The Spirit XE850 Elliptical Review — Lackluster and Over Priced


The Treadmill Sensei is a bit tired today. You see, Mrs. Sensei and I went on a little trip down to Santa Barbara for a couple of days this week. And, as I’m sure most of you already know, I’m more tired after my “vacation” than I was when I left. The only highlight of the trip was me sneaking down to the business center at our hotel to post yesterday’s review. Hehehe…don’t tell Mrs. Sensei I snuck out to do some work on, as she calls it, “that silly website thing.”

I’m sure a lot of my readers know that I’m a big fan of certain high quality treadmill and elliptical manufacturers. Smooth, SportsArt, Matrix, Star Trac, Sole and Spirit. For the most part these companies all consistantly produce some very nice equipment…but every so often a turkey will slip in to the mix. To give you an example of a “turkey product” I want to go over the Spirit XE850 Elliptical.

The XE850 is Spirit’s sole entry into the light commercial arena with their equipment. In other words, this is the only unit they have enough confidence in to warranty for use in small gyms, apartment complexes and so on. They also pitch it as perfect for rehabilitation centers. Unfortunately, rehabilitation centers may be the only places who would see any benefit in picking up this uninspiring Spirit elliptical.

Now, uninspiring may be a bit harsh. You see, the Spirit XE850 Elliptical itself is just a tweaked version of the Spirit XE350 and XE550 Ellipticals. It’s got the same frame, same foodpads, same stride length and so on. As we all know, those two units are very well made machines. The problem with the Spirit XE850 is the upgrades (and downgrades in some instances) just aren’t enough to warrant the huge jump in price. As a consumer you’re really just paying for a commercial warranty you can’t even use.

Let’s talk about the upgrades on the Spirit XE850. The main differences are going to be a higher number of resistance levels – 40 levels instead of the 20 levels on the XE350 and XE550 ellipticals. And, speaking of resistance levels, the Spirit XE850 can be tweaked up to 200 levels of resistance. The XE850 is self generating instead of plug in. And, finally, the XE850 elliptical has a metal shroud on the back of the unit instead of the plastic cover on the XE550.

And that, my friends, is it for the fairly useless “upgrades” on the Spirit XE850 Elliptical. The downgrade is the lack of the adjustable foot pedals on the Spirit XE850 ellipticals. That’s right, one of the major selling points of the XE350 and XE550 ellipticals is gone. You’re unable to adjust your comfort level on the XE850 and that is a poor choice of features to drop, at least in this Sensei’s humble opinion.

Now, to be fair, the unit is still as smooth and solid as the other XE Ellipticals from Spirit. That is because is has the same basic frame, the same size flywheel, the same stride length, and most of the same features as the rest of the Spirit XE models. And therein lies the problems. It’s too much the same and not enough of an upgrade. I’d suggest checking out the Sole E55 instead so you can save yourself from spending more for a lesser machine.

Or, if you absolutely HAVE TO spend $1999, check out the Smooth CE7.4 elliptical instead. You won’t be disappointed.

For being a solid machine at much too high of a cost, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Spirit XE850 Elliptical 3 out of 5 Golden Buddahs.

UPDATE: Thankfully, this unit has been discontinued and is sold out.

The Spirit XE850 Elliptical gets 3 gold buddahs out of 5 for not having enough “bang” for the buck.

Find out more about the Spirit XE850.

Spirit Elliptical Trainer XE850 Specifications
Stride Length:
Max User Weight: 400 lbs.
Resistance Levels: 40 standard; modifiable to 200
Heart Rate Monitor: Pulse grip and wireless
Heart Rate Control: No
Programs: 6
Display: LED
Readouts: Time, distance, calories / weight / speed / rpm, level, laps, heart rate / age
Special Features: cushioned foot pedals
Adjustable Foot Pedals: No
Grade: Light commercial
Product Size: 78″ x 24″ x 68″
Product Weight: 203 lbs.
Flywheel: 30 lbs.
Parts Warranty: 5 years residential/ 3 years commercial
Labor Warranty: 2 years / 1 year commercial
Price: $1999