I’m still fairly new to this whole internet thing, so bear with me as I try to answer some of the questions I get every week. If there is a question you’d like to see answered, then send it in and I’ll post it up for everyone to read.
1. Who the heck is the Treadmill Sensei?
A treadmill and elliptical reviewer! The person behind the Treadmill Sensei and treadmillsensei.com is a 20+ year service and repair tech who is the elder partner in a repair business. Beyond that I am a husband, a father and a self-confessed video game junkie.
2. What is your real name?
Since an incident with a certain fitness manufacturer last year who discovered my poor reviews of their products and promptly cancelled our service accounts, I’ve been writing under a pen name.
3. Can we come out to your shop or send you repair work?
Nope. Again, I am keeping the two “jobs” apart from one another. That way manufacturers can’t influence reviews with offers of work or by threatening me with loss of work.
4. How do we know your reviews are objective or fair?
Truthfully, they aren’t. My reviews are based on my opinions and what I’ve experienced over the course of my career in the fitness industry. The reviews are not influenced by treadmill or elliptical manufacturers (in spite of what some of them wish). I have had a few manufacturers try to pressure me to change a review to be more favorable to them but they’ve always been turned down. I also do not make side deals with manufacturers like some other review sites — having parts made available for my sale, getting access to treadmills or ellipticals to retool into my own equipment or getting paid trips out to another country where a manufacturer’s plant is. There are other review sites which do some or all of these things in exchange for positive reviews.
So, to make a long answer even longer, I just get on the equipment and report to you, my loyal readers, what I encounter. These are not corporate facts, they are not the “official” word on any equipment, they are just my opinions and my experience and should be taken as such.
5. So, how the heck do you make money if your website offers so many free reviews and advice?
I have a good day job! Now, if you’re asking how the website itself makes money, that is another story. I put links up to where a customer can purchase a piece of equipment. Some of those pieces can be bought on Amazon and, when they are, I get credit for it. Now, keep in mind, that I also put links to other retailers that have no such programs and tell all my readers to check at least 3 websites before making a purchase…which does me no good at all! I also post a lot of bad reviews and get in to specific equipment details that only someone with quite a bit of industry experience with actual time on the treadmills (or ellipticals) can provide. I’m not posting nebulous charts with vague number rankings and a 1 sentence description of a product. It’s sad what some review sites are calling “reviews” these days.
6. Can you rate the (insert model here) treadmill or elliptical?
Sometimes. I can only rate machines that I can physically get on and those are generally units that come in to the DOJO for either service/repair or installation. Sometimes I will go out to other repair shops or local stores to test out a piece that I get a lot of requests for, but generally I just write on things I have a chance to review in the comfort of the DOJO. That’s one of the reasons you may see strange units pop up every so often.
7. Can we write you an email with a question or comment?
Sure you can! Just keep in mind that any email I get may wind up on the website. Do not send a private note to the Treadmill Sensei. By emailing me you are consenting to publication on the web. This includes any manufacturers out there reading this. You write me and there is a chance it will wind up on the site.
8. I wrote you a week ago and you still haven’t answered my email…why not?
Now that the site has been up for a while, I get a lot of emails. A lot of emails. Generally 20 or so a day at the moment (during the “busy season” that number tripled) and I just can’t answer every single one. I don’t type very fast and I just don’t have the time outside of work. I do read every note I receive and keep all questions in my head. If I don’t answer you directly, I may integrate your question into one of my reviews or articles, so just keep checking back.
7. Can you tell me how to fix my (insert model here) treadmill or elliptical?
Probably. But I generally won’t do it. I don’t want you to void your warranty by attempting home repairs and I don’t want someone less skilled to get hurt while working on a treadmill motor (or whatever). I can tell you what I think the problem is but I won’t walk you through a treadmill repair.
8. Can I replace my treadmill deck with a piece of plywood?
You can but you shouldn’t. It’s not a good idea and isn’t the same as the deck that was designed and engineered for you treadmill.
9. We are a manufacturer and don’t like a review you’ve written, what can we do?
Make better equipment. If you get a bad review here, then you’ve got some issues with your equipment. It could just be that I ran in to a bad unit, but more than likely you already know about any issues I am bringing up…whether you want to acknowledge them in public or not is another thing completely. There are large numbers of reviews out there on the internet by actual customers who have purchased units and had problems with them and they are easy to find with a quick Google search. If you don’t like a review, use it to help fix the problem and let me know when a new version of the unit is out and I’ll do a new review of it.
This is generally where there is a lot of legal speak and I may eventually resort to that. For now, I just want to say: take my reviews and any others you read out there (online or offline) with a grain of salt. My reviews are my opinions and only that. Go out and try the equipment in order to make up your own mind. Reviews are a great guide but you need to use your own judgment when spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a piece of fitness equipment. These reviews are for entertainment purposes only!
Finally, all material on this website is copyright and trademarked 2007 by the Treadmill Sensei.
-The Treadmill Sensei