I purchased the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 model just over a year ago and was happy with the cardio and the overall workout that I got from this machine.
I hurt my knee in an unrelated experience and couldn't use it for a while. Got back to the machine a few months ago and have had nothing but issues with it since. Loud screeching from the right side (when standing on the machine), a thud on the left side when the left foot pedal hits the bottom of the cycle.
A call into Customer Service and two hours later, we'd taken the unit apart only to find that I needed a gear puller. They ordered (at BowFlex's expense) for me.
This arrived a week or so later. We'd determined that there were bolts that were loose and needed to be tightened. So I tear down the machine to get to the gear. I get the bolts tightened and reassemble. Problem solved, or so I thought.
After a few hours of use, the problem returned so I tear it down again and tighten further but make sure that all is tight this time. I reassembled and used the machine for a few more hours until the machine sounds like it's going to fly apart.
This time it was my bad, bolt on the arm was not tightened enough last time. So far I have used it for two hours since this occurrence and it still shakes and squeaks when in use.
I think the premise for this machine is good but I've found too many similar issues from users all over North America. Sounds like a poor part design and/or poor assembly. It's disappointing as I've had my BowFlex PowerPro for over a decade with limited issues.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend