What Should You Look For In An Elliptical Flywheel
If you’re buying an elliptical, you may notice that a lot of sales literature tells you the weight of the flywheel (and some products hide it).
So you may be wondering, “What’s the deal about the flywheel?”
Well, here’s the bottom line: All else being equal, the heavier the flywheel the smoother the ride you’ll get. So that means the heavier the better.
Again, that is all else being equal. There are also design constraints and stride lengths that also effect how smooth a ride you’re going to get.
So for example, a shorter 17 inch stride when you’re over 6 feet tall will still feel a bit jumpy and uncomfortable – even if you have a heavier flywheel.
However for the most part, a heavier flywheel gives you a much smoother ride – without the jerky stops-and-starts you sometimes get with cheaper ellipticals.
A heavier flywheel is also good for another reason – it anchors your crosstrainer. A heavier anchor also gives you a more stable-feeling machine.
This is great especially for heavier users or very intense workouts. You don’t want to pick up your pace only to feel the machine rocking back and forth in the wind. So a larger, heavier flywheel is good in that sense as well.
Note that this logic doesn’t necessarily apply to center-drive ellipticals like the ACT since this design uses 2 smaller flywheels on either side of the pedals. In this case, the design of the elliptical itself helps to stabilize your trainer.
One thing I really like about Nordictrack ellipticals is that they’ve increased the weight of their flywheels over the years.
The average model has a 20 pound flywheel (with the heaviest being the Elite 12.7 with a 32 pound flywheel). Just to give you an idea, Horizon elliptical trainers – which are cost-comparable – usually carry around a 16 lb flywheel.
So these crosstrainers are on the high end in terms of flywheels.
Bottom Line? While the flywheel isn’t everything, it does count in how your elliptical stride feels an in terms of stability. Look for a heavier one especially if you’re planning on frequent every-day use of your crosstrainer.