Treadmill Transformers: The Folding / "Clothes Rack" Treadmill?
ProForm J6 Treadmill - Model #831.297690
We've all heard this story a thousand times "I bought a treadmill for my (wife, husband, son, mother, etc.) or ("XYZ" holiday/occasion) and 3-6 months later it became a clothes hanger." Who knew a treadmill could "transform" into a completely different household device without actually changing its physical composition at all? It would be pretty awesome if they could mechanically "morph" into something more fun like a "Go-Kart", "Cleaning Robot" or "Riding Lawnmower". Unfortunately for many of us, this is precisely what manufacturers like ProForm expect us "to do"we stop using it and hang our laundry on it. They have brilliantly deduced that a $400-$700 treadmill falls right into the "magic sweet spot" for many consumers in "need" of a treadmill for their home.
The ProForm J6 Folding Treadmill is a "perfect example" of the treadmill that has all the "bells and whistles" that anyone could expect from a sub $700 treadmill. Heck, just look at all the great features one can expect: it "folds down, it "folds up", has a "3HP DC TREADMILL-DUTY Drive Motor", it "elevates up / down", and it even "Hangs wet laundry to VERTICALLY AIR DRY**" for only $400 and all of your "fitness convenience"! Most of these features are pretty standard, but you need to consider the last "not so fake" one listed. The "Clothes Hanger" effect is the driving force in the ways that ProForm (and many other manufacturers) have engineered many machines for a "bargain" price. They have meticulously squeezed out every last dollar in cost knowing it will "most likely" be "in-use" for 6-8 months or less. After that, they count on its "early retirement" as the "Laundry Rack 5000" because this is what happens to almost 90% of the ones sold. It's a "slam dunk" for them and puts the most effort towards the least expensive components because they "know" that the majority of them will never be "used" to their full life / warranty promises. You can't hate them for "giving customers what they want" because everyone would sell $400 treadmills that lasted 1-2 years (without breaking) if they could afford to. However, for those of us who "DO USE" our "entry level" treadmills, we have some work to do to get our "money's worth. I like to call us the "10 Per-centers" because we make the most of the little things and get what we expect for our hard-earned money. Walking belts are the "lynch-pin" component related to every treadmill's health and longevity. Unfortunately, many companies don't spring for the "premium" OEM belt option on most of their models. Therefore, we have to be "Maintenance Masters" to reap the benefits of a "low cost" setup right out of the box. ProForm OEM Walking belts are "no exception", being made from a single-ply, loosely woven, thin backed construction that suffers many performance shortcomings. These belts require much higher tension to "not slip" under normal user "load" and typically "wear out" or fail for multiple reasons. The joints' seam tends to separate prematurely from "over tensioning" to accommodate user weights that may exceed promised "specifications." Alternate part failure from other "under-designed" components can also damage the walking belt, such as "traction sleeve" separation or, my favorite, "rear end cap" failure when the rear tension bolts pull straight through molded plastic from the "excessive torque" needed to stop "belt slipping" issues.
The mantra to get the most out of a "base model" treadmill is "Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance"!! Additionally, lack of proper silicon lubrication is the #1 cause of premature walking belt failure, and the sub-quality of this OEM part suffers greatly without proper attention and care. Many "users" miss this simple "must do" and a little effort can go a long way with any walking belt that requires silicone lubrication. We are not talking about the "spray" you buy at "XYZ" Hardware / Home Improvement store and any other "lube" of any kind (10W30, WD40, 3in1, etc.) is "not recommended"! Liquid, "slip- coat" silicone based lubricants that specify use with treadmill walking belts are the "ONLY" kind you ever want to use. Treadmill Doctor's "World Famous Treadmill Lube" is the highest quality silicon-based treadmill belt lubricant on the market. It has additional additives, like Lithium, that helps to prevent dust adhesion to belt backing while offering the highest heat tolerances of any other lube available. When used properly with their "Treadmill Doctor Pro Walking Belts", it's the perfect solution for the "do-it-yourselfer" and "Pro" needing to get their machines fixed up with "top quality" parts at a "great price". Their double-ply, carbon fiber / PVC interwoven construction provides the highest performance and mileage of any belt on the market. We have seen Treadmill Doctor belts running 15,000 to 20,000+ miles (3-5 years) in "full commercial" environments when maintained correctly! Just imagine how many years this could be in your home!
If your budget is tight, fear not, there are ways to make the best of it. It's true, replacing these OEM components with "upgraded" parts can be affordable. Replacement of a walking belt is the #1 repair any treadmill that lasts more than one year will see at some point in its lifetime. OEM replacement belts from many dealers can run as much as $400-$600. Treadmill Doctor typically has what you need for less than half, or as little as $99 for their "Pro Walking Belt" with its standard "Lifetime Warranty*. (*Consumer use) Proper Maintenance is an absolute must with any treadmill or elliptical and you can find everything you need to do it right at TreadmillDoctor.com. Their "World Famous Treadmill Lube" and "Pro Walking Belts" are the perfect "upgrade" to every treadmill. They also stock key components like "drive motors, front rollers, motor controllers and end caps" for 1000's of models. Lubricate your walking belt every 90 days, keep your machine clean, and call "Treadmill Doctor" at 1-800-750-4766, if you ever need any help. Did you know that TreadmillDoctor.com is the most trusted "free" resource for consumers looking to buy a treadmill or elliptical? Every year, they provide sincere and very candid reviews of all makes / models ranging from $400 all the way up to $10,000+! They can point you towards the best machines at EVERY price point, and they also provide the largest inventory of replacement fitness parts for treadmills and ellipticals.
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