I’ve always hibernated in the winter. Minimal training and exercise. We’ll ski some and hike a bit but nothing like the warmer weather months. I wanted a better way to stay in shape when the days are short and cold. Some sort of exercise machine seemed to be the ticket. But which one.
Bowflex have been in the fitness equipment industry for a long time. They’re a trusted name and for good reason. They make solid products.
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is one of the biggest and feature-rich treadmills on the market today. With a huge running area and full integration with the JRNY app, there are so many ways to run on the 22. In this review, I’ll dig into each of the features and a few improvements I hope Bowflex makes in the near future.
Rating: 4/5 (Highly recommended)
The Treadmill 22 is one of the best large consumer treadmills you can buy. It has lots of storage, a massive screen and an amazing running experience. The JRNY app could use a couple updates but otherwise is a stellar experience across platforms and access to tons of running-related content.
- large running area
- 22″ touchscreen
- Many options for workouts for on and off the treadmill
- JRNY app tracks progress through app across any kind of workout
- Stream movies and shoes through JRNY app
- huge incline/decline range
- limited functionality without JRNY subscription
Best prices on the Treadmill 22
- Unfolded size: 215.8 cm long x 100.5 wide x 177.7 tall (85″ x 39.6″ x 70″)
- Folded size: 113 cm long x 100.5 wide x 177.7 tall (44.5″ x 39.6″ x 70″)
- 22″ x 60″ running surface
- 22 inch screen
- 152.4 kg (336 pounds)
- 12mph max speed
- 400 pounds max user weight
- Price: $3,499 CAD ($2,699 USD)
Overall assembly on the Treadmill 22 wasn’t difficult. It definitely requires 2 people to move the deck and assist a couple times while putting other pieces on.
The box is quite large that it comes in. Try to get it as close to where you want to set up as possible. Mine was delivered in the driveway on a pallet and we couldn’t even lift the nearly 400 pound box. We just brought all the pieces in separately.
The main deck piece must weight at least 150 pounds. This is the part that really requires the most help. It barely fit through our front door.
If you can, get the in-home assembly for $80-$100 bucks. It will save you a headache and a sore back.
If you are going to put it together yourself, the instructions are very good. All the parts and diagrams are well labelled. Unboxing and putting all together with many interruptions took about 3 hours.
Size and Structure
The Treadmill 22 is a big machine. Unfolded it’s 85 inches long, 39.6 inches wide and 70 inches tall at the top of the screen.
Most of the length is the big 22 inch by 60 inch running deck. With that much space to run, I have to remind myself can easily backup a few feet and don’t have to run right at the console. You could nearly run with another person on it.
The Comfort Tech deck cushioning is very comfortable to run on. It’s firm without being hard. If it had too much squish, it’d be harder to run.
With all that size and weight, the Treadmill 22 is very stable. Compared to other treadmills I’ve used in the past, it hardly moves pounding on it with a hard run. I like when products feel like they’re going to last a long time, especially ones that get pounded on like a treadmill.
The Treadmill 22 ain’t tiny but it does fold and give you back some floor space. Putting the decline at -5% let’s it fold up the most. Height and width stay at 70 inches and 39.6 inches respectively but folding takes the length from 85 inches down to 44.5 inches.
Folding with the SoftDrop folding system is much easier than without. It assists moving the deck up and down so it’s not so heavy. A small button under the end of the deck unlocks it and lets it move up and down. At the top it locks in place.
Unfolding is easier and assisted as well. Unlock the latch and the deck slowly falls to the ground. I don’t recommend just letting it fall but you can. The piston under the deck slowly lets it down.
Moving the treadmill is more work. Pulling back on the deck and the arms (but not too far!) lifts it up onto it’s wheels. Once it’s on the wheels it’s pretty easy to manoeuvre around. Fully constructed it won’t fit through most regular sized doors without taking some of the parts off.
Console Controls and Speeds
Up on the console, 3 different handlebars flank the main controls and a ton of different storage. Perched right on top is the 22 inch screen
To control the speed, there’s 3 different options. Preset buttons on the console, let you quickly go to a set speed. The numbers aren’t km/h or mph but rather levels that correspond to a speed. They are listed as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12. Stickers that show the actual speed equivalent in mph and km/h are included.
Another toggle on the right side handlebar lets you nudge the speed up or down by .2 km/h. Another 2 buttons on the end of the lower handlebar lets you nudge the speed up and down. Holding the toggle or the buttons up or down increases or decreases speed by larger jumps. It increases quickly so I have to be careful holding for too long.
19.3 km/h (12mph) is the max speed for this treadmill which is a pretty solid speed for most people. That’s a 3 minute kilometre or 4:50 mile.
Mirroring the speed on the right, the incline controls are all on the left. Preset incline buttons are on the console, a large toggle is on the left side handlebar and 2 buttons are on the lower handlebar. I like using the handlebar buttons to adjust things unless I’m hanging on for dear life and already have my hands on the side handlebars.
The range from -5% (decline) to 20% incline is a huge range for a treadmill. Most don’t have a decline or such a large incline. The large range gives the programs a lot of variety. If you are short on time, crank that incline up to 20%.
A small fan is right in the middle of the console just under the speed and incline buttons. Each click changes the speed. I wish it was larger on hot runs but it’s certainly welcome on all but the coldest days.
Two angled handlebars rise out of the side handlebars. The lower bars have built-in heart rate monitors on them. On the ends of the lower bars are the speed and incline buttons, 2 on each side.
The higher handlebars work well for taller people or when the incline is much higher. The top end of the treadmill goes from 7.5 inches off the floor at -5% incline up to 18 inches off the floor at 20% incline. My kids love the incline since they get closer to the screen.
I don’t usually use the handlebars much unless I’m changing speeds, getting a heart rate, or have hit my absolute limit and am just trying to get through the end of a workout. The foam is comfortable to hold and stays grippy with sweaty hands.
Getting a heart rate through the handlebars requires both hands but is fast. On occasion it shows a very high heart rate and I have to reseat my hands on the sensors.
The side handlebars have speed and incline toggles on them as well.
My only improvement here would be shortening the higher handles so they don’t extend in front of the screen at all.
Heart rate monitor
Along with the heart rate monitor on the handlebar, BowFlex have included a bluetooth wrist strap. It just has one button to turn it on and off but works well. My only gripe with it is that it’s very long. Even on my average-sized wrists, the strap overlaps. I’d like to see a shorter version or 2 sizes in the box.
The Treadmill 22 has a ridiculous amount of storage.
Built into the console, under the screen, are 2 pockets and a ledge that sit up on an angle. I usually put my phone in here or the iPad if I’m watching something I can’t on the screen (or watching both). They are on an angle without much lip at the bottom so they can only hold thin items.
Beside the Stop button and fan are 2 more deep angled that can easily fit tall water bottles like Nalgene’s or Stanley Quencher Tumblers.
Further down under the console is a tray that runs all the way across. It’s vertical instead of angled like the rest and can store a bunch of other things. The 5 inch wide pockets on the ends are 3 inches deep while the 15 inches across the middle is 2 inches deep.
Screen and JRNY App
The 22 inch screen sits above the console. It turns on automatically when the machine turns on. You can also turn the screen on and off with the buttons behind the right side of the screen.
The screen is mostly used to interact with the JRNY app and all its features. You currently get a free year with JRNY you buy a something JRNY compatible from Bowflex like the Treadmill 22. To connect with all the JRNY features, it needs to be connected to WiFi.
After the free year is up, the subscription is $29.99/month CAD or $199.99/year.
You can still use the treadmill without JRNY but the screens features are limited.
- Adaptive workouts
- On-demand classes and videos
- Tracking shared across all JRNY devices and your mobile device
- Strength, cardio with the machines, yoga, pilates, HIIT workouts
- Unlimited user accounts
- Stream shows and movies through Disney+, Netflix and others – these require subscriptions
I’ll go through a quick description of the features here but a we have a full review of the JRNY app here.
The JRNY app keeps track of how hard and fast the workouts are and suggests other workouts at the right level. You can watch a trainer or the Explorer the World videos when you do an adaptive workout.
On-demand classes and videos
JRNY doesn’t have any live classes but there are tons of recorded on-demanded classes and videos.
Tracking shared across all JRNY devices and your mobile device
You can use JRNY on every JRNY-connected Bowflex device as well as just your phone or tablet when you do other workouts.
Strength, cardio with the machines, yoga, pilates, HIIT workouts
The workouts doesn’t have to be treadmill or bike workouts. Just with your phone or tablet, you can do other strength, yoga, pilates, or HIIT workouts.
Unlimited user accounts
Anyone in the house can set up an account and use it. Just make sure you switch before you do a good run! It can’t be moved to another account once you’re done.
Stream shows and movies through Disney+, Netflix and others
If you already have a subscription to Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, or Prime Video, you can watch these on the screen. You have to have a subscription to JRNY and the streaming service to watch.
Just for you and Favourites sections
Within the Workouts tab, a Just for you section recommends distances and types of workouts that you’ve said you like in the past. Favourites shows any workouts or videos that you’ve favourited.
See our full review of the JRNY app for more details.
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is an impressive machine. It’s the best treadmill I’ve ever run on. My whole family is using it almost daily to walk through various places with Explore the World.
There are only a few things I would love to see updated or fixed with firmware updates.
Console loses connection
On occasion the console loses connection with the treadmill. Usually it’s when it’s been left on. After restarting the console or turning the whole machine off for a couple minutes then starting again it’s fine. A recent update has made this a lot more rare.
Screen doesn’t turn off automatically
After running and unplugging the safety clip, I’d like to screen to turn off automatically after a certain time. There’s a button on the back of the screen to turn it off or the power button for the whole unit so it’s not a big deal but it’d be nice if it was automatic.
Stream videos without JRNY
Seeing as the subscription for the streaming services is separate, I’d like to see these available without a JRNY subscription.
Start where I left off in Explore the World
Seeing all the places around the world is how I mostly use the screen and it’s very cool to run through Angkor Wat or the Alps but I don’t want to start from the beginning every time. It’d be nice to start from where I left off or be able to choose a start location when starting Explore the World. It starts from the same place every time so I’ve seen that many times already.
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is a world-class machine. Easily one of the best treadmills you can buy. With all the storage, console options, huge running deck and Comfort Tech makes running feel really good.
The JRNY app is packed with content and Explore the World videos. I love running around the world and see all the new places. It’s my favourite way to use the treadmill. JRNY could use a couple updates and some added content but I believe they are fixing bugs and adding content over time.
The main benefit of the Treadmill 22 is the massive screen. Most of the functions on the screen require the JRNY app so if you if you already have it are planning to use the $30 (CAD) subscription long term, then this is a good pick for you.
Disclaimer: Bowflex sent the Treadmill 22 at no cost to review. The words are my own. This enables me to review and compare more outdoor gear and workout equipment for these articles.