Pros: Solid, Quiet, Spacesaver, Innovative Design, Elegantly-Simple, Great Workout, Easy to Assemble and Move
Cons: Only Four Exercise Programs, No Incline Ability, Heart-rate Monitor Misreads if You Squeeze Too Tightly
I was able to purchase this machine brand new on Ebay for $275. Since the machine retails at $699 from Amazon.com, I did some research to find out how the Ebay seller was able to sell the machine to me so far below retail. I discovered that Amazon recently had a customer voter promotion where participating customers were able to purchase the machine for $200. At $275, I still got the machine at a steal.
The EX-22 is Horizon Fitness' 2006 base model. The 2006 mid-model is the EX-33 and the high-end model is the EX-44. In 2007, the base model is the EX-55, which is essentially the same machine as the EX-22, with four more workout programs and an improved display screen. The 2007 mid-model is the EX-65 and the high-end model is the EX-75. These machines respectively pair-up with the 2006 models EX-33 and EX-44, with minor improvements. Horizon also manufactures other similar models with different model-numbers that are sold exclusively by different retailers such as Sears, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Sports Authority. Research at Horizonfitness.com will allow you to compare the various models.
Each of the above Horizon ellipticals appear to use the same frame base. The frames are modified with different features, as the price increases. The brains of the machine appear to be in the display screen console, which I believe controls the various workout programs and intensity. For example, the Horizon RE 7.6 (sold exclusively by SEARS) appears to be the exact same machine as the EX-22, with a larger and more developed display screen console, a cup holder, and extra trim that attractively hides some of the hardware.
Horizon also makes elliptical models with a much different frame base than the ellipticals I have listed above. I don't know how those machines compare with the above machines with the same frame base as the EX-22, but I suspect not as well. For example, Horizon makes an E95 elliptical with a frame base that looks thinner and inferior to the EX-22 frame. It is also cheaper than the EX line.
I knew I wanted a Horizon elliptical after testing elliptical machines at Sears and Sports Authority. The bulk of home ellipticals are manufactured by Icon Fitness and these machines all have one thing in common--they feel flimsy. I also know from a prior experience with owning an Icon machine that Icon's customer service is a joke, at best. Ellipticals under the Icon umbrella include: Pro-Form, NordicTrack, Weider, HealthRider, Freemotion, Image, Weslo, Reebok and Epic. My strong advice is to go to a retailer like Sears and test these machines side-by-side with the Horizon machines, prior to buying. There is simply no comparison, as the Horizon machine just feels so much more solid compared to Icon machines. I would STRONGLY recommend that you stay away from machines made by Icon Fitness.
My prior experience with ellipticals was at my local YMCA, which had top of the line, Precor machines, which cost several thousand dollars each. If you can afford to sink $4000 into a Precor, then you should as these machines rock. If you're like me and don't have that type of budget, the Horizon machines offer a good alternative to a professional health-club machine. One thing that the professional machines have that the Horizon machine doesn't have is an incline feature, which allows you to target various areas of your legs and butt. Even without the incline feature, I prefer to work out on my Horizon machine at home, as I still get a good workout, it is more convenient, and I can exercise with my shirt off in a private environment, and I can watch whatever I want on TV during my workout.
One area where the EX-22 excells over fitness club machines is in noise level. The EX-22 is super quiet and a person in the next room probably wouldn't even hear you exercising. This makes it even more ideal for home use.
My machine was delivered to the Ebay seller by freight, in a large box that takes 2 men to lift. I picked it up directly from my seller's house. When I got it home and unpacked it, I was surprised at the minimal number of parts that I had to assemble. Horizon makes elegantly-simple machines, which is great as there are less-parts that are subject to breaking. The machine was very easy to put together and took less than two hours for one person to assemble. The instructions were comprehensive and the parts were amply labeled to aid in home assembly. For most people, it would be unnecessary to hire someone to assemble the machine.
The Horizon EX-22 offers four workout programs with eight resistance levels. It would be nice to have a few more programs, but this is an unessential luxury. The bottom line in what I want from an Elliptical machine is a good workout on a solidly-made machine. The EX-22 offers this, in a no-frills package. The 2007 EX-55 base model has a total of eight workout programs, which more-appropriately meets the expectations for a $700+ machine. Given what I paid for my EX-22, I'm not complaining.
The higher-priced Horizon machines also offer extras like cup-holders, magazine racks, built-in fans, more workout programs, more resistance levels, and attachable heart-rate monitors that you can wear. Again, these are all nice to have, but the EX-22 meets my needs for a good workout.
To use the heart rate monitor on the EX-22, you have to grip the metal monitor bars. I noticed that if I grip the bars too tightly, the heart rate reading is not accurate. The user manual also makes reference to this nuance. With a bit of practice, however, you will learn how tightly to grip the bar to get an accurate reading.
One thing I love about this machine is the front wheel design, which allows the machine to fit in a small corner of your home. The bulk of machines are rear-wheel based and these machines are much longer and take up a lot more space. The EX-22 is designed for a user who weighs under 250. I weigh 185 and the machine is perfect for my size. If you weigh more than 250 lbs, you'll need to purchase a higher-end machine such as the EX-44 or the EX-75, as these machines have extra-stability bars at the bottom of the machine to offer more support for the heavy user. All of the Horizon machines offer an 18" stride level, which is more than enough for the average user. It is perfect for my 5'11" body.
The EX-22 allows the user to input one of four workout programs, one of eight resistance levels, the user's weight, and the length of the workout in minutes. During the workout, the machine displays the distance traveled, the calories burned, the wattage used (intensity of the workout), the user's heart rate, and whether the user is working at an optimal heart rate. The machine's readout is similar to fitness club readouts which show you the level of resistance using bars.
The EX-22 comes with a lifetime frame warranty, a seven-year brake warranty, and a one-year parts and labor warranty. The higher-priced models come with more extensive warranties.
The bottom line in my review is that Horizon seems to be the only company in the home-based elliptical market who builds a machine that is as solid as the professional gym models. I love this machine. The machine does not shake or wobble during workout. Had I not got such a good deal on the machine, and had I had to pay full-price, I might have sprang a couple of hundred extra bucks for one of Horizon's higher-end machines. With that being said, this machine gives me a perfect workout in the comfort of my own home. I highly recommend Horizon elliptical machines.