The Bowflex Blaze home gym offers more than 60 exercises and can be upgraded to as much as 410 pounds of Power Rod resistance. It only takes two to three hours to assemble and is easy to switch between exercises. The Power Rods take some getting used to and not everybody likes them in the end.
Uncomplicated assembly. Owners posting to both DicksSportingGoods.com and Walmart.com say the Bowflex Blaze's assembly instructions are clear and easy to follow; they predict a setup time of two to three hours for one person working alone. "I assembled it by myself in about 2.5 hours ... and I was taking my sweet time," writes one reviewer at DicksSportingGoods.com. Users also recommend having both a wrench set and screwdriver on-hand for assembly.
The Bowflex Blaze arrives with 210 pounds of Power Rod resistance but can be upgraded to 310 or 410 pounds; each 100-pound upgrade costs about $100.
Power Rod learning curve. The Bowflex Power Rod resistance system takes some getting used to. The resistance is progressive -- the farther you take the range of motion, the harder it becomes. Not everybody likes the Power Rods, as one Amazon.com reviewer writes, "The non-linear weight drives me crazy." Many contend this type of resistance is easier on their joints, and there's no arguing it's smooth and quiet, with no clanking weight.
Some reviewers warn if you're taller than about 6 feet, 4 inches, the Bowflex Blaze's cables and seat rail might be a little too short for you. Users of all skill levels are a little frustrated with having to disconnect the cables to switch between the pulleys, although it is an easy process. One added benefit of the machine is that the bench can lay flat for cardio rowing. This may also be the reason some users say it wobbles when flat, but feels more stable when set at an incline.
Well-warrantied, but... At almost 7 feet tall and more than 3 feet wide, the Bowflex Blaze isn't exactly a compact home gym, but it does partially fold when not in use, reducing the footprint somewhat. We found several compliments about its build quality at Walmart.com and Amazon.com, along with a complaint that Bowflex wouldn't honor its lifetime guarantee on the Power Rods, more or less in line with similar customer service complaints regarding other Bowflex products. In addition to the Power Rod warranty, the rest of the Bowflex Blaze is covered by a limited five-year warranty.
The Bowflex Blaze gets an impressive 4.6-star average rating from more than 70 users on Amazon.com. Most owners say the Bowflex Blaze is reasonably easy to set up and use, but a few taller men warn they sometimes max out the Blaze's range of motion on certain exercises.
Review: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013
The Bowflex Blaze doesn't have the highest number of reviews at Walmart.com, but its 4.5-star average rating from almost 20 users is worth attention.
Review: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of June 2013
Dick's Sporting Goods sells dozens of home gyms and home gym accessories. Although the Bowflex Blaze doesn't quite have enough reviews to achieve the top ranking, its 4.4-star average rating is still notable. Most of the comments left here are very brief, but one self-professed "gym rat" has plenty to say.
Review: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Contributors to DicksSportingGoods.com, As of June 2013