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General Information:Another Johnson produced line, like Horizon, Vision, Cateye, and Matrix- and now Livestrong. These are the bare bones models similar to Weslo for Icon for the mass market retailers. You are better off with a gym membership or saving up for a better treadmill than with a Fitness Gear treadmill.

Manufacturing Philosophy:Hit low price points and sell as many as you can seems to be the philosophy of this brand for Johnson and at this point, they are doing it very well. We gained a much greater understanding of Johnson's business this past spring with our visit to their headquarters and facilities in Taiwan and China. Johnson is the most integrated manufacturer of fitness equipment in the world. This can be both good and bad. The good is that you are in control of almost all aspects of production. The bad is that you are in control of almost all aspects of production. They really seem to be focused on doing things the right way so it appears that this is a case where it is good. If they do have a problem, they only have themselves to blame. Overall, we were impressed with their quality procedures and design and testing processes and this year's reviews will reflect our better understanding of their operations.

Company Outlook : Fitness Gear will remain a player in the US market simply due to market penetration. The only problem is typically you buy these at mass retailers so the service level is typically not present. Horizon makes much stronger treadmills, especially near the $800 to $1000 price point.