Still in the Lead: New Treadmills Keep Category Dominant and Thriving

The latest generation of treadmills come with features like LCD screens, wider running areas, and better heart-rate monitoring.

Given what seems their endless, unfading popularity at health clubs worldwide, treadmills continue to inspire manufacturers to introduce new models, upgrade existing ones, and introduce innovative technologies.

“Trends such as boutique studios and small-group training notwithstanding, treadmills remain the most popular equipment in clubs, and industry purchasing patterns back that up,” says Andrew Kolman, the director of product development and console technology for Matrix Fitness.

This year, all of the major producers are demonstrating what they can do. Life Fitness’ new Integrity Series treadmill boasts a host of innovations:

  • a redesigned base;
  • lower step-up height;
  • wider running area ;
  • increased handrail length;
  • bullhorns with heart rate;
  • remote resistance buttons;
  • and a 7-inch LCD touchscreen with a smartphone-inspired interface.

“The new console provides an improved workout experience for exercisers, and allows club operators to manage their equipment more efficiently,” says Justin Mayer, the firm’s senior product manager for commercial treadmills.

TRUE Fitness is releasing two new treadmills—the TC900 and TC650—that feature a redesigned base, reduced step-up height, a cord-management feature, an extended speed range (up to 17 mph), and a broader incline range (-3 % to 18%).

“Our goal is to continue developing new features that enhance the experience of everyone—from the owner/operator to the end user.”

Andrew Kolman, Director of Product Development and Console Technology

Matrix Fitness

The RUN 1000, Technogym’s recently revised, best-selling commercial treadmill, now boasts a running surface that automatically and dynamically adjusts to users’ unique running styles; speeds of up to 16.8 mph; and a maximum incline of 18%.

SportsArt’s new non-motorized ECO-POWR treadmill feeds energy generated by the user back into the public grid at a rate of 200 watts per hour.

“ECO-POWR resonates strongly with millennials and environmentally conscious club members,” says Matt Thorsen, a product specialist at SportsArt. “This is a product that they feel good about because it’s eco-friendly and energy-efficient.”

The unit also has an engaging interactive SENZA display that provides virtual runs that sync with the user’s pace.

The manufacturers are equally adept at tweaking new technologies. Life Fitness this year created the Discover SE3HD tablet console, which brings high-definition to the streaming entertainment options offered by its popular Discover SE console.

Technogym’s joystick-like Fast Track gear shift changes speeds with a single adjustment, and its Races app allows clubs to host treadmill competitions. And Matrix issues a number of software updates each year to improve functionality, provide greater customization, and introduce new apps.

“Our goal is to continue developing new features that enhance the experience of everyone—from the owner/operator to the end user,” Kolman says.

Learn more about treadmills on Club Business Exchange.