Reebok ZR9 Treadmill Review
The Reebok ZR9 treadmill is basically a 2016 reboot of the 2011 Reebok Z9, which quickly became a popular staple of the home fitness scene. Before we dive into our review, we’d just like to clarify a couple of points. First of all this is a review of the Reebok ZR9 treadmill itself, rather than a compare and contrast with the Reebok Z9 and secondly this review is specifically about the Reebok ZR9 treadmill rather than any of the other pieces in the Reebok ZR9 range. Our full Reebok ZR9 Treadmill Review
The rest of the review will essentially look at the value offered by the Reebok ZR9 treadmill, but we live in the real world and we know people will need to budget, so to set your expectations, you’d be looking to pay around £500 for a new Reebok ZR9. As a side note, we’d recommend you look for companies which offer delivery, preferably right to the room in which you’ll use it, as the Reebok ZR9 comes in at a hefty 79kg or 174lb. If you have the option between collecting and paying for delivery, we’d say go for the latter, even if it costs a bit more.
The Reebok ZR9 treadmill is intended for use by people with a maximum weight of 120kg (18st 13lb).
If assembling flat-pack furniture is the DIY task you hate the most then we have good news for you. The Reebok ZR9 is arrives almost fully assembled. All you have to do is position the frame bolt and set the arms – job done! Folding and unfolding it is even easier. Your fingers are completely safe. Folded, the dimensions of the Reebok ZR9 are H148, W85, D104cm, so we’d say it was compact enough for use in smaller homes, e.g. flats, which, we suspect will form a large part of the market for this treadmill. We’d also say that this treadmill looks pretty decent, which may help if you have to persuade your partner to give up some floor space for your workout equipment.
Features and operation
We’re going to say upfront, that there is a distinct lack of advanced functionality in the Reebok ZR9 and actually we’re quite relieved about this fact. The reality is that at this price point a whole string of “gee whiz” features would have left us worried that they had come at the expense of build quality and usability. We’re therefore very glad to say that Reebok has focussed very much on doing the basics well, rather than trying to impress with headline specifications.
For example, a 2hp continuous motor capable of bursts of speed of up to 3hp may sound less than impressive as may a top speed of 12KPH (7 MPH), but the motor is far more important to the core functionality of a treadmill than a whole slew of entertainment options.
Once you start up the Reebok ZR9, you quickly realize just where your extra money has gone (as compared to the lowest-priced treadmills) and the extra weight now makes sense. Basically Reebok has given the Reebok ZR9 about the best motor you can possibly expect at this price range. This means firstly that you can expect the Reebok ZR9 to stand up to regular use and give plenty of reliable service and secondly that it is blissfully quiet. If you’ve ever heard some of the more affordable home treadmills in operation, you’ll appreciate what we mean by this. If you haven’t, the best analogy we can come up with is that it’s like switching off the engine in a car, it might never have really bothered you when it was running, but you certainly notice the difference when it’s switched off. There are two great benefits to a quiet engine. One is that it gives you more flexibility to use the treadmill when you want without having to worry about disturbing friends and neighbours, which can be a fairly major issue for people in smaller homes, particularly flats. The other is that it makes it vastly easier to hear and therefore enjoy your own entertainment choice. We’re unconcerned about the fact that the Reebok ZR9 only offers MP3 input, with speakers (as opposed to the wider range of entertainment features on upper-end models), in fact frankly we personally would be unconcerned if it came without any form of audio input, although we appreciate that for some people, this would be a cut too far. The simple fact of the matter is that the Reebok ZR9 is aimed fair and square at the home market, where you probably have a selection of entertainment options and the fact that this treadmill is so quiet it makes it feasible to put them to good use.
There are two great benefits to a quiet engine. One is that it gives you more flexibility to use the treadmill when you want without having to worry about disturbing friends and neighbours, which can be a fairly major issue for people in smaller homes, particularly flats. The other is that it makes it vastly easier to hear and therefore enjoy your own entertainment choice. We’re unconcerned about the fact that the Reebok ZR9 only offers MP3 input, with speakers (as opposed to the wider range of entertainment features on upper-end models), in fact frankly we personally would be unconcerned if it came without any form of audio input, although we appreciate that for some people, this would be a cut too far. The simple fact of the matter is that the Reebok ZR9 is aimed fair and square at the home market, where you probably have a selection of entertainment options and the fact that this treadmill is so quiet it makes it feasible to put them to good use.
So now that you’ve probably grasped the fact that we love the motor, let’s move on to the other key features of any treadmill, the deck and the console. Since the deck is the simpler of the two, we’ll start with that. The deck is 130cm long and 43cm wide, with the actual running area being 41cm wide (that’s 51, 17 and 16 inches). That’s a very respectable size meaning that the Reebok ZR9 makes a perfectly feasible choice as a regular running treadmill (as opposed to one for walking or jogging). We’re also pleased to note that Reebok has grasped the importance of decent cushioning and has created its own ZigTech system to ensure you have the protection you need.
The console is very much in line with the rest of the Reebok ZR9 in that it clearly focuses on doing the basics very well indeed rather than trying to squeeze in fancy features. The main LCD screen is bright, crisp and very readable without being at all glaring. The aforementioned speakers are either side of it and then just below it are a row of buttons for easy access to 14 of the 16 pre-set user programmes. Underneath this there are a further two rows of buttons, the top row is for speed and the bottom row is for incline. There are 8 default speed buttons and 7 default incline buttons. The Reebok ZR9 has a total of 16 speed levels and also 16 incline levels, hence about half of the time you’ll be able to access the speed and incline level you want at the touch of a button (OK each) and the rest of the time you’ll just need to press one (OK or two) extra buttons to get what you want. The MP3 input is at the bottom right and it has Stop and Start buttons next to it, which is probably all most people will need. In short, if you can work a phone, you can work this.
Speaking of phones, the last major feature of the console is the two bottle holders (left and right), we’d suggest putting your phone/MP3 player in the right-hand once since, as we previously mentioned, it works on the old-school method of connecting via cable, which gets around the lack of a dedicated MP3 holder very nicely we feel. Both holders are a decent size, so we’d suggest that even one water bottle would be sufficient for the average session, if not, fill up as many bottles as you think you’ll need before you start and put your spares on the floor, then just switch them out as you need them. Yes, we know that’s a basic approach but it works and that’s pretty much what the Reebok ZR9 treadmill is all about.
We’re not sure if the hand grips count as part of the console or not, but either way, you can also adjust the incline on them if you prefer and they come with pulse sensors.
We said the Reebok ZR9 was at the basic end of what we’d call the “serious” treadmill market (it’s certainly a leap above the lower-end, ultra-budget models), but it still has a bit of extra functionality in the shape of console feedback (speed and incline, distance and time, pulse and calories) and 16 user programmes, which we’d say are decent.
Just to tick this box, we never bothered going into them in our review because we’d only ever review treadmills which satisfied us 100% in that regard. For the sake of completeness, however, all standard safety features are present and correct on the Reebok ZR9, including a (very), easily-accessible shut-off function.
Reebok ZR9 Treadmill Review – Overall
As is generally the case in life, whether or not the Reebok ZR9 is the right treadmill for you depends on what you want. We would like to highlight the fact that this is a fairly hefty machine and hence is very much designed to be left in place once it’s been delivered. To put it another way, you can fold it but forget about stowing it under a bed. We’d also like to highlight the fact that what we see as a simple LCD display, other people might see as basic. We like it, we’re big believers in keeping life straightforward, but we thought we’d better mention it.
In general terms we’d say the Reebok ZR9 is designed for one purpose i.e. providing people with the ability to run at home and it fulfils that single purpose to a very high standard. People who are serious about running as a competitive discipline should probably look elsewhere, but then we suspect that these people would have guessed that already. We’d see this as a great buy for people who are seriously committed to fitness and see running as a part of that, but who can live without the advanced functionality of upper-end models. In our opinion the Reebok ZR9 is the entry point for equipment which can be used as a substitute for going to a gym, but is priced affordable enough to be suitable for people who want it as a back-up to their gym visits. We could also see this being a very good choice for “off-season” training for certain sports.