With summer fast approaching, many of us are starting to look at our cardio training with renewed focus. For many, going down to the gym for a pure cardio session represents pure drudgery. With that in mind, today we’re looking at the Reebok I-Run treadmill, which is aggressively priced and well-spec’d. Providing a decent level of ‘bang for your buck’, this could be the perfect entry-level home running machine. With that in mind, let’s do a deeper dive.
Reebok I-Run overview
The first thing to note about this kit is that it comes one hundred percent ready assembled, so there’s no need to waste any time getting the tool box out. If you’re anything like me and therefore pretty adverse – not to mention useless – at home assembly, then this is certainly a selling point. No time wasted building is certainly the way we like to acquire our kit.
As far as spec goes, you’re looking at a 13KPH max speed with a variable 2 percent incline (two-levels). Make no mistake, this is a no-frills treadmill, coming with just 13 pre-loaded programmes, a limited computer with pulse hand grip, an auto-stop safety system and full fold-ability. Perhaps the nicest ‘upmarket’ feature is the inclusion of Reebok’s 8 piece cushioning system. Frequent readers of BurnTech.TV will recognise that we have praised this system previously, not least on the Reebok ZR8 treadmill, reviewed here.
Reebok I-Run S
The first things that we will note and make expressly clear is that this is a cheap treadmill, pitched against the ‘entry’ market segment. As such, we can’t be overly critical although our general consensus is that it lacks features and is probably going to be too limited for all but the most newby trainers. That is not to say that it does not have value though.
When we look at home treadmills – and I’m not talking light commercial here – just plain old aimed at the home market machines, there’s a few core things that we look for. We recognise that the average person is not blessed with having a full-scale home gym, so space efficiency and the ability for the it to fold away is therefore important. This treadmill categorically ticks that box, as it folds to a completely flat state, making it very easy to fold away and store out of sight. We also look at the machines dimensions. Striking the right balance between being too big to store yet not big enough to be functional, is a hard act to balance with treadmills. Treadmills are unique in as much as their running deck dimensions goes a long way towards rendering them great or useless; we have tested numerous running machines that have the horse power to go at near commercial speeds (upwards of 20KMH) yet they have such small running decks that there’s no point even considering it – you’d be too likely to fall off and risk injury. Whilst the running deck on this treadmill is very small, the machine does not go fast enough nor does it boast of a steep enough incline, for this to be a major problem at all. Unlike the ZR8 with its under-sized deck, we actually think Reebok have nailed it with this machine. Finally, in terms of exercise equipment for the home overview pointers, we look at the relative sound of the machine in operation. Fit tech which makes an excessively loud noise is not well suited for the home. Again, The I-Run scores well in this regard, continuing Reebok’s recent tradition of making very quiet exercise equipment. So far, so good.
So far, we have ascertained that the I-Run ticks most of the boxes for a piece of home fitness equipment. There’s no set, its space efficient, it folds and it is not very loud. On top of these points, it’s worth noting the usability of this machine. Reebok have impressed me with their abiklity to make their home kit really easy to use. Now granted, any device with only 13 pre-set programmes and 2 incline levels should be straightforward to work, but there’s a really nice flow about this machines layout. It starts with the LCD display – which is big and clear, in all lights (I’m testing this out of my ‘home gym’, which most people would describe as a garage) and it’s not especially well lit. To make things worse, at certain times of the day the sun streams through the window and causes some significant glare. In both scenarios though I was able to read the screen easily.
Finally, the I-Run is a well-constructed bit of kit, which is well in line with Reebok in this space in general. The kit is durable and as stated above, I love the eight point cushioning system. A lot of cheaper home running machines can feel very flimsy under foot whilst at the same time feeling a bit fragile. In such cases, you can come off of an hours run and really feel it in the joints. This system really comes into its own at speeds which this machine won’t reach, but it still adds plenty of value at any speed over ~8KMH. As much as anything, I like the fact that you’re benefiting from bigger company, higher spec technology in a really aggressively priced band.
So we have assessed that this machine has some good selling points, but we must assess its negatives before we’re accused of hosting an I-Run love-in. And this machine is definitely not without those.
I find the specification disappointing, and I fear that this will really render it as under-powered and therefore not especially useful for most runners. Whilst I would not purchase this machine for this reason, I can see that it remains an interesting buy for many demographics within the fitness community;
1) Longer distance, slower top speed runners – if you like covering the distance at speeds under 13KMH, then this machine could work well for you
2) New trainers – if you’re just getting going and have more aesthetic goals compared to performance, this machine could work well.
3) Second-workouts – if you hold a gym membership and are looking for a bit of kit that can help you ‘top-up’ your training, this could work well. Weights trainers who’re looking to do more cardio especially come to mind here, as many choose to train in a LiiS style.
This kit is definitely not for some demographics though;
1) Serious, performance led trainers will find this under-spec’d and will need to find a bigger budget to meet their needs
2) HiiT or Tabatta trainers will find the top speed and lack of incline to be a major issue
So, to wrap up our Reebok I-Run review, I would say that we’re looking at a highly competent yet unexceptional home treadmill. The small running deck, lack of speed and incline, and the basic nature of the console mean that this machine does not represent the best value for money in an increasingly crowded market. In our opinion, the Reebok ZR8 represents a much better option. The price difference is modest at best, the spec is significantly better and the model is newer (this model is getting harder to source now).