The Precor EFX 5.31 is essentially the EFX 5.33 (Est. $4,500) but with stationary handles. It has the same sturdy build and solid motion that established Precor as arguably the most trusted name in the elliptical trainer industry.
All the performance minus the handles. The Precor EFX 5.31 has a large footprint of 84-by-31-inches that provides a stable exercise platform and accommodates users of up 350 pounds. Experts say the stride is silky smooth and whisper-quiet, and stride length can be adjusted between 21 and 23 inches. This elliptical lacks handlebars, but if this is a feature you want, look to the EFX 5.33 (Est. $4,500).
The EFX 5.31 has a 15-to-30-degree incline, which is a much shorter range than other high-end ellipticals. The incline is controlled via the CrossRamp, which is patented by Precor and often imitated by other brands. One reviewer says taller users may feel like they're leaning forward.
Tedious start. The EFX 5.31's CrossRamp and resistance levels are controlled from the LED console, and exercisers must go through a workout setup process to use the machine. Its stationary handlebars read heart rate and can sync with a Polar chest strap, which isn't included. There's a heart-rate interactive program but no custom options.
Fewer luxuries, longer life. The Precor EFX series is focused on durability, and the 5.31 model lacks popular extras like speakers and fans. Still, consumers say the trade-off is worth the enhanced performance and reliability. The only mention of trouble comes from an owner who said an essential bolt in the CrossRamp assembly failed.
Protected to last. Precor protects its EFX series with one of the best warranties in the elliptical industry: lifetime frame, 10 years on parts and one year for labor. Precor subcontracts in-home repairs, however, meaning the technician's company may not be as reliable. Yet one owner says at Amazon.com, "they left me with the definite impression that they care about their customers." Another says the contracted technician never showed; Precor apologized on his behalf and resolved the situation.
Review Credibility: Very Good These former exercise equipment technicians base their ratings on adjustability, reliability, noise level, value, warranty, quality and ergonomics. After rigorous testing, including disassembly, TreadmillDoctor.com editors give the Precor EFX 5.31 a score of 8.85 out of 10 points and names it a Best Buy.
Review: Precor EFX 5.31 Elliptical Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good A former executive at Smooth Fitness, Waters tests elliptical trainers, and speaks with fitness equipment salespeople and experts. He gives the Precor EFX 5.31 a thorough review, noting that the stationary handlebars are ideal for most users.
Review: Precor EFX 5.31 Elliptical Trainer Review, Fred Waters, Not dated
Review Credibility: Fair The Precor EFX 5.31 attracts just a handful of customer reviews at Amazon.com and gets an average rating of 3 stars out of 5. Users comment on the sturdy build and smooth motion, but two have major complaints about durability and awkward design.
Review: Customer Reviews: Precor EFX 5.31 Premium Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012