AFG 18.1AXT Ascent Trainer Review

18.1AXT Ascent Trainer


Among the hot new elliptical models for 2013 is the AFG 18.1AXT Ascent Trainer, which boasts an attractive, minimalist design with a high tech flywheel system and modern onboard electronics. For more information about the 18.1AXT Ascent Trainer, please continue reading.

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Elliptical trainers are a favorite for people who are serious about getting an intense cardio workout, without the impact of running and joint problems that tend to go with it. Furthermore, because good ellipticals recruit your upper body muscles and tenses your core at the same time, they can achieve a full body workout – which means you can burn more calories and fat in a more efficient manner.

As far as finding a good elliptical machine to use at home, there are many to choose from, with most elite gym-grade models exceeding $2,000. However, there are relatively less expensive models available, which, although still quite pricey, have the core features and quality of these top-end brands for a significant savings.

For example, for a very well-built, premium elliptical trainer that comes in under $2,000, we like the new AFG 18.1AXT Ascent Trainer.

The AFG 18.1AXT Ascent Trainer has a fairly basic design, but comes with the critical features that we look for in a very high quality elliptical trainer. For example, at the heart of the 18.1AXT is a heavy 23-pound flywheel system that provides very smooth and reliable resistance. With this robust flywheel design, this elliptical provides very natural walking, running and climbing movement, with 20 levels of resistance to select from.

This model uses a variable stride length adjustment that ranges from 19 to 21 inches, which is not as generous a range as some of the more expensive ellipticals we’ve seen, but likely sufficient for most users. On the other hand, the 18.1AXT’s incline range is impressive and can be adjusted from 0 to 100%, via 5% increments.

As far as electronics go, the 18.1AXT Ascent Trainer is not surprising, but not lacking either. It comes with a contact grip and a chest-strap heart rate monitoring system; it’s iPod compatible; and comes with Nike + iPod tracking, which saves your workout information, such as time/calories burned, distance, and speed data, onto your iPod to follow your workout progress on You can also easily connect your iPod to the console to feed your music through the built-in speaker system.  Other techy features include a profile performance tracking system that allows two users to track their respective workout data, and 11 pre-programmed and 3 customizable workouts, including weight loss, muscle toner, cardio boost, and manual interval, among others.

Finally, besides coming with very solid specs, we like the superficial design of the 18.1AXT Ascent Trainer. This model uses a very strong Ascent frame, but still manages to pull off a sleek, skeletal look.  This gives it a more contemporary feel compared to many of the chunkier models we’ve been seeing lately.

Overall, with the exception of having a more limited stride length adjustment than we would have hoped, we give the AFG 18.1AXT Ascent Trainer a 5-star rating for providing all of the key technology and construction features that we consider important in a top-end elliptical, for significantly less than other top-end models.

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