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The brand was bought by Icon Fitness after the bankruptcy of the original NordicTrack company in 1998 and they have since moved the lineup into more mainstream sales venues such as Sears. The name holds a certain level of cache and Icon has taken advantage of this to bump up into higher pricing brackets than most of their other brands could attain. Unfortunately, until a few years ago the price was the only thing about these machines that was high. If you had one of the original EXP1000 machines, our sympathies are with you. They had problems with everything from the plastic parts, to electronic grounding problems, to failed consoles. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
We believe the big driver of this changeover has been Johnson. The maker of the Horizon brand has given the large sales venues an alternative and while Johnson was producing higher end machines for the US market and moving down in price point, some of the quality carried over. Not to say Johnson hasn’t had their own missteps, but overall they have been a big reason why everyone has had to step up in quality, including Icon.
Over the past few years though the quality of the NordicTrack machines has increased drastically and has forced all reviewers to re-examine the brand. Icon has created a series that hits right at the sweet spot price points (below $1000, $1500-2000, and sub $3000). Brands that have previously dominated these ranges, especially the higher ones, need to watch out for these new products that could grow to dominate them in their own ballparks. Icon has the best distribution and most efficient manufacturing in the industry, these two facts alone mean that they can deliver far greater value than the competition, and now that they have turned their focus on to higher quality their brands-especially NordicTrack-could put the old guard in a world of hurt.
The consumers need look no further than the new NordicTrack S3000 treadmill to prove this point. The machine retails for roughly $2700 and delivers higher quality than brands like Landice and Lifefitness in this price point. In Ellipticals NordicTrack tends to shoot lower in the price categories and the prices most of its models are between $700 and $1500. These are really strong market prices and along with their quality improvements should put NordicTrack in a dominating position. The only Achilles heel of the brand remains in the area of service. Like many big companies, think of your local cable company, Icon does not have the responsiveness of many of the smaller companies. In the past, it has been a headache dealing with Icon if you had a problem and that fact was exacerbated by the fact that their machines were not made with the quality that they are today. Icon has made a big push ...Read More