About Bowflex TreadClimber

By HighYa Research Team
Published on: Jun 2, 2014

If you’ve been searching for a cardio machine that can give you a better low-impact workout in half the time, the new Bowflex TreadClimber claims to fit the bill. This low-impact machine is claimed to combine all the benefits associated with treadmills, steppers, and elliptical machines, and to require only 30 minutes of your time, three days per week.

But with a relatively high price, is the Bowflex TreadClimber really worth your hard-earned money? Let’s exercise the facts and see what they have to say.

Bowflex TreadClimber Details

By providing an extremely effective workout while walking, the new Bowflex TreadClimber claims to help you burn fat and build endurance in as little as 6 weeks. In fact, the company claims that the TreadClimber is guaranteed to give you results in just 30 minutes per day, three times per week, or they’ll buy it back from you (see more about this in the Pricing section)

Overall, the Bowflex TreadClimber claims to combine 3 workouts in 1:

  • Moving belt provides the same forward motion as a treadmill.
  • Two platforms (one for each foot) move up and down like a stair climber.
  • Treadles rise to meet your feet, which mimic the motion of an elliptical machine.

By combining many of the benefits associated with a treadmill, a stepper, and an elliptical machine, the TreadClimber simultaneously works several areas of your body, including abs, calves, triceps, back, glutes, and legs. Also, it provides you with all the benefits of cardio training, including increased energy and bone density, higher levels of good cholesterol, and a boosted metabolism, all while reducing back pain. In addition, the low-impact nature of the TreadClimber’s exercise motion is claimed to be easier on your joints.

However, when compared to these other machines, the TreadClimber’s Step ‘N Go technology means that it is powered by your momentum, and does not require electricity. On top of this, the Bowflex TreadClimber is claimed to burn up to three times as many calories as a traditional treadmill, and up to 40% more calories than a stair climber.

With this in mind, the Bowflex TreadClimber comes in 3 different models:

  • TC5 – Features motor-free technology, a max speed of 4.5mph, and a 1-year whole machine warranty.
  • TC10 – Features everything found in the TC5, with the addition of an easy to read display, variable speeds, G.O. Coach technology, and a 2-year whole machine warranty.
  • TC20 – Features everything found in the TC10, with the addition of customizable programming, a larger display, five standard workouts and three “landmark” workouts, longer foot treadles, and a 3-year whole machine warranty.

With each TreadClimber purchase, you’ll also gain access to the Bowflex community, which features exercise programs and training advice.

Because of the Bowflex TreadClimber’s low-impact nature, the company claims that most individuals will be able to safely use it. However, the company also recommends checking with your physician prior to beginning any new workout regimen.

Bowflex TreadClimber Pricing & Refund Policy

Bowflex TreadClimbers are priced as follows:

  • TC5: $999
  • TC10: $2,199
  • TC20: $3,299

In addition to directly through Nautilus, the TreadClimber also appears to be available through Amazon.com.

If you’re nervous about assembling the Bowflex TreadClimber yourself, the company also offers an assembly service. While there were no prices listed for this on the company’s website, several online reviews claim that it costs around $250.

All Bowflex TreadClimbers come with a 6-week return policy, less shipping and handling charges. In order to begin the refund process, you’ll first need to contact customer service at (800) 605-3369 to obtain a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number.

What Do Other Consumers Have to Say About the Bowflex TreadClimber?

Similar to the Bowflex Max Trainer, the TreadClimber is manufactured by Nautilus, Inc. based out of Vancouver, WA. The company holds a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau, which is based on more than 70 closed complaints over the past three years. Most of these appear to reference long delivery times (often more than 6 weeks), defective products, and poor customer service.

Related: Peloton Bike Review

Outside of the BBB, customer satisfaction appears to be mixed, with the most common complaints citing difficult assembly, parts that wear out quickly (primarily the tread belts, which can become frayed if not adjusted properly), cheap construction (bolts not lining up properly, etc.), and poor customer support.

What’s the Bottom Line About the Bowflex TreadClimber?

Now that you know more about the Bowflex TreadClimber, should you spend your hard-earned money on it? Perhaps, but consider the following beforehand:

First, the TreadClimber is relatively large. Although it does appear to feature a small footprint, it doesn’t fold down for storage, but does include built-in transportation wheels for easy movement around the room. However, it is also fairly heavy, which might make moving it difficult, even with the built-in wheels.

Second, the Bowflex TreadClimber is only rated for individuals less than 300 pounds. In fact, the product’s website claims that the warranty is voided if anyone over 300 pounds uses it. As such, you may want to avoid the machine altogether if you’re nearing this weight.

Next, the biggest customer complaint we encountered during our research is that the treads wear out very quickly, and are not an inexpensive part to replace. On top of this, the TreadClimber must be almost completely disassembled in order to replace the treads, which can be a difficult and time consuming process. Speaking of which, a close second as far as frequency of complaints was that the TreadClimber is extraordinarily difficult to assemble, and that many of the parts appear to be cheaply made (e.g. bolts not lining up properly, etc.). In fact, we read several reviews that claimed Nautilus technicians even had difficulty assembling the TreadClimber.

Finally, if you’re dissatisfied with your Bowflex TreadClimber and decide to return it, keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for disassembly, repackaging all the parts, and then shipping it back to the company, which could be very expensive considering that the lightest model (TC5) weighs in at a hefty 163 pounds.

Bottom line: Even in the negative reviews, many customers claimed that they were very happy with previous Nautilus products, but that the Bowflex TreadClimber was simply a sub-par product that will leave you more frustrated than fit. As such, you may want to carefully weigh your options prior to purchasing.

Read 5 Bowflex TreadClimber Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 1.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 0 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  5
Bottom Line: 0% would recommend it to a friend
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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful


    • Indiana,
    • Aug 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am not new to the TreadClimber. I purchased my very first one in 2007. It was a great machine. I loved it.

    Now comes 2017 and it finally breaks down so I could not wait to purchase another one...not knowing they had changed the entire concept! First of all, you are on an incline the entire time you are walking, which makes it where you have to hold on, and I got calluses on my hand from constantly holding on. That is not the worst part.

    Within the first two weeks of ownership, the machine broke down on me. Thank goodness I purchased the five-year parts and labor warranty because I have had at least three repairs and the machine is not even one year old.

    Someone on Facebook got mad at me for voicing my opinion for this poorly made expensive machine. Buyers, please beware, and if you decide to purchase this expensive uncomfortable machine, please do yourself a huge favor and purchase the warranty or you'll be sorry. I wish I had known.

    They have a saying...if its' not broke, don't try to fix it. Well, Bowflex broke the TreadClimber.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Bowflex TreadClimber worked for three weeks

    • West Virginia,
    • Jul 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I bought a Bowflex TreadClimber in December of 2015, put it together for my wife, she used it twice, and it stopped working. I checked it out, but couldn't find the problem.

    I tried to contact Bowflex, but their phone number and website are set up for sales only. It has been sitting for a year and a half. They don't care if their products work apparently.

    I'll never buy Bowflex again. Its no wonder we must buy foreign products is it?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Don't buy it!!!

    My husband bought the treadclimber for us to use because it was advertised as being a good exercise machine for those of us with arthritis and other joint problems. Not true!

    The treadclimber is far worse for our arthritic joints than any other exercise machine that we ever used. I suppose that if you're already physically fit, you probably could burn a lot of calories on it. I can exercise on it for thirty minutes at level 1.5 and only burn 180-200 calories on it. My husband can't even last ten minutes. Definitely not for older folks or those who are really out of shape. It's almost impossible to accelerate to a 2.0 or more which is what is necessary to burn some serious calories.

    Also, after using our machine just a few times, the treads started wearing out. They were just being eaten up by the machine as we were using it. We called it into the service department and they sent us new treads for free and set up a date for their service guy to come and install them. When the guy came in to do the repairs, he told us that the company had installed the wrong treads for the machine, that's why they were falling apart.

    He said the service would cost me $180 to put the new ones on. We had only used the machine less than five times since we had it. But because we had it more than a month, we were told we had to pay for the belts to be installed. Since we didn't have the money, we didn't have the belts replaced. I don't think we should have had to pay anything for replacements because the company put the wrong ones on in the first place. Poor service!

    We still use our machine once in a blue moon with the old torn up treads still on it. The treads haven't broken through yet, but we don't use it as often as we thought we would. We really don't like this machine. We would definitely not recommend this to anyone. We definitely did not get our money's worth out of it. The interest was outrageous and it took us forever to pay it off.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Total waste of money

    • Issaquah, WA,
    • Aug 7, 2015

    I bought the Tc5 Treadclimber after reading a lot of positive reviews, the only negative reviews were regarding machine setup.

    I've used the machine three weeks in a row now, 30 minutes everyday, burning 200 calories at an average speed of two. I haven't lost anything at all, no weight and no measurement.

    First of all it's very hard to move the mechanical treadmills and the machine squeaks bad no matter what, but sadly it still didn't work for me. It is a very tough work out but it's fruitless.

    And when I tried returning my machine, the customer support doesn't even connect my line and keeps me on hold for hours, that sucks.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 11 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Don't buy TC5 Treadclimber from Bowflex

    • Leawood, KS,
    • Jul 15, 2015

    After putting this machine together, my husband spent hours trying to get the belts adjusted so they would not rub the sides but had no success. If we were to use this for very long it would have frayed and destroyed the belts, it was that bad. Plus, it made it more difficult to use.

    When calling the company, they gave me no attempt to help to solve the problem. They just gave me return information. When asking why I should be responsible for paying the shipping to and from for faulty material, I was told that it was "My Opinion" that it was faulty! I was told that several times. Plus the rep indicated that it was what I get for buying the cheaper model. Really. $999 is cheap? Well, I am posting "My Opinion" about this company every where and every chance I get. What a waste of time and $400.00 for shipping.

    I lived and learned to never buy equipment that you can't try out first and not have ALL return expenses paid if not satisfied. I will never purchase anything from Nautilus again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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