The SportsArt E81 Elliptical Review – Highest quality, low price, fantastic elliptical

Today’s review was actually written back in November when we received a number of SportsArt Fitness pieces in from a vendor in Arizona. The retailer was kind enough to let us borrow a few units for review since the Treadmill Sensei was having a bit of a difficult time in locating the ellipticals here locally.

SportsArt Fitness continues to be one of the leaders in quality and design for the fitness industry. It is fantastic to see SportsArt bringing that level of quality (normally found only in ellipticals priced in excess of $2500) to a more accessible price range.

If you are in the market for an elliptical in the under $2000 price range, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you aren’t taking a look at the SportsArt E81 and its little brother, the SportsArt E80. These two machines can best be described as the closest thing to a commercial elliptical feel in the price range.
As with the SportsArt E80, the E81 Elliptical was quick and easy to assemble — the unit we reviewed came in fully assembled, but we broke it down and I handed it off to Hikaru to put back together. Hikaru is pretty skilled at assembly, which only took him about 20 minutes. For those of you with more average mechanical abilities, figure on the SportsArt E81 going together in about 45 minutes with very little to no cursing involved.

The E81 seems to have the same heavy duty, well-constructed steel frame as the SportsArt E80 elliptical. It also uses all bearings in its joints and pivot points. This is a great upgrade over lesser quality machines from places like Spirit which use much flimsier and break-down prone brass bushings. The bearings will provide a much smoother, quieter and more natural feeling workout as well as extend the life of the elliptical by years over an elliptical with bushings.

It was great to see that SportsArt has upgraded the number of resistance levels in the E81 over the old E80, which only had 10 levels of resistance. This allows SportsArt E81 owners to better fine tune their workouts and maximizing their exercise time. All-in-all, the SportsArt E81 is a fantastic upgrade to the very solid SportsArt E80 elliptical, and is easily one of the best ellipticals priced at under $2000. I’d look for this unit to be a heavy contender for the best buy elliptical award in 2008.

For being a fine example of a great commercial quality elliptical at a budget price, the Treadmill Sensei gives the SportsArt E81 Elliptical 4.5 out of 5 golden buddahs.


SportsArt steps up their game with the new SportsArt E81 Elliptical.

A Best Buy Award Runner up for 2007/2008, the SportsArt E81 gets the Treadmill Sensei's highest recommendation for a top rated elliptical under $2000

SportsArt E81 Elliptical Specifications
Stride: 19″
Flywheel: Approximately 22lbs
Display: LCD
Display Readouts: Level, strides per minute, time, heart rate, total strides, watts, distance and calories
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Resistance Levels: 14
Programs: 8
Unit Weight: 170lbs
Max User Weight: 350lbs
Price: Under $1800

-The Treadmill Sensei