Xterra Trail Racer 6.8 Treadmill Review

Having recently reviewed the baby of the new Xterra range (the Trail Racer 1) we were keen to test the new top-of-the-range Trail Racer 6.8. On paper, this heavy duty treadmill boasts some pretty impressive specs and features so when it arrived at our offices there were a few of us lined up ready to put it through its paces. So how did fare?

As always the first thing to do was to get it built. The hardest part of the assembly is getting this beast out of the box. In fact, in the end, we decided not to take it out and just flattened the outside of the box so the whole machine was sitting on a flat piece of cardboard. Definitely, the way to go with this one as it’s simply too big and heavy to lift out. From there on in the assembly was very much standard. You’ll need two people for sure but the instructions are clear and the high-quality machining of the bolts and screws meant that everything went together smoothly without any hiccups. Assembly took just under an hour and once built the machine just rolled off the cardboard on its transport wheels. This is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Xterra machines so it’s nice to see that the standard isn’t dropping with their latest offering.

Looks-wise it’s clear from the first glimpse that this is an Xterra machine and part of the same family as the other models in the range. Predominantly black with silver and blue trim the 6.8 is tidy and modern and sturdy looking. Some nice features are the grooved aluminium footrails, the crossbar that sits between the two posts and the dust cover that runs the length of the whole of the underside of the running deck. The former providing added stability to reduce console wobble when in use, and the latter ensuring that the internal workings at the business end of the machine stay clear of dust and debris – a very worthwhile feature that should ensure the internal components continue to perform long into the treadmills life.

The Xterra 6.8 comes with a powerful 3.5hp continuous duty motor which is large enough to easily propel even the biggest runners easily. Little wonder that this machine has a stated maximum user weight of 150kg! During testing, the motor was quiet and even at top speed sounded like it wasn’t really breaking a sweat. In most environments we’d expect this to keep powering things along smoothly for a very long time and your reviewer strongly suspects that even in a more demanding setting than the home, this machine would cope with the demands placed upon it.

The incline is stated at 15 levels and max incline is a serious challenge, even for runners that are already fit, it’s mean. The transition between each level is smooth, as you’d expect, and going from one level to the next is seamless. However, we did find that going from one extreme setting to the other did take longer than some of the other treadmills we’ve recently reviewed. In truth, this is a small matter for most runners but some potential users who are keen on interval workouts might find the transition a little sluggish for hardcore, extreme training.

Like the other Xterra treadmills in the current range, the running deck feels nice and firm while still absorbing the shock on landing on impact and has a very comfortable 51cm x152.5cm running area which is approaching the largest size deck we’ve seen on home use machines to date. The rollers are also nice and thick, clearly designed to ensure long-term durability – exactly what you’d want to see on a machine priced at this level.

The programmes on the console are varied enough to keep things interesting. While on paper there are ‘only’ 12 preset programmes, these are all scalable and easily adjusted by the user prior to starting the workout. Essentially this means you can keep doing the same workout, but make it harder and harder as time goes on. This will appeal to runners who like to find they’re preferred run and keep to the same routine. In addition, there are 2 target heart rate programmes that have preset levels for a quick-start but also customisable to get a perfect fit for individual users. Creating your own programmes on the 6.8 using the console is as easy as we’ve seen on any treadmill out there. There are two available memory slots and once created your programme/s can be saved. They’re scalable too so once you’ve created a workout you can keep making it harder and harder without having to re-programme it, which is a really nice feature.

We come then to the one feature on this machine that may not appeal to all runners, but for us crazy people who like to put ourselves through hell in our training, it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. Discreetly located amongst the other quick access programme keys on the console is the one button labelled ‘Fitness’. Pressing this button opens the door to a world of integrated workouts. In order to use it, reading the manual carefully is a must, otherwise, it’s just confusing, but having taken the time to get our heads around it, we loved it. Essentially you set the programme up as if it were a user defined workout but with the addition of pauses and recovery times. Once set up (and OK we do concede this takes a while) you just press start, after that you’re on a pre-determined circuit. The tread will pause to let you dismount and spend your pre-defined time executing your on-the-point training, it’ll then wait for the amount of time you’ve set for recovery from your point training, then it’ll start up again and take you through the next section of the run. Then the cycle repeats until you’ve completed your entire workout. It’s got a great degree of flexibility that should be enough to accommodate pretty much everyone. It’s a great feature that we’d love to see on more treadmills.

The actual display on the screen is nice and clear and easy to read providing all the feedback that you’d reasonably need and it also has a theoretical 1/4 mile running track, providing pace information as well as speed. There’s a fan, which while not all that powerful, does do a reasonable job of helping to cool you down and there’s also a 3.5mm socket for plugging in a music player and a tablet holder. Like most treads we’ve tested the sound is OK but nothing to write home about. The addition of an accessories tray over the top of the crossbar is a nice, useful touch while the main body of the console features a waterbottle holder either side, again a nice touch for lefties and righties alike.

The folding mechanism is, in your reviewers opinion, somewhat annoying. We can’t quite work out why you would need to lock the running deck into the horizontal position but that’s exactly what this model does. In itself, this wouldn’t be anything to complain about, but the location of the release mechanism is more than halfway down the side of the deck and sprung loaded. Releasing the mechanism, then keeping it released while trying simultaneously to lift the deck requires a degree of contortion that is, frankly awkward. That being said, once you’ve gone passed the point of release, the rest is easy as the lift is assisted and the deck then locks into the folded position. Lowering the deck, it’s absolutely fine as the positioning of the locking bolt when in the folded position makes sense. The mechanism for folding and keeping the treadmill safe is actually very good indeed, it’s just moving it from unfolded to folded that’s the point of contention. However this gripe doesn’t take away from the rest of the machine which is really well built, is quiet and smooth and has an excellent spec along with some really great features.

Lastly, the warranty on offer with the machine provides the same great cover as on all the other Xterra treadmills in the range – lifetime on the frame and the motor, 5 years on all the parts and two years on-site labour. The lifetime cover on the motor and the long parts warranty demonstrates faith Xterra have in this product the high quality of components used in this treadmill.

Best Price

The Xterra Trail Racer 6.8 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

The Xtrerra Trail Racer 6.8 is a heavy-duty running machine with a good range of programmes, a high specification and solid build quality. Whilst this is a decent treadmill, if you're interested in the 6.8 then we would recommend checking out the DKN RoadRunner I. It boasts a higher top running speed, more workout programmes, is compatible with various apps and is an all round a top piece of kit!  

Xterra Trail Racer 6.8 Specifications

  • 3.5 CHP continous duty motor
  • Speed Range: 0 – 11.18mph (0-18kph) with 5 quick speed console keys and handlebar speed controls
  • Incline: 0 – 15 levels, Rack & Pinion gear design with 5 quick incline console keys and handlebar incline controls
  • Running Area: 20″ x 60″ (51cm x 152.5cm)
  • XTRA Soft cushioning
  • 2-ply Duraweave Walking Belt
  • 7.5” widescreen blue backlit LCD
  • Feedback: Pulse, speed, distance, incline, time, pace and calories burned
  • Programmes 12 scalable preset, 1 manual, 2 user defined, 1 fitness, 2 target heart rate with quick programme console keys
  • Heart rate measurement via hand pulse grip sensors and a wireless receiver with an included chest strap
  • Audio jack with two speakers
  • Lift Assist folding system
  • Aluminium side rails
  • Product weight: 118kg (260lbs)
  • Max. user weight: 150kg (330lbs)
  • Size in Use (L x W x H): 205.5cm (80.9″) x 89cm (35″) x 145cm (57.1″)
  • Size folded (L x W x H): 98cm (38.6″) x 89cm (35″) x 185.5cm (73″)
  • Power supply: Mains
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame and motor, 5 years parts and 2 years on-site labour
  • Other features: Cooling fan, 2 bottle holders, transport wheels (2.36” rollers)

Xterra Trail Racer 6.8 Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

Xterra Trail Racer 6.8 Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Large running area
  • Powerful, quiet motor
  • Range of programmes
  • Warranty

The Cons

  • Awkward folding mechanism
Xterra Trail Racer 6.8 Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

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

The Xterra Trail Racer 6.8 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

Treadmills We Like

Under £599

£599 - £1000

Over £1000