The Reebok RL 900 Elliptical Review — Precor workouts on a budget

As anyone who reads the reviews I post knows, the Treadmill Sensei is a big fan of Precor and their excellent elliptical trainers. Precor has done a great job with their quality and engineering. Unfortunately for most home users the high cost of even the “residential” Precor ellipticals is a bit prohibitive. Luckily, although Precor still owns the patent on “ramp technology” they have licensed it for use on a few non-Precor ellipticals.

The Reebok RL 900 (RL900) Elliptical is one of the few units to have access to Precor’s incline ramp feature which lets you change the amount of incline of your pedals to increase your workout. The Reebox RL 900 does give you a number of the features of a higher priced Precor elliptical, but be wary due to the product being manufactured by Icon Fitness. Icon is known for cutting corners on a lot of its manufacturing and their units generally aren’t of the highest quality. However, they’ve done a pretty decent job with the Reebok RL 900 Elliptical. Let’s go over some of the elliptical’s specs.

The main (and really only) reason to check out the Reebok RL 900 is the power incline ramp feature. The ramp adjusts from 10-30% giving you a much tougher workout than on a standard elliptical. This is a great feature and Icon licensed the technology directly from Precor. Now, incline isn’t the same as resistance, but when you’re able to deal with incline AND resistance you’ll definitely feel a lot more of the burn.

One of the things that I like about Reebok RL 900 over most of the lower quality units Icon puts out is the solid feel of the machine. It is rated for users up to 350 pounds and is definitely one of the sturdier-built Reebok/Icon ellipticals. The Reebok RL 900 itself weights about 260 pounds and it makes the Sensei happy that this Icon elliptical isn’t as flimsy as most of the others.

UPDATE: The Reebok RL 900 has been discontinued and replaced with the 910 elliptical. You can check it out on sale here.

The unit comes with a nice large monitor, workout fans, 12 workout programs, easy access incline and resistance controls and pulse grip handles.

The bad side about the unit still goes back to Icon’s lack of quality control. From experience I’ve seen a lot of these units ship with bad control boards and bad incline motors. Icon will replace these parts on the Reebok RL 900, which is cool, but the added inconvenience can be annoying.

The other downside of the Reebok RL 900 is putting them together. We work on probably a hundred ellipticals a month or more and the Reebok incline ramp units are some of the toughests. Be prepared for 2-3 hours of work to get one together so make sure to have some alcohol on hand to take the edge off (I’m kidding about the alocohol, of course).

Now, one of the things I want to talk about in regards to this unit is how it compares to a Precor 546 (or any other Precor elliptical): it really doen’t. The workouts are going to be similar and the Reebok RL 900 ellipticals are actually very smooth for a home grade unit, but it just won’t stack up to a Precor. It’s sort of like comparing a Saturn to a BMW. Both are good brands when you drive a BMW you know you’re not driving a Saturn. However, at the $899 price of the Reebok RL 900, if you’re on a budget and want a Precor style workout, then this machine will be perfect for you. Just make sure to keep up the maintenance on the machines so they last.

For once, Icon Fitness has done a good job with a unit in the Reebok RL 900. If you want that Precor 546 workout but are on a bit of a budget then the Reebok RL 900 Elliptical may work well for you. The Treadmill Sensei gives the RL 900 Elliptical from Reebok 3.5 out of 5 Golden Buddahs.

Reebok® RL 900 Elliptical Specifications:
Quick Resistance™
Quick Incline™ 10-30%
Dual CoolAire™ Fans
One Year Motor, Parts and Labor Warranty® Compatible
12 Built-in Workouts
350-lb. User Capacity
Pulse Grip Heart Rate Monitor
18” Stride Length Cost: $899-999