Product Type: Roger Black Fitness
Newest Review: ... the work that had already been done at the factory, and in actual fact the majority of the assembly required was to fold out the main pan... more
Run Roger, Run Roger run run run!!
Roger Black AG-12301 Treadmill
Member Name: yabbadabbadoo
Roger Black AG-12301 Treadmill
Advantages: Easy to use, perfect for a home gym, 2 yr warranty
Disadvantages: Needs to be looked after - be warned
Back in 2008, having moved to an area of rural Lincolnshire at least 10 or 12 miles from the nearest built up town, the idea of taking up a new gym membership and spending 20 minutes each way travelling and a few quid a visit on petrol on top of the £40-50 minimum monthly membership fees didn't seem particularly appealing.
Especially given the fact that as my job routinely takes me away in hotels for 2-3 nights every week, the chances of using any gym facilities during the week are greatly limited. So having got a double garage (aka handy dumping ground space) with our house, I set about assembling my own home version of the gym.
The main purchase was always going to be a running machine. I'd heard plenty of horror stories about the very limited, flimsy and poor quality imitations of gym running machines that could be bought up and till a year or two back.
Yet here I was flicking through the pages of Argos looking at pretty chunky looking machinery starting at just over £200. In the end based on the recommendations I settled on the Roger Black Gold edition - which came in at around £349.99. It offered extra features such as elevation settings, and most importantly a dual drinks holder option!
Given my weight at the time was hovering around the 16 ½ stone mark, at the time my fitness levels were more aligned with Terrys All Gold rather than Roger's version, it was time to get to work in earnest in the finest of New Year traditions.
~~~~For once it's really true - easy assembly~~~~
The machine arrived in a traditional long flat pack format, and my good lady wife, a long suffering volunteer when it comes to self build work gave a heavy sigh. Especially when she opened up the manual, only to be faced with graphical details of over 150 cogs and moving widgets.
Luckily somewhere in the small print it stated that this was the work that had already been done at the factory, and in actual fact the majority of the assembly required was to fold out the main panel, and screw the front section in place. Result!
One thing you definitely want to think about in advance is getting a treadmill mat to go underneath - for a small price of around £20 you can ensure the machine's weight is spread evenly on the floor and at the same time limit the amount of dust and dirt that can get into the machinery.
Given it's a fairly hefty consumer of electricity, would also suggest you get a plug with a safety cut off device - as you'll read in the next section, it's a hefty piece of electrical machinery that needs to be treated with appropriate caution.
In terms of its usability, it's very easy to get things underway. There are up to 6 programmable options available but if I'm honest I've always found the manual controls very straight forward to use, so I would suggest sticking with them.
Once you've got the machine in place, simply flick on the red power switch. Press start on the display, confirm program 1 (default for manual), press start again and you'll get a 3-2-1 countdown. The machine starts up at 0.5 miles per hour - and can go up to a top speed of 8.8 miles per hour (*). My advice is don't step on it immediately, let it warm up for 30 seconds or so at around 4.0 mph and then start walking on it - after a couple of minutes you can set it to whatever speed feels comfortable.
At the same time, you can click on the black switch on the right hand side to raise or lower the incline as required. Admittedly it's not quite up to a 1 in 5 type slope (like the big gym versions that claim up to 15% elevation) but you can definitely feel the difference running up the incline.
The time elapsed, your speed in MPH (*) and the number of calories are burned are all displayed as you run. You can also measure your heart rate by gripping the silver grips - wouldn't recommend doing this when you are running at significant pace, but it's a useful guide to how long it takes for your heart rate to recover post workout.
(*) 8.8 mph equates to about 14 Kilometres per hour - my machine only displayed in MPH but believe the newer models can display either option.
On my machine the calorie counter is always 120 Kcals per mile run, no matter how high or low you set the incline - as it doesn't factor in differences in weight - treat it as a guideline rather than an accurate measure.
Now, one of the most important aspects of the purchase is that it comes with a 2 year parts and labour warranty. I say that from experience, because I have encountered one or two technical gremlins over the last couple of years. First thing that I noticed after regularly dripping sweat over the LCD displays is that over time the digital displays start to fade. Not a major problem in itself, but a bit distracting when you can't make out whether it's a 2 or a 5 etc, and you need to slow things down or make adjustments.
A few weeks later though, a much more significant fault. The machine actually cut out on me in full stride (at 8.8 miles per hour) without me pulling or touching the emergency cord. It then proceeded to slow down at random intervals on further attempts. Eventually one day, I switched it on, and even before I'd touched the controls it started moving at pace and most worryingly of all started making sparking noises. So the engineer came out, and in the end diagnosed a faulty controller board and once that was replaced it was all good again - at least for another 3 months or so. So just about 6 weeks before the 2 year cover expired, it all went pear shaped again - this time with a whole lot of rattling and juddering before totally ceasing up.
When the engineer came out this time, he had one question for me - how often do you lubricate the treadmill? "Ah, I replied - I haven't actually done that yet". "Did you not get the small lubrication oil with the initial shipment" "Hmm" I replied (finally the penny dropped about that odd looking canister that had been left to dry out on the utility room window sill for the last 18 months). Apparently, the best way to keep things in good shape is to apply said treadmill oil every 6 weeks (for relatively heavy usage) and this should prevent further unnecessary machine kaputtery. He duly replaced another controller board and the main engine, and I duly took his advice and purchased the treadmill oil via the World Wide Wonderland -again very reasonable at under £15. Note to self - always read the details before unpacking!!
So under warranty replacements aside, its been a good 2 and a half years now since Golden Boy took his place in the garage, and I have to say that given I'm now a svelte (ish) 14.5 stoner, and the amount of gym membership I've saved on, its been a very good investment all-in-all.
The final bonus ball with this machine (certainly from my experience) is that the speed and mileage claims are very generous. If I compare my average times outdoors for a mile (even on a flat gradient) of around 9 mins, to the easily achievable 7 minute miles I can do indoors, even the most ardent fan of indoor exercising would have to concede that it's measures are a tad generous. But as long as you don't go around believing that you are the next great thing in British middle distance running (and lets face it big Roger himself never extended past 400M anyway as far as I'm aware), it does the job, its very easy to use and should serve you well - whatever your own fitness goals.
So go on, make it your New Years resolution today -- your country needs you : )
Summary: All I need now is a Redgrave rower...