Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer Review

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The Precor EFX 5.23 elliptical is the next model up in the Precor range over the earlier 5.21. Still providing the CrossRamp® Technology for an adjustable incline, the 5.23 is the best of both worlds when it comes to balancing price and functionality.

In this product review we take an in-depth look at everything from the display console to the assembly instructions, in order to provide all the information you need to decide if this is the best choice of machine for your own home gym.

Design features

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Before you buy any elliptical machine, you want to know what makes that particular model stand out from the others. What makes it special?

For the Precor EFX 5.23 one of these features is the EFX ramp incline, which allows 3 different incline settings; 15 degrees, 20 degrees, and 25 degrees at its highest.

Although the incline does have to be set to its desired height manually before you step on the machine, it’s still a very useful feature to have.

The next feature we looked at was the flywheel. Being positioned at the back of the machine means this is classed as a rear-driven elliptical, as opposed to front driven.

In terms of your workouts, this creates even less impact on your knee and hip joints, creating a range of motion that feels much more like cross country skiing than running.

But as soon as you increase the incline setting it starts to feel much more like a stepper machine, increasing the work done by your quads, glutes, and calves.

Changing the incline maintains the same smooth gliding motion as when at its flat setting, but does start to shorten the stride length in place of a more vertical range of motion.

As well as the different muscles being worked, this also allows for much higher intensity workouts, which are ideal for improving your cardiovascular health.

One last design feature worth mentioning is the set of handlebars which are included with the Precor EFX 5.23. These are a clear upgrade over the earlier 5.21 machine, and make it much easier to get an effective upper body workout that trains your shoulders, chest, back, and arms.

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Precor EFX 5.23 – Features Summary

  • Eight preset programs help you tailor your workouts to your fitness goals
  • Ergonomic, moving handlebars let you tone and condition your entire body
  • Ramp Angle: 3 positions
  • Reversible Pedal Rotation
  • Pedal Locking Pin
  • Accessories Holder
  • Resistance Levels: 16r
  • Preset Programs: Cross Trainer, Fat Burner, Gluteals, Heart Rate, Hill Climb, Interval, Manual, Weight Loss
  • Heart Rate Monitoring Touch: Yes

Display console design

If you’ve used any of the Precor Treadmills, such as the 9.23, you would probably have come across a rather similar looking display console.

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Although the features on the Precor EFX 5.23 elliptical console don’t change a great deal compared to the treadmills, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Essentially the display is split into 3 main sections; the LCD screen, the buttons, and the icons relating to the heart rate level and workout programs.

The LCD screen itself is also split into a few sections of its own, making it much easier to keep track of important workout information.

  • Upper display – Used to track your heart rate, calories burned, distance, and time
  • Center display – Used to show your current workout profile, as well as a series of blinking horizontal bars used for the SmartRate heart rate tracking function.
  • Lower display – This is where you’ll find the current incline setting, number of strides per minute, and current resistance level.

Despite the lack of access to any quick select options for the resistance setting, you do have some useful button functions to get to grips with.

These include the classic ‘Quick Start’ button, controls for adjusting the resistance, and a programs key to quickly switch between one of 8 available workout programs.

A great choice of preset workout programs

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Together with the standard ‘Quick Start’ program, the Precor EFX 5.23 also features 7 other preset training options. These include Hill Climb, Interval, Cross Trainer, and Heart Rate Controlled.

The heart rate programs rely on the use of the heart rate hand grips positioned on either side of the main display console, using Precor’s ‘SmartRate’ feature to help you keep your heart rate range in your target zone.

An important feature to note is that the training computer does allow you to enter your age for use in calculating your heart rate zone percentages.

This is what helps to make the readout so much more accurate, compared to lower priced machines.

Quality of assembly instructions

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If you’ve ever tried to put together a larger piece of fitness equipment in the past, you might be all too familiar with how difficult it can be with poor instructions.

With the lack of clear assembly steps, or even any user manual at all being one of the most common reasons for lowering the rating in a review, we thought it would be useful to take a look at the assembly instructions.

The first thing we should say is that yes, there is a user manual. But how easy is it to follow the steps?

As soon as you open the guide you’re faced with a clear parts list of everything you should expect to find when unboxing.

This covers everything from the moveable arms to the power cord, with clear drawings making it easier to identify the smaller bolts and washers.

The assembly steps themselves are extremely easy to follow, with exploded drawings of how each part fits together, each clearly numbered and providing a full textual explanation of what’s required.

Precor have actually managed to limit the assembly steps to 5 pages, including a parts list.

Although this is considerably less than for some user manuals, there’s still plenty of information to get you setup quickly. Some reviewers reported it takes less than 45 minutes to start enjoying your first workout.

Highly rated customer reviews

Pros:

  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Smooth and quiet flywheel motion
  • Completely stable frame with no unwanted movement, even at higher inclines
  • Well packed with no complaints about any damage on delivery
  • Easy to program control unit
  • Personal training profiles
  • Good selection of preset workout programs
  • The addition of arms compared to the earlier EFX 5.21 allows for much more effective upper body training
  • Supports a reverse range of motion
  • Low impact rear-driven design is safe on your knees
  • Challenging range of resistance settings

Cons:

  • The positioning of the power switch isn’t in the best position (near the base of the machine at the rear)
  • The manual adjustment of the incline can interrupt your workouts, but it does only take a couple of seconds
  • No custom user programs

What’s covered by the warranty?

Although sites like Amazon also offer used / refurbished models together with their brand new machines, you’ll only get the most out of the warranties if you buy the Precor EFX 5.23 as new.

The following warranties apply:

  • Frame and welds: Lifetime
  • Parts and wear items: 5 years
  • Labor: 1 year

A clear upgrade over the earlier 5.21 machine and an impressive saving over the 5.25 elliptical, the Precor EFX 5.23 is an excellent entry level machine into the Precor range.

Although the incline adjustment is manual, there are really very few negative points that we came across in the customer reviews.

With a patented low impact-motion allowing your heels to remain in contact with foot pedals, this is another of the subtle design features that manages to reduce muscle and tendon stress, leading to safer, more productive workouts.

Product weight: 183 lbs Product dimensions: 76″ (L) x 29″ (W) x 62″ (H) Weight capacity: 300 lbs

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