Our Rating: 4.7/5
Bowflex’s top-end treadmill, the BXT216 is a reasonably priced treadmill that doesn’t skimp out on features or specifications. Although at first glance this model isn’t as technologically advanced as some of its rivals, the simple addition of a tablet opens up a whole new world of opportunity.
If you’re looking for a workhouse of a treadmill that can handle anything thrown at it, we think you’ll like what this review has to say.
The top dog of the two treadmill models Bowflex has carefully designed, the BXT216 treadmill takes the BXT116’s high-held torch and lifts it even higher. With 0.25 more continuous horsepower than the BXT116, the 4.0 CHP motor is perfect for those looking to run, marathon, sprint, or do high intensity interval training; this revving puppy can do it all without fear of operative burnout.
The widest spread running path Bowflex has on either of their treadmills, the 22” x 60” deck on the BXT216 allows you to move freely without worrying so much about foot positioning or elbow room. Picking up the pace is the 0-12 mph speed range; when paired with this model’s 15% incline, there’s not a burn you can’t pursue.
As your muscles strain and grow, the Comfort Tech deck cushioning system works to relieve aching joints by safeguarding them from additional stress. Specialized for the model is its boosted five-cell cushioning system, which is quite an improvement from other fitness brands, such as Horizon, that only grant three-zone cushioning on their most expensive 7.8 AT.
Speaking of which, when compared to the BXT216, the 7.8 AT has a lower weight capacity and the same horsepower, speed and incline range but is priced a good amount higher than the Bowflex BXT216. Regarding weight, the BXT216 treadmill has a 400 pound user capacity, which reflects the frame’s trustworthy construction.
The treadmill belt is crafted reliably, calling upon 3-ply 2 mm thickness to prove it’s here to last and won’t stretch out over time. As sweat begins to open those pores, you’ll have the option of turning on the built-in fan that conveniently has three different settings for you to choose from. These setting options are a standout feature, as the built-in fans of other treadmill brands usually just have an on and off switch.
Bowflex designed this model to be their toughest treadmill, worthy of praise from brave runners interested in the most challenging of workouts.
When it comes to built-in programs, the Bowflex BXT216 treadmill is aptly priced for what it brings to the table, including 11 push and go programs. However, should new exercises excite you, the BXT216 treadmill offers the option of a subscription to the Bowflex JRNY app, which pairs you with a fitness coach who will guide you to new workout heights and provide personalized feedback.
What’s more, customized programming will be made to encourage you to reach your health goals. Adding to this, the Explore the World app has eye catching workouts throughout the world, allowing you to virtually travel during your exercise. The transportation to another place will have you swooning through your runs, and you won’t have to worry about being distracted with the surrounding beauty, as your speed and incline will be remotely controlled by the app so all you have to do is enjoy the ride.
Each of these awe-inducing Bowflex apps pairs seamlessly with the BXT216, resulting in the opportunity to have a high tech treadmill without the additional upfront cost and weaker builds sometimes associated with fancier tech treadmills. Furthermore, subscription to the Bowflex technology is a good amount cheaper than that of ProForm and NordicTrack’s iFit programming.
Making convenience within reach are the mindfully located handrail controls, which allow you to shift your preferences without having to reach up to the display screen. The largest display Bowflex provides is found on the BXT216 treadmill—a nine-inch LCD screen full color wonder. Furthermore, the Bluetooth connectivity is a wonderful presence for those looking to cut down on wired connection.
Another great tech-feature on the BXT216 is its included heart rate chest strap, which allows you to focus on the proverbial roads ahead in a handsfree manner. That being said, if chest straps aren’t your thing, the heart rate contact sensors located at the front of the treadmill will allow you to get handsy with the BXT216 in order to check in with your heart’s activity.
Also helping you to stay checked in is the USB port, which will conveniently charge your smart device of choice. As a side note, personal smart devices are a requirement if you’re interested in the Explore the World app, as the BXT216 treadmill’s display won’t accommodate the live action video produced by the app. Thankfully, this treadmill has been designed for just this purpose and has a perfect storage location directly above the display screen, meaning you can rest your smart device with secure ease as you move.
The Bowflex BXT216 treadmill allows you to choose just how much technology you prefer to access, making it a quality choice for those who like to do things at their own pace.
Bowflex has carefully crafted two treadmills within the BXT series, and, being the higher end of the two, the BXT216 treadmill does come at the higher cost than the BXT116. So, what exactly does roughly three-hundred additional dollars get you should you upgrade to the BXT216?
More money means more power: 0.25 CHP more motor to be precise. Additionally, the BXT216 treadmill has a 25 pound greater weight capacity, two additional zones of deck cushioning to better safeguard your body, two extra inches of running surface width, two more included workout programs, as well as a 1.5” larger LCD screen.
You can rest assured that if you’re able to opt for the BXT216 treadmill over the BXT116, it’ll be worth the price, especially if you’re someone who enjoys longer and tougher workouts, or has a large household eager to treadmill the day away. Putting our finger on the pulse of other comparable treadmills, Bowflex treadmills are often cheaper than the competition—typically about a hundred dollars less, if not more.
That being said, there is one treadmill that gives the Bowflex BXT216 treadmill a run for its money, and that’s the LifeSpan TR5500i treadmill, which comes in at the same cost but offers some varied specs. With a 1.5 mph faster speed range, decline ability, as well as a greater frame and motor warranty, the TR5500i is another solid choice at this price point.
However, this Bowflex model provides an electronics warranty, 3% more incline, a 0.3” thicker treadmill belt, as well as an additional 50 pounds of weight capacity. The Bowflex BXT216 and the LifeSpan TR5500i treadmill match up in horsepower, running surface dimensions, and folding ability, while LifeSpan includes more preset workouts but lacks the high tech functionality of the JRNY or Explore the World apps.
All that to say, buying a treadmill is a rather personal process, as in this particular situation, there’s not one clear-cut winner. Depending on what features and specifications are most important to you and your loved one should determine which treadmill you opt for. One thing we can say for sure, however, is that the BXT216 is a fantastic choice at a solid price point.
Pros and Cons
Alongside a 4.0 CHP motor, it would have been nice to have a speed range over 12 mph, like the 13.5 mph speed range of the TR5500i. Yet, let’s be real, have you ever ran at 12 mph? It’s absolutely intense and not at all for the faint of heart.
Furthermore, it would have been nice if this model had a decline ability in order to get a more well-rounded workout that better simulates outdoor road running, like that of the NordicTrack Commercial 1750. That being said, the BXT216 shows up at crunch time with the cheaper price, longer warranties, additional motor power and a 400 pound user weight limit.
Speaking of higher weight capacities, they’re great not only for user inclusion, but are also a direct reflection of just how sturdy a treadmill is and can give you insight into its lasting power. For example, treadmills that have a focus more on tech than on robust builds, such as the ProForm SMART Pro 9000, will get offers a 300 pound weight capacity, which is 100 pounds less than the sturdy Bowflex BXT216.
While folding systems seem much more common in treadmills nowadays, having a soft drop mechanism like that of the BXT216 provides higher-end feel that is much easier and safer to store. Adding to this, this model’s running surface allows for a more mindless experience as it promotes comfort that lets you settle into your workout, rather being worried about staying on a narrow path.
While Bowflex doesn’t provide lifetime warranties on their treadmill frame or motor, they do provide electronics coverage which is pretty uncommon in the treadmill industry. When looking for treadmills, it’s all about give and take; thankfully, Bowflex’s top-end model gives far more than it takes.
Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill Specs
|Weight Capacity||400 pounds|
|Running Surface||22″ x 60″|
|Dimensions||84.5″ x 38.5″ x 54.7″|
|Workout Display||Yes; 9″ full color LCD|
Warranty and Guarantee
An important factor when buying a treadmill is the included warranty coverage. Warranties reflect how much a company trusts their products to last; you’d be surprised by the way well-known brands such as NordicTrack lack the longer coverage provided by companies such as Bowflex. While not as commercially-minded as LifeFitness treadmills, the BXT216 is a solid residential treadmill that will have you going for years to come.
If something does happen, this model includes 5-years of coverage on parts. Matching this 5-year time frame is the electronics coverage which, as we stated above, is hard to come by with fitness companies these days, giving Bowflex a leg up on those not willing to offer it. Adding to this, 2-years of labor coverage, while not seemingly a lot, is actually a solid amount considering it’s common to find only 1-year of labor coverage on competing treadmills.
A 15-year motor and frame warranty has the BXT216 treadmill’s structure backed up for some time. While we wish there was some lifetime coverage provided with the Bowflex BXT216 in categories such as the frame or motor, we do believe this treadmills will be able to handle whatever you’ve got to throw at it (well, not literally!) for years to come.
Summing Up This Review
Whether you’re in a multi-person household, or enjoy tackling consistent and hard workouts on your own, the Bowflex BXT216 is an impressively well-built treadmill meant to last through your sweat sessions with ease.
At a comparatively low price point for the specifications offered, if you’re willing to use your own tablet in place of an HD screen that some other treadmill brands offer, opting for this Bowflex model could save you a small fortune.