The LifeCore LC-21 Elliptical Review – Innovative doesn’t always mean Good

The Treadmill Sensei loves new and high tech gadgets. I’m a sucker for them. Here at the DOJO my office is covered in the things. Anything that is cool and unusual seems to wind up on my shelves or cluttering my desk. I especially love it when fitness manufacturers come out with some spiffy new technology or do something creative with a standard unit. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t,

The LifeCore LC21 Elliptical is a prime example of a company that went out of its way to be cutting edge and experimental, but who also failed to achieve what they had intended. The idea of using a smaller, secondary flywheel mounted on the larger flywheel in order to get a longer stride on a small unit is a good one. Unfortunately, the feel when you get on the LifeCore LC-21 just isn’t quite…right. Some just feels off about it. The elliptical motion isn’t as flattened or as smooth as it should be. I wouldn’t compare it the feel to that of a stepper but I will say that it isn’t as natural as a standard elliptical.

**UPDATE** The LifeCore LC-21 elliptical is no longer available. You can check out the latest models for sale here: LifeCore Ellipticals

On the plus side, the inner workings and components of the LifeCore LC21 are of some of the highest quality at this price point. Their use of sealed bearings in all of their pivot points instead of bushings is fantastic. It also had a large number of programs at 12 and included the option to create and save your own programs.

I had my partner, Mat, try out the LC21 Elliptical to get a second opinion. He said he felt more awarkward from the way the unit’s weight was distributed than from the strange elliptical motion of the pedals. He thought the very heavy weight almost directly under him interacting with the lightweight upright support in front seemed very unusal and unstable, at least for someone of his size, and that he felt like the console and handlebar were going to snap off when he used the static bars.

Lastly, neither of us liked the old school style static footpedals which can lead to numbness of feet and toes in longer workouts. As a bigger guy, Mat liked the width between the pedals, but I thought they were a bit too wide for anyone of average or shorter height.

That being said, if you are looking for a very solid elliptical with a shorter profile the LifeCore LC21 might be worth taking a look at. However, I’d suggest something like an Octane or SportsArt short profil unit instead. I’m just not sure an experimental unit is worth trying out at just under $1700.

For being creative but unfulfilling, the Treadmill Sensei gives the LifeCore LC21 Elliptical 2.5 out of 5 golden buddahs.

The LC21 gets 2.5 gold buddahs out of 5 for being unique…a little too unique.


The LifeCore LC21 Elliptical is interesting but unnatural.

LifeCore LC21 Elliptical Specifications
Stride: 21″
Flywheel: approximately 24lbs
Display: LCD
Programs: 12
Resistance: 16 Levels
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Max User Weight: 400lbs
Unit Weight: 175lbs
Price: Under $1700