Proform 505 CST Treadmill Review

One of the oldest names in home fitness, Proform has a well-earned reputation for producing treadmills that consistently offer some of the highest specs you’ll see at any given price point. Their treadmills always cater to everyone from beginners to seasoned runners and typically will be loaded with plenty of features designed to prevent boredom. The Proform 505 CST is a model we’ve been waiting quite some time to get our hands on for review. After what felt like a very long time, it finally arrived at TRMR towers, so here’s the low-down….:)

Assembling the 505 CST together is really quite straight-forward and follows an almost identical pattern to other Proform treadmills in the current range. Clearly this is all designed to a formula that’s tried and tested, and it works well. Putting it together is, without doubt, a two-person job and while it’s physically possible for one person to do it, we wouldn’t recommend it. Assembly didn’t present any issues and all parts were clearly labelled, present and correct.

Aesthetically the 505 CST isn’t likely to win an award for ground-breaking modern design anytime soon. Proform has opted to stick with the tried and trusted (though a little dull) black and grey colourway combination. So, it doesn’t look like a Pininfarina inspired work of art,  but it is a substantial piece of equipment. Proform has focused on the guts of this treadmill and prioritised function over form. Once assembled it quickly becomes obvious that this is a solid bit of well-designed kit. If first impressions are that with proper care and maintenance this is a machine that should last.

One of the most important components on a treadmill along with the drive motor and running deck are the rollers. Rollers are important as the thicker the diameter, the more surface area is in contact with the belt at any given time. The more contact there is, the less tension is needed to prevent the belt from slipping. A thicker roller also means that they don’t have to rotate as fast to deliver the same running speed. The bottom line is that a larger roller generally equates to quieter operation and a longer lifespan. With 1.9” (4.8cm) diameter rollers, the 505 CST is well equipped to go the distance and at typical running speeds delivers a nice, quiet run. The drive motor is a very respectable 2.5hp that delivers a maximum speed of 0-18kph (0-11.1mph) and never really sounds like it’s being stressed, even at top speed.

With any treadmill, it’s important to feel safe and comfortable when you’re working out, especially when you’re running at higher speeds, or over long distances and the 505 CST does an excellent job on both counts. At 51cm x 140cm (20” x 55.1”) there’s lots of space to move around on the running deck, even if you’re tall. There’s always room behind and around you which provides a feeling of security and you can really feel Proform’s proprietary ProShox cushioning at work. This cushioning system provides enough give to make each landing very comfortable (even on long distance runs), while being firm enough to allow for a nice, solid launch for each stride. The balance they’ve achieved here is very good and will suit most runners regardless of whether the aim of the game is marathon training or a high intensity cardio work. The maximum incline is also a true 10%, and while that’s not the steepest incline the fact that it’s a true 10% makes it steeper than other models claiming the same incline. The combination of the 18kph top speed and a 10% incline provides a stern challenge for most runners.

One very visually noticeable upgrade from its predecessor is the console display. The 5” two-colour backlit LCD display on the 505 CST is a significant improvement and a very welcome one too. The LCD screen is easily read and although it can be a bit tricky to see in particularly sunny conditions (such as in a conservatory on a sunny day) it’s still easy to see and read in most indoor lighting conditions. There are also several different display modes geared around a particular aspect allowing you to choose the one that interests you the most. The Incline tab shows a profile of the incline settings of the workout that you’re currently on while the Speed tab shows a profile of the speed settings of the workout. The My Trail tab is actually a virtual 400 m (1/4 mile) track which shows your position on the track as you progress through your run as well as showing the number of laps you’ve completed. There’s also a calorie burn tab that shows you a guide to the number of calories burned during each segment of your programme. In addition, there’s also an intensity indicator bar which shows you how intense your training is in real time. This setup has been thought through properly and provides a number of different clear and concise ways of tracking your progress.

In addition to the manual mode, there are 18 pre-set programmes which are grouped into calorie burn, speed training, intensity training and incline training workouts with each section containing several programmes of varying intensity and accessible by a corresponding button on the console. Once in a programme, during your run it’s possible to override the settings with a push of one of the speed or incline buttons so if you do find things getting a bit too intense it’s easy to drop the difficulty for that segment to catch your breath. When the next segment starts it goes back to its original settings so as not to disrupt the whole workout.

Like its siblings, the 505 CST is also iFit compatible. Subscribe to the iFit website (subscription sold separately) and you can download more workouts, track your fitness improvements, plus the software is powered by Google Maps, so you can plot your own running routes anywhere around the world. There’s a Bluetooth connection available as well so you can connect a smart device to the 505 CST and access your iFit account while exercising. iFit does a whole lot more than this so if you want to know all the details it’s worth going to the iFit website to get all the information.

The standard wireless heart rate receiver has also been upgraded to a Bluetooth version which is good to see as it should provide a more consistent reading, though you will have to shell out for a compatible chest belt. In terms of added extras, the 505 CST has built-in speakers allowing you to plug in your music player, water bottle holders, key holder and a tablet holder that’s positioned at the top of the console.

The warranty is the standard Proform one (requires registration online) of lifetime on the frame, 5 years on the motor and 2 years parts and labour.

So, what’s the conclusion? Well, this is a decent treadmill. It’s quiet (for a treadmill), has a spacious running deck, a large motor, a true 10% incline, a reasonable range of programmes to keep you occupied and some goodies like speakers so you can play music during your workout. There’s also the option of interactive training with iFit too (subscription sold separately). The only real problem here is that there isn’t a compelling reason to by this particular model. Even looking just within the Proform range there are other models available that are newer, actually have a slightly higher spec and which are set at a price that’s marginally less than the 505 CST. So while there’s really nothing wrong with this running machine there’s no clear reason to choose it over and above other available models, including those available from within the Proform range.

Best Price

Currently available for £649.00 from ProForm

Review Summary - In Brief

Some of the more dated aspects of the model that 505 CST has superseded are gone, replaced with newer and more modern elements. While at the same time all the good bits from before such as the large motor and spacious running deck have been retained. As a family running machine, it's a solid choice. The issue is that compared with its big brother, the Proform 545i, the 505 CST is lacking. The 545i matches all the basic specs of the 505 CST but has substantially more onboard workouts, a smaller footprint (but same size running area), higher maximum user weight and an LED display that can be seen clearly in virtually any light conditions. The fact that the 545i is available for a less right now makes it very hard to see why you'd opt for the 505 CST just at the moment.

Proform 505 CST Specifications

  • 2.5 HP motor (continuous)
  • 0-18kph (0-11.1mph) speed range with 10 Quick Speed™ controls
  • 0-10% incline with 11 Quick Incline™ controls
  • 51cm (20”) x 140cm (55.1”) running area
  • 1.9” (4.8cm) rollers
  • ProShox Cushioning
  • 5” backlit LCD display
  • Console Feedback: Time, distance, intensity, speed, incline, calories, number of vertical meters, heart rate, matrix (incline, speed, my trail, calorie tabs)
  • 19 programmes (manual, 18 pre-set workout apps)
  • Interactivity: iFit® Bluetooth Smart Enabled (subscription optional)
  • Heart Rate Measurement via Hand pulse grips + Bluetooth Smart wireless receiver (chest strap optional)
  • Space Saver™ folding design
  • Conveniences: Compatible music port for iPod®/mp3 player + dual 2” speakers, tablet holder, transportation wheels
  • Dimensions in Use (L x W x H): 188cm (74”) x 94cm (37”) x 154cm (60.6”)
  • Folded Dimensions (L x W x H): 96cm (37.7”) x 94cm (37”) x 171cm (67.3”)
  • Product Weight: 87kg (191.8lbs)
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, 5 years motor, 2 years parts and labour (if registered within 28 days of purchase)

ProForm 505 CST Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

ProForm 505 CST Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Spacious running area
  • High quality cushioning
  • Large motor
  • 10% incline

The Cons

  • Not the prettiest looking machine
  • The price
ProForm 505 CST Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

Power - 8.5
Appearance - 7
Running Area - 8
Comfort - 8
Reliability - 7.5
Noise - 8
Ease Of Use - 7.5
Controls - 7.5
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 6
Best Price

Currently available for £649.00 from ProForm

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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