Proform 1280 S Elliptical Trainer

By Jim Kesel

Icon health and fitness is the largest fitness company in America and Europe combined. Proform is a product of Icon that is primarily sold at large fitness outlets and big box stores like Sears and Sam’s Club. They are highly ranked for the low prices for their fitness equipment. The also make Reebok and Nordic Track fitness equipment.

Proform elliptical equipment are designed and built for people who use their elliptical trainers lightly and irregularly. Essentially these are light duty elliptical trainers for in home use only. If you are going to use your elliptical trainer intensely then we recommend spending more money for another machine outside of ProForm’s line of equipment.

We recently had the opportunity to use a relatively new ProForm 1280 S elliptical trainer that was purchased by a neighbor for home use. It was purchased from a local department store that featured low to mid range priced elliptical trainers. ProForm elliptical trainers range in price from $299.00 to $990.00.

We used the ProForm 1280 S for a period of about two weeks. A total of 4 different people tested the machine. Their weights ranged from 115 lbs to 280 lbs, all had experience using elliptical trainers at the local YMCA and fitness centers. Unfortunately we had a breakdown the very first day when the resistance suddenly decreased to zero and a loud thrumming sound was generated. The local repair people came and spent a couple of hours making the necessary adjustments and repairs. Upon opening the machine a lot of black powder ended up on the floor. According to the repairman it was due to the lack of proper adjustment.

The next day a second of our testers was able to use the ProForm Elliptical Trainer for a full workout any significant problems. Noise was a big factor when the intensity level was increased. It was noted that a crack in the plastic wheel housing had appear or had increased in size as a result of the workout. Also more black plastic powder was on the floor following the workout.

The third test was conducted the next day and was halted because of increasing level of noise. It was decided that this unit was not durable enough to with stand our relatively intense workouts.

On the positive side the ability to change the slope and shape of the stride on the fly was a real plus. However the change was slow and noisy. The problem is that 1280 S is not very a well-constructed elliptical trainer. During the workout plastic parts flopped around during moderate workouts. Again the plastic powder shows wear on internal parts. We again contacted the repair company and they basically said you get what you pay for and they have had a lot of problems with ProForm fitness equipment, however a lot of them are sold each year.

On the outside the PorForm 1280 Elliptical Trainer looks like a great piece of fitness equipment but in reality the plastic parts just do not hold up to normal use. It is obvious the quality of their internal parts is still very poor. Of course plastic is cheap. Icon is also big on bells and whistles, a perfect example is their iFit technology an interactive program that controls your workouts with various challenges. Their flaw is in the quality of the components. Past models of ProForm elliptical trainers have faired poorly in Consumer Reports testing. They were at best rated as average with only ease of use rated as very good.

It is our policy to always recommend the purchase of an extended warranty when purchasing any piece of fitness equipment. If you really like the ProForm elliptical trainer you absolutely need to acquire the extended warranty to include parts and service, Proform elliptical trainers come with a standard very short warranty, that include 90 days service and 90 days parts. One additional and serious concern with all Icon products is that support and service is only fair during the warranty period.

Unless you are only a casual user of your elliptical trainer we strongly recommend that you spend more money on a different brand of elliptical trainer. It should be noted just as our local repairman has stated ProForm sells a lot of treadmills and elliptical trainers and many of these people appear to be satisfied with their purchase. When it comes to ProForm Elliptical Trainers, Cavet Emptor, let the buyer beware.

About the Author: James Kesel< MS. is the publisher of Elliptical Trainer Information website, We have information on ProForm Elliptical Trainers


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