DKN M-500 Incline Trainer Review

DKN are well known for quality product design and manufacture and have been around long enough to know the good from the bad from the ugly. Over the last few years they’ve steadily built up a reputation for producing quality home fitness equipment at very reasonable prices. Their products mainly focus on quality of components and then the bells and whistles. You’ll never find their machines overloaded with features and gadgets but they are always smooth, quiet and reliable and have enough about them to make them a serious contenders whenever choosing a machine. They already cover the market with a good range of treadmills, from entry level models right the way up to top end home use models, but the M-500 Incline Trainer is a bit different so as soon as we got the opportunity to test one, we grabbed it. Here’s what we thought of it….

For those of you that aren’t already familiar with the world of incline training, an incline trainer is very much like a treadmill in many ways but is designed to incinerate calories at a prodigious rate. This is done via, yep you guessed it, getting you to walk, jog, jump, lunge and skip up a very steep hill! On most treadmills you’ll find the incline goes up to around 10% and sometimes as much as 15%. The M-500 goes up to a seriously challenging 40%. To get an idea of what this means in practice it’s worth taking a moment to consider the following. Walking at a 25% incline burns calories at approximately three times the rate of regular flat walking. At 40% incline this rate exceeds four times the calorie burn on the flat. In fact, it’s almost as much as five times the calorie burn rate compared with walking on a level surface. This is obviously appealing to anyone looking to burn off calories as quickly as possible which is why this type of machine is becoming so popular.

The first thing, as always, after the boxes arrived was getting the M-500 built up. This wasn’t as daunting as the size of the boxes suggested and it’s fair to say that actually getting everything out of the considerable packaging felt like just as much as actually putting the machine itself together! There are 4 main steps and it’s done. Don’t look for any worded guidance though as DKN have opted for a diagram only approach. It actually works pretty well and as there are only a few stages and very few pieces it really didn’t take long at all. It’s definitely something that needs two people though so make sure you’ve got some help to hand when attempting assembly.

Once assembled there’s no mistaking that this is a machine built for a purpose. It looks clean and modern, and like it’s ready to do some serious work. What’s also striking about it is that it manages to look both mean and compact at the same time. It’s got a small footprint for an incline trainer – just 155cm x 79cm (61”x31″) which is considerably smaller than most conventional treadmills, even compact ones, and certainly a good deal smaller than other incline trainers on the market. Despite this the deck is still a very respectable 48cm x 133cm (18.9” x 52.3”) which is wider and longer than many compact treadmills, so you still get a good deck but packed into a small footprint. Despite its diminutive size there’s something about it that just feels mean, solid, built like a brick.

DKN say that the overall size is down to the M-500 being designed for the specific purpose of burning calories in the most efficient way and improving cardio fitness. It’s not trying to be an all-in-one incline trainer/treadmill/stepper type machine. This is no bad thing as unlike most home treadmills, incline trainers do not fold! They can’t. It’s the nature of the beast and down to the way they produce the steep incline. So, unlike many of its competitors that try to be a one stop shop, the M-500 won’t swallow half the room up, making it a sensible choice whether you’re tight for space or even if you’re not.

The belt is driven by a 2.5 CHP (4 HP peak) drive motor that’s quiet and effortlessly delivers smooth performance even at low speeds and high incline levels. The fact that the M-500 is a dedicated machine for incline workouts means that the speed tops out at 12kph (7.5mph). While that’s a relatively low max speed for a modern treadmill, your reviewer can assure you that it’s plenty fast enough on a machine like this! To give you a better idea of what we’re talking about here we did a simple pulse and calorie test. First we performed a 2 minute walk on the flat at 2mph. Starting pulse was measured at 76bpm. After 2 minutes walking at 2mph the pulse measured in at 82bpm with approx. 9 calories burned. After a couple of minutes rest, we then set the incline to the maximum 40% and performed the same 2m walk at 2mph. The result? Heart rate of 151bpm and approx. 42 calories burned! There’s no denying it, this incline trainer does what it says on the tin. Push that speed up beyond 2mph and it can get decidedly difficult very, very quickly indeed making it ideal not only for getting rid of excess calories, but also a great way of improving cardio fitness.

The M-500 is pretty much guaranteed to present a serious challenge regardless of your fitness levels so it’s suitable for beginners and hardcore gym bunnies alike. Lovers of short burst, high-intensity workouts will also like this machine as the speed of response of the drive motor is quick and smooth and with that monster incline angle will push you hard.

One of the undesirable aspects of early (and indeed some current) incline trainers was their propensity to deliver an ‘ever increasing speed’ workout when set to high incline levels. The steepness of the incline combined with Earth’s gravity meant that as you tried to walk uphill the belt would move faster and faster until you ended up in a run, when what you really wanted was a walk. Far from ideal. We’re pleased to report that there are no such issues on the M-500 which employs a braking system to ensure that regardless of the angle of incline or the weight of the user, the speed remains steady and as displayed on the console. This makes for a far happier, not to mention far safer, workout and it really does make for a good experience at high angle incline training. A great feature that you really wouldn’t want to be without on a machine of this nature.

To add to the comfort the M-500 combines a thick orthopaedic belt with what DKN call a Progressive Shock Absorption system (what the rest of us call cushioning 🙂 ) and the result is a very comfortable workout indeed. During testing it quickly became obvious that it’s kind to knees, back, shins and ankles so the only pain you’re likely feel after a workout is your muscles which is exactly as it should be.

In addition to the manual workout mode, the M-500 has 6 preset workouts all of which are, unsurprisingly, calorie goal based, ranging as you’d expect from easy to very hard. There’s also a heart rate control mode and a countdown mode where you set your goal and then countdown until you’ve reach it. The blue backlit LCD screen is nice and sharp and easy to read with all your training data clearly displayed and a nice touch is that you can adjust the angle and tilt it towards or away from you to suit your height. One touch keys for instant 40% incline and preset speeds of 5 & 8kph as well as manual speed and incline control make setting your desired speed and incline quick and easy. There’s also a USB socket so you can plug in a music player.

The console display is excellent and the buttons useful but the layout of the screens and how you access programmes isn’t all that intuitive. It’s a little fiddly until you get used to it if you’re the sort of person that likes to just play with a new gadget rather than read the instruction manual. To be fair to DKN the instructions in the manual are clear and easy to read and if you do read it you’re not likely to encounter any issues. Also, to be fair, once you’ve played around with it a little it does all make sense and is really quite easy to use. It just doesn’t have the instant ‘I’ve done this 100 times before’ feel to it that’s prevalent in their other treadmills.

In terms of other goodies there’s an in-built wireless heart rate receiver (chest belt sold separately) which is an essential for heart rate controlled workouts, a dual cooling fan which does a reasonable job, stereo speakers and a small recess for your music player/phone. Curiously there’s also a headphone socket to plug in your headphones but quite why you’d want to do that instead of plugging your headphones direct into your music play is a bit of a mystery to us!

The conscious decision of DKN to not try to make the M-500 an all singing, all dancing, all-in-one machine, and the resulting compact footprint is something to be applauded here. It makes this incline trainer a realistic choice for many people that would otherwise simply not have room for this type of machine in their homes given that they don’t fold like normal treadmills. Nor does its size mean there are compromises elsewhere. The M-500 is a very well built and sturdy dedicated incline trainer that, without doubt, does what it sets out to do, and does it very well. Just spending few minutes on it makes that abundantly clear. To back up that quality the M-500 also benefits from DKN’s full 2 year on-site parts and labour warranty.

If your aim is to annihilate calories and/or improve your cardio fitness, then the DKN M-500 is an excellent choice and worthy of serious consideration.

Best Price

The DKN M-500 Incline Trainer is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

Want to burn calories? Want to get cardio fit? Don't have the space for a treadmill but want one? Got joints that won't stand up to a pounding? Then the DKN M-500 is a machine you just can't ignore. Built to the usual DKN standards, offering a wide range of exercises, a serious 40% incline, braking safety mechanism, powerful motor and comfortable sized running deck it's really got just about everything you'd want from a machine designed to get you fit. It's also suitable for short burst, high-intensity workouts so if you're you're an interval training fan this should fit the bill nicely. All of this fits into a really small 155cm x  79cm footprint making it ideally suited to most any home. All of this is available for less than any other respectable incline trainer out there at the moment, without compromising on quality. Hats off to DKN here. They've focused on what's important, and delivered once again!

DKN M-500 Incline Trainer Specifications

  • 2.5 CHP (4 HP peak) motor
  • 1 – 12kph (0.6-7.5mph) speed range with One Touch Control buttons
  • 0-40% incline range with One Touch Control buttons
  • 48cm (18.9”) x 133cm (52.3”) running area
  • Cushioning: The DKN Progressive Shock Absorbing running deck system
  • Blue backlit LCD console
  • 9 programmes (manual run, 6 calorie goals, HRC and count-down)
  • Heart rate measurement via hand pulse sensors and wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
  • Compatible USB music port and speakers
  • Built-in dual workout fan cooling system
  • Product Weight: 108kg (238lbs)
  • Max. User Weight: 130kg (286lbs)
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 155cm (61”) x 79cm (31.1”) x 146cm (57.5”)
  • Power Supply: Mains
  • Warranty: 2 years

DKN M-500 Incline Trainer - Console / Display Unit

DKN M-500 Incline Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • 40% incline
  • Small footprint
  • Braking mechanism to ensure stability at high incline
  • Suitable for multiple types of exercises for working differeny muscle groups
  • Good build quality
  • Sharp, clear, adjustable display

The Cons

  • Console takes a bit of getting used to
DKN M-500 Incline Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Power - 9
Appearance - 9
Running Area - 9
Comfort - 9.5
Reliability - 9
Noise - 9
Ease Of Use - 8.5
Controls - 8.5
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 9
Best Price

The DKN M-500 Incline Trainer is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

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

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