Currently available for £799.00 from Sweatband.com
DKN AiRun-Z Treadmill Review
DKN has a reputation for pushing boundaries when it comes to treadmill design, and we were eager to see if the new AiRun Z continues with this trend. With a long track record of bringing advanced, high-quality running machines at affordable prices to the market, DKN have steadily grown from unknown outsiders to serious competition for the old, established, brands such as Sole Fitness, Reebok, Proform, and York. And, a quick scan of the spec sheet prior to delivery of the AiRun-Z would appear to suggest that they may just have created one more headache for the competition! But, we’ve come across many treadmills that looked great on paper and disappointed when put through their paces.
First things first. Before you can run on it, someone needs to unbox it and set it up. (forgive the obvious statement). This is where the first thing you’ll notice if you purchase an AiRun-Z is that it’s a substantial piece of machinery! At 105kg (231.5lbs) it’s not light either indicating that this is a serious bit of kit. While the price is not necessarily a guide to that, we’ve seen more expensive treadmills that aren’t really any more substantial and in some cases smaller and more lightweight than this, so upon arrival it was reassuring to see the size of the box (though one suspects that the delivery men didn’t feel the same way!) Other than moving the box into position, which most definitely requires 2 people, the assembly is straight-forward and takes about an hour to complete. The box we received contained all the parts described in the manual, so off to a good start.
Most unusually for a DKN machine, there was an issue with our test unit – there was some play in the handlebars! The amount of play is relatively small and certainly nothing that interferes with the safety or effectiveness and function of the handlebars. They still do the job but it’s surprising to see as we’re used to all the components in DKN machines fitting together with near-perfect precision. This isn’t something that could be resolved by tightening various bolts indicating that, on our test unit at least, this may be a new production teething issue. Certainly, when you’re spending this sort of money, you just wouldn’t expect to be having a machine where the handlebars have lateral movement like this.
In your reviewer’s opinion, this is a really nice looking running machine. DKN have opted for a matt black finish with splashes of bright blue that are kept to a minimum and the console looks slick and modern. At L 185.2cm x W85cm x H142.5cm (L72.9’’ x W33.5’’ x H56.1’’) this is a slightly larger than average treadmill but because of the slick styling, it doesn’t seem to hog the room. It’s a good lookindg machine and one that’ll be at home in most households.
So it goes together nicely which is always a good sign and looks good too, so what about performance? There are two main points of contact between man and machine on a treadmill – the console and the running deck. As such these are probably the two most important factors on any running machine (quality of the components themselves aside of course) and firing up and stepping onto the AiRun-Z for the first time it’s clear that on the console side at least, DKN has got it right!
DKN has opted for an LED display on this model and it works really well, with the LED characters for speed, pulse, distance, incline level, time (elapsed/remaining) and calories (burned/left to burn) all benefiting from their own windows and standing out brilliantly bright even in a brightly lit office. There’s also a center screen that displays the parameters of the preset workouts as you scroll through them and then switches to a clear, easy to see count-down to start and then switches again into a 1/4 mile running track display that shows your progress once the workout starts. This setup makes it easy to get all your workout stats at a quick glance mid-run. The layout of the buttons is also well thought through with one-touch speed and incline keys running up the right and left-hand sides of the console respectively while the lower center of the console is home to a range of quick preset program access buttons and various other functions such as fan selection speed and user training programs.
Another aspect that surprised us in a negative way about the console was that it’s lacking in user profiles that store age, weight, gender and height of one or more users and use the information to provide more personalised feedback. Whilst many treadmills don’t have this functionality, the AiRun Z is the first DKN machine we’ve seen in quite a few years that doesn’t do this!
At 52cm x 148cm (20.5’’ x 58.3’’) the running area is slightly wider and longer than standard providing plenty of space even for tall runners to move around the deck area comfortably. This adds to the comfort of the AiRun-Z as it provides a feeling of security. This can be felt especially toward the end of a run when it’s common to start to move around on the deck more than when fresh legs are carrying you. There’s little worse than feeling like you have to keep looking over your shoulder to check where the rear of the deck is and thankfully there’s no such issue here thanks to its generous proportions.
DKN claims that the cushioning on the AiRun-Z absorbs up to 40% of the force of impact compared to road running and while we don’t have the equipment to measure and confirm this, we can report that the run is prodigiously comfortable! The AiRun-Z features a 2mm orthopaedic belt and a progressive cushioning system that adapts as you run faster to provide protection for your joints without being uber-soft on landing. The balance they’ve managed to strike between cushioning and firm launch surface is an impressive achievement and one that’s not at all easy to accomplish. It really does set this treadmill apart and brings it to life.
Ultimately, all other considerations aside, if a treadmill isn’t great to run on, the overwhelming odds are that you won’t be using it much beyond the first few weeks or months. But here the AiRun-Z combines the bright easy to use console with the setup of this deck to make operating it and running on it a really enjoyable experience and, having spent the last couple of weeks putting the AiRun-Z through its paces and also using it as the primary go-to tread to work out on, your reviewer can say with confidence that if you’re not still using this treadmill after a few months then it won’t have anything to do with how it feels to run on or use!
In terms of motivation and functions, the AiRun-Z has plenty to offer even the most easily bored runner. There are 18 workouts available ranging from a manual run to 12 pre-set programs with fast access keys to a 5km run and hill climb amongst others while there are also 2 heart rate control programs and unusually, but most happily, 3 user-defined workouts save slots that enable you to create your or own personal runs and save them for quick access later. Setting up your own program is easy enough and while it takes a few minutes to do, if you have a specific training need that’s not already available in the factory presets, it can be catered for using this function. With 20 incline levels providing a real incline of around 10%-11% and a top speed of 11.2mph (18kph) the AiRun-Z can do all way from “easy peasy” through to “why am I torturing myself?” hard. The changes in speed and incline levels are also nice an quick making this runner feel nice and responsive. You push a button, and the changes happen at a satisfying rate making it a real pleasure to use. The console also features an integrated Bluetooth receiver making it compatible with the popular iConsole+ App which allows you to plot running routes around the world using Google maps. This not the most sophisticated software, but it’s a free app that while not setting the world on fire, is nevertheless a good bit of fun and does make a run less dull 🙂 The console is also compatible with Kinomap so really does give you a few added goodies on top of the already substantial number of onboard workouts.
Other features include a Bluetooth heart rate receiver, dual water bottle holders, tablet holder, fan and speakers and last but not least a USB charging port that enables you to keep your device topped up while you workout.
In terms of ‘firsts’, the AiRun Z has an innovation that we’ve not seen before: A third wheel in the base which can be flicked up and with it, moving the machine around becomes a bit of a breeze!
So what do we think overall? Well, we like the AiRun-Z but it’s certainly not perfect. The two main negatives are the handlebars and lack of user profiles on the console. Strangely, the main competition for the AiRun-Z comes from another DKN machine: The EzRun – if the extra running deck length and maneuverability when folded aren’t major criteria, it does offer a good saving over the AiRun-Z.
So what do we think overall? Well, we like the AiRun-Z but it's certainly not perfect. The two main negatives are the handlebars and lack of user profiles on the console. Strangely, the main competition for the AiRun-Z comes from another DKN machine: The EzRun - if the extra running deck length and maneuverability when folded aren't major criteria, it does offer a good saving over the AiRun-Z.
DKN AiRun-Z Specifications
- 2.5 HP Continuous Duty motor (4.0 HP peak)
- 1-18kph (0.6-11.2mph) speed range (with quick speed keys)
- 20 levels of powered incline with quick incline keys
- Running Area: 52cm (20.5’’) x 148cm (58.3’’)
- 2mm orthopaedic belt
- Progressive Shock Absorption cushioning system
- Large, user-friendly LED display
- Console Feedback: Speed, incline, time, distance, calories, pulse, 400m laps run
- 18 programmes (manual, 12 pre-set, 3 user-defined, 2 heart rate control)
- Bluetooth® Smart enabled
- 3 user profiles (age / gender / weight / height)
- Compatible Applications: Kinomap, iConsole+
- Heart Rate Measurement: Hand pulse sensors + wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
- Soft Drop folding system
- Workout fan
- Transport wheels
- Additional Features: Dual water bottle holder, accessory tray, tablet holder, music port for iPod/mp3 player, USB charger port
- Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 185.2cm (72.9’’) x 85cm (33.5’’) x 142.5cm (56.1’’)
- Dimensions folded (L x W x H): 123.5cm (48.6’’) x 85cm (33.5’’) x 152.5cm (60.0’’)
- Max. User Weight: 130kg (286.6lbs)
- Product Weight: 105kg (231.5lbs)
- Warranty: 2 years parts and labour
DKN AiRun-Z Treadmill - Console / Display Unit
Currently available for £799.00 from Sweatband.com
Also see our Treadmill Comparison Table
Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer