’4. Thus, stride length is important to me. Quality workout is the #1 factor for me.

I’d like to spend under $1000, but I want great value. Programs aren’t that important to me, I just want a great, stable, sturdy workout that lets me stride naturally. I’ve found three possibilities on and would like your feedback in comparing them. If you have other suggestions, please let me know.

LifeSpan EX3 Elliptical ~ $1000
Spirit Fitness ZE120 Elliptical Trainer ~ $800
Mileage 1636 Elliptical ~ $800

Thanks in advance for your response, and again, GREAT BLOG! -Kevin


Thanks for the note and the very kind words. This site is a lot of fun for me to do and I’m glad I can give a little help to anyone looking to purchase a treadmill or elliptical. As a service tech, I know there are a lot of units out there and things get a bit confusing.

You’ve brought up some interesting choices. Spirit is always a good choice, especially if you can take advantage of Amazon’s insanely low pricing that’s going on right now (they’re about $200+ lower than every one else out there). Click to check out my original review of the Spirit ZE120 . It’s a great unit.

The other two companies aren’t quite as known to the average consumer. The Mileage line is made by a company called JK Fitness which is best known for higher end commercial equipment. Not many people in our area purchase Mileage equipment so we don’t see them very often at all (a few a year truthfully), but the Mileage 1636 elliptical looks to have some pretty decent stats. The only real negatives I see are the light user weight (which tends to mean a less sturdy elliptical), the Tunturi-style drive/elliptical design and the static footpads (which can be uncomfortable for longer length workouts). The adjustable stride length on the Mileage 1636 is a great feature as is the 22 pound flywheel which isn’t bad at all for an elliptical under $1000.

Lifespan is another fairly unknown company when it comes to the mainstream consumer. They’ve been around for over 12 years now. Their marketing tends to be for a slightly older crowd. They don’t get a whole lot of exposure, but when they do it tends to be high praise. The Lifespan EX3 Elliptical actually looks very similar to one of the older Reebok BodyTrek units (also known as the Sole E89 — a really bad feeling elliptical). The Lifespan EX3 has some nice features, however in my opinion it feels more like a stepper than an elliptical. I know that sounds crazy because of the 20″ stride but it’s true. The feeling is much more vertical than elliptical. It’s a very nice unit it just doesn’t have that true comfortable elliptical feel.

If you’re buying a unit online without trying a unit out and want to make sure you’re getting a great feeling machine, then the Spirit ZE120 elliptical is an excellent choice. Especially since Amazon seems to be running a super low-price sale on them — and, based on what I know of Spirit and its strict pricing policies, I doubt that price will last. But, even at the regular price it’s a a great elliptical…the Sole E25 version of the unit (basically the Spirit ZE120 with a different paint job) is my top choice for a unit under $1000.

However, everyone has different opinions when it comes to what feels good. You might find you like the static pedal style of the Mileage 1636 or the slight stepper feel of the Lifespan EX3. Your best bet is to get out there and try a few units out before you make your buy.

I hope I’ve helped! Take care and I’ll see you all with another review tomorrow!

UPDATE! I just got in a quick response from Kevin…and some very kind comments. Here’s his note:

Thanks for your help.

I had the same concern about the Mileage 1636’s weight. I wasn’t sure if the EX3 worth worth the extra $$$, but the “stairstepper” comparison scared me off. I’m going with the ZE120… I really had myself convinced after reading your blog entry about it from last year, but wanted to get your feedback first.

You should really consider trying to get your reviews published to earn some extra cash. They are BY FAR the most thorough and straightforward information I’ve found on ellipticals.

You are also a class act. This is on top of all of knowledge you possess and communicate so very well to your readers. Thanks Again. – Kevin

I’m glad I could be of some small assistance, Kevin. Good luck with your elliptical and I hope you like it. Feel free to come back and let us know how it worked out! Take care!

-The Treadmill Sensei

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