The Inspire Fitness Cardio Strider 3 (CS3) is one of the best recumbent elliptical/strider machines in this price range. The compact seated CS3 model can be used in your home gym and for fitness enthusiasts of any skill level who want a low impact workout. Recumbent ellipticals are ideal for those with disabilities or mobility problems, as it is easier to climb into than upright ellipticals. The CS3 is a favorite for rehab or physical therapy.
The CS3 is a medium-duty machine, capable of handling user weight up to 300 pounds. Furthermore, the CS3 provides an effective cardiovascular workout by combining upper and lower body flexibility and coordination into one impact-free motion and is easier on your joints. Regular use of elliptical trainers will increase heart and lung capacity while improving your health and burning calories.
This recumbent elliptical uses 40 levels of magnetic brake resistance using an eddy current brake. The magnetic resistance has the advantage of no friction, reliability, little to no maintenance costs, and quiet operation. Additionally, the Silent Poly V Belt Drive System provides smooth operation.
Key specs include a back pad that has 3 Reclining Positions, a stride length ranging from 12″ to 15″, a weighted flywheel providing for smoother strides. It also has static & moving handlebars for a full cross-training workout, and lastly, a handles flip to switch between CHEST/BACK workout and BICEPS/TRICEPS workout.
Learn more in my complete review below
Product: Inspire Fitness Cardio Strider 3 (CS3)
Warranty: Residential: Frame lifetime / Parts 5 years / Labor 1 year (see the light-commercial warranty below)
My Rating: 9.75/10
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CS3 Frame construction
The Inspire Fitness Cardio Strider 3 (CS3) features a sturdy frame made of steel tubing. All the steel parts have a corrosion-resistant and scratch-resistant paint finish. The colors used are matte black, chrome, and red.
The fully assembled unit is relatively heavy; it weighs 187 lbs. It may require two people for transport and assembly. However, once assembled, its relocation shouldn’t be too tricky as the rear base stabilizer features two transport wheels. By leaning the machine onto its back wheels, you won’t be handling more than 40% of its total weight.
The machine’s weight plays an essential role in its stability. Additionally, the middle bottom bar of the frame features an adjustable leveler, as well as the front base bar. Thus, you can correctly stabilize the unit on any flooring.
Like most recumbent bikes and elliptical trainers, this cardio strider is relatively large. With the frame fully assembled its length is 60″L x 36″W (153 cm x 92 cm). Also, with the seat adjusted to the back, the backrest will exceed the 54″ (138 cm) height by a few inches.
One last aspect to mention here regards the footrest feature. The machine’s console mast has one footrest directly welded to it on each side. Therefore, you can only use your arms if you want. The console unit has programs that will prompt you to move your arms.
Seat and handlebars
The CS3 cardio strider has a seat that excels in ergonomics. Both the area and the backrest feature a generous layer of foam cushioning, with a contoured surface. The backrest’s contour is designed to provide optimal lumbar support.
The seat is adjustable. It’s attached to a stable rail system and can be locked in a place closer or farther from the pedals. The backrest can be adjusted independently from the seat, which is quite a plus; many other cardio striders or recumbent bikes don’t have this feature. The backrest has three reclining positions (up, middle, and low).
The seat assembly is sturdy enough to support users up to 300 lbs. Also, it’s due to its adjustment possibilities; the trainer can accommodate users up to 6’5″.
The machine has two sets of handlebars, a moving one, and a stationary one. The moving arms are length adjustable, and they can also be rotated; thus, you can have their grips up, close to your chest, or low, close to your waist. This feature allows you to put a lot of diversity into your workouts. You can switch between an exercise focused on your chest and back, to a workout that focuses on your biceps and triceps.
The joints between all the moving bars integrate high-quality stainless steel ball bearings. The motion of each moving element is exceptionally smooth.
The fixed handlebar assembly connects to the top of the console mast. Its grips integrate pulse sensors, so by holding on to them, the console can track your pulse.
CS3 Drive system
To begin with, the CS3 cardio strider is a fitness machine with a rear-drive system. The main drive elements, including the pulley and flywheel, are situated under the seat. Due to this fact, the unit offers a low step-through, which gives you easy access to the seat.
The machine uses a balanced flywheel; its weight is not (specified); however, considering that the CS2 model has a 20.2 lbs, the unit’s wheel is most likely similar. This flywheel is not for aggressive inertia, such as the one in spin bikes. Thus, this cardio strider is an excellent choice for recovery training or users with disabilities. Its resistance starts at an ultra-easy 10 watts.
The unit’s poly-v belt drive system provides almost silent operation. The pedaling motion is exceptionally smooth, with zero vibration. Also, as opposed to a chain drive, you don’t have to worry about its lubrication.
The Inspire Fitness CS3 Cardio Strider has two large, durable pedals. They don’t have any cushioning or articulation system, but considering that you will be seated during your workouts, the impact on your joints is almost inexistent. Their surface is ribbed to improve adherence while their sides have a 1″ border to prevent your feet from slipping off.
The machine’s stride doesn’t have an adjustment system as for the Octane Fitness Q47x elliptical. However, due to the pedals’ size, you can place your feet closer to the front or the rear, and vary your stride between 12″ – 15″.
One last aspect to mention here regards the unit’s Q-Factor (spacing between the pedals). The pedals are placed approximately 3″ apart. Due to this fact, you can be sure that your feet won’t be too far apart, and you won’t experience any lateral stress on the knees.
But on the other hand, due to the pedals’ width, you can place your feet closer to the outer edges and gain at least one inch in between your feet.
CS3 Resistance system
The Inspire Fitness CS3 Cardio Strider has an eddy current, motor-assisted resistance system which consists of a small servo motor and a magnetic brake. You can only adjust its resistance from the console. The machine requires a connection to a power source; a power adapter is (included). As you select a resistance level on the console, the servo motor will adjust the brake’s position to the flywheel, generating the corresponding amount of drag and pedal resistance.
The console makes available 40 distinct resistance settings. As we’ve mentioned above, the first level of resistance is an ultra-easy 10 watts difficulty. This resistance setting, plus the several next ones, are perfect for elderly users, users with disabilities, or users recovering from joint surgery. Conversely, the top resistance settings do offer quite some resistance, allowing you to perform exercises of higher intensity.
The CS3’s console unit features a large LCD with LED backlight, which covers all the essential workout metrics. It tracks Watts, RPM, calories burned, distance, time, and heart rate. It also shows the current resistance level, while the grid section in the middle shows the segments of the program in use.
The unit can track your heart rate through the sensors built-in the stationary handlebars. Additionally, it’s Bluetooth enabled so you can monitor your pulse via the included T31 polar HR chest strap.
There are four user profile settings on the console. Therefore, if four persons use the machine, each one of them can have their settings. For each user profile, the device will prompt you to personal input data such as gender, age, and weight. This way, the console can track your energy output and calorie consumption with higher accuracy.
No Online Connectivity
This console unit does not have any online connectivity features, nor is it compatible with any online fitness apps. Its ten preset programs with a log of your workout history & settings that will keep you on track. There are six preset programs, including Rolling Hill, Peak, Plateau, Mountain Climb, Hill Interval, Strength Interval.
When using any of these programs, the console will auto-adjust the machine’s resistance by the segment of the selected program. A maximum resistance level can be (chosen) for each application.
The unit also has two focus programs and two heart rate programs. The focus programs are for your upper body and arms. During these programs, the unit will prompt you to place your feet on the pegs and exercise only with your arms, use an upright grip, or a downright grip, etc.
The heart rate programs focus on two primary HR intervals, 65%, and 80%. These require you to either use the pulse sensors in the handlebars or the HR chest strap. During an HR program, the machine automatically adjusts the resistance to keep your heart rate either at 65% or 80%.
Finally, the console unit doesn’t have a sound system or a cooling fan but does integrate a tablet holder.
CS3 Assembly and Maintenance
The machine’s drive and resistance system come already assembled, along with the seat base, and most of the console mast. So, for the assembly, you will have to add the two base bars, the moving arms and pedals, the top of the console mast with the console, and the seat.
It may take up to two hours, but the process shouldn’t be too complicated and tools for assembly (are included).
Furthermore, the trainer doesn’t require too much maintenance. All you have to do is periodically dust the machine and check for loose parts.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 60 L x 36 W x 54 H inches (153 cm x 92 cm x 138cm)
- Assembled weight: 187 lbs (85 kg)
- Stride: 12″ – 15″
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
- Resistance: Motorized magnetic, 40 levels
- Console: 10 workout programs, four user profiles
- Residential: Frame lifetime / Parts 5 years / Labor 1 year
- Light-commercial: Frame 10 years / Parts 1 year / Labor 1 year
- Durable frame – can support users up to 300 lbs;
- Adjustable stabilizers on the base bars
- Transport wheels on the rear base;
- Step-thru frame design;
- Both mobile and stationary handlebars;
- The mobile arms are length adjustable and can also be (rotated);
- EKG sensors in each fixed hand-grip;
- Cushioned, ergonomic seat and backrest;
- Adjustable seat – can accommodate users up to 6’5″;
- Reclining backrest with three positions;
- Quiet magnetic resistance system;
- Adjustable resistant, motorized eddy current brake;
- 40 resistance levels available, beginning with a light 10 Watts intensity;
- Large pedals allowing a different positioning of the feet and a stride variation between 12″-15″;
- Mid-range console unit with a large LCD with backlight;
- The console can track time, distance, RPM, Watts, calories, and pulse;
- Six preset programs, and two focus programs and two heart rate programs;
- Four user profiles;
- The console unit can track your pulse via an HR chest strap transmitter;
- Polar T31 HR chest strap included;
- Tablet holder included;
- Bottle holder with a bottle included;
- Fairly easy to assemble;
- Little to no maintenance required;
- Excellent warranty.
- A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the console display;
- No sound system;
- No online connectivity.
Inspire Fitness Cardio Strider 3 (CS3) Summary
The Inspire Fitness CS3 is a cardio strider featuring an automatic resistance system and a console with ten programs and four user profiles. It has a durable frame that can support users up to 300 lbs; its seat is adjustable while the backrest has three reclining positions.
The moving handlebars can be rotated for different grips and are also length adjustable. The machine offers 40 levels of resistance with a very low-drag starting point.
Furthermore, it’s perfect for light to intense cardio training with a low impact on the joints, for recovery training, for muscle toning, weight loss, or interval training. And finally, it’s not exactly one of the most affordable fitness machines, but it is a light-commercial unit; thus, it’s a decent machine for the price.
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