The sad demise of our Sole F63

Anyone want a crappy treadmill with a brand new console?

Today’s run (street): 4.4 miles

A treadmill is a substantial thing, a sturdy platform built for running. Treadmills are expensive because they are engineered to hold up over time. A good example of this is our ProForm L15, a modestly priced treadmill that we bought in the mid-1990’s. Although it was used daily, the ProForm was a workhorse that served us well until February 2010. A bad example of this is the Sole F63, that has reached the point where replacing its worn parts will cost 70% of a new unit. And not a moment too soon. From what we were told, these parts are in serious need of replacement.

That was the assessment made by our treadmill repair guy whose opinion we trust. Adding to that, we paid $200 a month ago for a new console (the fourth one since we got the unit) and we needed to pay the tech for his house call to get the bad news. What’s frustrating about our experience with this treadmill is that we’ve done all the right things to ensure a good outcome.

I had such high hopes when we got the F63 four years ago. Our due diligence included much research and a personal recommendation of the brand. My wife made sure the unit was professionally serviced and she was meticulous about following owner maintenance. In the short time that we’ve had it, we’ve experienced a motor failure, serious issues with tread slippage and the aforementioned console problems.

The treadmill still works, but it makes a huge racket due to the degraded rollers and failing frame. It could go tomorrow or in six months. The question is whether we should invest in a better brand of treadmill. The cost could be substantial, but the value of doing that would be that pro grade treadmills often come with long or even lifetime warranties. Between my wife and I, we use our treadmill a lot.

I’m now at the point in my week where I jam all my running mileage into three days. This morning I went out for the first time since I ran 400’s with the Runsketeers on Sunday. The long rest period helped, and I felt great from the start. I wouldn’t call today’s run effortless, but it was certainly a pleasent experience. The temperature hadn’t broken 70° and the sun wasn’t too intense at 7:15 AM. If not for business obligations that required me to cut my run short, I would have gone for six miles.

I’m not sure about this weekend’s running. A trail run would be fun. I’ll see how I feel in the morning. No rain is scheduled for Saturday, so at least I won’t be forced to continue torturing our ailing treadmill.

Our BH X1 is a bad houseguest

BH Fitness X1: down for the count?

Today’s run (treadmill): 25 minutes

This weekend we had guests who stayed over in our spare bedroom. It’s actually a misnomer to characterize this room as a spare because, next to the kitchen and den, it is easily the most utilized room in the house. Besides being the staging area for my morning runs, the guestroom is also where my wife does her daily treadmill workouts and it occasionally serves as my home office.

The guest room is fairly large and, besides having a bed, side table, armoire, wall unit and work table, it also contains a treadmill and an elliptical machine. The elliptical has been dormant, awaiting parts since March. Still, with all that stuff, the workout section of the room can seem a little tight. If we’d known back in March that our BH Fitness X1 was going to be out of commission for seven months (and counting), I’m sure we’d have either moved it to the basement or kicked it to the curb. But it sits there every day, mocking us for naively thinking BH Fitness will some day send us the needed parts.

I really miss using the elliptical and we had high hopes when our local service person (unaffiliated with BH Fitness) informed us that that replacement parts had come in. Unfortunately, once the technician arrived, we learned that they’d sent the wrong parts. I’ll try to be diplomatic here and just say that BH Fitness machines are overpriced, seem to wear out quickly and you can’t get parts. On the other hand, if you live on Long Island and need your home equipment fixed, I’d certainly recommend Busted Fitness.

We hope to learn soon if the correct elliptical parts will ever come. If the answer is no, we’ll have to decide whether to buy a new unit. If we do, I’m not sure what brand to buy or what level of machine to get. With our experience with the X1, I’m thinking the most important question is, “If it breaks, how quickly can it be fixed?”

Fitness Showrooms responds

In an earlier post I mentioned that the heart rate monitor on our new BH Fitness elliptical was wildly inaccurate. I requested a solution from Fitness Showrooms and they responded very quickly by ordering a replacement part. They will send a tech to install it when it comes in. I don’t know what kind of response I would have got from a big sporting goods chain but I am very pleased with the level of service we’ve received from Fitness Showrooms.