Fuel Fitness 4.0 Folding Treadmill Review

Fuel Fitness treadmills are generally recognised for their affordability with a quality and durability that often exceeds expectation considering the price. It’s time for us to check out the 4.0 model to find see what it’s really like.

With Fuel’s consistent reputation for using good quality components in the construction of their equipment it’s easy to simply assume that good build quality is a given. On the plus side, this means that you have a machine that comfortably accommodates a maximum user weight of 20 and a half stone (130 kg), but on the flip side, being equipment of substance, means that it’s no lightweight itself! With a boxed weight of 90kg your workout begins with getting the machine in situ!

Fortunately that’s by far the hardest of the 8 step assembly process – the rest is a typical sequence that you’d expect when building most home treadmills – Insert the uprights into the frame base (taking care not to damage the computer cable) Install the console support to the uprights ….Attach the handlebar covers and finally connecting up the console assembly. With the cables connected during the various stages of assembly and all the screws and bolts tightened securely, you’re up and running!

Once the assembly is out the way, it’s clear that Fuel’s focus must be on the engineering side, rather than design as the 4.0 is not a particularly nice looking machine and the person responsible for the colours on the console plastics should be shot (unless, of course they have a valid excuse of being colour blind!). Thankfully, this makes absolutely no difference to its functionality for running!

On the subject of ‘running’, we should mention that in comparison to the vast majority of machines around this price point, the running area of 18” wide by 50” in length is ‘the norm’ (and in some comparisons, it’s longer too) but if you’re over 6’ tall and want to stride out, that freedom of movement may come at a greater cost by the need to invest in a bigger machine.

Having said that, we think it’s widely accepted that most people who would be contemplating purchasing this machine would be drawn to the fact that it is functional yet compact enough to integrate conveniently into the ‘average’ home.

Although in many ways the 4.0 is tailored towards the ‘average’ user, equally there are many ways that the 4.0 itself goes far beyond ‘average’ status. We’ve already praised the build quality but we are not alone in our high hopes for it’s longevity. Fuel themselves have such confidence in it’s durability that they have given a Lifetime warranty to the frame and motor as well as a 5 year guarantee on all parts. The labour side of the warranty is, however, a pretty standard 2-year one.

The power derived from the 1.75 CHP motor is capable of reaching speeds of up to 10 mph which is certainly sufficient for most users and the cushioning system is standard fare with 3 pairs of rubber elastomers spreading the load beneath the 17 mm phelonic deck. Though it’s not overly shock absorbent, it does provide the essential ‘give’ under foot without being soft or spongy.

There are 24 programs in total. The first 14 of which are purely based around speed, with values set for each minute of the half hour session. The remaining 10 preset programs combine speed and incline adjustments to provide greater challenges and variation. Although it’s possible to adjust speed/incline during the program, the user can’t manually configure any of the 30 minute programs or alter their duration.

In addition to the preset programs and ‘manual’ program, there is a heart-rate controlled workout which can be utilized by wearing a compatible chest belt transmitter. The user sets the parameters by inputting their age, a target heart rate and the duration of the session so although there is no provision to save and store multiple ‘user profiles’, it is good that this function has scope for variety. If you want the machine to automatically change the speed to keep you within the optimum zone for fat burning then simply set the target at around 60%. Alternatively, if you wish to improve your fitness levels and focus on cardio conditioning then it’s quick and easy to adjust the target accordingly to around the 80% zone.

The console display is brightly backlit in blue and clearly laid out which makes it easy to see all the essential feedback at a glance. Time, incline and distance are displayed down the left side of the screen and calories, the program number and pulse readings are on the right.

Unfortunately, simply having the program number on screen gives little clue to what’s in store. Aside from looking at a reference chart inside the user manual, the pre-set programs are a ‘suck it and see’ selection as there is no dot matrix or illustrated menu to display what each program does. We aren’t fans of training with a ‘guess and go’ approach and we’re even less fond of studying instruction manuals(!) but, in the absence of a dot matrix profile display, we must agree that Fuel have added the next best feature – a ‘car dashboard’ style gauge to show speed. Sure, the same readout is just as clearly shown in bold, oversized digits below it but there is something rather motivating about seeing the needle of the gauge start shifting as you up the pace!

The Fuel 4.0 has some convenient methods of adjusting the intensity. Firstly, there are quick keys on both sides of the screen: On the left are three buttons for incline with default values of 3, 6 and 9 % incline and on the right are ones for speed set at ‘walk’ (1.5mph), ‘jog’ (3 mph) and ‘run’ (6mph).

In addition, there are thumb controls on both side handles to control incline (on left) and speed (on right) whilst holding on. These can be conveniently controlled whilst keeping your palms in contact with the pulse grip sensors however, (as we always preach) this method of pulse monitoring is notoriously ‘hit and miss’ so we would highly recommend the investment of a chest strap transmitter (at around £30) to ensure highly accurate, wireless readings, as well as giving the option of the HRC program.

Other features worthy of note are the accessory storage capabilities of the F4.0. Firstly you have generously sized holders either side of the console. These are good in that you don’t necessarily need to sit your keys or MP3 player in the bottom of the holder (which may contain a dribble of water from your drinks bottle) instead the plastic has been molded to create a separate small platform on a different level inside the holder. It’s a thoughtful touch, but where Fuel really impressed us, is the ingenious tablet holder that emerges when you slide the Fuel logo forwards! By pulling the seemingly inanimate badge, a 1” deep shelf slides out (Handy for a book or magazine and better yet, it perfectly supports an iPad).

There is also a 3.5mm jack plug so you can plug in your tablet or MP3 device and listen to music or shows through the integrated speaker system. The sound quality can’t be described as a Hi-fi substitute but it’s loud enough to hear above the sound of the motor.

There is also an inbuilt fan, although, as is often the case with treadmill fans, it is so woefully under powered that it serves little point. However, let’s not ‘blow’ this out of all proportion – it’s a minor niggle and one that merely serves to remind us that if that’s all we have to criticize then Fuel have got a lot of things right!

The folding mechanism on the 4.0 is a cut above many treadmills that we’ve reviewed in the past. To unfold the deck all it takes is a light pull of the yellow handle in the top corner and the deck lowers smoothly and safely. The hydraulic strut also assists the lifting of the deck up into the folded position. As we established in the beginning of this review, this is not a lightweight machine so don’t anticipate wheeling it around from room to room too frequently, but should it need shifting, it’s handy that there are 4 transport wheels under the frame that allow it to roll along smoothly when folded.

 

Best Price

The Fuel Fitness 4.0 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

Fuel 4.0 treadmill is a winning choice and our comprehensive testing of the machine certainly shows it to be a very solid and substantial machine.

Fuel Fitness 4.0 Specifications

  • 1.75hp continuous duty motor
  • 1-16km/h (0.6-10mph) speed range
  • 0-12% power incline
  • 127cm (50″) x 45.7cm (18″) running deck
  • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 177.5cm (69.9″) x 82cm (32.3″) x 137.5cm (54.1″)
  • Dimensions folded (L x W x H): 97.5cm (38.4″) x 82cm (32.3″) x 161cm (63.4″)
  • Console with blue backlit LCD screen providing feedback on speed, incline, programs, time, distance, calories, heart rate
  • 24 workout programmes
  • Heart rate measurement via hand pulse sensors or a wireless receiver (chest belt has to be bought separately)
  • 130kg (286.6lbs) maximum user weight
  • 82kg (180.8lbs) product weight
  • Conveniencies: transporting wheels, folding design, speakers, mp3 compatibility, cooling fan
  • Lifetime warranty for the frame and motor, five years for parts

Fuel Fitness 4.0 Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

Fuel Fitness 4.0 Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Good, solid build quality
  • An exceptional warranty

The Cons

  • The running area of 18” x 50” may feel restrictive to taller runners
  • No User Profiles
Fuel Fitness 4.0 Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

Power - 9
Appearance - 6
Running Area - 9
Comfort - 8
Reliability - 9
Noise - 8
Ease Of Use - 7
Controls - 8.5
Warranty - 10
Value for Money - 9.5
Best Price

The Fuel Fitness 4.0 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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