JTX Zenith Cross Trainer Review

It’s always exciting getting a JTX model. They are one of my favourite home fitness equipment companies, having innovated their way to the top since they began business back in the late noughties.

As you might expect from its name, the JTX Zenith is their top-level cross trainer – it really does sit at the zenith of everything they do.

In fact, I feel a bit bad calling it a home fitness machine. It is one, in that this is what JTX do, it’s what they design their equipment for. However, the Zenith would fit right into any professional gym or studio – it’s got all the looks and quality of a top-tier piece of kit.

There has been some hype around the Zenith, and deservedly so, in my opinion. It’s a genuinely lovely cross-trainer, a delight to use, and incredibly well- designed and made.

Let me break it down for you.

First Impressions Of The JTX Zenith Cross Trainer

Despite all the praise I heaped on the Zenith above, and all the praise that I’ll follow up with shortly, my first impression was pretty cynical. Not that it’s bad looking, or that I expected it to be poor quality – absolutely not. It’s great, and you can see it right from the off.

jtx side viewBut it’s really very pricey.

I wasn’t sure that it would be able to live up to this price tag. A good machine that is overpriced stops being a good machine, in my book. It just becomes what you expect for your money, or maybe not even that.

However, it does look fantastic. It’s all black moulded plastic and steel, for a good, no-nonsense, slightly industrial look. You can keep it anywhere, knowing that it will improve the aesthetics of whatever space you use.

You will need to keep it in place. It’s very heavy, at just over 90kg. This is more than most users will weigh. Even the heaviest of us will be on a par with it. However, you can move it if absolutely necessary, as it has decent front-loaded transport wheels.

The build quality soon puts any fears over price to bed. You can tell almost immediately that it is worth every penny (and then some). It’s incredibly well thought out and made.

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JTX Zenith Specs

The JTX Zenith is big and heavy. At 190(l) x 87(w) x 173(h)cm, with a 21-inch stride, it’s not small. In fact, it’s JTX’s largest. Then you have the weight of the various components, all coming in at a reassuring 90.6kg.

This includes a 17kg flywheel, which is a bit of a beast.

The maximum pedal height stands at 36cm, so double check this with your height and the ceiling height where you’ll be using it to make sure that you have enough room. This may be an issue in a garage or any similar space.

All of this allows for a maximum user weight of 165kg. This will be more than enough for even the largest of athletes. Given that cross trainers are a go-to machine for people who are carrying a lot of excess body fat, this is great. Cross trainers offer low impact, low stress cardio that can nevertheless work the muscles really hard, get the heartrate up, and burn through plenty of calories.Zenith console

Even morbidly obese users will find the Zenith comfortable, safe and practical.

And it really will get your heart pumping, if you want it to. You get a full 16 levels of electro-magnetic resistance, all manually adjustable or usable over 19 separate programmes. These include 12 different fitness programmes using decent intervals, a manual program, 4 heart rate responsive programs, which rely on hand sensors or Polar chest strap (sold separately), and some customisable options.

The computer is advanced, with a large, colour display that offers real time feedback across all the usual metrics a cross-trainer’s monitor should give – time, distance, speed, calories, pulse, RPM and program profile. It’s Bluetooth and iConsole compatible for training support.

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Using The JTX Zenith

The JTX Zenith takes a little assembly. This shouldn’t be too hard, but you might want to rope someone else in. With two people working on it, it should be a straightforward job that takes you around 45 minutes.

You will also want to have dedicated a very large amount of space to it, for all the reasons mentioned above (footprint, height, and weight!).

man using cross trainerWhen you do have it set up in place, you will probably find yourself smiling. You now have a genuinely lovely looking piece of high-end cardiovascular machinery.

You’re the lucky one – enjoy the moment!

Every contact point on the Zenith is pretty well optimised. You can feel this straight away. The handles are incredibly comfortable, no matter where your grip rests, and the Q ratio (the distance between footpads, allowing for the hips’ Q joints) is perfect for all comers. The footpads themselves are oversized, allowing for anyone to find a comfortable position.

Then there are the grips; then there is the weight of the machine. You will feel steady as hell on the Zenith. The grips will give you a feeling of control whilst the 90 odd kilograms you’re standing on will make you feel like you’re fully rooted to the ground.

Give it your best. Work your hardest. The Zenith won’t even flinch – I promise you.

The cross-training motion is also lovely. The 17kg flywheel is as steady as everything else on the Zenith, and it offers a smooth, silent motion. You won’t be bugging anyone else in the household with any unwanted noise. The tread is well designed, though it may be a little long for shorter athletes (I was just about fine, and I’m 5’8” with disproportionately short legs! Anyone much under around 5’4” might struggle).

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As with all cross trainers, you can hold stationary handles or moving ones. I prefer stationary ones, as it allows for a better leg workout, but full body options are fantastic for fat burning – and many people feel more natural on them anyway. Either way, you get a good workout, with everything placed well, and all handles well-padded for long-lasting comfort.

The pulse rate sensors work well for their type. They are well-placed for a degree of accuracy and ease of use. However, if you can splash for the chest strap, I would. They are always more accurate and easier to use than hand sensors, especially as you start to sweat. The chest strap will also automatically sync with your heart rate program in the centre console, making life simpler.

female training on zenithThe centre console isn’t amazing. It’s fine. It does what it’s meant to do efficiently, with no fuss. It’s just not very nice looking. The display looks awkward, clunky, and outdated.

There is, however, a decent device holder, which might give a better experience – your iPad will offer a lot more, more elegantly done, than the built-in console. Third party apps will also add a little spice and variety to your workout, which is of course always welcome.

The resistance levels are all great. They adjust automatically during any of the pre-set programmes, though you can also adjust them manually as you go. This is easily done with a quick select button on the console, or buttons in the handles themselves. The top level is a real challenge, and the intervals between each are well done and smoothly operated, which is all as you would want of a top cross trainer.

The height may be an issue. I live in a house with incredibly high ceilings (and, as above, am on the shorter side), so had no issues. Just be sure to double check all measurements before purchase. Add your own height to the max pedal height (36cm) and add another 10cm or so for comfort. If you can fit this into your place, no problems.

Alternative To JTX Zenith

I wouldn’t suggest going with any other model if you want something big and beautiful, and are able to spend a bit of cash on it.

However, not everyone does; not everyone is. Sometimes, a smaller, more convenient, cheaper model will be more appropriate. I would suggest a mini elliptical style machine in this instance – it will give you a fair amount of the utility you can expect from a larger cross trainer (though far from all!), for a fraction of the price (around 10%!) and will be able to neatly tuck away under your bed or in a cupboard when not in use.

I would highly recommend the HOMCOM Mini Manual Elliptical Bike.

You will get a good workout from it. Though your legs won’t burn as much as they would with something like the Zenith, and your lungs and heart won’t struggle so much, you will nevertheless get a decent cardiovascular workout, a good calorie burn, and a good amount of leg and core stimulation.

Verdict

It’s big and it’s pricy, but the JTX Zenith is fantastic. It’s worth every penny and it’s worth the floor space it takes up.

You will struggle to get such a professional looking machine, so well-made, so well-built and executed, for the money. You get a sturdy, safe machine, elegant yet grounded, with all the bells and whistles you could ever want to keep your training effective and enjoyable.

Five stars. Maybe even more. I love it.

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