Looking for a new workout machine to try? Here's one to consider: Octane Fitness' xRide, which has begun to show up in gym chains like Equinox, Gold's, and Crunch, as well as homes across the country.

I tested the club version (the xR6000) and I'll be honest—I didn't expect much of a workout. Seated machines (like recumbent bikes) just don't usually offer as much challenge as I'd like. But that wasn't the case with the xRide for two reasons: the handlebars and the Muscle Endurance program.

Getting your upper body involved (via those handlebars) makes a huge difference. The resistance helps build more strength—and burn more calories—plus using your arms keeps you more engaged in the workout.

The Muscle Endurance program I mentioned? It's a cool feature that mixes up the workout every 30 seconds or so. You might be doing cardio or strength, pedaling forward or backward, pushing or pulling the handlebars, using light resistance or heavy, doing chest presses or leg presses—or a combo. You never know what's coming next, which keeps things interesting and makes the time fly by.

Other cool features: It's comfortable to use and easy to adjust. The gym version has stationary foot pegs above the pedals so you can isolate your upper body when doing chest presses—very cool. Plus, thanks to the angle of the pedals, you won't get the foot slippage that seems to come standard with most standing ellipticals.

One drawback: Even the very helpful Octane rep who demonstrated the machine admitted that you'll probably burn slightly fewer calories than you would using a standing elliptical, since it's not weight-bearing.

So why sit? Maybe, like me, you want to try something different. Or maybe you're new to exercise, pregnant, or have some other condition that makes it easier, just a smidgen, to use this machine.

Bottom line: While you may not want to make the xRide your exclusive workout machine, it's a great way to add a little zest to your exercise life.

  • Product: Octane xRide Seated Elliptical Trainer
  • Category: Equipment
  • Pros: It's easy to use, helps build full-body strength, and offers great mix-it-up workout options to keep things interesting.
  • Cons: It may not help you burn as many calories as a standing elliptical.
  • Cost: $2,199 to $3,899 for home models at
  • Extra tip: Investing in a home version? Get one with handlebars for upper body benefit.