The Ironman 530e Elliptical Review – Decent for those on a budget under $800

About three weeks ago the DOJO received a shipment of 4 Ironman 530e Ellipticals bound for a local fire station. I was a bit surprised to see those units going to a non-residence because they are most definitely home units. Because the Treadmill Sensei worries about people too much, I called over to the fireman who ordered the units — he was the head of the station and his name was Ronald, so I’m going to call him Captain Ron. I love that movie and I don’t care what anyone says. Anyway, once I had informed Captain Ron that they were going to be receiving home grade units and not commercial or light commercial ones, he went back to his office to find out why they had been ordered.

The answer that came back was very interesting. The machines had been recommended by a number of the firemen who worked at the station because they owned them at home and thought they held up very well to their workouts. This intrigued me because I knew the Ironman 530e elliptical had a shorter stride of 17.5″ and Captain Ron mentioned all of the guys there were in excess of 6′ tall. I couldn’t imagine that the workout would be very comfortable to them, so I asked Captain Ron if I could borrow one of the 530e ellipticals for two weeks to do a review. After getting me to agree to do a free installation of the units once I was done, Captain Ron gave me the go ahead.

In additional to my normal review process, the things I was most interested in testing were the stability of the Ironman 530e Elliptical and the comfort of its stride for a taller person because the 4 units we had in the DOJO were going to be used fairly extensively by 200 pound, 6′ tall firemen. If the units didn’t hold up to us here in the shop then the Ironman 530e ellipticals definitely wouldn’t hold up to them.

An interesting aside: if you’re a single lady in the Burbank, California area then you should go and check out the firemen there. When I stopped by one of the firehouses there I was amazed to see a group of guys that looked like big, buff models who stepped right out of a photoshoot for a calendar! It was incredible. So, ladies, the firemen of Burbank are hunks and I’d recommend calling in for them to get your cat out of the tree sometime…you won’t be disappointed.

Back to the review!

Being just over 5’8″ I knew that I couldn’t be the one to test the ellipticals, even with a recent 7 pound weight gain that I’m in hot water about with Mrs. Sensei. I knew that I’d have to recruit both Hikaru and my son-in-law. Since I’m Hikaru’s boss I knew he’d be no trouble to get to “volunteer.” And, since Mrs. Sensei and I watch my beloved grandson every Thursday night so my daughter and son-law-law (who didn’t name their child after me) can have some “alone time,” I knew he’d jump at the chance. Well, I knew my daughter would make him jump at the chance.

These two big guys, both over 6′ and hefty in proportion, worked out for 30-45 minutes for 10 days over a two week period on the Ironman 530e Ellipticals, paying particular attention to the feel of the stride and the durablity of the machine. Amazingly enough, both 530e ellipticals they used stood up to the heavy duty testing. Hikaru mentioned that it was one of the sturdiest ellipticals he’d been on under the $1300 price point and that he didn’t mind the shorter stride because of the elongated elliptical motion the Ironman 530e possesses. For the laymen out there, an elongated elliptical stride is preferrable to a rounder or “D” shaped stride because it feels much more natural and has less of a bobbing motion or feel to it. If you’ve ever been on a bad elliptical then you know exactly what I mean about the bounciness of its workout.

Raymond (the son-in-law) thought it was a bit short for him at 6’3″. He did have a very interesting comment tho. He said that at his height it felt like a very smooth stepper and that might be why the firemen liked it. He also thought the wheels felt a bit less solid than the ones on the BladeZ elliptical he has at home. That’s not a bad thing because his unit costs around $1000 more than the $770 Ironman 530E Elliptical.

I worked out on one of the Ironman 530e Ellipticals for the last 2 days of testing in order to get a feel for the machine myself, and to show the two young punks that the “old man” could keep up with them. At my height, the 17.5″ stride felt surprisingly smooth and the pedal positioning was very very naturdal. Ironman did a great job with the design. I do wish it had articulating foot pedals, but at $770 it out performed most of the Schwinn and Spirit units that were under $1000.

As a budget elliptical priced at under $800, the Ironman 530e Elliptical is an excellent option. For being such a great budget buy, the Treadmill Sensei gives the 530e Elliptical 4 out of 5 golden buddahs.

The Ironman 530e is a great elliptical buy priced under $1000.

**UPDATE** The Ironman 530e is no longer available. You can get more information as well as discounts on the most popular Ironman Ellipticals at Amazon’s website.

Ironman 530e Elliptical Specifications
Stride: 17.5″
Flywheel: approximately 18lbs
Programs: 12
Resistance Levels: 16
Display: LCD
Readouts: Time, speed, distance, watts, RPM, calories, heart rate and calories
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Max User Weight: 300lbs
Unit Weight: 180lbs