Merit 715E Elliptical
Basic & Inexpensive: The Merit 715E Elliptical Trainer
The Merit 715E elliptical trainer is advertised as being “EZ” for one person to assemble. While that may be true, it’s because there’s not much involved in this entry-level trainer. Still, it’s one of the better options among very low-cost cross trainers. It might satisfy a lightweight customer who wants to get light or moderate elliptical exercise at home. The Merit elliptical sells for about $350.
What You Get on a Merit 715E Crosstrainer
Two LCD windows can show time, speed, distance and calories burned. Since the console is powered by batteries, no power outlet is needed. The trade-off is you’ll quickly run through packs of AA Energizers.
Other features of the Merit 715E trainer include:
- 16″ Stride Length
- 8 Resistance Levels
- 10-lb Drive
- 6.9″ Pedal Spacing
- Upper-Body Workout Bars
- Thumb Pulse Sensors
- Pivoting Footpads
- 275-lb. User Capacity
- Warranty: 5 years frame, 3 years brake, 90 days parts & labor
What Do These Specs Mean?
Overall the specs aren’t very encouraging. Nonetheless they make this elliptical better than other ultra-cheap fitness machines. Here’s our interpretation:
- The 16” stride means that this machine is best for small or average-height adults. The stride is better than that of cheap competitors but poorer than that on most mid-priced and club-quality trainers.
- The very light drive or flywheel means that the customer shouldn’t expect much resistance. Also, the flywheel and upper-body workout bars don’t provide much resistance. This cross trainer is very much intended for beginners.
- The 6.9” pedal spacing is an indicator of OK biomechanics; it’s reasonably narrow although narrower would be better. Pivoting footpads are a nice touch. These let people’s ankles rotate naturally, thus helping to prevent strain and “sleepy foot syndrome.”
- The thumb pulse sensor isn’t so grand. Taking your pulse manually would be just as convenient and possibly more accurate. The best heart rate monitors are POLAR wireless.
- Finally, the weight capacity should be disregarded. Instead of carrying 175 pounds at most, this unit can probably accommodate just 170 pounds safely. This machine only weighs 103 pounds. It weighs more than other cheap elliptical trainers but is still too light for heavier users.
Our Overall Review of the Merit 715E Elliptical
The Merit 715E is very inexpensive but better than its cheap competitors. You can’t expect to ride it hard, but if you’re not so heavy it will be sturdy during somewhat vigorous workouts. It won’t last nearly as long as a more expensive elliptical but could give you about two years of moderate use. If you don’t expect much from this unit, you might be satisfied. If you expect to experience something like a club-quality workout, you’ll regret your purchase.
Very few ellipticals can seriously compete at this low price point. A few models worth seeing for comparison are the Schwinn A40, the Horizon EX-57 and the Proform 6.0ZE.