Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill Review – 2020

Last Updated: June 2, 2020
Bowflex BXT216 is a high end folding treadmill that is great for running, jogging, walking or cross training. This hearty machine has a 4.0 horsepower motor, inclines to 15% and has a top speed of 12mph. It also includes 11 “hit and go” workout programs that are preprogrammed for convenience. The BXT216 folds up when you are done and locks in place for security. This is a great home use treadmill that allows you to train on your own schedule. Bowflex’s JRNY app will sync with the machine for added features, training and programs. The BXT216 is priced reasonably for the included features and accessories, but it does not have some of the updated tech found on comparably priced models.

Bowflex BXT216 treadmill review

Check Best Price

Who It’s For: Joggers and Runners looking for a quality folding treadmill that you can use with or without the added subscription

The BXT216 is ideal for those looking for a treadmill that:

  • Folds up for convenience
  • Has 11 preloaded programs
  • Syncs with various fitness apps
  • Can be used any time of day or night
  • Has a 12mph top speed for interval training
  • Inclines to 15% for hill variables
  • Is quiet and hearty with a 4.0HP motor
  • Doesn’t require a subscription to operate
Pros
  • Sturdy treadmill supports up to 400lbs of user weight
  • Folds in half to save space when not in use
  • Inclines to 15% and goes up to 12mph
  • Has preloaded programs so a subscription is not required
  • Offers a 4.0HP motor for extensive training and heavy use
  • Includes a tablet holder with USB charging port that won’t block your screen
  • Sporty black frame with red and silver accents that really make it pop
  • JRNY app subscription includes “Max” the virtual trainer who customizes workouts to match your conditioning and strength level
Cons
  • Is not as tech-enhanced as comparable machines
  • Bowflex Results Series and JRNY Apps have mixed reviews
  • Does not provide videos or classes on the console screen, you have to have a personal tablet for this (not included)
  • Large and heavy; hard to move


FeaturesSpecifications
  • Comfort Tech™ deck cushioning system
    • The BXT216 treadmill makes running comfortable with its deck cushioning that supports your stride and mitigates foot impact.
  • 9″ full color back-lit LCD display
    • While not as tech-enhanced as some consoles, the BXT216 9” back-lit display is easy to see and use with large digital numbers and raised tactile buttons.
  • 4.0 CHP motor
    • This is one of the larger motors on a treadmill in this price range. It will support running, jogging, intervals, hill training and power walking easily.
  • 15% Max Incline
    • Add hill training or rolling inclines to your workout with the 15% grade. You can increase or decrease the incline at any time for just the right amount of hill work.
  • Integrated handrail controls
    • The BXT216 has two different controls for both incline and speed. A handlebar control on the front horizontal bar and another control on the parallel handrails make it so you can adjust speed or incline at any time without lifting your hands off the rails.
  • Soft Drop™ folding system
    • Fold up your treadmill when finished using the easy fold system. The BXT216 locks in place when folded and has a hydraulic assist arm to help it release slowly and gently back to your floor.
  • 400-pound load capacity
    • The BXT216 will support up to 400lbs which again is one of the heavier weight capacities on a treadmill in this price range. This should support the needs of most users.
  • Footprint: 84.5″ x 38.5″ x 54.7″
    • The BXT216 is a good sized machine, so you will need some dedicated floor space when it is open. Thankfully, the treadmill folds up nicely when not in use.
  • Compatible with Bowflex JRNY™ App1 (Free 2-month trial option)
    • The Bowflex JRNY app is included free for the first two months so you can evaluate whether you want to continue to pay for the app. JRNY has real time feedback and customized training via Max the virtual trainer.
  • Wireless heart rate chest strap
    • There are heart rate sensors on the front horizontal handlebar, but Bowflex also includes a wireless chest strap for convenience.

Construction:

  • Comfort Tech™ deck cushioning system
  • 9″ full color back-lit LCD display
  • 4.0 CHP motor
  • USB charging port for devices
  • Integrated handrail controls
  • Real-time custom programming
  • Soft Drop™ folding system
  • Automatic 3-speed fan
  • 22″ wide x 60″ long workout surface
  • Belt Durable 3-Ply 2.5mm
  • Power incline to 15%
  • Speed and incline controls in handgrips
  • Coated handrails
  • 400-pound load capacity
  • Dimensions 84.5″ x 38.5″ x 54.7″

Console:

  • Compatible with Bowflex JRNY™ App1 (Free 2-month trial option)
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Connect with Explore the World™ App
  • 11 “Push and Go” workout programs
  • Wireless heart rate chest strap
  • 9″ 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.
  • Allows real-time customization of workouts
  • Includes 8 week trial of Dailyburn workouts
  • Includes ability to integrate with Zwift virtual workouts
  • Media shelf with USB charger
  • Wireless heart rate receiver & strap
  • Speakers

Functionality:

  • Speed up to 12 mph
  • Incline: 1 – 15% incline
  • 22″ x 60″ running surface
  • 11 “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 BXT216


Construction

Bowflex BXT216 frame

Frame

The frame is slightly elevated from the floor which allows for the travel necessary to create the underfoot cushioning. The treadmill is sturdy and doesn’t rock when in use — even when running at a fast pace. This treadmill is heavy however, weighing just over 300 pounds. The BXT216 will support up to 400 pounds, which is a step up from other treadmills that max at about a 300 pound weight capacity. But the weight of the machine itself is something to consider. 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. The treadmill has wheels under the stabilizer so it can be rolled if needed, but this is difficult to manage due to the weight, even when folded. The footprint is also rather large at 84.5″ long (around 7 feet), 38.5″ wide and 54.7″ high. If you plan to set it in a communal room, make sure you have enough space. Bowflex recommends you have at least the user’s height + 16” of head clearance to account for the incline.

Deck

Bowflex BXT216 cushioning

  • Cushioning/Feel
    • The running surface is comfortable with an impressive 3-ply treadbelt, large 2.5” rollers and a textured belt surface for safety. The side rails are wide enough to stand on but could get slippery if they get wet from sweat.
    • The Bowflex BXT216 features their “Comfort Tech” cushioning which is significantly better than running on outdoor surfaces. Most indoor treadmills offer a bit of cushion, but this can vary significantly between manufacturers. The Comfort Tech system is mid-range for total cushioning, but it certainly offers a step up from running outdoors and has ample cushion for walking or jogging.
    • The cushioning is impressive and you can feel the treadmill flex a bit underfoot to absorb impact shock.
  • Length/Width
    • The full running surface is 22” wide and 60” long. This is the largest belt we see on folding treadmills. This gives you plenty of forward/aft space for a full stride and just a bit extra lateral room from side to side.
  • Belt and Rollers
    • This is one of the few treadmills that offers a 3-ply treadbelt — and yes, it makes a difference. Not only does a thicker treadbelt last longer, you can feel the added support underfoot. When in use, the belt slides smoothly over the deck surface with hardly any friction areas or whooshing noise. The belt supports a solid mid-strike and toe off by connecting the runner’s foot to the platform. The surface doesn’t feel slick or slippery and the slight texture helps grip and move your shoe in line with the belt.
    • The BXT216 also features 2.5″ diameter rollers, which are a generous size and a giant step up from the 1.9” rollers on less expensive treadmills. The rollers move the belt along and a larger surface area reduces friction on the belt to both prolong belt and motor life. This part of the reason why the treadmill is especially durable for its price range.

Motor

  • Motor Power
    • The 4.0 horsepower motor is on par with commercial gym equipment and is designed to handle intense training periods and multiple users. While this isn’t rated for commercial use, you are getting a durable, high powered motor on a piece of home use fitness equipment. The motor is exceptionally quiet and both speed and incline adjustments are smooth. One issue we did notice is it takes the machine a minute or so when fully increasing or decreasing the speed. You can watch on the console as the speed increases, which is a nice feature. This way, you always know what speed you are at even in between adjustments. However, it does take a few seconds to a minute to move up and down through the various speeds. When running intervals or another quickly timed segment, it could be an issue to have the speed adjustments take so long. We are however, impressed with the power and reduced noise output with this motor. It also supports up to 400lbs, so users of all sizes can enjoy the BXT216 with its hearty motor.
  • Motor Hood
    • One item of concern 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. We didn’t experience this problem with the BXT216 but the size of the motor hood is mitigated by a few things. First, there is a slight gap between the hood and the track so it sits back further up under the console than other motor covers. Second, when the deck inclines, it does so at a break in front of the motor hood, so the hood stays low while the deck inclines. As you raise the top of the deck to match a higher grade the motor hood actually angles downwards and does not lift with the deck. This design keeps it out of your way, especially when at an incline.

Console/Controls

Console layout and design is one area where the Bowflex BXT216 falls a bit short. Compared to other treadmills in this price range, the BXT216 does not have a touchscreen with integrated controls or subscription video content. While you can subscribe to the JRNY app with Max the virtual trainer, the screen and console layout are not on par with more tech-enhanced machines. There are three preloaded landscape videos you can use, but you’ll have to pay for the subscription to view more than that. And the BXT216 only comes with 11 preloaded programs, as opposed to the 35-50 typically found on NordicTrack or Proform treadmills in the same price range. Also, having a touchscreen incorporates some of the buttons and other console functionality which reduces the clutter of multiple controls and buttons on the console. Since the BXT216 does not have a touchscreen, most of the buttons are still the raised, tactile buttons found on much older machines and the console can feel a bit clunky. 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. We would like to see an updated console with streamlined functionality on the BXT216.
Bowflex BXT216 console

Screen

The screen itself is a 9” 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. It would be nice to be able to select which metric gets the large, central display. If you are doing a timed run, you could put the time clock there; for intervals, you could select speed; and if running a longer distance, it would be nice to have the center number display your elapsed distance. As it is, you are stuck with calories burned, which isn’t the most useful metric when training.
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. Speed controls on the right and incline controls on the left as well as large green and red Start/Stop buttons 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
  • 11 Workout Programs
    • The BXT216 comes preloaded with 11 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 Handrail and Horizontal grip bar
    • One thing the BXT216 does have that is different from other treadmills is two separate button controls for speed and two more for incline. On the horizontal handlebar at the base of the console there are Up/Down buttons for speed on the right and incline on the left so you can find a setting in between the preset numbers on the console. Additionally, there are two more buttons on the handrail (right: speed, left: incline) so you can adjust your pace or grade without having to lift your hands off the front grip bar or side handrails.

Fans/Other Accessories

There is one fan in the base of the console with a 3-speed adjustment. The fan isn’t the most powerful, but it’s certainly a nice option and makes a noticeable difference when running long or hard.

Media Shelf

As mentioned above, there is a media shelf just above the screen for your phone, tablet, or personal device. You can download and use any number of fitness apps on your personal device or tablet which can be set just above the screen for easy visibility. I love how the tablet shelf is both secure and out of the way. You won’t block a portion of your screen which is the case on other treadmills. There is also a USB charging port directly behind the media shelf so you can charge your device while using it.

Storage

The Bowflex BXT216 has abundant storage compartments. There are four large storage areas — two on either side of the console. These are a good place to set a water bottle or other large item. Also, the BXT216 has a wide storage tray that spans the front of the deck just below the console. This provides extra 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 BXT216 folding button

Performance

The BXT216 provides a comfortable running surface and a powerful motor. The speed and incline settings adjust smoothly so you don’t lose balance when the machine changes pace or incline. However, as mentioned above, we did notice that speed adjustments take a few seconds to change — this is noticeably slower than on other machines. If you are looking for a gradual speed increase, this is great. And we love how the display always shows the speed, even as it increases and decreases. However, for quick interval training or other routines that require snappy speed adjustments, the time elapsed between adjustments is an issue.
The deck feels sturdy and supportive underfoot and the cushioning is a valuable training component since the BXT216 is designed for long runs and/or heavy training. This is a heavy machine however, so moving it is not recommended. We are impressed with the high weight capacity and in this price range it’s hard to find treadmills that will support up to 400lbs.
The styling and color scheme on the BXT216 make it look sporty and aggressive. A sleek black frame with silver trim and a few red accents really makes it pop. Aside from an underwhelming console display, the BXT216 is a good training machine and works well for those who do not want a subscription option since the 11 programs come preloaded and are easy to use.

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. Additionally, for moderated training users can walk or lightly jog on an incline to burn calories and increase heart rate while staying low impact. Incline training allows casual walkers, power walkers, light joggers or anyone with joint or mobility issues to get an intense, calorie burning workout without having to run. This makes the BXT216 a good option for those who want a power walking machine as well as those who plan to train for their next marathon.

Pre-programmed workouts

The BXT216 comes loaded with 11 workouts that are already programmed into the console. No internet or wifi is required to run the onboard programs. Each program has its own button on the console. Bowflex describes these as “push and go” workouts. You don’t have to work through a main menu screen and then filter through classes and options to find the workout you want. Simply hit the button and go. The BXT216 is great for users who don’t want extra content, programs and who don’t like 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, etc. There are also four user profiles so you can customize the metric readout to display calories burned, etc for up to four different people.

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

Most of the JRNY app functionality is accessed through your personal tablet device (not included). This way, you can access and view JRNY programs and videos on your tablet while the console display will sync with your account to keep track of your workout metrics and stats. Be advised you will need to download the JRNY app on your phone or tablet. The JRNY app provides additional training content, such as:

  • Max the Virtual Trainer
    • The Bowflex JRNY app provides personalized feedback and training. A personal fitness assessment determines your fitness level and then “Max” 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. The virtual training feature with customized workouts and feedback is a valuable component in the JRNY app. This app costs $20/month after the initial two-month free trial.
  • Dynamic Coaching
    • Max speaks directly to you, coaching and motivating you through personalized workouts.
    • Max 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, Max can provide a tailored program that is perfect for you.
    • For users who may not be achieving their calorie-burn targets, Max provides instructions to slow down or speed up to ensure that you’re staying on target. Of course, there are lots of awards and accomplishments you can earn along the way.
  • Customized Workouts
    • Based on the results of your personal Fitness Assessment, Max provides customized workouts that are appropriate for your conditioning level.
    • According to Bowflex, this is accomplished via “a complex algorithm based on your previous calorie-burn history.” Max measures how many calories are burned and how quickly they are burned, then uses this data to create workouts tailored to each user’s fitness level.
  • Bowflex Radio
    • Access an ever-changing lineup of new playlists, including Pop, Country, Hip-Hop, Rock, 80’s, and more.
  • Explore the World feature
    • You can view video landscapes from Death Valley to the Swiss Alps on your tablet as you exercise.
  • Premium Video Workouts
    • Max offers a library of instructional, trainer-led videos recommended to you based on where you are in your fitness journey.
  • 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 your workout metrics in real time to the app.
  • Within the JRNY app, there are several screens for different features and content
    • Channel Screen displays video-led workout programming and entertainment content. This content is designed to help you enjoy your workout.
    • Home Screen displays your customized workouts and featured content.
    • Workouts Screen allows users to choose from the pre-programmed (non-customized) workouts
    • Journal Screen displays users’ workout history along with awards and other accomplishments.

Noise Level

The Bowflex BXT216 has a moderate noise output. It isn’t the noisiest or the quietest treadmill on the market — this one falls somewhere in the middle. There is a bit of motor and belt noise as the belt moves across the deck, but it isn’t terrible and while every treadmill creates some “thudding” while in use, we didn’t find the BXT216 to be obnoxiously noisy. It just sounds like a treadmill.

Storage / Folding

Bowflex BXT216 folded

The BXT216 does fold in half when you finish your workout. There is a red grab bar at the base of the deck to lift it up. 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. A hydraulic assist arm helps lower the deck down slowly so it doesn’t damage your floor. You don’t have to guide it down either; it will descend on its own. This is a nice option for users who may have back or strength issues and may find holding the deck as it descends to be uncomfortable. Thankfully, Bowflex has designed the BXT216 to fold up and down easily.

Bottom Line:

The Bowflex BXT216 is a hearty treadmill with a 4.0HP motor, 12mph max speed, and 15% incline that folds up when you are finished. This treadmill has cushioning in the deck for a more comfortable feel underfoot and supports heavy training and multiple users. The console features 11 preloaded workouts, each with its own button for ease and convenience. You have up to four user profiles for individualized workout metrics. The 9” LCD display features large digital numbers. There is a media shelf with a USB port so you can charge and watch your personal tablet while you workout. Bowflex offers the JRNY app for a free two month trial which includes a fitness assessment and Max the virtual trainer who provides customized workouts and feedback. The tablet holder is up above the screen so it won’t block your view of the console. We find the BXT216 to be a well-powered, solid treadmill that is great for home use. This is not your most tech-enhanced console, but it gets the job done and is easy to navigate. If you are looking for a quality folding treadmill, the BXT216 is a great place to start.

POST REPLY