The SportsArt E80 Elliptical Review — A step up in quality without the step up in price


The Treadmill Sensei has contacts and spies every where in the fitness industry. I get emails and calls from service techs working at various manufacturers, emails from other fitness writers and lots of emails from retailers and independent repair techs. One of the benefits of those contacts, aside from aiding me in benevolent world domination, is that I am able to get my hands on all sorts of equipment to try out and test. One of my minions came through for me superbly by rounding up a number of SportsArt treadmills and ellipticals from a very kind dealer out in Arizona. The only requirement was that I go out to meet the store owner in person and pick the units up. So, after a “quick” 7 hour drive out, we were able to pick up 4 SportsArt floor models for testing and review over the course of 2 weeks. The units had to be returned once we were finished and they couldn’t be damaged. Thankfully, SportsArt makes their equipment solid enough to endure 2 trips in a freight truck between states.

The first piece off the truck was the SportsArt E80…ok, it may not have been the first one off of the truck but, as the lightest of the line, I wanted to review it first. I don’t really know which unit came off the truck first because I made the younger Senseis unload it because I’m old and broken…and they are young and in need of getting broken.

The E80 was fully assembled so Hikaru and I did a quick breakdown of the machine. I passed assembly along to Mat to watch how someone of average mechanical ability handled putting the unit back together using the instructions. Re-Assembly went off without any major hitches and Mat had the thing back together in about 45 minutes with a little help. SportsArt did an excellent job with its instructions and putting an E80 elliptical together should be around an hour job for most people.

Once it was all back together, Hikaur, Mat and I took turns with 1 hour workouts each over the next 10 days. We all found the unit to be very solid and incredibly well constructed. In addition to a heavy duty frame, the SportsArt E80 elliptical also uses bearings in all of its joints and pivot points. Using steel bearings instead of cheaper, flimsier bushings (made of brass a lot of time) allows for much smoother and quieter workouts as well as extends the lifespan of the elliptical. Plus, you’ll have a much lower maintenance rate.

The thing about the SportsArt E80 elliptical that blew us all away was its “random” workout mode. The version in the E80 literally allows for thousands of possibilities in workout variety. Why this is good is because your muscles do become used to repitition in workout and using the same program over and over because less effective over time. If you step on the SportsArt E80 and hit “Random” every time, you’ll never have the same workout twice. Also, and this isn’t health related, having the ability to change up your workout is a great way to avoid boredome.

The only real downside any of us could find was in the lower number of resistance levels (16 would have allowed for a bit more workout control versus the 10 the E80 comes with) and the non-articulating footpedals. While the footpedals didn’t articulate with the elliptical’s motion, they were still comfortable enough for 30-45 minute workouts. Just make sure to vary your foot position while you are on it.

The best way to describe the SportsArt E80 Elliptical is as the fitness equivilent to a beginner’s Lexus or Mercedes. You get the finest design, components and manufacturing but you lose a few of the bells and whistles in exchange for an affordable price. You’ll notice an almost immediate different in smoothness, comfort and natural motion when you get on a SportsArt trainer versus an elliptical from any other home unit out there. The difference in quality is amazing. Even without the “bells and whistles,” the SportsArt E80 elliptical is a commercial quality unit for a very reasonable budget price.

While the SportsArt E80 is a very solid elliptical made up of high quality components, I would actually suggest upgrading to the E81 Elliptical for another $300. With that you get extra cushioning in your footpedals, additional programs including heart rate control options, as well as some additional feedback options. Even if you stick with it, the SportsArt E80 is an excellent introduction into the world of higher end fitness equipment.

For being SportsArt’s version of a “starter Lexus,” the Treadmill Sensei gives the SportsArt E80 4 out of 5 golden buddahs.

Another great quality unit from SportsArt, the SportsArt E80 Elliptical comes away with 4 gold buddahs.

SportsArt E80 Elliptical Specifications
Stride: 19″
Flywheel: approximately 22lbs
Display: LCD
Readouts: Workout level, strides per minute, time and calories
Programs: 5
Resistance: 10 levels
Heart Rate Monitor: No
Heart Rate Control: No
Max User Weight: 300lbs
Unit Weight: 165lbs
Price: Under $1500

-The Treadmill Sensei