ProForm Smart Strider 495 CSE Review 3

ProForm Smart Strider 495 CSE Rating

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Pros The Smart Strider 495 CSE is one of the lowest-priced ellipticals from a leading brand. Compared with many other cheap elliptical trainers it has a longer stride (18"), so it can be much more comfortable to use. It also has a rear drive design that makes it especially easy to stay well-balanced and keep a healthy posture during exercise. Special features include 18 preloaded workout apps, iFit readiness, iPod-compatible speakers and a ledge for your tablet computer. ProForm ships the 495 CSE almost fully assembled, so set-up only takes about 15 minutes.
Cons The main shortcoming of the ProForm 495 CSE is its resistance system, which is very light at just 13 pounds. For comparison, this year’s other ProForm Smart Strider ellipticals all have 18-pound drives that deliver noticeably smoother rides… and machines in ProForm’s Pro Series move up to 32-pound drives just like the ellipticals in health clubs. A few other potential drawbacks are the absence of a wireless heart rate monitor and the lack of a power incline for better muscle toning. Both of those features are on higher-level Smart Striders that sometimes sell for just $200 more.
Summary The ProForm 495 CSE is best suited to smaller trainees who are new to elliptical exercise. Its preset workouts and iFit access can be very motivating. However, this fitness machine might disappoint because of its light resistance and not-so-steady ride for heavier trainees. Higher quality training can be had with other ProForm Smart Striders and many other ellipticals sale priced under $999.

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ProForm Smart Strider 495 CSE Detailed Overview

With a low retail price of $599 the foldable ProForm Smart Strider 495 CSE elliptical is one of the cheapest new elliptical trainers for 2017. Built with an effectively 13-pound drive, it’s an especially light-duty trainer for the whole body. Exercise for the upper body involves the moving handlebars, which have cushioned grips for comfort. Exercise for the lower body is elliptical striding with 18 choices for resistance. Because the machine has a rear drive design, it’s easy for beginners to train without feeling unsteady. (Front drive machines tend to require better balance.) The stride length is 18″, which can support a natural-feeling gait but with very low impact on your joints and ligaments. The 18″ stride feels especially like natural walking for shorter trainees. The taller you are, the closer the motion moves to stair climbing.

ProForm elliptical machines in general are popular for their program options. With this model you get 18 preset workout apps and the option to download an unlimited number of iFit workouts (iFit membership required). A favorite type of iFit workout uses the interactive Google Maps format as featured in most ProForm elliptical ads. These workouts can replicate any outdoor path that you specify, provided that Google’s fleet of cars has charted the path. By connecting your own tablet computer to the console you can train along with a streaming Google Street View of your chosen route… whether that’s through your own neighborhood, along a scenic coastline or through city streets half a world away.

Besides working with a tablet computer as its monitor, the Smart Strider 495 CSE console has a standard data window for time, distance, calories and pulse. A round display indicates your exertion level based on Watts per kilogram; color-coded lights represent the zones Endurance, Tempo and Peak. Pulse is measured through sensors that you grip on the handlebars.

Other features include iPod-compatible speakers, a water bottle holder and transport wheels for easy repositioning when the elliptical frame is folded.

Warranty coverage for the ProForm 495 CSE elliptical includes lifetime coverage for the frame, a year for parts and a year for labor.

ProForm Smart Strider 495 CSE - Notable Specs:

Overall Rating:3-stars
Compact / Folding:Yes
Stride Length:18"
Flywheel:13 lbs
Weight Capacity:275
Dimensions:65" L x 32" W x 80" H

Our Favorite Features

  • Supports low impact exercise to sculpt your body and improve cardio endurance without stressing your joints
  • Rear drive elliptical frame helps you keep good posture during training
  • 18-inch stride is ideal for shorter trainees
  • 18 resistance levels let each beginner get a very customized challenge
  • 18 preset workout programs help trainees use their exercise time efficiently
  • iFit Coach Ready for unlimited Google Maps workouts, customized elliptical routines, video workouts, stats tracking and other fitness support
  • Water bottle holder to help you stay hydrated
  • Commercial-gauge steel frame with 275-pound user weight capacity
  • Folding frame with transport wheels for easy storage in between workouts

Our Least Favorite Features

  • 13-pound flywheel is very light duty; compared with heavier alternatives it offers low resistance and produces a choppy ride
  • Pedals aren't cushioned unlike on pricier ellipticals
  • No incline that would diversify the stride for even better muscle toning
  • No personal cooling fan, so you might want to set one up near the machine
  • Grip pulse monitor isn't as convenient or accurate as a wireless pulse monitor
  • Short warranty on parts means this isn’t one of ProForm's best elliptical deals
  • Foldable, but has a large footprint when in use (80 inches long and 32 inches wide)

The Bottom Line

ProForm’s new 495 CSE elliptical for 2017 is eye-catching with its low, low full price of $599. Although it has some great features for beginners in terms of training support and motivation, it’s not such a great value compared with alternatives that cost little more. Most importantly, this unit has one of the lightest flywheels in the industry. This makes it impossible for the machine to provide a club-quality smooth ride, plus the resistance is so light that many trainees would quickly move beyond its top challenge level.

Instead, for another couple hundred dollars you can buy a new ProForm elliptical that has better components and a parts warranty that’s two or three times as long. Two high-scoring options that we’ve seen for $999 are the ProForm Pro 9.9 and the Smart Strider 935 CSE.

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