The Branx Fitness Foldable ‘Elite Runner Pro’ Treadmill is one of the home treadmills that approaches professional standards. Most home treadmills don’t allow you to set them as fast as 23km per hour and very few offer much by way of incline settings, but the Branx ‘Elite Pro’ has 22 levels of incline to add challenge to your run (or walk). There are 19 programs and of course a ‘quick start’ feature that lets you control your own workout. Extras include built-in speakers and MP3 player port, a fan, and a clip on safety trip switch in case of accidents.
This is certainly one of the better home treadmills on the market today. It has a strong 3.5CHP motor and thanks to the extra speed and incline, you can get a really tough workout if that’s what you want from your treadmill. It weighs in at close to 100kg, so it’s not easy to move around, but the hydraulic folding systems makes it easy to fold away. You’ll still need a fair amount of space for it, though. The extras are nice, too. The fan isn’t that effective, but it helps to cool you off a bit.
An extra little touch, as well as the standard jack for plugging in MP3 players or phones, there’s also a USB port and a SD card port.
Once again, the Branx ‘Elite Runner Pro’ has an edge over most home treadmills. Just looking at the maximum use weight (160kg) is enough to tell you that this treadmill is way sturdier than average. The running deck is a comfortable size (140 x 52cm) making for a comfortable running space that will suit people of all heights, even those with particularly wide gates.
The warranty covers parts for 2 years and the frame for 5 years, but by the looks of the strong steel frame, no-one’s going to have any problems with that anyway. Still, it’s always encouraging to see that the manufacturers have enough confidence in their product to back it up with warranties.
Settings and action
Nowadays, one pretty much expects relatively quiet running and a nice smooth action, even from cheaper models, but the big advantage of the Branx is their approach to impact reduction. What they call a “Dual shock 10 point shock absorption system” adds up to a really comfortable running surface that’s gentle on knees and ankles – much better than standard shock absorption mechanisms. This makes it great for serious runners who want to train without putting strain in the joints as well as older people who are hoping to improve their fitness and mobility but need fairly low impact exercise.
The selection of 19 pre-programmed runs is extensive and the manual settings are easy to use and responsive. Incline of up to 22% and the availability of faster settings than those one usually sees on a home treadmill are a huge advantage for the Branx ‘Elite Runner Pro’ that will suit those with a preference for interval or high intensity training. I’m not a big incline runner, so I’ll admit I can’t say with certainty that 22% will be enough for everyone, but it’s sure as hell more than enough for me, and I’d imagine it’s more than enough for most.
The Branx Elite Runner Pro treadmill iss really stable, even at high speeds, and a heavyweight user won’t have to feel as if they’re about to run the machine to bits.
The whole user console is very well designed. The display is big and bright enough to read at a glance and gives you the usual speed, distance, incline, time and calories burned information.
The controls are an absolute doddle: straightforward, with nice, chunky shortcut buttons and the usual plus and minus buttons for incline and speed. The shortcut buttons don’t cover the full capabilities of the machine, but you can always hit the highest value quick setting and then boost it from there.
Setting it up
As previously mentioned, this is a heavy and sturdy item. It takes two people to get the assembly done and you should definitely assemble it where you want to use it to save you having to struggle with moving it about later. It seems that the Branx is looking for an edge on every one of our review categories and they manage to do it here too. The nice extra here is that the running area is pre-assembled, so you don’t have to bother with fitting and tensioning the belt.
However, there is one problem: the instructions are really difficult to follow and are clearly not written by an English speaker. Despite being entertaining, they aren’t very helpful. We understand that Branx is working on this issue, so if you get this treadmill you may get the updated version. However, this may not really be necessary. Assembly is actually quite logical, the diagrams are clear and you basically just have to screw the machine together. Expect to take 30 – 60 minutes on assembly depending on how handy you are and whether you have help.
This is a really good treadmill for home use. Sure, it’s not gym standard as such, but it comes pretty close and Branx have clearly made an effort to accommodate a good range of training styles and users. Tall or short, heavy or lightweight, fit or getting fit, young or old, interval or endurance, you’ll get a great workout using the Branx ‘Elite Runner Pro’. Well worth buying if you’re looking for a pretty serious piece of equipment.