Currently available for £579 from Sweatband.com
Proform 505 CST Treadmill Review
One of the oldest and most trusted names in home fitness, Proform have a very well-earned reputation for producing treadmills that pound-for-pound consistently offer some of the highest specs you’ll see at any given price point. Their treadmills always cater for everyone from absolute beginners to seasoned runners and typically will be loaded with plenty of features designed to deliver results while preventing boredom via a large array of training options. The Proform 505 CST is the successor to the very popular Endurance M7 and we’ve been waiting for quite some time to get our hands on one 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, but simple nonetheless. Obviously, we’ve built a few treadmills over the years and had this out of the box and ready to go in just under 40min but for your average person that’s not scared of flat pack furniture it should take about an hour. There’s a definite improvement over its predecessor with the simplicity of the assembly and all the parts fitted neatly together which is a good sign. It didn’t present a single issue and all parts were clearly labelled, present and correct. Clearly Proform have been hard at work improving the assembly experience and the quality control process in place looks to be doing a good job.
Aesthetically the 505 CST isn’t likely to win an award for ground-breaking modern design anytime soon! Proform have opted to stick with their 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 have clearly 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 as well as past experience are anything to go by, with proper care and maintenance this is a machine that should last a very long time.
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, especially considering just how substantial a piece of equipment it is. The drive motor is a very respectable 2.5hp that delivers a maximum speed of 0-18kph (0-11.1mph) and never sounds like it’s being stressed, even at top speed. This is the same drive motor that’s made a regular appearance in quite a few other Proform models and has a superb track record for reliability so there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises down the line.
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 a long distance 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 particularly tall. There’s always lots of room behind and around you providing a feeling of security and when on a run 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 high a intensity cardio work. The maximum incline is also a true 10% and the combination of the 18kph top speed and 10% incline will provide a stern challenge for most runners, regardless of fitness levels which makes the 505 CST suitable for just about anyone bar professional athletes.
One very visually noticeable upgrade from its predecessor is the console display. The biggest drawback on the old Endurance M7 was the fact that the screen was small to the point that it wasn’t possible to see all of the key training feedback at once and it was necessary to toggle between key information. The 5” two-colour backlit LCD display on the 505 CST is a significant improvement on that and a very welcome one too. 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 clearly been thought through and provides a number of different clear and concise ways of tracking your progress. These different approaches mean there’s something for everyone. Each method of measuring performance is simple and effective and as such the ability to easily switch between displays should appeal to a wide range of runners.
In addition to the manual mode, there are 18 pre-set programmes which are neatly 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. The setup is such that it’s very quick and simple to select the programme you want. 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. Very neat, and another great example of Proform’s experience and know-how at work.
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 running so you can actually see your progress on the map. iFit does a whole lot more than this and it’s not practical to tell you all about the options available to you through iFit in this review as it’s a whole review in itself. iFit really is all encompassing so if you want to know the details it’s worth going to the iFit web site to get all the information.
The standard wireless heart rate receiver has also been upgraded to a Bluetooth version. The test unit performed flawlessly and literally didn’t miss a beat. While the Bluetooth chest belt is sold separately, in terms of 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 which makes for nice easy viewing during your run.
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? Put simply this is one heck of a lot of treadmill for the money. It’s quiet, has a full-sized running deck, a large motor, a true 10% incline, more than enough programmes to keep you occupied and goodies that are missing on many other treadmills at this price. There’s also the option of interactive training with iFit too (subscription sold separately). With some subtle and some not so subtle upgrades the 505 CST is without doubt a worthy successor to the old M7. They’ve managed to keep the spirit of its predecessor, all the bits that made it good and have improved on it while managing to maintain excellent value for money. As such this is a model we’re very happy to give a big thumbs up to.
It's been a long time coming but we'd say it was worth the wait. The dated aspects of the old model 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 full-size running deck have been retained or, like the display, have been improved. And the best bit is that there hasn't been a huge price hike meaning that it still represents great value for money. Another great choice is the similarly priced Xterra TrailRacer 3.0 which is built like a rock to withstand some serious punishment and comes with a very impressive warranty!
Proform 505 CST Specifications
- 2.5 CHP motor
- 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
Currently available for £579 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