Potentially Good Machine Let Down by Poor Quality Control

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svanscoyoc's review of Vision X6200 Elliptical with Simple Console

★★★☆☆

“Potentially Good Machine Let Down by Poor Quality Control”

Written on: 25/01/2016 by svanscoyoc (5 reviews written)

Vision Fitness X6200 Elliptical Trainer

Pros
Robust construction
Folding design
Smooth and quiet in operation
Works well with Polar heart rate strap
Good communication with seller
Long warranty

Cons
Poor quality control from factory
Poor quality control from seller’s service dept.
Rudimentary control panel and display
No user custom profiles
No heart rate control feature
Permanent magnet and stepper resistance control
High resistance on lowest setting
Slow turn around on warranty repairs
Folding mechanism a bit fiddly

The Details
I am a REPS registered personal trainer who purchased this machine for personal use at home. I have previously owned cardio equipment from BH Fitness and Technogym. The BH Fitness Khronos is in about the same price range but not a folding model. I preferred a folding model due to space in my house.

The first unit was delivered with four faults – two prevented use of the machine – while the others were just annoying. As a sign of things to come the maker’s name badge was installed upside down. The screw mounts for the water bottle were not usable. The speed sensor did not work and the parking brake, which automatically engages when folding the machine, was not disengaging causing so much drag on the flywheel that my wife couldn’t even start the machine.

The seller, Fitness Superstore, sent service personnel to fix the machine, but they were unable to repair the speed sensor and took the machine away. Fitness Superstore was responsive in their communication and that was a positive thing.

As a number of the main bolts and screws had been removed I was insisting that new ones be used (locking compound is installed on new ones and only works once). My experience with exercise equipment is that fasteners will come loose if no lock compound is used. The seller dug their heels in on this one finally agreeing that it would be done properly.

Several weeks later the “repaired” machine was delivered to me. The crew assured me that the shop had gone over everything twice and that all bolts were tight and Loctite applied. Just before the crew left I noticed that the six major screws holding the tower in place had only been hand threaded into place and not tightened (without Loctite). The crew tightened them and left. Closer inspection revealed that the tower itself, the left side of the case, and a top cover had been taken from a second hand machine and installed on my new machine. Pretty easy to figure out – different colour, scratches, scrapes, chips, etc.

Within two days the speed sensor failed and the parking brake, which locks the flywheel when folding the pedal assemblies, was entirely non functioning. This resulted in the assembly pulling out of my hands, falling, and hitting my furniture, leaving gouges in the wood.

The seller agreed to replace the unit, but could not do so for several weeks. To be fair, it was around Christmas. The machine was delivered and set up by the seller’s crew. The crew forgot to tighten the four heavy screws on the hand grips. I tightened them. The following day, as I prepared to use the machine, I found one of the heart rate electrodes dangling below the handgrip by its wire. Closer examination showed that a strip of plastic had not been removed from the opening and the electrode had not been seated fully. I was able to repair this, but it should never have left the factory like this. Some customers may not have been comfortable attempting to repair this.

Faults from the factory were the big disappointment in this machine. It’s possible that it was just my bad luck that I received two faulty machines in a row, but that the first machine had four faults on its own is not encouraging. The quality of service from Fitness Superstore was not up to standard. If you receive a defective machine, do not waste your time, demand a new replacement at the outset.

Faults aside, the machine is good and does what it should. It is more like a stepping machine and I think this is due to the flywheel being on the front of the machine. Nothing wrong with this. Just be aware if you are accustomed to rear flywheel designs. Using the control panel is adequate but rather like something from the 90s. The display is not backlit and has no programmable functions. There is a simple array of membrane buttons to go through the options. When the timer has finished, the display for heart rate and speed sensor items shuts down. This is a nuisance as without a cool down program integrated into the panel one needs to cooldown after the timer has shut off. Being able to read heart rate is sort of key at this point. As the unit is mains powered with an automatic standby there is no need to worry about power. The BH Fitness is self-powered and continues to provide information after the time cycle has completed.

There are supposed to be three types of consoles for this machine, but apparently only the Simple display is available in the UK. Given the competition, including the BH Fitness I had, this is a pretty paltry display and not in keeping with the rest of the machine. The next step up would make this a more competitive machine.

There are two plastic tabs on the display clearly designed to hold a book open, but they are not satisfactory for an iPod, iPad, or most of the tablets in use today – the tabs are too far apart to securely hold them. Obviously there are no interfaces to smart devices, no online apps, or sophisticated programs. This is the most basic machine control I have seen in at least twenty years. If you’re seeking a better console you may consider a Nordic Track (made by ICON) which also offers folding models in about the same price range.

In use, we found that both machines we received had high levels of resistance even at the lowest setting. If you are petite, unfit, or disabled, you may find even the lowest level of resistance difficult to work with. I am comparing this with dozens of machines that I have worked with. It has not eased up with use so seems inherent in the design.

Most machines I have used now employ an electromagnetic resistance mechanism which is also integrated with the control console. That allows heart rate control by the machine – raising or lowering effort to maintain a set heart rate. It is also smoother and quieter when changing settings. I have never had a failure on one of my machines of this component so I’m not sure what the advantage is of Vision Fitness’ stepper motor design. This design uses a motor to move the resistance magnet in set increments. You will hear the motor start up and move when selecting resistance. It seems to work fine, but rules out any sophisticated controls or integration.

The Vision Fitness has had many good reviews and comes from a reputable company. If you get a machine without faults I believe you will be satisfied with it as long as you don’t mind the archaic display and controls. It seems somewhat behind the times, but is a solid machine that should work day after day in household duty. I have used it daily for a couple of months and it does the basic thing it should do. I am personally satisfied with it. I did correspond with the maker and they are following up the faults that made it out of the factory.

I mentioned that I compared this with the BH Fitness Khronos elliptical trainer. My experience with the BH was not golden. It was set up by the seller and required a service call at 2 weeks for noisy bearings. At 6 weeks the bearings fell out in pieces on the floor. A new machine was delivered and this worked flawlessly for 20 months until the speed sensor failed, requiring yet another service call. Nevertheless, I found it to be an excellent machine in use and if you don’t need a folding machine you might find it a better choice for the same money. It does have a more sophisticated control panel, including custom profiles and heart rate based profiles as well as a backlight.

My Technogym never needed anything but an occasional wipe down.

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