The games fitness manufacturers play to confuse their customers can often be incredibly annoying, especially when you, my loyal readers, are trying to decide on the best treadmill for your money. Now, to be fair to fitness manufacturers, they aren’t the only ones who seem to love the practice of releasing the same product under a number of different names at different retail outlets. Electronics manufacturers are just as bad. It is a technique that keeps you, the consumer, from being able to price match between stores.
In the fitness industry, Icon Health & Fitness (makers of Proform, Image, Epic, Weider, Gold’s Gym, Reebok and Nordic Trac equipment) is one of the worst offenders when it comes to releasing the same treadmill under 40 different names. A fine example of that practice showed up at the DOJO this past week. The Proform 860 Competitor Treadmill we unpacked and assembled was almost identical to the Proform 9.0 Competitor Treadmill we’ve worked on in the past. There are some minor coloration differences, but aside from that the two units could be twins. On the plus side, I’ve heard the 9.0 Competitor has been discontinued and Proform is now liquidating their stock.
The Proform 860 Competitor is a perfect example of a Proform manufactured treadmill. It is overloaded with features to hide the fact the 860 Competitor is an average performing treadmill. First off, we had a number of minor problems while assembling the Proform 860 competitor – a high number of the screw holes did not line up from one part to another. One of the uprights was also cracking in shipping — the uprights themselves were flimsy when compared to treadmills from other manufacturers, even treadmills in the same under $900 price point. In general the quality of the components were very low.
When you get passed the assembly issues, the Proform 860 Competitor treadmill performs ok but for every plus the unit has a negative balances it out. For example, the deck size is a very large 20″x60″ — a fantastic size for a sub-$900 treadmill. Unfortunately, the frame isn’t the most stable due to the thinner uprights and the motor, listed at 2.5 horsepower, is small, runs at high RPMs and runs hot. What this means is the lifetime of the motor on the Proform 860 competitor is going to be shorter than it should be. If I was rating the motor it would have been closer to 1.5 horsepower.
Overall, the Proform 860 Competitor Treadmill isn’t a bad buy…there are lot worse treadmills on the market for $900. Unfortunately, there are a lot of better ones as well. If you can get a great deal on this unit (say $599) then I’d go for it, otherwise I’d move on to a sturdier unit from another manufacturer.
For being an ok treadmill, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Proform 860 Competitor Treadmill 3 out of 5 Golden Buddahs.
An average unit, the Proform 860 Treadmill gets a decent 3 gold buddahs out of 5.
Proform 860 Competitor Treadmill Specifications
Deck Size: 20″x60″
Rollers: approximately 2″
Max Speed: 12mph
Max Incline: 12%
Readouts: speed, pace time, distance and calories burned
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: No
Max User Weight: 300lbs
Unit Weight: approximately 175lbs
Price: Under $900
-The Treadmill Sensei