The Ironman 600e Elliptical Review — A great elliptical with a lot of different names

Manufacturers do a lot of sneaky things in order to wrangle the dollars out of your wallet. One of the things they do is rename their product for different retailers so that you, the innocent consumer, cannot price match between vendors. TV manufacturers do it. Computer manufacturers do it. And, unfortunately, elliptical manufacturers do it.

One of the best feeling ellipticals priced at around $1100 is a victim of such clandestine dealers by its maker, Keys Fitness. The unit in question (and one owned by 3 different members here at the DOJO) is the Ironman 600e Elliptical from Keys.

If you’ve been researching elliptical trainers then you may have come across this great little machine under the names of the Ironman Evolution Elliptical (sold at places like Costco) or the Alliance A7E Elltiptical. In spite of color and name changes, these are all in fact the exact same machine.

Whatever name you want to call it the Ironman 600e is a sturdy, smooth moving machine based on the old Reebok Bodytrek technology which Keys has licensed from Reebok. Don’t let it’s faux stepper appearance fool you, the Ironman 600e elliptical has a fantastic 19 inch stride and is every bit a full size, natural feeling workout. The long 19 inch stride makes it one of the smoothest machines under about $2000.

Another great feature is the weight and sturdiness of the machine. These things are built well and are heavy enough for even larger people to work out on them without the machine shaking or feeling uneasy.

The other features include pulse grip heart rate monitor (but no integration with wireless heart rate monitors and no heart rate control programs), an easy to read 5 window LCD console, 16 levels of resistance and 6 workout programs.

In the course of our work repairing and servicing the Keys Ellipticals, we have found a couple of problems and both deal with damage done in shipping. First off, a large number of the units show up with the front wheels bent a bit. This is easily fixed with a new bolt and remounting the wheels, but it is an annoying problem that could be solved by better crating procedures at the manufacturer’s warehouse. The second problem, also from poor shipping methods, is cracked shrouds. From what I’ve seen around 50% of the Ironman 600e Ellipticals show up with some sort of damage done to the shrouds — anything from a small crack to a shroud being split in half. In Keys’ defense, they do replace damaged parts very quickly and their customer service is very helpful. It’s a pity their shipping department isn’t as competent.

In spite of the problems, if you’re looking for a great feeling elliptical, then you’re doing yourself a disservice by not checking out the Ironman 600e Elliptical..or the Alliance A7E elliptical…or the Ironman Evolution Elliptical..or the…well, you get my point. The Ironman 600e Elliptical is a great buy at around $1200 no matter what name it goes by.

UPDATE: This unit is now know as the Ironman EVO-1 Elliptica…I wish they’d make up their mind on the name!

The Treadmill Sensei gives the Ironman 600e and its other namesakes (the Ironman Evolution Elliptical and the A7E Elliptical by Alliance) 4 Golden Buddahs out of 5. Check it out already!

The 600e Elliptical by Ironman gets 4 out of 5 golden buddahs
By any name, the Sensei awards the Ironman 600e Elliptical from Keys Fitness a 4 out of 5.

Ironman 600e Elliptical Trainer Specifications
Transport Wheels: Yes, front-positioned
Frame Construction: Heavy gauge steel construction
Dual Action: Yes
Stride Length: 19″
Step Up Height: 10.5″ at lowest point
Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
Belt Drive: Poly V belt
Resistance Type: Magnetic
Resistance Levels: 16
Resistance Control: Manual, button adjusted
Heart Rate Monitoring: Yes, EKG grip pulse monitoring system
Programs: 6 preset; interval, hill, mountain, weight loss, random, and manual
Display Type: 5-window LCD display w/ matrix
Display Readouts: Time, speed, distance strides, calories, pulse, level, and watts
Power Requirements: AC Adaptor