Nautilus Mobia

Mobia Delivers a Real Workout

Nautilus Mobia
Nautilus Mobia. Nautilus, Inc.

Update 6/2012: The Nautilus Mobia is no longer available. Nautilus has switched its production to the Treadclimber Cardio Machines by Bowflex, which provide a similar workout. The Treadclimber TC 1000 was a finalist for our 2011 Readers' Choice Award for Budget Treadmills, and the Treadclimber TC20 was the winner for the 2012 Readers' Choice Award for Premium Treadmills.

The Nautilus Mobia provides a moderate intensity to vigorous intensity cardio workout at an easy walking pace and low impact. The intensity is similar to a stair-stepper or treadmill jogging, but with very low impact like an elliptical machine. The sleek design is welcome for a home workout machine. It has simple controls and a heart rate monitor chest strap. I took a test drive of the Mobia at Nautilus headquarters and I could see the advantages it has for providing a more intense cardio home workout at a walking pace, using a walking motion.

What is the Mobia?

Mobia looks like a treadmill, but instead of a treadmill deck it has two treadles, each with a moving belt. The treadles tilt up and down as you walk. To walk on the Mobia, you position yourself close the to console and step forward. The treadle rises to meet you foot, lessening any impact. As your foot moves backward to push off, the treadle lowers. The result is that you are always moving uphill, yet without the higher impact of a stair stepper.

The Mobia has the low impact of an elliptical machine, but the motion is a simple walk. You don't need any special coordination to use the Mobia.

Mobia has speed settings from 0.5 to 4.0 miles per hour. Runners may scoff at the speeds, but even at the lowest resistance setting I felt a real workout challenge. The Nautilus staff who showed me the machine said they had yet to meet a runner who didn't change their tune once they used the Mobia. This machine can produce a high heart rate workout for the highly fit person as well as a good workout for exercise beginners.

The intensity of the workout is set by both the speed and the resistance setting.

Getting on the Mobia, I felt an immediate challenge both for my legs and immediate engagement of my core abdominal muscles. That was a surprise -- walking usually doesn't call on the core muscles, yet they are critical for good walking posture. With the resistance set a mid-level, my heart rate shot up, yet I was going at a very easy pace. This machine can really deliver a workout.

A Mobia Workout

The Mobia console is designed for simplicity. You set the resistance for each treadle at the inner side panels. On the console, you set the speed and can view the time, calories burned, heart rate and distance. You adjust the speed up and down and have the on and off. That's it. This simplicity is both a strength and a weakness. Those who crave variety and workout data storage will have to create their own system. You can't adjust the resistance of the treadles while using it, only the speed.

Mobia is a relatively quiet machine, I had no difficulty hearing the conversation of my hosts while using it. Not only are the treadles quiet, but your feet aren't making any pounding noise on them as the impact is gentle. This is a great feature for a home exercise machine you may want to use while others are sleeping.

Nautilus shows that the Mobia burns more calories at the same speed as level walking or running. This is undoubtedly true, as the workout is all uphill and engages a wide range of muscles. It would be easy to put in a 30 minute Mobia workout that is moderate to high intensity and burns as many calories as level walking outside or on a treadmill 60 minutes at the same pace.

I wouldn't use the Mobia to replace long, slow distance walking training for half marathon or marathon. This is a great machine for a cardio workout, but it can't replace those long days of walking-specific training.

The ability to get a good workout with a fluid, low-impact motion at a low speed is great for those who can't walk fast enough to get their heart rate into the moderate zone.

Mobia Look and Construction

The Mobia is designed by Frog Design, Inc. to look good in a modern home. It is only 52 inches long, which is shorter than most treadmills and some ellipticals. I like the sleek white and nickel look.

It doesn't fold up, but it does wheel on built-in wheels.

The console has a built-in cupholder and reading rack.

The warranty is for two years on motor, parts, electronics and hydraulics.

It has a weight limit of 300 pounds.

Delivery and Assembly

Mobia can be purchased directly from Nautilus, Inc. It ships in two boxes to keep the weight manageable. They say anybody can put it together with a Phillips head screwdriver in about an hour. But even better, a home assembly service is available in many places for $219. Once assembled, it weighs 200 pounds, so if you want it installed upstairs it's best to assemble it there.

Bottom Line

My tour of the Mobia impressed me. I could really feel the quality of the cardio workout possible with the Mobia. I loved the fluid motion and that you are simply walking.

The drawbacks would be the pricetag and that this is a new item debuting in November, 2009 without a track record for durability or user reviews.

Disclosure: A demonstration of the Mobia was provided by the manufacturer.