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Tech tips for assembling indoor bikes, ellipticals, treadmills

Tech tips for assembling indoor bikes, ellipticals, treadmills

The tech folks at Consumer Reports spent nearly 100 hours putting together treadmills and ellipticals last year! And just last week I found mechanical engineer Kyaw Naing stretched out on the floor putting together 8 new stationary bikes we’ll be testing soon. Kyaw joked that unpacking the equipment sometimes takes more time than putting it together. He photographs all the pieces once they’re out of the box to make sure we’re not missing any parts and as proof of what we received since we buy our products off the shelves or online, just like you.

Check out our latest ratings of ellipticals and treadmills.

I come from a family that has no knack for putting stuff together; we recently found a TV stand pretty challenging. So, I asked Kyaw for tips on how to assemble home exercise equipment, and here’s what he recommended:

You need some tools. Many times equipment comes with wrenches that will accommodate different size nuts and bolts, but our pros also keep on hand a toolbox that includes an adjustable wrench, allen wrenches, a #1 and #2 Philips head screwdriver, cordless drill, standard and metric ratchet kit, rubber mallet and rubber gloves since some assembly requires grease.

Read the instructions. No, really, don’t just read them after you get stuck. Our engineers like Kyaw read all of the manuals for every machine. Some are more detailed than others, so don’t hesitate to call the manufacturer if you’re unsure of something.

Pick some good music and a good partner. It takes our experienced product testers between 1 and 2 hours to put together fitness equipment like treadmills and it almost always requires an extra set of hands.

Consider splurging on assembly. Some fitness equipment like treadmills can weigh hundreds of pounds, so it might be worth the extra cost to pay for delivery and assembly if you don’t think you can carry that big box up your steps or put it together once it’s in place. In-room assembly for Smooth CE 3.6, one of our top-rated ellipticals, for example, costs $240.

Spinning fans should stay tuned for our upcoming report on exercise bikes.

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