Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
Excellent value at this price
on 17 May 2012
This review is about the new 2012 Kettler Rivo P Advantage which is slightly different from the one pictured here.
Having researched widely before purchase I can say from the outset that I'm very pleased with this elliptical trainer and feel that at this price it's a steal. I would thoroughly recommend it if this is the price bracket you're aiming at.
The machine arrived in a very large heavy box requiring handling by two people. It was very neat, compact and well packaged inside. Putting it all together looked daunting initially but I'm pretty sure I could now dismantle the whole thing and rebuild it in a fraction of the time. Unfortunately all the nuts, bolts and washers are in a single bag and checking these items against the provided parts list initially made me concerned that I had quite a few bits missing, till I realised that some small parts were already attached to the bulkier items! This rendered the exercise very confusing. In the end I just followed the diagrams and a couple of hours later I was done. I suppose once done that's it.
This is a solid well constructed elliptical weighing over 60kg. A couple of wheels on the front make shifting it easier but this beast has to live where it's used. It looks smart enough in the living room or bedroom as long as you've got room. It's a well designed machine. All joints glide beautifully and silently on double bearings and bolt-over plastic casings protect the inner workings. There was just one little issue that I happily managed to solve quite easily. The forward end of each foot rail has a welded U-shaped bracket that receives within it the lowermost end of the vertical oscillating handle bars. The fit looked a little loose to me but a small metal washer, (a few pennies worth), on either side of the bearings unit allowed me to tighten the through bolt more securely and remove any potential wobble. Shouldn't really have had to do that but I guess there was a very easy solution.
When complete the trainer just looks extremely well made and very stable. The flywheel weighs in at a hefty 14kg and the stride length is 40cm, which is pretty decent for an elliptical in this price range. I'm 5ft6in by the way. The foot rests can be adjusted forwards/backwards on the foot rail. The effect is not only to move you closer/further to the console to suit your taste but also to slightly alter the shape of the vertical ellipse your foot cycles through by making it narrower the further forward the foot rest is fixed. So what does it feel like? The motion is extremely quiet, fluid and natural with no jerkiness. Importantly the whole trainer is rock solid even on vigorous exercise. If it's moving about, it's your floor boards!
The console is an attractive blue monochrome affair and it displays RPM, speed, distance travelled, time elapsed, resistance level and energy consumption as well as heart rate when applicable. Unfortunately, the manual is poor. Even allowing for the autotranslation from the original German the format is odd and confusing. It took me a long time to work out the ins and outs of this well featured device. Again, I suppose you only need to do that once!
The trainer is powered by a wall plug mains adapter. Once switched on you can just climb onto the pedals and begin. This is the default Count Up program with time and distance counting upwards as you pedal. The large wheel in the middle of the console can be rotated to adjust the electromagnetic resistance from 1 to 16. I feel the range is likely to suit all fitness types and the transition from one level to the next is very smooth indeed. The second program is, unsurprisingly, Count Down. You can set the time, distance and/or the energy consumption and the set figure(s) will count down as you exercise.
Now a word about heart rate monitoring. As with most ellipticals, gripping the stationary handles over the metal electrodes will have your heart rate displayed on the console. You can input your age and have your heart rate displayed also as a percentage of your theoretical maximum. This can help you stay within certain heart rate training zones as you exercise: 65% of maximum for fat burning, 75% for fitness training or you can choose a percentage yourself. This trainer comes with a small infra red scanning clip for your ear lobe. Its cable plugs into the front of the console. I haven't been able to get it to give me a reliable reading though. Gripping the handles actually works quite well. However, a major feature of this trainer is that it has a built in Polar compatible receiver. If you are willing, as I was, to spend £20-25 on an analog, uncoded, Polar compatible chest strap heart rate transmitter(widely available) your heart rate can be monitored very accurately throughout your training by this machine. Believe me it is really worth the extra cost. Kettler, forget the ear clip. Just include a chest strap and you'll corner the market at this price range! Be advised that Digital and ANT chest straps won't work with this trainer.
The beauty of monitoring your heart rate is that the two programs I've already mentioned can be transformed into two heart rate controlled programs. In this mode the trainer automatically adjusts the resistance on the flywheel to keep you close to your target heart rate. This is an extremely useful feature that can inform and dramatically improve your training progress and is generally available only on more expensive trainers.
There are also six other programs (apart from the 4 already mentioned) each with a preset resistance profile including intervals. There are other trainers around with a greater variety but I'm not sure this would represent a significant advantage over this machine. Every profile on this trainer can have the overall resistance increased (at any point) by turning the console wheel so if you did need more variety it is not too difficult to obtain. Each profile is displayed in the centre of the screen. You can pick time or distance as the horizontal axis on which to see your progress through the profile. The new Rivo P Advantage has no user profiles.
When you finish your session pressing the recovery button will set off a timer and the rate at which your heart rate slows down over the ensuing 60secs is used to give you a calculated measure of your fitness from 1 to 6. Of course the machine needs to measure your heart rate. Not a problem if you are wearing the ear clip or a chest strap monitor. If not, all you need do is grip the stationary handle bars for the trainer to measure your pulse throughout the minute.
In summary this elliptical is superb value for money. We've had it a few weeks now and have used it every day. It feels like it's built to last and its elliptical action is very smooth. It does come with a 3yr Kettler guarantee. If you want something of the same quality as you'll find in a gym then you'll need to spend four times as much. For £300 I don't think I could have done better. Check what stride length you're happy with and if 40cm is fine for you then I cannot recommend this Kettler enough.