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The Fray Fitness Commercial-Grade Functional Trainer is one of the best value functional trainers on the market for those trying to build a budget home gym. Now, I want to make this clear from the start, although they call it “commercial-grade”, to be completely honest, I disagree. Now, that does not mean that it's not good. However, "commercial grade" brings up connotations that this is designed for extremely heavy use, uses the highest quality and most expensive componentry, and has the heaviest stacks you can buy. I don't think it meets that standard, although I do still recommend it. I think this is a good home gym friendly functional trainer at a tremendous value, but I don't think it's commercial grade.
Fray Fitness is a company that's been on the block for a very short period of time. I met the owner. He actually came down and brought the Functional Trainer with him (so, thank you for letting us review it.) I was able to meet him and they have a unique model. His idea is basically to import equipment and provide the best prices that's available on gym equipment. So if somebody is providing a better price, his goal is to basically beat everybody on price. He's like, "I don't mind running thin margins. I just want to beat people on price. I want to offer a similar level of equipment that they are like a Titan Fitness, Rep Fitness, Get RX'd, but even cheaper.
Fray Fitness is based out of Memphis, Tennessee (very close to Titan Fitness) and are importing most, if not all of their equipment.
I've had the Fray Fitness Functional Trainer for about two months now, and I've been able to put some time training with it for various movements like cable crossovers, cable curls, face pulls, and I think I've got a good idea on it.
The Fray Functional Trainer is designed with 200 pounds stacks on each side. It has a 2:1 ratio or so, so it's not quite 200 LB when you're pulling on it, but for the purposes of a cable machine, it does what you need it do. The idea behind a functional trainer, if you've ever been in a commercial gym, these aren't as popular and home gyms because they take up so much space, is that you're able to do all sorts of "functional" cable exercises. Now, exactly how "functional" a functional trainer is, is certainly up for debate. However, there are many movements allowed by a functional trainer that simply cannot be replicated without one.
I do think these sorts of accessory movements are becoming more popular in home gyms because bodybuilding is becoming popular again (fitness runs in cycles) and also because the price point on functional trainers is much lower than they used to be. Most functional trainers cost many thousands of dollars. For instance, I have a FreeMotion Genesis Dual Cable Cross in my training studio and retails for about $6,000, not including shipping. It's a very nice unit, much better than this unit, but it also costs about five times as much as this unit and is definitely not a piece of equipment I'd recommend to most people to put in their home gym.
The reason I recommend the Fray Fitness Functional Trainer is largely based on it's price to features ratio. This is what I like to call a "great value" and should be the equipment that most people strive to fill their garage gym with.
First off, the weight stacks on the Fray Functional Trainer are relatively heavy at 200 pounds. This isn't the heaviest stack that's out there (there are some that are upwards of 350 LB per side.) But, for most people, for the type of isolation movements that are going to be done with this, the weight is more than enough.
One thing I often see people do is try and replace their lat pulldown with a functional trainer. A functional trainer is typically not a good replacement for a functional trainer. They're not designed with pulldown seats in mind and the pulleys often don't extend very far from the uprights.
The Fray Functional Trainer does have quite a few different options for adjustments. Rather than actuating arms like you see on the higher-end functional trainers (that are more expensive, but a better design) the pulleys slide up and down on two uprights and lock in place with a pop pin. All of the pulley's swivel making it easy to do a variety of movements.
The top of the Fray Functional Trainer has a multi-grip pullup bar. The pull-up bar does use thin bars and slick powder coat, but it's nice that they are available. The powder coat on the pull-up bar is the same as what's on the rest of the machine. It's slick, but should provide good corrosion resistance over time. The model I received to review is silver, although they now have other colors like black (my favorite) and red.
The weight stacks go up and down on chrome-plated guide rods. These are solid rods that are the same as what are found on just about every high-end functional trainer. They work well, feel smooth, and if oiled properly should last a long time.
All in all, the Fray Fitness Functional Trainer is a great option for anyone wanting a compact functional trainer in their home gym at a budget price. It's not the best, but I don't think most people will find some of the corners that were cut a big deal. We do recommend this piece.
Although there is a lot to like for the price on the Fray Functional Trainer, there are certainly some things that could be improved.
The biggest issue on this functional trainer are the pulleys. The pulleys are definitely the weak link in the system and although they shouldn’t prove to have too many issues in a home gym, if something is going to wear, this is it.
Although Fray’s website says the cables are the strongest in the industry, this does not seem to be true. They’re not bad cables, but I’ve definitely used cable systems with thicker guage cables like the Rogue Rhino Belt Squat.
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