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MERIT ELLIPTICAL REVIEWS

General Information:Another Johnson produced line, like Vision, LIvestrong, Matrix and Horizon. The packaging on these machines is nothing short of spectacular, especially considering the price but keep in mind, these are cheap machines?it is impossible to build a quality treadmill for $500. The low end models (around the $500 price point) can look very good but the components are simply too cheap to hold up good over the long term. 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 : Johnson will remain a player in the US market simply due to market penetration. Additionally, the quality pickups that Icon has made are also being made by Johnson. The only problem is typically you buy these at mass retailers or online so the service level is typically not present.

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