Max Trainer M7: I Initially loved the M7 and was fit enough to immediately enjoy its 14 minute interval workout, along with increasing the resistance to level 6 within a month. However, I also developed problems with the balls of my feet as a result, due to the way the machine forces the user to put unnatural pressure onto this area of the foot. I do wear orthodics, but have never had an issue like this since I started wearing them over 10 years ago, unless I was, e.g., crouching down on the balls of my feet for an extended period to do something. I even purchased a new prescription pair of orthotics, with more cushioning for $375, just to make sure my older pair wasn't the issue. No help!
My Girlfriend started having knee & similar foot problems too, so it was definitely the machine. I never had problems on the Precor EFX 546 machine I owned previously, regardless of the incline, nor cycling or power walking. However, after using the M7 for a month, I even had pain in the arches of my feet while cycling. Very weird, so everyone should beware how it may affect you over time, especially with increased resistance.
Customer Service: As they say, you never really know someone until you break up with them. Clearly, Bowflex has no real respect for its customers, based on how they handle returns. Because of the issues described below, they literally tried to insist I had to leave the FedEx Office I was calling from, and transport the two (2) 100 lb. return boxes back home and up the stairs into my apt., then bring them back the next day. Why? Well, first, prior to purchase, they grossly underestimated return shipping at approx. $200, if I decided to return the item. (Note, this wouldn't even be an issue if they provided return shipping labels like many other large & small retailers alike.) From Los Angeles to Ohio, UPS wanted $463. Bowflex's carrier FedEx wanted $311. Since these prices were much greater than I was first told, I called Bowflex and asked if I could use their FedEx account to utilize their discounts, so as to match the $200 estimate they originally gave. They said that was impossible. After much insistence, they agreed to send me shipping labels for $199, but said it could take 24 hours to receive. They cared not that I was already at FedEx with the two 100 lb. boxes and stated repeatedly it was impossible to provide them any sooner. Undeterred from experience, I remained firm, telling them they'd better get an executive on the line with FedEx to facilitate it, if necessary, or they'd have a huge problem on their hands. I received the labels within 15 min. Amazing what "impossibilities" a merchant can really do when a customer insists on not being abused.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
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