Have you ever thought, “Gee, I wish my treadmill took up more space?”
Well I’m about to make the case for it. The Bowflex Treadmill 22(opens in a new tab) is the biggest treadmill I’ve ever laid eyes on… and I love it.
Mostly, I’m impressed with the 22-inch display, the ability to watch streaming video using the JRNY app, and the treadmill’s safety features.
Let’s talk about it.
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is pretty impressive.
First of all, it’s roughly the size of a minivan. I received the giant 7-foot by 3-foot-4 floor mat a day before the treadmill arrived, and thought to myself, “Surely the treadmill isn’t this big.”
Well, it is. It takes up every bit of the floor mat. I had to rearrange my entire office-slash-workout room, and condemn my spin bike to the garage so it could fit (in addition to moving out my old treadmill).
Fortunately, it arrived unassembled. I had it assembled by pros when it was delivered, which I highly recommend. First of all, the box it comes in is huge, and it weighs 336 pounds. Next, it took two pros a couple of hours to put this thing together, so I can only imagine what a soul-destroying challenge it would have been for me. However, assembly will bump up the price a bit more — it’s $349.
Now that it’s assembled, I’m pretty sure it’s going to have to stay here if we eventually move. It’s that big — even when folded up. (And yes, it does fold up pretty easily so you can reclaim some of that space when it’s not in use.)
However, the size does make for a really roomy exercise area. The cushioned running belt is 22 inches wide and 60 inches long, which is more spacious than the industry standard of 18 to 20 inches wide and 55 inches long.
The star feature (and namesake) of the Bowflex Treadmill 22, though, is the 22-inch touchscreen display — but more on that later.
Beneath the display are the treadmill controls. This treadmill offers a pretty broad range of speed and incline levels, from 0 to 12 mph and -5 to 15 percent incline. (For comparison, the Peloton Tread goes up to 12.5 mph and offers incline from 0 to 12.5 percent.) Additionally, there are three different ways to control the speed and incline. The main controls are directly between the touchscreen, but there are speed and incline buttons on the heart rate grips and the hand rests as well.
The treadmill also features four bottle holders and a built-in fan.
Now let’s talk more about that touchscreen…
Using the JRNY app
One of my biggest pet peeves about tech-connected fitness is equipment that comes with a big, beautiful screen that you can’t watch TV on.
Thankfully, the JRNY app — which is designed to work best with Bowflex and Schwinn products — lets you access your streaming services while you work out. You can watch Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, and Max on the JRNY interface. It definitely makes working out on a treadmill a little less boring.
JRNY also offers a ton of trainer-led workouts and scenic runs/walks, although so far I’ve spent most of my treadmill time on Hulu.
Like many other fitness apps, it also offers a gamified experience with achievement badges. You can also watch off-treadmill workouts on the treadmill’s display. However, the display is stationary, so it may not be the most practical to use for floor workouts.
The Bowflex Treadmill 22(opens in a new tab) comes with a free full year of JRNY access. Even after the year is up, JRNY subscriptions start at $99 per year. That makes it one of the least expensive streaming fitness apps, significantly less than some big names that don’t offer access to streaming video apps.
So far, I have been really satisfied with this treadmill. It’s comfortable to walk on, roomy, and very easy to make adjustments to speed and incline. When I’m feeling particularly lazy, it’s nice to have tons of incline options so I can get a better workout while still walking slowly.
I’m also not a regular runner by any means, but every year or two I get the “running bug” and I stick with it for a few months. Running on this treadmill is really nice, and I could see it being a great tool for more dedicated runners as a backup for cold temps or nasty weather.
I haven’t run into any issues with the performance of this treadmill, but I will say that it’s loud, especially at higher speeds. That’s totally to be expected with its size of course, so I wouldn’t consider it a negative.
When my son decided to set it to max speed so he could watch the people on a scenic run/walk move really really fast, it sounded like an airplane taking off. (And don’t worry, I was supervising this little experiment and he was not on the treadmill when we cranked it up to the max.)
With this giant treadmill in a home I share with two young children, safety was a huge concern for me — especially after hearing about deaths and severe injuries from children being pulled underneath similar treadmills.
Although I love being able to watch streaming shows on it, my absolute favorite feature of this treadmill is the child safety lock. Every time you start the treadmill, you have to enter a unique four-digit passcode before you have access to the controls. Because the passcode changes every time, your little ones won’t be able to outsmart it.
This function can also be disabled, because I can imagine it may be annoying if you don’t have young kids around.
Also, although the running deck sits pretty high off of the ground, there are supports beneath it to prevent children from crawling — or being pulled — underneath it.
Splurge on it?
At $2,999, the Bowflex Treadmill 22(opens in a new tab) is not a cheap treadmill. Still, it’s also not the most expensive, especially for the many features and range of speed and incline options it offers.
If you’re a serious runner, I think this treadmill would be a great investment. I’ve only had it for a few months, but it seems to be constructed really well, and I think I’ll be able to get several years of use out of it.
But, there’s another type of person I think this treadmill would be an excellent purchase for: The person who enjoys connected fitness, but who doesn’t want to pay insane prices for access to it. (Because let’s be real here, purchasing a piece of fitness equipment for thousands of dollars and then having to pay hundreds in membership fees every year is pretty lame.)
Although there is the initial investment of the treadmill itself, the first year of JRNY is included free. For subsequent years, the JRNY app is very reasonably priced for the features it offers, including access to streaming video apps. At the time of writing, a JRNY subscription(opens in a new tab) starts at $11.99 per month or $99 per year.
Just remember: This treadmill is huge.