Diamondback 1280EF Review Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer 

Diamondback 1280EF Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer review

May 12, 2020

Diamondback Fitness offers a wide variety of premium, high-quality training equipment for homes and gyms alike. Diamondback ellipticals, in particular, are known for always being top-of-the-line compact ellipticals in terms of usability and performance. 

The Diamondback 1280EF is one such elliptical that’s currently gaining traction. This new 2020 model promises many new features and improvements over its predecessors and so far, it hasn’t disappointed. If you’re looking for a new elliptical to help you reach your fitness goals this year, then the 1280EF may be just the thing for you.

So what are the things that make this model better than Diamondback’s older versions? Find out in this Diamondback 1280EF review.

Quick Answer

The Diamondback 1280EF is better than the 1260EF in almost every way. It outshines its award-winning predecessor with its brand new 10” touchscreen, Wi-Fi and app connectivity, smoother and quieter operation, adjustable stride length, and a significantly more compact frame. It also includes a host of stat-tracking technology that monitors your workout progress.

Diamondback 1280EF

Diamondback 1280EF elliptical

The 1280EF is an elliptical trainer with a long list of features that make it more than competitive in 2021. It takes all of the things that made the previous Diamondback ellipticals good and improves them to make your workout sessions feel much better.

Touchscreen and Connectivity

The new Android-powered 10” touchscreen computer is one of the biggest additions to the Diamondback 1280EF that makes it different from older models. It comes with pre-installed apps like YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix so you can watch videos or listen to your favorite artists while working out without worrying about a phone or music player. The touchscreen can also employ mapping and training-related software to aid your exercises like iRoute and Kinomap.

If you prefer to use other apps for entertainment, then you can prop a tablet or phone in the machine’s dedicated tablet holder. The integrated USB charger will keep your device powered during your entire workout session. Do note, however, that the elliptical does not have any form of Bluetooth connectivity.

Diamondback 1280EF console display

The entertainment options are wide, but the same can’t be said about training apps. Users will be limited to iRoute and Kinomap by default. But since these apps don’t require any monthly payments and since the machine itself doesn’t require any mandatory subscriptions, you’ll be sure that the money you pay goes straight to the machine itself. 

Adjustable Stride and Workouts

The Diamondback 1280EF features 12 different pre-installed workout programs that reduce the need for you to program your own. This large selection of workouts means the elliptical will be ready to use right after you finish assembling it. You also have the option to use “manual mode” via the touchscreen to set your own workout parameters.

This elliptical trainer also has adjustable stride settings, increasing its usability among people of all sizes. Its stride length can be set to either 17” or 22”. This helps with certain exercises that target specific muscle groups, and it also comes in handy for making adjustments based on the user’s height. The 1280EF has a low step-up height for added comfort, making it much more user-friendly compared to other ellipticals.

Magnetic Resistance

The magnetic resistance system on the 1280EF serves as a welcome complement to its adjustable stride. The elliptical uses strong magnets instead of the traditional flywheel to create resistance. Not only do the magnets reduce the overall size of the machine, but it also allows for more precise control, less weight, and much quieter operation due to less friction.

Users can choose among 16 different resistance levels that can be selected via the integrated touchscreen. This is a great option if you find that the preset workout programs are too much or not enough to suit your needs. While it has fewer resistance levels than flywheel-based machines, the 1280EF makes up for it with its smoother and ultra-quiet operation. 

The small size also makes the 1280EF more suited for smaller spaces on top of offering a wider range of movement and more comfortable operation. The extra control from the magnetic resistance system also helps users target muscle groups easier because of the improved handling. 

This magnetic resistance system also has the advantage of not requiring as much maintenance as the bulkier flywheels found in other ellipticals. You won’t have to worry about reapplying lubricant every couple of months nor will you have to worry about inconsistent resistance levels caused by natural wearing. 

Design and Frame

Diamondback 1280EF frame

The Diamondback 1280EF is designed with user comfort and convenience in mind. It’s made to mimic the natural walking motions of the human body to make exercising feel less tedious.

This elliptical trainer is made with a mix of high-quality materials for each of its different parts. The main body uses triangular geometry that increases its durability. The triangular design also maximizes the machine’s consistency in terms of bearing weight, allowing it to bear up to 350lbs of weight with ease.

The handlebars are made of steel, and they’re fitted with high-density foam grips for added comfort and durability, especially for more difficult exercises. These are both complemented by the elliptical’s ergonomic swing arms. Its arms are designed to keep up with the user’s pace to make movements feel more natural.

Other great frame features include adjustable floor levelers, oversized foot pedals, transport wheels, a USB charging port, and holders for tablets and water bottles.

Assembly can be finished in approximately one hour, but you may require a helping hand to do so.


The 1280EF features an integrated heart rate monitor. The elliptical has hand pulse sensors that detect your heart rate and display it on the touchscreen, but you can also use the included wireless heart rate receiver for hands-free monitoring. The receiver, provided by Polar, gives users the option to wear T31/T34 non-coded Polar heart rate straps for more convenient monitoring. Note that these chest straps are not included with the elliptical and must be purchased separately.

The elliptical also tracks your current workout progress. You’ll be able to see different data such as time, distance, load weight, watt output, and other essential information on the touchscreen. One noteworthy feature is Pulse Recovery, which records how quickly you can return to a resting heart rate. It’s a great feature to have if you want to track improvements in your cardio health. 


The magnetic resistance system drastically reduces the need for maintenance, since there are less moving parts in the machine. The ergonomic swing arm design also eliminates the need for rail maintenance and lubrication. The 1280EF still requires periodic maintenance so it can remain in top working condition though.


Diamondback Fitness offers the same warranty for all of its ellipticals and other machines on top of a 30-day money-back guarantee. The company also offers a 10% military discount and free delivery to all 48 adjacent states.

Key Specs:

  • Machine Dimensions: 50” L x 36” W x 66” H
  • Recommended Work Space: 70” L x 48” W x 78” H
  • Machine Weight: 187lbs
  • Weight limit: 350lbs
  • Warranty: 5-year product, 3-year parts, 1-year labor, 90-day wear, optional 5-year product warranty extension
  • Light and compact
  • Huge workout variety out-of-the-box
  • Adjustable stride
  • Touchscreen display and wireless connectivity
  • Somewhat difficult to assemble alone
  • Only 16 resistance levels

User Reviews

Reviews for the Diamondback 1280EF have been very positive. The elliptical’s size and structural integrity have received universal praise, and the rest of the features have been met with positive reception.

Users have praised the machine’s durability. Heavier users, in particular, have noted that it’s lasted much longer than other ellipticals, with the 1280EF outliving others with the same maximum weight capacity.

The elliptical’s comfortable and adjustable stride, convenient touchscreen, access to entertainment apps, and built-in heart rate monitor have also garnered positive reviews by many users. 


Is it loud?

No. The 1280EF’s magnetic resistance system ensures a quieter workout experience compared to flywheel-based ellipticals.

Can it be used in reverse?

Yes. The machine allows for both normal and reverse operation to allow for more training options that target specific muscle groups.

What’s the minimum ceiling height required?

Be sure to allow at least 11” of headspace to maintain safety and consistent operation.

Final Thoughts:

The 1280EF is a great option for those who are looking for a better low-impact workout experience. The integrated touchscreen provides users with maximum convenience in terms of telemetry tracking and entertainment. Meanwhile, its magnetic resistance system and ergonomic frame design ensure a solid workout every time.

The smaller frame makes the 1280EF a more attractive option for people who are pressed for space or even gym owners who want to make the most use out of their available floor space. The high max weight capacity is complemented well by the machine’s robust frame, making it very consistent and long-lasting.

Overall, the 1280EF is a great machine with very little drawbacks, and it’s more than worthy of the acclaim that its predecessors have established, setting itself up for more success down the line. 

About the author 

Kevin Lee

Health and fitness have always been a passion for me; whether its being in the weight room, going for a run before work or even participating in a half iron man triathlon. ShapeJunkie was created to share to knowledge and love of fitness with others.

    • It offers a manual incline feature by positioning the trainer on two wooden blocks at the front. This is not as good as an automatic incline, controlled by the selected fitness program, but it is better than nothing.

  • Assembly by one person is difficult and not all the parts fit together easily (e.g., we had to ask Diamondback to send us a replacement for one part that had a hole too small for a bolt to go through). Also, due to curb side delivery only, be prepared to wrestle a 207 pound shipping crate into your house. The machine operates quietly, seems to have structural integrity, and gives a good work out, but be careful if on carpeting as the trainer rocks significantly from side to side when in use making it difficult if not impossible to watch anything on the otherwise excellent screen.

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