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Which is Best?
A lot of people wonder if they should get an elliptical with the flywheel in the front – or the back.
Front-placed flywheel crosstrainers are called “front-drive ellipticals” whereas those with the flywheel in the back are called “rear-drive ellipticals”.
So which is best?
Actually I don’t think that one is better than another – but there are benefits to each.
So it really depends on who you are and what you’re looking for. Here’s what you need to know about each.
A rear drive elliptical like the Nordictrack Spacesaver SE9i below has a lot of advantages. For example, this type of design gives you more of a flat elliptical pathway to run. So it mimics more of a running motion.
Contrast this with a Front Drive design which gives you more of a climbing elliptical pathway. Many people prefer a running motion over a climbing motion – so they prefer a rear-drive machine.
Another benefit to a rear drive layout is that you a more flexible design. So you can find a rear-drive machine that also folds up (you can’t do this with a front-drive.
This makes it a great choice if you have a smaller workout area. Or if you have a workout area that also doubles as something else – like an office or a living room.
Rear drive ellipticals that fold up include the Nordictrack SE7i and SE9i
As stated above, a front drive elliptical gives a more “climbing” elliptical pathway – so if that’s what you prefer, this may be the best choice for you.
Also, many higher end models use a front drive design, mainly because the placement of the flywheel in front acts as more of an anchor to the machine. So many people feel it gives a more stable elliptical overall (which is very important for heavy use.)
This is why you often see commercial grade elliptical trainers in the gym with a front-drive design.
Front drive trainers can also generally have heavier flywheels. A heavier flywheel gives you a smoother feeling transition – especially during resistance changes.
Nordictrack makes several front-drive ellipticals from starter to higher-end premium trainers.
So those are some things you need to know about whether you want an elliptical with the flywheel in front or back. Each has it’s benefits – so it’s really up to you and what you want.
Regardless of which you decide, remember to take your time, do your research and look at everything that makes a good elliptical like stride, incline, console features and more.