LifeCore CD 550 Elliptical

LifeCore CD550 Elliptical Review – Center Drive & Long Adjustable Stride

LifeCore is a US-based company that always fares well in our elliptical reviews. The LifeCore CD550 elliptical is a center drive machine introduced for the 2012 model year. It boasts commercial components but is sized for residential use. Highlights include the comfortable center drive design, a 17”-25” stride and a touch screen.

This product has an MSRP of $2599 but is sold for less online. We like this product a lot, yet we only recommend buying the LifeCore CD550

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at a deep discount. For the full price (or less) you could find an elliptical trainer with even better features. One to check out: the Captiva Plus by Yowza Fitness.

Click here for a Special Offer on the LifeCore CD550 Elliptical

Elliptical Hits – Great Features of the LifeCore CD550 Elliptical

Why are center drive elliptical machines becoming more common? Compared with many rear and front drive ellipticals, they make it easier for a person to stay upright without grasping the handlebars. Center drive cross trainers also tend to require less floor space. This unit has a very small 42”L x 31”W footprint. Here are other specs we like:

  • 17”-25” stride to fit multiple users & target specific muscles groups
  • Stationary & moving handlebars for the option of a full-body workout
  • Weighs 263 pounds for excellent stability
  • 300 pound user weight capacity
  • Oversized cushioned pedals
  • Narrow pedal spacing for hip comfort
  • Low step-on height (8”)
  • 20 resistance levels
  • 12 program modes including Manual, Random, Hill, Glute Blaster, Interval Mountain, and Speed
  • Warranty: Five years of parts coverage, one year of in-home labor

Elliptical Misses

  • Manual adjustment: We’re crazy about ellipticals with adjustable strides, but it’s a bit inconvenient to manually adjust the stride on this unit. Other elliptical trainers in this price category have electronically adjustable strides. You can take multiple stride lengths in one workout without taking breaks to alter the machine.
  • Heart rate monitor: In our opinion, an elliptical trainer costing $2000 or more ought to include a full wireless telemetry system. With the LifeCore CD550 you’ll get the receiver but need to purchase a chest strap separately. Less accurate hand grip sensors are included.

Our Overall Review of the LifeCore CD550 Elliptical Trainer

In 2010 and 2011 we considered this unit’s predecessors to be best buys. The CD550 is also an excellent product, but it’s a bit behind the times. For a similar price you could buy an elliptical with electronic stride adjustment – and that takes workouts to a whole new level.

Another feature you’ll see

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from competitors is wireless heart monitoring that’s integrated with heart rate control programs. That is, some elliptical trainers adjust themselves constantly to help you work out at the best heart rate. The result is more efficient workouts for a better-looking body in less time! Check out the Yowza Captiva elliptical trainer before making a decision about the LifeCore CD550.

LifeCore CD450 Elliptical

A Compact Center Drive Elliptical Trainer

All new for 2012, the LifeCore CD450 Elliptical is marketed as a “next generation” fitness machine. Its touchscreen distinguishes it from the award-winning CD400, but what matters most is LifeCore’s unique center drive. The center drive makes it easy to maintain a healthy posture during workouts.

This elliptical machine is a cross trainer with moving handlebars, but the bars can be left stationary during warm-up, cool-down or your entire workout routine. The elliptical takes up little floor space (41″ x 31″), yet it has a full 21” stride! Its size and wide range of resistance levels make it appropriate for just about any trainee weighing 300 pounds or less.

We like LifeCore! This fitness equipment manufacturer is based in the US and provides customers with helpful, friendly and efficient customer service. Read on for the full specs list and links to low prices.

Features of the LifeCore CD450 Elliptical

As mentioned at the outset, the center drive distinguishes the CD450 elliptical from its competitors. Most other elliptical trainers have front or rear drives, and some of these require a balancing act. Nobody wants to feel physically unstable when they’re exercising.

With this unit you’ll also get a touchscreen display for easy access to programming. Choose from manual mode or 11 preset workouts. These include: Glute Blaster, Hill, Interval, Random, four Heart Rate Control and one HR Recovery programs. Programs can be used at 20 intensity levels. Other specs for the Lifecore LC-CD450 are:

  • 21” stride
  • Oversized 18.5” cushioned pedals
  • Narrow pedal spacing
  • Low step-on height (8”)
  • Stationary & moving handlebars
  • 20 resistance levels
  • 12 program modes
  • Two user profiles
  • Polar® wireless receiver (chest strap sold separately)
  • Contact heart rate sensors
  • Transport wheels
  • Magazine rack
  • Weighs 225 lbs.
  • Warranty: Five years parts, one year labor

The Word on the Street

LifeCore’s patented center drive technology is a hit among customers. Most people report choosing the machine for this unique construction. Proper body alignment isn’t a struggle like it can be with front and rear drive elliptical trainers. You won’t lean into the stationary bars for support or lean too far back and bring trouble. Enjoy a natural human gait!

Buyers also comment that this elliptical trainer, unlike some cheaper competitors, has virtually silent resistance. There’s no worry about annoying squeakiness thanks to high-quality engineering, sealed ball bearings, and other attention to detail.

Our Thoughts

We named this model’s predecessor, the LifeCore CD400, a Best Buy in 2010. The CD450 is following up as a class act. We like the 21” stride, the center drive and other aspects of this product’s ergonomics. Very small people might find that this machine is too big – but if you’re sized like the average adult, you may have just found your new favorite fitness machine.

LifeCore VST-V4 Elliptical

A Compact Trainer with an Extra-Long Stride

LifeCore touts its VST-V4 Elliptical as a “next generation” elliptical machine. VST stands for “variable stride,” and this machine provides an elliptical path of up to 24” long. At the same time, it requires just 54″ x 26″ of floor space. This unit is intended for home use and has a safety lock.

Featuring a generous stride, heart rate control programming and 16 resistance levels, this machine makes it easier than ever to get high-quality workouts. Burn plenty of calories, get great tone, and protect your joints from shock! The VST-V4 has fitness needs covered for adults of almost any height and weight. The maximum capacity is 325 pounds.

This unit has an MSRP of $1699. There’s a lot of competition in its price category. The VST-V4 is a good contender when it’s on sale, but we offer some alternatives at the end of this review.

Features of the LifeCore VST-V4 Elliptical

The VST-V4’s backlit console is loaded with 12 preset programs. Exercise data can be saved for up to four users. The full list of feature includes:

  • Safety lock to protect kids and pets
  • 2” pedal spacing for healthy hip placement
  • Cushioned pedals to promote endurance
  • 16 resistance levels
  • 12 preset programs
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Bottle holder
  • 320-lb. capacity
  • Compact size (54″L x 26″W)
  • Weighs a sturdy 209 pounds
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame, 5 Years Parts, 1 Year Labor

What We Don’t Like

The LifeCore VST-V4 has just an 18-pound flywheel. That’s a bit lighter than what we’d expect from an elliptical trainer in this price class, though it’s better than the 14-pound flywheels we’ve seen on some cheaper machines. Besides that, the stride isn’t adjustable in the way you might think; it doesn’t lock into place but instead varies with your output. Many people would prefer a more fixed elliptical path.

What Customers Say about the LifeCore VST-V4

Most buyers choose this model for the adjustable stride. They can definitely tell how the shorter stride targets the glutes, the mid-stride is great for thighs, and the long stride lengthens the calf muscles. Still, those who used to work out at commercial gyms can tell that the drive is lighter. This means that the motion’s not as smooth as that of other cross trainers. This matters especially to people who do a lot of interval training.

Our Overall Review of the LifeCore VST-V4

This LifeCore elliptical, like others from this brand, is a bit overpriced. Considering the many other options that are available, we advise you to keep shopping around unless you’ve found an exceptional deal. You’ll no doubt like the long stride, but you can get a smoother stride from someone else for the same price and possibly less.

The AFG 4.1AE is one of our favorite elliptical trainers. It has a 30-pound flywheel and can tilt to degrees that would challenge Spiderman. Some other fitness equipment brands that usually get highly favorable reviews are Sole, Precor and Yowza.

 

LifeCore VST-V6 Elliptical

A Compact Trainer with On-the-Go Stride Length Adjustment

LifeCore touts its front drive VST-V6 Elliptical as a “next generation” elliptical machine. VST stands for “variable stride” and this model provides an elliptical path of 18” to 26” long. At the same time, it requires just 54″ x 26″ of floor space and qualifies as a compact elliptical. This unit is designed for residential use and has a lock to protect children and pets.

The LifeCore VST-V6 has an MSRP of $2299. This places it in the middle to higher price range for residential cross trainers. There’s a lot of competition at this price point, but the variable stride and heart rate control programming make this machine quite attractive.

Features of the LifeCore VST-V6 Elliptical

The VST-V6’s main feature is that it’s akin to three exercise machines at once: the old-fashioned NordicTrack glider, a traditional elliptical trainer, and a steep stair-stepper. Simply adjust the stride length before a workout or even in the midst of a workout to focus on a specific muscle group.

The well-lit console is loaded with 12 workout programs. Exercise profiles can be saved for up to four users. The full list of feature includes:

  • Safety lock
  • 2” pedal spacing (Q-factor)
  • Adjustable stride for different heights & muscle targeting
  • Cushioned pedals to promote endurance
  • 12 preset programs including five with heart rate control
  • 16 intensity levels
  • Contact and wireless heart rate monitors (wireless strap not included)
  • Low step-on height (8”)
  • Drink holder
  • Compact size (54″L x 26″W)
  • Weighs a sturdy 209 pounds
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, five years parts, 1 year labor

What We Don’t Like

Like its cheaper sibling the VST-V4, the LifeCore VST-V6 has just an 18-pound flywheel. If you’re open to spending more than $2000 on a cross trainer like this one, you should definitely treat to yourself to a heavier drive. Heavier drives mean smoother workouts.

Our Overall Review of the LifeCore VST-V6

This elliptical trainer, like others from Lifecore, is overpriced by a few hundred dollars at least. Considering the many elliptical brands that cater to residential gym owners, it’s a good idea to keep shopping around. You can find another elliptical trainer with a heavier drive and variable stride too. Here are a few suggestions:

  • The Schwinn 460 is a good buy in our review. It lets you adjust the stride in two-inch increments from 2” to 26”.
  • Even better is the NordicTrack FreeStrider 35S. As the name suggests, it extends up to a 35” footpath.
  • A third one to check out is the Vision S7100 elliptical with 20” to 21” variable stride. Because of its incline, the Vision S7100 can also be used with a shorter footpath.

Finally, people who are attracted to the VST-V6 tend to like Cybex Arc Trainers. Arc Trainers don’t have variable stride, but the resistance levels definitely mimic the variable stride effect. Plus, Arc Trainers can be even lower resistance than standard elliptical trainers, which means that you’re less exhausted after burning the same amount of calories.

LifeCore VST-V8 Elliptical

LifeCore VST-V8 Elliptical with On-the-Go Stride Length Adjustment

The LifeCore VST-V8 Elliptical is advertised as a “next generation” machine. It’s LifeCore’s first high-end trainer and engineers clearly welcomed the opportunity to add great features. An adjustable 18” to 26” stride length is what catches everyone’s attention. Joined by heart rate control programming and 16 resistance levels, the adjustable stride makes it easy to step, walk and run your way to fitness without putting heavy stress on your body.

The size and resistance of this trainer make it appropriate for beginning to somewhat advanced trainees of virtually any adult height. Its weight capacity is 300 pounds.

We sum up the VST-V8 as a very well-equipped but overpriced elliptical trainer. The MSRP is $2999 and we haven’t seen this trainer sell for much

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Features of the LifeCore VST-V8 Elliptical

The VST-V8’s backlit console gives access to 12 preset programs. These don’t have descriptive names (just “#01” to “#12”) but they’re akin to programs typically named Rolling Hills, Intervals, and Mountain Climb.

Additionally, trainees get four heart rate control workouts that support various exertion levels (55%, 75%, 90% and user-set). Personal trainers generally advise training at 60% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. The LifeCore elliptical’s computer determines your max heart by subtracting your age from 220.

Trainees also get a constant watt program, manual mode, and customizable courses. The full list of feature includes:

  • 18″ – 26″ Adjustable Stride
  • 2” Pedal Spacing
  • Cushioned Pedals
  • 16 Resistance Levels
  • 18-Pound Flywheel
  • 12 Standard Preset Programs
  • 4 Heart Rate Control Workouts
  • Safety Lock
  • Bottle Holder
  • Transport Wheels
  • 300-Lb. Capacity
  • Compact Size (56″L x 34″W x 65″H)
  • Weighs 238 Pounds
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame, 5 Years Parts, 1 Year Labor

What Customers Say about the LifeCore VST-V8

Most buyers report choosing this model for the stride. They find the stride and resistance to be very smooth, they like the cushioned pedals, and they appreciate how On-the-Go stride adjustment lets them make changes during a workout. (Long strides are used to simulate running and walking. Short strides help target the thighs.)

Although the resistance won’t challenge a big-time athlete, it’s enough for most fitness enthusiasts and especially when dynamic strides are used.

Our Overall Review of the LifeCore VST-V8

We said it above and we’ll say it again: This LifeCore elliptical is overpriced. Many personal trainers and professional reviewers have questioned why LifeCore ventured into this price level when the area is already well-covered. If you’re willing to spend $3000, check out other brands to get even better features. Precor, the brand that invented elliptical trainers, is always a good starting place. They have cheaper ellipticals too, if that’s your interest. In the $3000 category we also like elliptical trainers by Smooth, Cybex and True.

LifeCORE LC985VG Elliptical

The Lifecore LC985VG elliptical rates as a best buy among lower to mid-priced elliptical trainers. It’s compact, sturdy for lightweight users, and made of durable parts that have a 5-year warranty. This elliptical’s basic console displays speed, calories expended, distance, and heart rate.

Elliptical Hits: Features of the Lifecore 985VG Cross Trainer Elliptical

  • Compact size – This 125-pound elliptical has a small footprint: it’s just 51” long and 23” wide. It also has wheels for easy transport.
  • Adjustable pedals The slip-resistant pedals adjust to accommodate different foot sizes.
  • Variety of programs – The LC985VG includes 12 preset programs, four of which include heart rate training. That’s pretty good variety considering this trainer’s low price.
  • Movable handlebars – The moving handlebars give users the option of a full-body workout.
  • High quality components – A heavy 25-pound flywheel and a well-made drive belt help make this a durable machine.
  • Good warranty – With 5 years of free replacement and a year of labor, the 985VG is likely to provide many years of hassle-free use.

Elliptical Misses: Why to Consider the Alternatives

  • Weight capacity — The compact size of this elliptical is a plus for people with limited workout space, but it also makes it hard to believe that the machine’s advertised 300-pound capacity is accurate.
  • Shorter stride – With this cross trainer, Lifecore offers just a 17.5” stride. When combined with the probably low weight capacity, that makes this machine fine for small users but maybe not the best choice for others.

Overall Rating for the Lifecore LC985VG Elliptical

The LC985VG elliptical is an above-average trainer for its price class. Because of its shorter stride and light weight, it’s recommended for smaller people but not those weighing more than 150 pounds. The LC990 weighs a bit more and has a higher user weight capacity.

LifeCORE LC980 Elliptical

The Lifecore LC-980 elliptical is a pretty good deal for very small exercisers – but unless you have a very short stride or are looking for a stair-climbing sensation, treat yourself to a machine with a longer stride. The LC-980 has a 16.5” stride, 16 resistance levels, and 12 preset programs.  It’s made of durable parts that have a 5-year warranty.

Elliptical Hits: Nice Features of the Lifecore LC980 Cross Trainer

  • Compact size – This 110-pound elliptical has a small footprint: it’s just 51” long and 23” wide. Upgrades to this model, including the LC985 and LC990, have the same dimensions but weigh more for added stability.
  • Adjustable pedals The slip-resistant pedals adjust to accommodate different foot sizes.
  • Variety of programs – The 980 includes 12 preset programs, four of which include heart rate training. That’s pretty good variety considering this trainer’s low price. It also features 16 levels of resistance.
  • Movable handlebars – The moving handlebars give users the option of a full-body workout.
  • OK warranty – With 5 years of free replacement parts and a year of labor, the Lifecore 980 is pretty well-protected for a budget elliptical. However, most ellipticals are sold with much longer warranties on the frames. Customers exchange the convenience of a lightweight machine for the extra durability of a steel-framed elliptical.

Elliptical Misses: Why to Consider the Alternatives

  • Weight capacity — The compact size of this elliptical is a plus for people with limited workout space, but it also makes it hard to believe that the machine’s advertised 300-pound capacity is accurate.
  • Shorter stride – With this cross trainer, Lifecore offers just a 17.5” stride. When combined with the probably low weight capacity, the LC-980 is fine for small users but may not be the best choice for others.

Overall Rating for the Lifecore LC980VG Elliptical

The LC980VG elliptical isn’t a standout; it’s very lightweight and has a short fixed stride. For a better value from Lifecore, check out the LC990; it weighs a bit more and has a higher user weight capacity. Additionally, see the ProForm 1050E for features including iFit programming, an adjustable stride, and a steep incline.

LifeCORE CD400

The CD400 elliptical isn’t Lifecore Fitness’s top trainer, but it compares well with the premium CD700. Like other Lifecore ellipticals, it’s a remarkably compact machine but has a generous 21” stride and a high weight capacity.

Elliptical Hits: Features of the Lifecore CD400

  • Compact size – This elliptical has a small footprint: it’s just 42” long and 31” wide.
  • Long stride Despite its overall compact size, the CD400 has a generous 21” stride.
  • Oversized foot pedals – Oversized, cushioned pedals promote comfort during long workouts.
  • High quality components – The CD400’s frame is made of heavy metal, not plastic. The machine has commercial-quality internal parts such as coated ball bearings and a magnetic resistance system.
  • Variety of programs – The CD400 doesn’t have many preset programs, but they provide a lot of variety and can be used in conjunction with the contact heart rate grips. Examples include a glute buster, a lap counter, and heart rate interval training. There’s also space to store user-designed programs and two user profiles.
  • Good warranty – With 5 years on parts and a year of labor, the CD400 is well-protected in case of breakdowns.
  • High capacity – This cross trainer weighs 226 pounds and has a high user weight capacity.

Overall Rating for the Lifecore CD400 Elliptical

The CD400 elliptical is an above-average trainer with a long stride, great ergonomics, and a compact size. The five-year warranty works out well for this durable machine. The next step up, the Lifecore CD500, has an adjustable stride to help users target different muscle groups.

LifeCORE LC2000 Elliptical

The LC2000 elliptical is made by Lifecore Fitness of Vista, California. This older Lifecore elliptical model is known for being simple and solid and requiring little maintenance. However, it fails to stand out against the competition. The main appeal of the LC2000 is its compact size.

Elliptical Hits: Nice Features of the Lifecore LC2000

 

  • Compact size – This elliptical has a small footprint and is advertised as “ultra compact.”

 

  • Long stride Despite its overall compact size, the LC2000 has a long 20” stride.

 

  • High quality components – The LC2000’s frame is made of heavy metal, not plastic, and the machine has high quality internal parts such as coated ball bearings.

 

  • Easy maintenance Lifecore ellipticals have been assembled for easy maintenance by the home user. Thus “regular people” can easily tell how to fix glitches and avoid service calls.

 

  • Adjustable foot pedals – Adjustable pedals promote comfort and allow users to alter their elliptical motion.
  • OK warranty – With 7 years on parts and a year of labor, customers are fairly well protected against breakdowns.
  • Moderate number of programs – The Lifecore 2000 has 12 pre-set programs and 16 levels of resistance.

 

  • Capacity – The cross trainer is labeled with a user capacity of 400 pounds. However, some reports suggest that a lower number such as 300 would be more accurate.

Elliptical Misses

 

  • Price – The Lifecore 2000 trainer is relatively inexpensive, but other brands tend to offer ellipticals with lower prices and additional features.

Overall Rating for the Lifecore Elliptical

 

The Lifecore LC2000 elliptical doesn’t stand out against other brands except for its compact size. Smooth, Sole, and ProForm are some brands that offer better features in the same price range. Newer Lifecore ellipticals, such as the CD700, also have more appeal.

LifeCORE LC990 Elliptical

The LC990 elliptical is made by Lifecore Fitness of Vista, California. This older Lifecore elliptical model is known for being a simple, solid trainer that requires little maintenance. However, it doesn’t stand out from the competition.

Features of the Lifecore LC990

 

  • Compact size – This elliptical has a small footprint of 51”x23”.

 

  • High quality components – The LC990’s frame is made of heavy metal, not plastic, and has high quality parts such as coated bearings on the inside too.

 

  • Easy maintenance — The parts have been assembled for easy maintenance by the home user. Thus “regular people” can easily tell how to fix glitches, so service calls aren’t needed. 

 

  • Excellent stride Lifecore ellipticals have stride lengths for just about everyone. The LC990 is ideal for shorter users.

 

  • Adjustable foot pedals – Adjustable pedals promote comfort and allow users to alter their elliptical motion.
  • OK warranty – With 5-7 years on parts and a year of labor, Lifecore elliptical customers are fairly well protected against breakdowns. Additionally, the machines are designed for easy at-home repair.
  • Moderate number of programs – The Lifecore 990 has 12 preset programs. These include heart rate programs that adjust the machine’s resistance in accordance with data about the user’s pulse.

Elliptical Misses

 

  • Resistance – Whereas many ellipticals have 20 levels of resistance, the LC990 has only 12 levels.

 

  • Capacity – The cross trainer is labeled with a user capacity of 350 pounds, but this seems generous. Heavier customers have reported that the LC990 is unsteady.

Overall Rating for the Lifecore Elliptical

 

The Lifecore LC990 elliptical doesn’t stand out against other brands. Smooth Fitness, Sole Fitness, and ProForm are some brands that offer more value for a similar price.