High Marks for Quality Construction
The Xterra FS5.25E elliptical trainer is a private labeled crosstrainer, built by Dyaco. This is the same company that builds Sole and Spirit elliptical trainers, and both these brands have a good reputation for quality and durability. The Xterra FS5.25E is the entry level model of the Xterra brand. There are two other models.
See my “Best Buy” Elliptical Trainer Recommendations!
Front Drive Design – The benefits of the front drive is that it is easier to mount and dismount. However, the rear drive models tend to position you better over the mechanisms. I find when working out on the Sole E25, which is very similar, you have to lean forward when utilizing the upper handlebars.
Incline Capable – You have the ability to incline the elliptical motion, similar to a treadmill. The advantage is that you can target more lower body muscles. You also tend to get a more intense workout as you raise the incline. A major drawback to the Xterra FS5.25E is that you have to change the incline manually. Thus you are not able to make adjustments on the fly as you workout. You also are only able to adjust to three levels.
Dual Wheel Footpedals – What I do like about the front drive design on the Xterra and Sole elliptical trainers is that they utilize a dual concave wheel for each footpedals. Each pedal rolls over a dual set of rails. This provides a more solid and stable feel to your stride.
19 Lbs. Flywheel – A decent weight for an elliptical at this price range. However, you will notice that more expensive ellipticals with heavier flywheels tend to feel more natural.
Speakers and MP3 Input – It is convenient to have speakers in the console, but I’m not that impressed with the sound. Dyaco tends to cheap out on the speaker system.
236 Lbs. Unit Weight – A decent weight for a $999 elliptical. The Xterra FS5.25S has a fairly stable feel, and it takes some effort to make it rock.
Console – As one reviewer on the Costco site mentioned, the LCD display is rather basic, and you would expect more with Weekend electronics. There is a moderate selection of installed workout programs. Although I tend to always use the manual control.
Warranty – Lifetime frame and braking system, 3-years parts and 1-year labor. Fairly standard coverage at this price range.
I give the Xterra FS5.25S high marks for being a well built machine, utilizing quality components. In fact, based on the quality I would say both the Xterra FX5.25 and the Sole E25 are some of the best front drive ellipticals at $999. I’m not that impressed with features like the speaker system, console and the manual incline.
Also I suggest you consider a rear drive elliptical trainer alternative, like the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE71. The basic design of the AudioStrider is based on the design of commercial Precor ellipticals. In fact, NordicTrack leases the patent. The rear design tends to better center you over the machine and is more ergonomic. You also get a power incline with the AudioStrider.
Also see the Xterra FS5.7e elliptical review.