Reader Mailbag: Should you replace a Proform Motor?


The Treadmill Sensei rants and raves about the horrors of Icon Fitness products all day here at the DOJO. Aside from one or two semi-decent units, Icon and its brands (Image, Proform, Weslo, Reebok, Nordic Track) produce some of the worst equipment in the industry. Their treadmills almost always look really spiffy and have a lot of extra little gadgets on them to confuse poor consumers in to buying their equipment, but low end components, poor QC and downright terrible customer service have most Icon buyers cursing their existence after a few months.

In spite of my repeated warnings, the Treadmill Sensei still gets tons of people asking whether or not they should buy a Proform or other Icon product. Let’s hear what Greg has to say about his Proform. Take it away, Greg!

Kon ba wa sensei…
I’d like to know your thoughts about replacing a wimpy motor from a Proform treadmill for a more heavy-duty and larger motor makes sense…eh? (I live in Canada).

By the way, are you the t_sensei that posted at Lakers Blog at the LA Times recently? I am a transplanted So. Californian living in Canada…Arigato! -Greg


Thanks for the note and the great question – Beauty, eh! (See? I speak Canadian too) To start off with, I don’t post on the Lakers Blog, sorry. The only forums I post on as the Treadmill Sensei are on Runners World. Must just be another Sensei running around out here!

In regards to whether or not replacing the stock Proform motor with a larger or heavier-duty motor is worthwhile. I’d have to give you an emphatic “No!” The Proforms not only have problems with their motors, but their control boards burn out very quickly and aren’t usually covered in the Proform warranty. Their treadmills have such a high rate of failure and problem that your money would be better spent buying a better unit at the combined cost of the new motor and the Proform treadmill itself.

Also, anyone who recommends you purchase an upgrade motor on a Proform (or any Icon brand) treadmill should be considered just a little shady. Either that or they are just plain ignorant of Proform’s reputation for low quality components. A lot of the less honest repair/service shops will sell Icon “upgrade” parts and motors knowing full well that you’ll have to come back to them to fix even more problems down the line. I’d suggest staying far away from that person or company. And don’t even get me started on “review sites” who sell upgrade parts to the treadmills they sell.

Check out some other treadmills in the price range you’re thinking of right now. You’ll be a lot happier in the long run…especially if you have to deal with the Icon customer service department. They’re worse than the DMV!

Thanks again, Greg!

That’s it from the DOJO for right now. I’ll be back around later to post a new treadmill review.

-The Treadmill Sensei

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