Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill Review – 2020

Last Updated: June 2, 2020
Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill review

Bowflex BXT116 is a sturdy folding treadmill with a 3.75 horsepower motor and a stylish black and gray color scheme. The BXT116 inclines to 15% and has a top speed of 12mph. Bowflex has equipped the BXT116 with 9 “push and go” workout programs that are preprogrammed for convenience. Designed for home use, this treadmill allows you to train in safety on your own schedule. The BXT116 syncs with various fitness apps so you can streamline and track your progress over time. In addition, Bowflex’s Run Social app will sync with the BXT116 so you can stream running content on your personal tablet. Bowflex’s JRNY app adds even more features, training and programs. The BXT116 hits the market at a reasonable price point. It doesn’t offer some of the updated tech found on comparable machines, but it provides a cushioned running surface with plenty of power for those who want to just “push and go”.

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Who It’s For: Users looking for a quality treadmill without extra tech that is easy to use and folds up when you are done

The BXT116 is ideal for those looking for a treadmill that:

  • Can be used in the safety and privacy of your own home
  • Folds up for convenience
  • Comes with 9 preloaded programs, each with its own button for simplicity
  • Syncs with various fitness apps
  • Inclines from 1% to 15% for hill training
  • Has a 3.75HP motor and a 12mph max speed
  • Doesn’t require a subscription to operate preloaded programs
Pros
  • Solid build and folding design make it sturdy but still useable
  • Provides 9 workout programs, 12mph top speed and up to a 15% incline
  • Subscription is not required
  • Offers a 3.75HP motor that is strong enough for running, jogging, or power walking
  • Includes a tablet holder with USB charging port that won’t block your screen
  • Syncs with JRNY, Explore the World, My Fitness Pal, Google Fit, and Apple Health
Cons
  • Is not as tech-enhanced as comparable machines
  • Does not provide videos or classes on the console screen, you have to have a personal tablet for this (not included)
  • A bit clunky console design


FeaturesSpecifications
  • Speed up to 12 mph
    • With a top speed of 12mph, several preset buttons, and an up/down toggle button that allows for .10 increments, you can find just the right pace for you.
  • Incline: 1 – 15% incline
    • Run hills, power walk an incline, train for hilly terrain, or just add variables to your route with incline settings from 1% up to 15% grade.
  • 20″ x 60″ running surface
    • The BXT116 gives you 20 lateral inches of space and 60 inches in length for walking, jogging or running. You’ll find there’s plenty of space on the BXT116.
  • 9 “Push and Go” workout programs
    • No need to toggle through a million videos or set filters to find the program you want. Each of the 9 preset programs has their own button, so just push and go when you are ready to start. It only takes a second.
  • Comfort Tech™ deck cushioning system
    • The Comfort Tech system reduces impact force significantly so you can run and walk longer without discomfort or injury.
  • Wireless heart rate receiver & strap
    • In addition to heart rate sensors on the front horizontal handlebar, the BXT116 includes a chest strap to provide accurate HR readings straight to the console.
  • Speed and incline controls in handgrips
    • Find the right speed and incline in two different places! You can select one of the preset buttons on the console or use the up/down controls on the horizontal handlebar for both speed (on the right) and incline (on the left).
  • Tablet holder in console
    • The convenient tablet holder is situated above the screen so it doesn’t block your view. You can charge your device via the USB charging port behind the tablet holder while you watch your program or favorite app on your phone or tablet (not included).
  • Syncs with various fitness apps and platforms
    • Daily Burn, Run Social and other apps will sync with the BXT116 so you can race against others, track your stats and calories, keep track of your workouts, and log your progress over time.

Construction:

  • Comfort Tech™ deck cushioning system
  • 7.5″ full color back-lit LCD display
  • 3.75 CHP motor
  • USB charging port for devices
  • Integrated handrail controls
  • Real-time custom programming
  • Soft Drop™ folding system
  • Automatic 3-speed fan
  • 20″ wide x 60″ long workout surface
  • Power incline to 15%
  • Speed and incline controls in handgrips
  • Coated handrails
  • Total machine weight: 280lbs
  • Max weight capacity: 375lbs
  • Dimensions: 84.6″ L x 36.3″ W x 55.2″ H

Console:

  • Compatible with Bowflex JRNY™ App1 (Free 2-month trial option)
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Connect with Explore the World™ App
  • 9 “Push and Go” workout programs
  • Wireless heart rate chest strap
  • 7.5″ full color back-lit LCD display
  • USB charging port for devices
  • Automatic 3-speed fan
  • Burn Rate console shows per-minute calorie burn
  • Supports four user profiles.
  • Media shelf with USB charger
  • Wireless heart rate receiver & strap
  • Speakers in console

Functionality:

  • Speed up to 12 mph
  • Incline: 1 – 15% incline
  • 20″ x 60″ running surface
  • 9 “Push and Go” workout programs
  • Comfort Tech™ deck cushioning system
  • Wireless heart rate receiver & strap
  • Speed and incline controls in handgrips
  • Tablet holder in console
  • Syncs with various fitness apps and platforms

Warranty:

  • 15 year warranty on frame and drive motor
  • 5 year warranty on mechanical parts and electronics
  • 2 year warranty on labor

In-depth Review of Bowflex BXT116


Construction

Bowflex BXT116 frame

Frame

The frame is secure with steel beams underlying the frame. The treadmill itself weighs close to 300lbs, so it is on the heavier side and not very easy to move. You get extra stability as a result, since it will support up to 375 pounds of user weight. The frame also folds in half so you can lift and lock the deck vertically when you are done using the machine. Since it is a larger treadmill, we recommend setting it up in the room you plan to use it, and if that is on an upper floor, have a few friends on hand to help haul it where it needs to go. There are two wheels under the stabilizer so it can be rolled if needed, but this is difficult to manage due to the weight, even when folded. Bowflex recommends you have at least the user’s height + 16” of head clearance to account for the incline. Total footprint measures just over 7 feet at 84.6″ long by 36.3″ wide and 55.2″ high.

Deck

Bowflex BXT116 cushioning

  • Cushioning/Feel
    • The Comfort Tech cushioning system decreases impact force inherent to running. Each footstep can produce up to 2x a runner’s weight when running a quick pace. Outdoor surfaces can be brutal to hips, knees and spine as your body absorbs this impact. Most indoor treadmills offer a bit of cushion, but this can vary significantly between manufacturers. The Comfort Tech system certainly offers a step up from running outdoors and has ample cushion for walking or jogging.
  • Length/Width
    • The total running surface is 20” wide and 60” long, which is comparable to other folding treadmills. This running area provides enough forward/aft space for a full stride and just a bit extra lateral room for a wide gait.
  • Belt and Rollers
    • We rarely see a 3-ply belt, even on high-end treadmills. The 2.5” rollers are large and smooth as well. Typically, a thicker treadbelt not only lasts longer, it also provides more support underfoot. When in use, the belt slides smoothly over the deck surface with hardly any friction areas or whooshing noise. The combination of a good sized deck, thick belt and large rollers allows for a comfortable running surface that enables a solid mid-strike and strong toe off from the platform.
    • As mentioned, the BXT116 uses 2.5″ diameter rollers, which move the belt along. The larger surface area reduces friction on the belt to both prolong belt and motor life.

Motor

  • Motor Power
    • The 3.75 horsepower motor is on the top end for power in a treadmill at this price point. The motor controls both the motion of the belt, the speed of the rollers, and the incline/decline of the deck. The motor will support running, jogging, power walking or just a light stroll after dinner if that’s your preference. The BXT116 is a well rounded machine with plenty of power for different users and conditioning levels.
  • Motor Hood
    • One item of concern we have with the Bowflex treadmills is the oversized motor hood that sits at the front of the deck. Sometimes a motor hood of this size can impede a runner’s stride and cause your foot to hit the top of the hood under the console. Like its sister machine, the BXT216, the BXT116 has a large cover and we were concerned it may get in the way when running. However, the design on the Bowflex treadmills is a little different than other machines. First, there is a gap between the track and the motor hood. When inclined, the motor hood drops down and the deck raises, which causes the hood to stay low and out of your way. Most often, we see designs where the motor hood is attached to the deck itself, so when the deck raises, the motor hood raises as well. Thankfully, Bowflex avoided this design that can cause your foot to graze the top of the motor hood. On the BXT116 we didn’t have an issue with the motor hood being in the way.

Console/Controls

Console layout on the BXT116 is similar to the BXT216. While both treadmills have good functionality, the console design is a bit dated and clunky. Rather than a streamlined console with an integrated touchscreen and limited clutter like we see on the NordicTrack or ProForm machines, the Bowflex treadmills have lots of buttons and hard angles.
Additionally, there are only 9 preloaded programs and even with a subscription to Bowflex’s JRNY app, you don’t have any video options on the BXT116 screen. Instead, you use your personal tablet to stream any apps or videos that may sync with the BXT116. The screen is simple and easy to see, but it doesn’t offer the same features as comparable models.
Another issue of concern is the buttons on the BXT116 are raised, tactile buttons. These are more likely to get stuck or dirty over time. When selecting a speed, not only do you have to push the speed you want, you also have to press “enter” to get it to move.

Screen

Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill console

The screen itself is a 7.5” full color, backlit display with large digital numbers. You cannot adjust the metrics on the screen, however. Calorie burn is always the large central number with time on the left and distance on the right displayed with much smaller numbers.
In addition to calories displayed in the center, other user feedback includes:

  • Total calories burned (large center number)
  • Burn rate (per minute burn rate calculator)
  • Incline
  • Distance
  • Heart rate
  • Time
  • Speed

Layout

Console layout includes the screen in the center with a large tablet holder above and speakers to the right and left of this. The tablet holder is a valuable addition since you don’t have a color touchscreen. Large green and red Start/Stop buttons and the Safety Key complete the console.

  • Speed controls
    • Speed buttons for 1, 3, 6, 9, 10, and 12mph along with an “Enter” key are on the right
  • Incline controls
    • Incline buttons for 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15% grade along with an “Enter” key are on the left of the screen.
  • 9 Workout Programs
    • The BXT116 comes preloaded with 9 workout programs that do not require a subscription. Each program has its own button and sits just below the screen.
  • Start/Stop/Safety Key
    • A large Red STOP and Green Start button as well as the attachment for the safety key are below the console and surround the fan. There are also buttons for speaker volume on the left and one for fan power on the right.
  • Speed/Incline Buttons on Horizontal grip bar
    • One thing the BXT116 does have that is different from other treadmills is button controls for speed and incline on the horizontal handlebar at the base of the console.

Fans/Other Accessories

The BXT116 includes a fan that has a 3-speed adjustment. The fan sits in the center of the console just between the large Start/Stop buttons. While it isn’t the most powerful fan, it is certainly a nice option when running long or hard.

Media Shelf

There is a media shelf just above the screen for your phone, tablet, or personal device. The position of the media shelf keeps your tablet secure and out of the way — it won’t block the screen which can be an issue on other treadmills. There is also a USB port behind the media shelf so you can charge your device. The media shelf greatly enhances the functionality of the console since the preloaded tech is somewhat limited. Using your personal device you can download and use any number of apps to augment your training — or just watch Netflix or read a book.

Storage

One area where the Bowflex console excels is storage areas. There are four large storage pockets on either side of the console. These are a good place to set a water bottle, keys, small towel, phone, etc. There is also a wide storage tray that spans the front of the deck just below the console. This wide tray has more storage for anything you may need during your workout. The tray floats up above the deck so it is not in the way when running, even when the deck is inclined.


Functionality

Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill frame

Performance

What the BXT116 lacks in console design, it makes up for in overall performance. With a comfortable running surface and powerful motor, the BXT116 is a hearty treadmill. The motor supports smooth speed and incline transitions. One thing we did notice is it takes a few seconds (and up to a minute for large changes) for the speed to adjust between settings. The display shows the speed as it increases and decreases, which is a handy feature. However, for quick interval training or other routines that require snappy speed adjustments, the time elapsed between adjustments is an issue.
Deck cushioning enables users to run or walk for longer without discomfort or fatigue and the sleek black and red styling makes it look aggressive and sporty.

Incline / Decline range

The 15% max incline allows for hill training at every incline between 1 -15% so you can do small hills, rolling hills, steep hills, etc. Uphill training activates more muscles and engages the posterior chain more than training on a flat road, so you get more muscle growth and stimulation when working on an incline. This makes the BXT116 a good option for those who want a power walking machine as well as anyone training for their next marathon. One issue we did notice is the deck does not drop to a flat 0% grade. Instead it ranges from a 1% to 15% incline. This shouldn’t be an issue for most users since it’s hard to tell the difference between a 0% and 1% incline — but it is something to be aware of.

Pre-programmed workouts

There are 9 workouts already programmed into the console. Each program has its own button. Bowflex describes these as “push and go” workouts. Since the program is the same each time you hit the buttons, you don’t have to work through a main menu screen and then filter through a list of classes to find the workout you want. Simply hit the button and go. The BXT116 is great for users who don’t want added tech which can sometimes be confusing. The console is simple, easy to use and understand. The preprogrammed workouts include: Manual, Fat Burn, Calorie Burn, Calorie Goal, Heart Rate training, Custom, etc. The console includes profile options for up to four users, so different family members can customize and save their personal metrics.

Subscription Options: Bowflex JRNY app (includes free 2-month trial)

The Bowflex JRNY app must be downloaded on your phone or tablet. The app does not download straight to the machine. We recommend using a tablet (rather than a phone) on the BXT116 since it is larger and easier to see. The JRNY app displays subscription content while the console will keep track of your workout metrics and stats. Bowflex currently offers the JRNY app free for the first two months so you can see and explore the content. After that the app costs $20/month for classes and videos.

  • To download the JRNY app on your phone
    • The Bowflex JRNY™ App is compatible with Apple devices on iOS 12.0 or greater and most Android devices with version 6.0 or greater.
    • The app will sync the workout metrics from your treadmill in real time to the app.
  • JRNY Virtual Trainer
    • The Bowflex JRNY app provides personalized feedback and training. A personal fitness assessment determines your fitness level and then the virtual trainer (a computerized AI assistant like Siri or Alexa), guides you through your customized workout. If you are a beginning user, the workouts will be tailored to your conditioning level. Advanced users will have more challenging goals and routines. As you progress, your workouts will get harder so you can continue to advance rather than plateau.
  • Customized Coaching
    • The virtual trainer speaks directly to you, coaching and motivating you through personalized workouts.
    • The app creates customized workouts based off of your prior workout history. The goal of these workouts is to help you burn the most calories and improve your fitness, all while staying within your personal capabilities. By adjusting the difficulty (target burn rate) and length (time) of each workout, the JRNY app can provide a tailored program that is perfect for you.
    • For users who may not be achieving their calorie-burn targets, the virtual trainer provides instructions to slow down or speed up to ensure that you’re staying on target. There are also awards and accomplishments you can earn along the way.
  • Dynamic Workouts
    • Based on the results of your personal Fitness Assessment, the virtual trainer will provide customized workouts that are appropriate for your conditioning level.
  • Bowflex Radio
    • With your JRNY subscription, Bowflex includes access to an regularly updated lineup of new playlists, including Pop, Country, Hip-Hop, Rock, 80’s, etc.
  • Explore the World feature
    • Explore the World is another feature you can download on your tablet that displays video landscapes from Death Valley to the Swiss Alps as you exercise.

Noise Level

The Bowflex BXT116 has a moderate noise output. It is very similar to the BXT216 in design and noise output. As with every treadmill, there is a bit of motor and belt noise as the belt moves across the deck, but it isn’t terrible. This may not be the best machine to place in a well-trafficked area with people trying to work around you, but it is fine for a small workout room, garage, or unused guestroom.

Storage / Folding

Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill folded

The BXT116 folds up vertically to reduce floor space when not in use. The deck will then lock in place for security when folded. To unlatch, simply press the large red button on the right hand side and the deck will gently descend to the floor.
Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill release button

The BXT116 has a hydraulic assist arm under the deck which helps it descend slowly so it doesn’t damage your floor. There is no need to hold onto the deck as it descends; it will do it all on its own. This is a nice option for users who may have back or strength sissues and may find it uncomfortable to hold the deck as it drops down.

Bottom Line:

The Bowflex BXT116 is a somewhat new treadmill in the Bowflex lineup. Debuting in May of 2017, this model has only been on the market for a few years. Well known for their resistance based weight training machines, Bowflex jumped into the treadmill space with both feet with the BXT116 and BXT216 treadmills. These machines are hearty and solid, with better than average motor power and weight capacity. There is a bit of tech that could be updated and we don’t love the angular and cumbersome console design, but the feel and functionality of the BXT116 is impressive, especially considering its price point. You get a lot for your money with the BXT116 as it includes deck cushioning, a folding frame, sleek red and black styling, a 12mph max speed and 15% max incline. Comparable machines tend to come in a few hundred dollars above the BXT116 so this is a good option for those looking to find a hearty treadmill at a reasonable price. You can always enhance the overall functionality of the BXT116 with the monthly JRNY subscription. Here, you get more training options, customized workouts, a personal fitness assessment and an AI personal trainer. The BXT116 is also a great option for users who don’t want added tech — if you like simple tactile buttons and programmed routines that are consistent and easy to use, the BXT116 has it covered. Bowflex calls the 9 preloaded routines “push and go” programs since one button gets you started. The folding frame locks into place when folded and has a hydraulic assist arm to return it gently to the floor. If you are in the market for a hearty folding treadmill that is comfortable to run on and will sync with your personal tablet, the Bowflex BXT116 is a great place to start.

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