Ironman CDT Elliptical

The innovative Ironman CDT elliptical trainer is named for its center drive technology. It was among the first elliptical machines to go beyond the front drive/rear drive dichotomy and try something else entirely. Advantages of center drive machines include an especially compact footprint and a design that helps keep trainees comfortable and well-balanced. This trainer is also especially appealing for its 21” stride, programmable resistance and overall durability.

Although this model has been discontinued, you can find it online for about $1100 or less. It originally cost $1699. The purchase price includes a lifetime frame warranty, a two-year parts warranty and a year of labor coverage.

Features of the Original Ironman CDT Elliptical Trainer (Discontinued)

Besides boasting center drive technology, the Ironman CDT has the same durability and programmable resistance found on its simpler Ironman cousins. We also like its reverse motion, a stride option that targets different muscles than forward motion does.

Heart rate control programming is yet another benefit because it ensures that you train efficiently. Furthermore, the CDT’s heart rate recovery program can be used to track your cardiovascular fitness over time.

A 21” stride completes this unit’s admirable design. Specs include:

  • 21” stride
  • Reverse motion
  • Movable handlebars for upper-body exercise
  • Wireless & pulse grip heart rate monitors
  • Large two-color LCD with backlight
  • Magnetic brake system
  • 16 levels of resistance (programmable)
  • 12 standard preset programs
  • 4 heart rate programs
  • 1 heart rate recovery program
  • Cooling fan
  • Reading rack
  • Uses AC power

This well-built machine is sold with a lifetime guarantee on the frame, two years of coverage for parts, and any labor costs for the first year.

Popular Opinion of the Ironman CDT

Fitness trainers aren’t easily convinced that new elliptical designs are worth trying. Even so, many have been pleasantly surprised by the feel of this center drive trainer. They’ve compared it favorably with a rear drive machine and sometimes even say that the Ironman CDT can better support a good posture. LifeCore, Quantum and a few other brands have now introduced center drive elliptical trainers too.

Customers rarely complain about Ironman ellipticals. Whichever model they choose, they get a lot for their money. This trainer is an especially popular model and consistently earns between four and five stars in customer reviews.

Our Overall Review of Ironman’s CDT

The Ironman CDT is the complete package. When we’ve had reservations about Ironman ellipticals before, it’s been due to the short stride. The CDT eliminates that problem by presenting a long stride that rivals rear drive machines costing plenty more. Now you can get Ironman’s durability and innovative resistance programming on a machine that fits almost anyone.

This trainer has been discontinued only because more advanced CDT models followed. This trainer remains an excellent bargain. If you’re interested in spending more to get high-tech features, you might prefer something like the Ironman Ascender. It has center drive technology and LCD television.

Ironman 420E Elliptical

Ironman 420E Elliptical – High Quality at a Low Price

The Ironman 420E elliptical trainer by Keys Fitness is a rare find: a high-quality trainer that sells for a low price. It has a smooth 16” stride, reverse motion for extra muscle sculpting, and a selection of heart rate workouts. Good indicators of the Ironman’s durability include the rear drive, a two-year parts warranty and positive customer reviews.

The 420E elliptical machine has been discontinued but you might find it online for less than $700.

Features of the Ironman Keys Fitness 420E Elliptical Trainer (Discontinued)

The 420E is an upgrade over Ironman’s 250E, a slightly cheaper machine, in two key areas: stride length and heart rate programs. It also provides additional exercise data. The specs include:

  • Rear drive
  • Upper body workout
  • 16 customized resistance levels
  • 16” stride
  • Reverse motion
  • LCD console  with 11 feedback settings
  • 7 standard workouts
  • 3 heart rate workouts
  • 1 user-designed program
  • Pulse grip heart monitor
  • Water bottle holder
  • Reading rack
  • Magnetic brake

This elliptical trainer doesn’t fold like ProForm SpaceSavers but is relatively compact. It takes up about 33” x 64” of floor space. Larger elliptical trainers are sometimes 20” longer.

If the precise size matters, please note that 33” x 64” is an estimate. Different but similar dimensions have been published for this model.

The 420E’s Popular Review

The vast majority of owners are satisfied with this product. Some especially like the option of customizing resistance levels. This feature lets them make small and steady improvements instead of having to jump between arbitrary levels. They also get three heart rate programs, a quality that’s hard to find on a $700 elliptical machine. Because such programming delivers especially efficient workouts, the 420E well worth its slight price increase over the 250E.

It’s worth noting that owners of the Ironman don’t complain about squeaky operation. People who try similarly-priced elliptical machines sometimes abandon them because of the noise.

Personal trainers who eschew cheaper Ironman crosstrainers have even given this model a seal of approval for shorter trainees. The 420E makes the cut by incorporating a longer stride for healthy low-impact workouts. It still isn’t right for taller people. They not only get a poor stride, they can barely see their program data because of the angle.

Our Thoughts about Ironman’s 420E Elliptical Trainer

Durability and a smooth ride make the 420E easy to recommend for most adults weighing up to 275 pounds. A two-year parts warranty is excellent for just $700 and shows the manufacturer’s confidence in this product.  An 18” stride would be preferable, especially for tall trainees, but this is one of the most ergonomically correct strides you can get for the money.

Need a longer stride? The Ironman 1840 sells for about $800. It has an 18” stride, 20 preset programs and a complete wireless telemetry setup.

Ironman 250E Elliptical

The low-priced Ironman 250E Elliptical by Keys Fitness has been discontinued but can be found online for about $600. It features a durable rear drive design, solid construction and a few perks that are unusual for low-priced crosstrainers.

This model is worth considering if you can accept a 14” stride. Otherwise, check out some of the newer Ironman crosstrainers with longer footpaths.

Features of the Ironman 250E Crosstrainer (Discontinued)

Specs on the 250E elliptical include:

  • Upper-body workout arms
  • 14” stride
  • Reverse motion
  • 16 programmable resistance levels
  • 12 preset programs
  • One pulse rate recovery program
  • One heart rate workout
  • Two-window LCD console
  • Rear flywheel
  • Magnetic brake
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, one year parts

The Specs Interpreted

The 250E is a noticeable upgrade over most of Ironman’s even cheaper crosstrainers. Though it still has a 14” stride, it has additional preset programs and double the resistance settings compared with models like the 130E. Its programmable resistance is a unique option that we haven’t seen during hundreds of elliptical reviews; most trainers just provide resistance in preset increments.

This model also

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has a rear flywheel. All things being equal, rear drive machines are more durable and more comfortable to use than are front drive machines. Still, this trainer doesn’t compare to a Precor or other Ironman ellipticals with longer strides.

A one-year parts warranty usually seems too cheap, but given this trainer’s reputation for durability it seems fair enough when product is sold at a discount.

Customer Reviews of the Ironman 250E Elliptical Trainer

Personal trainers like the option of personalizing resistance levels. This feature helps people make steady improvements every day instead of having to choose between a level that’s too easy or too challenging. Despite this praise, the machine’s short stride usually makes it a dealbreaker among professionals. They prefer strides of at least 18”. Adjustable strides and machines with inclines are even better because they can stimulate muscle fibers in different ways.

Customers are more open to the Ironman elliptical’s short stride. As long as they aren’t tall, they find it to be smooth despite its substandard length. Thus this machine can be considered a great stair-stepper that especially challenges the glutes and thigh muscles.

Our Overall Review of the Ironman 250E Elliptical Trainer

This trainer competes very well in the budget elliptical category. For the money, a customer gets a good deal of durability plus perks like programmable resistance and reverse motion. It’s unfortunate and kind of puzzling though that Keys Fitness would design an otherwise good-quality trainer while using a 14” stride. We can only recommend this as a budget buy for shorter adults or others who don’t mind actually getting a stairclimber instead of a long-glide elliptical trainer.

Other Ironman elliptical trainers have longer strides and still provide excellent value. One to check out is the Ironman 1840. It has an 18” stride, 20 preset programs, wireless heart rate monitoring and a better warranty than the Ironman 250E.

Ironman 130E Elliptical

Ironman 130E Elliptical – A Basic Trainer for Beginners

The 130E elliptical machine was once Ironman’s main entry-level offer. This manual elliptical trainer is compact, stripped-down and very inexpensive. It’s now discontinued but can be found for sale online. The MSRP is about $350.

Customers compromise on many features when they choose this trainer. Still, they get good value for their money – and that’s not easy to find at this price point. Other cheap ellipticals feel very awkward or break down more readily.

The Ironman 130E has light resistance but is very sturdy. Its stride is shorter than what you’d get with costlier crosstrainers but is much smoother than the strides on other cheap ellipticals.

Features of the Ironman 130E Elliptical Trainer (Discontinued)

While more expensive elliptical machines have inclines, advanced programming and music players, the front drive Ironman 130E provides just the basics. It’s solidly built

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and will likely last longer than other very inexpensive crosstrainers but the workouts won’t compare to what you’d get on a Precor (the industry leader) or costlier trainers in general.

The specs include:

  • Upper-Body Workout Bars
  • Grip Heart Rate Monitor
  • 14” Stride
  • Reverse Action
  • 8 Manual Resistance Levels
  • LCD with Scrolling Data
  • Battery-Powered Console
  • Transport Wheels
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame, 1 Year Parts & Electronics

The Specs Interpreted

  • This crosstrainer includes upper-body workout arms to potentially double your calorie expenditure.
  • As for the lower body workout, the 14” stride is rather short for most adults. A stride of 18” to 20” is recommended. That said, this machine has reverse stride motion to help tone the thighs.
  • Manual resistance isn’t as convenient as automatic resistance. With manual resistance, the trainee needs to turn a knob in order to adjust the intensity level. Automatic resistance lets a person get more varied workouts by altering resistance levels with buttons on the console or handlebars.
  • The Ironman elliptical’s battery-powered console can become expensive. If you’re not concerned about seeing exercise data every time you train, you can use this machine without consuming any outside electricity at all. The majority of elliptical trainers need to be plugged in.

Popular Opinion of the Ironman 130E

Since the 130E would never appear in a commercial fitness room, physical trainers generally aren’t familiar with this product. Most doubt that a sub-$1000 elliptical could provide effective cardio training that a person would enjoy enough to make habitual. Still, that could be commercial gym snobbery.

(Customers say that this machine provides a smooth ride and good stability. Some admit that they’d like to have more workout preset workouts available.)

Our Overall Review of the 130E Elliptical

The Ironman 130E is a beginner’s elliptical trainer. Signs that it’s an entry-level machine include the manual resistance, few resistance levels, a very basic LCD and a stride of just 14”. If you’re hoping to approximate the club experience you’ll be very disappointed, but this is one of the best choices among inexpensive elliptical trainers. It’s much more durable than similarly-priced competitors. Choose this trainer for relatively quiet operation and the smoothest short glide on the market.

Ironman Achiever Elliptical

Boasting an uncommon center-drive technology, the sturdy Ironman Achiever elliptical trainer positions trainees for comfortable cardio workouts. Rear-drive and front-drive elliptical machines, in contrast, sometimes require an uncomfortable balancing act.

With its 21” stride, this elliptical model is ideal for adults of average or above-average height. Other top features of the Achiever include heart rate control workouts, a body mass calculator and data storage for multiple users.

Note: Ironman elliptical trainers have been discontinued. This model and others manufactured since 2008 are not covered by factory warranties. However, reconditioned machines with limited warranties might be available online.

Top Selling Points of the Ironman Achiever

  • Center Drive: Ellipticals with center drives are relatively new and aren’t as common as those with front or rear drives. Center drive engineering is often preferred because it helps to position a trainee upright. Also, compared with rear drive ellipticals, center drive ellipticals generally require less floor space and are less likely to have mechanical problems.
  • Program Variety: This unit’s 18 preset program slots include 12 traditional workout programs with 16 intensity levels each, four heart rate control workout programs and one pulse recovery workout. The final slot can store a user-defined program.
  • Heart Rate Control: Heart rate control workouts help ensure that a trainee expends an appropriate amount of energy during each workout. Using wireless telemetry, the Ironman Achiever will increase or decrease its resistance to help a person exercise within their best heart rate zone.
  • Data Feedback: The easy-to-read LCD shows speed, time, distance, calories burned, resistance level, RPMs and heart rate. Up to nine user profiles can be stored.

More Great Features of the Ironman Achiever Elliptical Trainer:

  • 21″ stride
  • Forward and reverse pedaling
  • 16 resistance levels
  • Oversized pedals
  • Compact size (47” x 29.5” footprint)
  • Sturdy 227-pound frame
  • Transport wheels
  • Cooling fan
  • Magazine rack
  • 300-pound capacity

Any Drawbacks? Why Not to Buy the Ironman Achiever

Warranties matter when you’re making a major purchase. The Achiever was first distributed in 2008 just before Ironman filed for bankruptcy. Its parent company, Keys Fitness, then went out of business. The new owner of Ironman is Star Trac Fitness and it’s not covering warranties for Ironman products manufactured in 2008 or earlier. Replacement parts might be difficult to obtain.

Our Overall Review of the Achiever Elliptical Trainer

Though it’s been discontinued, the Ironman Achiever is

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a high-quality product. It has a heavy steel frame, sealed ball bearings, wireless heart rate monitoring, smart biomechanics and other marks of excellence. Even so, it’s difficult to recommend buying a discontinued fitness product. If you can receive this trainer as a generous hand-me-down or have the opportunity to buy it for a great bargain, go for it; unlike cheap ellipticals, it’s good for the body. Otherwise, check out other elliptical trainers that have center drives. The CD400 by LifeCore is a nice alternative to the Ironman Achiever.

Ironman Fusion Elliptical

The Ironman Fusion is a popular mid-priced home trainer. It boasts a stable steel frame, dual-wheel aluminum tracks for a smooth glide, and a 20” stride. However, it has a lesser warranty when compared with other Ironman ellipticals.

Elliptical Hits: What You Get with the Ironman

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  • Healthy stride The 20” stride provides a true elliptical motion.
  • Comfortable pedals – To promote comfort and safety, the Fusion has oversized, padded, anti-slip pedals.
  • Better stability – Weighing 182 pounds, the Ironman Fusion is very substantial and sturdy. It has a weight capacity of 300 pounds.
  • Heart rate monitoring – The Ironman Fusion includes grip pulse heart rate sensors. A pulse recovery system provides feedback about fitness after each workout.
  • Programs – Fifteen program modes combined with sixteen resistance levels provide a broad range of workout options.

Elliptical Misses: What You Don’t Get with the Ironman Fusion Elliptical

  • Poor warranty – Buyers get lifetime protection on the frame but just a year of protection on parts.
  • Extras – Audio systems, inclines, and other enhancements have become standard with other elliptical brands in this price category.

Overall Rating for the Ironman Fusion Elliptical Trainer

The Fusion has good ergonomics and an adequate variety of workout programs. It’s very similar to the Ironman Harmony, which has a 21” instead of a 20” stride. However, prospective buyers should check out more feature-rich machines from brands such as NordicTrack, Smooth, and Yowza.

Ironman 1850

Along with the Ironman 1860, the Ironman 1850 is one of the brand’s newest cross trainers. It has a 19” stride, which is one inch longer than that of the 1840. This mid-priced model boasts a stable steel frame, dual-wheel aluminum tracks for a smooth glide, and an adequate variety of workout programs. It also has a better warranty than some cheaper Ironman elliptical trainers.

Elliptical Hits: What You Get with the Ironman 1850

  • Healthy stride The 19” stride provides a true elliptical motion.
  • Comfortable pedals – To promote comfort and safety, the 1850 has oversized, padded, anti-slip pedals.
  • Better stability – At 157 pounds, the Ironman 1850 weighs more than double the cheaper 1811 and 1815 models, and it also has a bit more heft than the Ironman 1840. Its advertised weight limit is 300 pounds. Transport wheels are included.
  • Heart rate monitoring – The Ironman 1850 includes grip pulse heart rate sensors.
  • Programs – Twelve challenging built-in programs plus heart rate control, manual mode, and sixteen resistance levels provide adequate program variety for many users. After each workout, the pulse recovery system can be used to help ascertain cardiovascular fitness.
  • Above-average warranty – Buyers get 50 years of frame protection, a 5-year warranty on mechanical parts and electronics, and a year of labor.

Elliptical Misses: What You Don’t Get with the Ironman 1850 Elliptical

  • Articulating pedals – People who frequently work out with an elliptical will want articulating pedals, which rotate with the natural movement of the ankle. These can be found on brands such as Schwinn, Spirit, and Star Trac.
  • Extras – Audio systems, inclines, and other enhancements have become standard with other elliptical brands.

Overall Rating for the Ironman 1850 Elliptical Trainer

The 1850 has good ergonomics and an adequate variety of workout programs. Still, some users will be disappointed by this machine and even the next step up, the Ironman 1860. Machines that are feature-rich and thus provide more incentive to exercise are offered by brands such as NordicTrack, Smooth, and Yowza.

Ironman 1860

The Ironman 1860 Elliptical is the most advanced cross trainer from Ironman. It has a 19” stride, a sturdy steel frame, and a remarkably smooth glide. However, it’s barely an improvement over its lackluster predecessor, the 1850. Both machines have good basics but are low on extras that keep exercisers motivated. The 1860’s main upgrades are a larger console window and additional heart rate control programs.

Elliptical Hits: What You Get with the Ironman 1860

  • Healthy stride The 19” stride lets people make full elliptical motions, and aluminum rails with two wheels per side promote a smooth ride.
  • Comfortable pedals – To promote comfort and safety, the 1860 has padded, anti-slip pedals that fit shoes of all different sizes.
  • Sturdiness – Weighing nearly 160 pounds, the 1860 Elliptical has an advertised user capacity of 300 pounds.
  • Heart rate monitoring – The Ironman 1860 includes grip pulse heart rate sensors.
  • Programs – Sixteen resistance levels, twelve standard built-in programs, four heart rate control programs, and a manual mode provide variety in workout routines. After each workout, the pulse recovery system can be used to help ascertain cardiovascular fitness.
  • Above-average warranty – Buyers get 50 years of frame protection, a 5-year warranty on mechanical parts and electronics, and a year of labor.

Elliptical Misses: What You Don’t Get with the Ironman 1860 Elliptical

  • Articulating pedals – People who frequently work out with an elliptical will want articulating pedals, which rotate with the natural movement of the ankle. These can be found on brands such as Schwinn, Spirit, and Star Trac.
  • Extras – Audio systems, inclines, and other enhancements have become standard with Smooth Fitness, ProForm, and other elliptical brands.

Overall Rating for the Ironman 1860 Elliptical Trainer

Ironman ellipticals score high for ergonomics, but they’re no match for competitors in the same price class. For example, feature-rich machines with adjustable strides, built-in entertainment, and great program variety are offered by Smooth and ProForm.

Ironman Ellipticals

Ironman elliptical trainers are manufactured by Keys Fitness. In 2008, the Texas-based company filed a petition for Chapter 11 reorganization. Now the company seems to be making better ellipticals (the Ironman 1840) under new ownership. Still, considering the company’s shaky financial ground, it might not be wise to invest in an Ironman elliptical at this time.

Brand Features of Ironman Ellipticals

  • Low to medium price — Ironman trainers range from budget-priced to mid-priced. The brand’s budget ellipticals, especially the Ironman 1811, are cheaply constructed. The mid-priced machines (the 1840 and the Harmony) feature heavy steel construction and offer better value.

  • Various stride lengths Ironman ellipticals have stride lengths for just about everyone. Their 16” offering isn’t praiseworthy, but the Harmony has a generous 21” stride.
  • Comfortable pedals – The pedals on Ironman elliptical trainers are placed close together, which is better for people’s hips. Some models, like the Ironman 1840, have extra padding in the pedals for extra comfort.
  • Upper body exercise – Upper-body workout handles help people to exercise their arms and legs at the same time. Some models have heart rate sensors built into the handlebars.
  • Small footprint – Ironman cross trainers take up less space than ellipticals by most other brands.

Overall Rating for Ironman Ellipticals

Ironman offers some solid ellipticals such as the 1840 and the Ironman Harmony, but its machines don’t stand out or offer special value. Considering the company’s recent financial woes, people looking for mid-priced trainers should consider brands like ProForm, Schwinn, and NordicTrack instead.

Ironman 1840 Elliptical

The 1840 cross trainer is one of Ironman’s newest models. The mid-priced model features a heavy steel frame for stability, a special wheel tracking system for smoothness, and a good variety of workout programs. It also has a better warranty than some cheaper Ironman ellipticals.

Elliptical Hits: What You Get with the Ironman 1840

  • Healthy stride The 18” stride is ideal for many short to average-height users.

  • Cushioned pedals – Padded pedals provide extra comfort.

  • Better stability – The Ironman 1840 is an improvement over the lightweight (75 pound) 1811 and 1815 models. The machine weighs about 140 pounds. It probably doesn’t support a 300-pound user as advertised, but it’s sturdier than many other ellipticals in its price class.

  • Programs – Twenty built-in programs and 16 levels of resistance provide plenty of training options.
  • Upper body exercise – The machine’s well-placed moving handlebars score well on ergonomics.
  • Heart rate monitoring – The Ironman 1840 includes contact heart rate sensors and a wireless chest strap.
  • Good enough warranty – Buyers get 5 years on the frame, 2 years on mechanical parts and electronics, and a year of labor.

Elliptical Misses: What You Don’t Get

  • Articulating pedals – People who frequently work out with an elliptical will want articulating pedals, which rotate with the natural movement of the ankle. The Ironman 1840 doesn’t have especially ergonomic pedals, although they’re comfortably padded.

Overall Rating for the Ironman 1840 Elliptical

The 1840 can be expected to provide several years of dependable performance for a light to average-weight adult. It has good ergonomics and a variety of workout programs. This is a fine machine to buy on sale, but it lacks special appeal. Competitors such as NordicTrack might offer a better combination of price and features.