Last year we covered the Reebok i-Run treadmill and then the Reebok ZR8 treadmill in extensive detail, and deemed it to be a viable home machine. Now we’re continuing our look at the ‘ZR’ series with a dive into the ZR10 treadmill, which is continuing what is fast becoming a rich recent pedigree by Reebok in making affordable yet decently spec’d machines.
The company have made extensive strides towards positioning themselves around Crossfit – billed as ‘the sport of fitness’ – with subsequent functional fitness equipment and even the opening of vast market leading gyms, such as the Reebok sports club in Canary Wharf, London. This shrewdly positions the brand increasingly towards the front of mind when thinking training, and they’re backing up their marketing with some fine home equipment. This began with their Z series, then extended into the ‘ZR’s’, culminating in the 10 that we’re looking at today.
Reebok ZR10 spec
This machine has an RRP of £1,100, but a scout around the market indicates that you can pick it up for a good nudge under this figure, with some vendors selling it for nearer £600. At that price point, you’re looking at a lot of spec behind this product.
With a 2.0HP engine and a robust frame, its good for supporting a 120KG user. It boasts of a max speed of 11MPH and its 0-15 range of inclines culminates at a 15 degree incline. NB, its wort noting that some of the metrics on Reebok treadmills have felt slightly suspect, and they don’t like to give you actual incline numbers, instead they give you their score system. This device comes loaded with 24 pre-set programmes, and it includes an LCD display monitor, which amply tracks the key vitals, including distance, time, calories expenditure and incline.
The standard warranty is for ten years wear on the engine, and two years for all other parts, covered for home use only.
ZR10 Running deck
I’m going to focus for a few minutes on the running deck itself. It always amazes me on treadmill reviews that such little attention is put on the deck itself, as clearly its a fundamental consideration when using a treadmill, let alone when considering buying one. Frankly the deck affects everything – with its size dictating how comfortable a run is (have you ever tried doing sprints on a machine with a tiny deck? If not – do not try doing sprints on a machine with a tiny deck!), how durable it is and how long it will last and thus how good the investment will be – as make no mistake – its the deck that goes first on these machines, and also the comfort of the machine – as its the deck that you’ll be pounding as you use it.
Does the ZR10 work for interval training, HiiT, Sprints and intense work verses endurance?
At BurnTech, we prefer to not just review the equipment, but to help you understand how it will work in practice for you – and a big part of this is linking equipment like this back to the use cases that you may have for it at home. So fundamentally, there are two different ways to execute CV training – theres the endurance approach (long and slower) verses the intense approach, which increasingly involves interval training, sprints, Fartlek, Tabata and other intensity led approach, characterised by periods of waking dammed hard interjected by periods of recovery, which usually involves walking.
The push towards a more intense form of cardio, and the results derived from training programmes like HiiT, where you train for less time but work harder have fundamentally changed our expectations for a home treadmill. Ten years ago, people were looking for machines that they could plod along on, working for longer rather than working harder. More recently, there’s been a glut of information showing the effectiveness of hard work (think weights verses cardio) for body composition management. This hard work extends to the CV equipment too, and if we’re training at home, we suddenly need machines with more horse power (to go faster and steeper) and better running decks to allow us to push ourselves, whilst minimising the risk of becoming one of those unfortunate ‘he went flying off the back of the treadmill’ YouTube videos.
So back to the running deck…
The Zr10’s running bed is 132×45 cm, providing a perfectly sufficient running deck for all but the tallest and longest striding runners. We can’t discuss the deck without touching on the cushioning, something which reebok have always focussed on with their home machines. It leverages the ZigTech which they have been putting in their Crossfit shoes for some time now, and leaves you feeling like you’re almost gliding along. Whether fact or reality, the deck certainly feels like it protects your joints more than your standard treadmill in the gym, let alone some of the thin bedded home machines. This is a big ‘pro’ for this machine. A large chunk of the upside is negating any heel striking – the undesired but oft-executed running stride mistake whereby your heel hits the ground before your fore-foot, causing increased shock and injury risk through the knees especially. This is a hugely common issue and one that’s seen in gyms around the world, so any tech that helps negate the risk is a good investment for all but the knee surgeons.
However, it can feel like the cushioning is soaking up energy when doing full speed sprints, hill sprints, Tabata circuits or other intervals. Another consideration beyond the deck for sprints and intervals, is the handlebars, and they are a cause for concern on this machine.
ZR10 frame and handles are too short
When you’re looking to go fast, sometimes you’re going to need to get off fast. Sometimes very fast. Otherwise you may fall off. This is a problem on all Reebok home machines, in our opinion, which surprises me a bit because of their focus on Crossfit, which is an intense style of training which includes sprints regularly.
These stubby little handles mean that you have to excessively lean forward and almost chest dip yourself off of the machine. This is less than ideal if you’re trying to disembark after an interval, especially with the combination of slippy hands and not much handle to grab. Its a shame, because the build quality is otherwise good.
The build finish matches the usual Reebok expectations – solid, fairly sleek, higher-end home, low-grade light-commercial. Its build quality is definitely up on the ZR9 and at a nick, I’d say its an improvement on the ZR8 too. The better quality console also adds an extra element here, amply showcasing the improvements over the past few years by Reebok in this space.
The ZR10 motor – is it powerful enough?
As a rule of thumb, you’re never going to get a motor which is powerful enough on a home machine. This is a sad fact, but one we need to work around by seeking machines with the most power. The deck and the motor are the two real components of a treadmill, and we have covered the importance of the deck. The decks needs a simple – be big and be high quality with good grip and durability. The engines need is pretty simple too – provide plenty of grunt, allowing it to accelerate an decelerate fast (think interval training again), and to be able to pull well on stepper inclines. Weaker engines fail in these two key areas and they also make more noise and are generally louder.
This machine is powered by a 2 HP ongoing duty motor, which enables a reported 11MPH top speed. This is fast-ish for a home machine, yet isn’t likely to challenge you for real short intervals, such as Tabata’s. However, if its Tabata sets that you want to do, you should check out the original Airdyne bike here. The engine is definitely underpowered here, and I suspect actually that the top speed – and incline, which is reported at 15 degrees – are both significantly out, a problem which we found on the ZR8 when we reviewed it.