Shopping for an elliptical trainer?
You may be confused by the different options: mainly the front drive elliptical trainers where the flywheel is out in front of the pedals – or the rear drive models – where the flywheel is behind the pedals.
You may have also noticed the a lot of the new – and higher end – Proform trainers are front-drive machines. That is no accident.
So what’s the difference? Is there a difference?
There are actually several differences between a front and rear drive elliptical.
The post will cover the main benefits of front drive ellipticals.
Note however that these are general benefits only – at the end of the day there are other factors like quality of construction, flywheel weight and even stride length that also go into making a good elliptical trainer.
Benefits of Front Drive Elliptical Trainers:
#1 Save Space
In general, front drive ellipticals are more compact than rear-drive crosstrainers. Rear drive machines are just longer whereas front-drive trainers are more box-like in footprint – so you need less room for your trainer with a front drive machine.
The alternative to this is the rear drive machine that folds up like the Smart Strider 935 for example. It’s longer than a front-drive machine, but it also folds up to save space.
#2 Workout Feel
This is really a personal preference thing. However a lot of people feel that front drive crosstrainers give more of a climbing, angled feel to the movement whereas rear drive machines give more of a flat running-type movement.
And some people think therefore that the climbing motion can help them burn more calories. Note that I’m not talking about incline here – that’s a totally separate thing.
So is there a difference in workout feel?
Well, after trying hundreds of elliptical trainers out in my years of reviewing crosstrainers I have to say, I’ve only felt this difference on a few trainers – not on all of them. So again, it’s a personal preference thing.
Because of the fact that you’ve got a (usually) heavy flywheel directly under your console, a lot of people feel that front drive trainers are more stable. Again, this may not always apply as other things go into it like the weight of the flywheel and the frame structure in general.
But it can be a factor, especially when you’re comparing home crosstrainers around the same price point.
So those are 3 of the main and perceived benefits of a front-drive elliptical. Whether these are real benefits or not are really up to you. It depends on what you’re looking for and what’s important to you.
However there’s no denying that the front-drive design is getting more and more popular these days – which is one of the main reasons Proform is offering more front drive models.