The LifeCore LC985Z Elliptical Review — As Exciting as a Sleeping Pill

At the Denver Fitness Expo earlier this month, the Treadmill Sensei saw a lot of treadmills and ellipticals he hasn’t gotten a chance to check out yet. Being at the show helps me to figure out what machines I absolutely need to check out before we post our Ichi-Ban Best Buy Awards later this year. What we’ll be doing over the next 2 months here at the DOJO is begging, borrowing and buying as many possible units as we can get to review. I’m hoping to have another 200 reviews done by the end of October! Of course, people say I’m crazy so we’ll see what happens.

**UPDATE** The LifeCore LC985Z elliptical is no longer available. You can check out the latest models for sale here: LifeCore Ellipticals

That brings us to the LifeCore LC 985Z Elliptical, a fairly by-the-book old school rear drive elliptical that we purchased about a month ago and has been sitting right outside of my office just waiting to be put together. And, starting with putting it together, the Lifecore LC985z was a very easy elliptical to assemble. Unlike a lot of ellipticals, the LC985z should take less than 30 minutes to put together.

That’s where the excitement ends on the Lifecore LC985z. From that point on it gets a little boring.

The real shame about the LC985z elliptical is that it has a lot going for it — 12 programs, heart rate monitoring and control, a decent sized flywheel and a pretty good warranty of 5 years on the parts. Unfortunately, the negatives are as great as the positives. The parts warranty is long but the labor warranty (just as important) comes in at a meager 1 year coverage. The unit itself is well made, but at under 100 pounds and with an approximately 15 pound flywheel, it just isn’t sturdy enough to hold up to other ellipticals at the just under $1000 price point. And that doesn’t even mention the very disappointing 17.5″ stride.

Actually, since we did mention the short stride on the LifeCore LC985z Elliptical I’d also like to mention that the elliptical motion of the machine makes it feel even shorter than that. When you are looking at ellipticals you want an elliptical motion that is more stretched out than shaped like a circle. In my testing the elliptical motion of the LC985z elliptical was more “D” shaped than elliptical and what that gives is a more unnatural and uncomfortable ride, especially when you take in to account the awful, non-articulating pedals of the LifeCore ellipticals in general. After doing 5 days of 45+ minute workouts on the LifeCore 985z elliptical, I don’t think my feel will ever wake up and stop tingling!

I just didn’t like the feel of the machine very much and, unless you’re an old Tunturi C6 owner and enjoy discomfort, neither will most people who check one out.

The LifeCore LC985z Elliptical isn’t a terrible machine and, in fact, has some nice features. They just aren’t enough to keep the LC985z from being a very average elliptical. For being average, the Treadmill Sensei gives the LifeCore LC985z Elliptical an average 2.5 out of 5 golden buddahs.

Another sturdy but unexciting unit from Lifecore, the LC985z Elliptical gets 2.5 gold buddahs out of 5.

LifeCore LC-985z Elliptical Specifications
Stride: 17.5″
Flywheel: 15lbs
Programs: 12
Resistance Levels: 16 Levels
Display: LED
Readouts: Date, Time, Pulse and Temp
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Max User Weight: 300lbs
Unit weight: 93lbs
Price: Under $1000