Horizon Elliptical Review Index
General Information:Another Johnson produced line, like Vision, Matrix, and Livestrong. The production of all of the Horizon line has been moved to China. The packaging on these machines is nothing short of spectacular, especially considering the price. Their component quality has picked up, but we would still advise against buying a model that has an orthopedic belt due to the extra strain on the drive system. Also, their low end models (around the $500 price point) can look very good but the components are simply too cheap to hold up good. Actually Proform is a better choice at $500 if you have to pick among the lesser of evils.
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 (as they found out with the Livestrong elliptical recall last year). 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 : Horizon will remain a player in the US market simply due to market penetration. We believe they will continue to eat up market share from Vision since their units are made alongside many of the Vision units. Additionally, the quality pickups that Icon has made are also being made by Horizon. The only problem is typically you buy these at mass retailers so the service level is typically not present. They make a very strong treadmill, especially near the $800 to $1000 price point.