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Nordictrack 8.5 vs VersaClimber SM [Article,Video]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Aug 1, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Nordictrack 8.5 vs VersaClimber SM

This is a comparison of the Nordictrack 8.5 treadmill and the VersaClimber SM. Follow the links for more details.

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Overview and review of the VersaClimber SM

The VersaClimber SM comes in at $4995 - $5300. In this article you will learn more about the product itself, its Pros and cons and alternatives you might want to consider. This article has originally been published in the overview "Which conditioning equipment to buy from Rogue".

Overview of the VersaClimber SM sport

The Versa Climber Sport model is the high-end product of the Versa range. This machine simulates climbing a mountain and is known for its relentless workouts. This thing will make you sweat. It can be used as a Climber or a stepper. It is hand welded and made from high-quality steel. The specs are: 
  • Weight 150 Lb
  • Height 7’ 10’’
  • Climb angle 75 degrees 
  • Footprint 43’’ x 46’’
The Versa Climber is made in the USA and has been around for decades. It is a good alternative for gyms which cannot provide outside space for running or want to offer their athletes something more challenging. Le Bron James is said to use this machine for his routines. 

Pros of the VersaClimber SM

These are the pros of the Versa Climber for your use:
  • Small footprint 
  • Intense workout 
  • An unusual piece of equipment 
Compared to most treadmills the Versa Climber has a very small footprint. That means you can fit more people into a smaller space. For a home gym, you might also be able to put it in a corner of your house and just work away. That is usually more of a challenge with heavy treadmills. 
The Versa Climber possibly offers the most intense workout you can do for your cardiovascular system in the smallest space possible. This is pure intensity formed into metal. 
If you are running a gym and want to attract more customers this is also an unusual piece of equipment. It might attract clients who are willing to pay more for their members to get more than just regular treadmills. 

Cons of the VersaClimber

The cons of the Versa Climber are 
  • Price 
  • No relation to most sports 
  • Maintenance 
With the price tag of $5000, you are investing a considerable amount of money per machine. For two of these, you can get ten concept 2 rowers, skiergs or rogue Echo bikes. With this, you can run an entire CrossFit or strength class. It all depends on what kind of gym you want to be. 
The movement pattern of the Versa Climber has not a lot of carryover to most sports. If you are training athletes all around you will still need to get some type of treadmill despite having the Versa Climber. Whether the Versa Climber is worth the investment if you still need to get other equipment is up to you. 
The Versa Climber works with chains. These can break and need to be maintained. Based on the rattling and way this machine is used it is More likely to break down than a treadmill or bike. 

Alternatives to the VersaClimber SM

Alternatives to the Versa Climber SM are 
The Versa Climber H is a variation on the SM for home use. It only weighs half of the SM so it won’t take as much if a beating than the SM, which is ok for home use as it will not be used as much. Switching from the SM to the H will save you $3000. Be aware that the guarantee is voided if you place the H in a professional gym setting. 
The Rogue Echo bike packs a punch on your cardiovascular system for a fraction of the cost. The workout is not as intense as with the Versa Climber as you are seated. But it comes at a considerably lower price and the bike can be moved around more easily. 
The concept 2 skierg is an alternative which can be used in tight spaces. it is also an alternative for people with hip or leg injuries to do endurance work indoors. It simulates skiing like you would do it in biathlon. The price tag is considerable than the one of the Versa Climber SM model.

Summary for the VersaClimber SM

The Versa Climber SM model is the one to go for when you want to bring the Versa Climber experience to your gym. Especially when people will use it around the clock. The warranty will help in case of breakage. Compared to other workouts in the endurance sphere, the climber is superior for burned calories per minute. You will be hard pressed to find anything more challenging. For sprinters and athletes who work on the pitch, it might be better to veer towards running and sprinting as this has more overlay with their actual sport.

Further reading



Overview and review NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill $1399 - $1999

This is a review of the Nordictrack 8.5 S model which was originally published in "Which Nordictrack treadmill to get". Follow the links for more details.

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Overview NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill $1399 - $1999

The T 8.5 is the small brother of the T 9.5 from Nordictrack. The main difference is an HD touch screen which 10 inches on the 8.5 instead of 14 on the T 9.5. Apart from this, you get a top speed of 12 miles an hour, 12% incline and a foldable treadmill. The full list of specifications for the T 8.5 runs as following:
  • 10” Smart HD Touchscreen
  • Includes 1-Year NordicTrack iFit® membership
  • Bluetooth® Audio Capabilities
  • Dual 2” Digitally Amplified Speakers
  • FlexSelect™ Cushioning
  • 20” x 60” Commercial Tread Belt
  • AutoBreeze™ Workout Fan
  • Integrated Tray
  • 0-12% Incline
  • 0-12 MPH Speed
  • One Touch® Controls
  • 3.5 CHP DurX™ Commercial Plus Motor
  • 1.9” Precision and Balanced Non-Flex Rollers
  • 300 Lb. User Capacity
  • EKG Grip Pulse
  • SpaceSaver® Design with EasyLift™ Assist
  • 50 On-Board Workout Programs
  • 78.5” L x 35.5” W x 59” H Footprint
  • 10-Year Frame Warranty
  • 2-Year Parts Warranty
  • 1-Year Labor Warranty
This is a treadmill for the smaller budget and a mid-range option at it. I personally do not like the middle of the road solutions and either go alls guns blazing or very low budget. Personally, I think the 1750 is more balanced or go for the T6.5 if you want to save money and space.

Pros of the  NordicTrack T 8.5 treadmill

The pros of the 8.5 treadmill are:
  • Foldable
  • 300 lb capacity
  • Cushioning
If you want to save money on a treadmill that can take a pounding this is the right choice. You can save space when storing and it takes up to 300 lbs. of weight. All of this makes it a good option for a mid-range home treadmill.

Cons of the NordicTrack T 8.5 treadmill

Cons of the Nordictrack 8.5:
  • Somewhere in the middle
  • High price to compromise 
As the Nordictrack portfolio has evolved the 1750 is just the better option in terms of value for money in my opinion. With the T 8.5 you compromise on the size of the belt, incline, and screen while still paying a good bit of money. It is a reasonable price for a cardio machine compared to other machines in the market, but I would lean more towards the 1750 to spent my money wisely. 

Alternatives to the NordciTrack T 8.5 treadmill

Alternatives to the T 8.5 are:
The Nordictrack 1750 is, in my opinion, the most balances option in the Nordictrack portfolio at a reasonable price. Therefore I think it is the best option for budget-conscious treadmill buyers from Nordic Track. The T 8.5 just sits a bit oddly against this as it has the same sized screen while having less incline and a smaller belt, while the prices are not that far apart. 
The Nordictrack 6.5 is the ideal option for people who want to maximize saving money and space when buying a new treadmill from Nordictrack. This model comes in around $1000 and has the smallest footprint of the Nordictrack models. Ideal for walkers or limited spaces. 
The Rogue echo bike is my personal favorite if you are looking for maximum calories burned per minute. It comes in at only $700, has a small footprint and packs a hefty punch.
If you are looking for a different concept of a treadmill the True form runner is for you. This treadmill is self-propelled and therefore has no motor. The belt rests on bearing and your footstrike accelerates or breaks on the speed. This is the ideal treadmill for runners who want to simulate fast acceleration and deceleration at home. 

Topics: Treadmill