Today is a sad day in the Treadmill Sensei household.
In spite of recommending against it, my wife’s uncle (I can no longer claim him as my uncle-in-law) has gone and done the unthinkable. That’s right, he headed down to the local CostCo store and bought a Proform Treadmill from Icon Fitness. The ProForm Power Series 1500 TV Treadmill to be exact. He strode in to the work shop chuckling at how he was able to save almost a five hundred dollars the treadmill I advised him to purchase would have cost. Not only did he save a lot of money, my wife’s uncle gloats, but the ProForm Power Series 1500 TV Treadmill also comes with an EKG Grip Pulse Sensor, a CoolAir Fan, QuickSpeed and QuickInline controls, a 5 Star Interactive Console, ProShox Cushioning, iFit compatibility and a 7″ flat screen TV with built-in speakers. At this point he tossed the user manual over in order for me to see how all of those phrases have a little TM attached them as a guarantee of quality.
I guess no one has told him that a “trademark” symbol isn’t an automatic mark of quality. It just means a company has a good copywriter. Chuckling to myself, I tossed the manual back to the poor, deluded fool and reassured him that he had most definitely stuck it to the man while shaking my head thinking to myself, “there will be tears.”
What my wife’s uncle has fallen pray to is one of the most prevailant cons in the fitness industry today — cheap, poorly made equipment loaded with “extras” to keep the buyer from noticing they are in fact buying a turkey. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” has never been truer than in treadmill and elliptical buying.
I’m going to start with the positives of the Proform tread are some of the cooler looking low end treadmills. So, if nothing else, once they breakdown after your pathetic 90-day warranty is kaput, you’ll have a spiffy looking modern art piece to hang your clothing on.
Anything else? Not really, but if you just don’t have the resources to buy something better and can’t save up, then at least they are affordable. There are Proform Treadmills down to around $399 in price. If you take good care of them and only use the treadmills a couple of times a week for walking (run on a Proform treadmill at your own risk!), then it should serve you fairly well for a year or two before you’ll need to haul it out to the street for your weekly garbage to pick it up. Yard sales are another great way to get rid of your junk if you are desperate.
Have you ever wondered why companies like Proform (well, the manufacturer of Proform Treadmills, Icon Fitness) have such great sounding equipment for as cheap as they do? Two words best explain it: cheap parts. Well, 4 words when you add in: cheap construction. The best indicator of this is going to be the truly dreadful 90 day warranty most Proform Treadmills carry. Getting a 90 day warranty on a remanufactured unit actually makes sense because you’re buying a commercial unit and most of the problems will manifest in the first 30 days (generally in the first week). But when you’re buying a brand NEW treadmill you want the piece of mind that comes with a real warranty. As I’ve said before, if a company has faith enough in its product to give you a great warranty (such as the lifetime home warranty on Fitnex Treadmills and Ellipticals, or the similar lifetime warranty given by the Endurance line from Body Solid), then you should have faith in that company.
Moving on to the motor: Proform, when are you going to give us a low RPM motor larger than a soup can? I mean, come on. Cranking up the RPMs to 5000 or more doesn’t give a treadmill a true 2.0 or 2.75 horsepower motor. What it does is give a buyer a crappy motor that runs way too hot and breaks down way too fast. I can almost forgive Icon Fitness for the crappy plastic the Proform Treadmills are made out of, but I can never forgive putting in bad motors. The motor is the heart of the machine and needs to be sturdy and hold up to at least an average workout.
Just remember, if you’re going to buy a treadmill from Sears, you aren’t going to get a great piece of equipment. If you’re looking for a quality machine, look elsewhere because Proform may have the marketing, but it doesn’t have the goods to meet your needs. Don’t skimp on your health just to save a few dollars. There are much better machines, even in the budget price range.
This story does have a happy end, for me at least. You see, the next day I received a call from Uncle Chris. He’d put together his treadmill and not only did his brand new ProForm Power Series 1500 TV Treadmill get a large crack during his first workout, but neither the EKG Grip Pulse Sensor nor the CoolAir Fan seemed to be working. Karma is a bitch, and the Treadmill Sensei gives the Proform 1500 Treadmill 2 golden buddahs out of 5 just for being so darn pretty.
The Treadmill Sensei gives the Proform 1500 Treadmill 2 golden buddahs out of 5.
The Proform 1500 Treadmill Specifications
Motor: 2.75 HP
Display: 7” flat screen TV with built-in speakers
Programs: 10 preprogrammed workouts, 4 heart rate programs, 2 learn programs
Heart Rate Monitor: EKG grip pulse with optional chest pulse
Running Area: 20″ x 60″
Max Speed: 0-12 mph
Max Incline: 0-12%
Max User Weight: 350 lbs
Dimensions: 37.5″ x 27.5″ x 72.25″ (LxWxH)
-The Treadmill Sensei