Pros: inexpensive, folds, enough features.
Cons: small belt; not enough features to keep regular treadmill users busy.
ProForms 525 X Treadmill is the first treadmill I have reviewed that comes with dumbbells. This machine retails for $700 but if you look around you can find it for as low as $500. Please note: ProForm makes many versions of the 525 X including the ProForm CrossWalk Advanced 525x. The latter is a very different model with moving arms and iFit technology.
About the 525 X:
The 525 X is a space saving model meaning it folds. To fold the machine I pulled a pin out and the machine folded quite easily for a treadmill.
The maximum user weight is 275 pounds which is the average for a ProForm treadmill in this price range.
It measures 65 1/2 inches long by 33 inches wide by 57 1/2 inches high. ProForm makes many treadmills. These measurements are in the average range of others I have reviewed.
The warranty is 1 year on parts and labor and 5 years on the motor. Many ProForm treadmills have a 90-day warranty on parts and labor so this warranty is decent for ProForm. There is a lifetime warranty on the frame.
ProForm is made by ICON Fitness.
The Belt and Deck:
Unless you are very short the size of the deck and belt should be something you look at carefully. If the belt is too narrow or short it can make walking or running on it uncomfortable and even dangerous. The rule of thumb is that a belt should be at least 17 inches wide by 50 inches long. I find the longer and wider the belt the more comfortable the walk is. That isnt to say the size has anything to do with the comfort of the deck. It means that I can take longer strides and feel as if I am not going to hit the sides of the machine. The ProForm 525 Xs belt just meets the minimum for size at 17 inches by 50 inches.You will find plenty of ProForm treadmills in this price range with longer and wider belts so this was disappointing to me.
ProForm has so many different treadmill models I know how confusing it is to the consumer. On top of that they have various names for their decks impact system. The system on the 525 X is called ProTech Impact Reduction. This system reduces, according to ProForm, impact on our joints by 15% as compared to running or walking on the road. I have reviewed treadmills by ProForm that give us a 30% reduction on our joints but the 15% is common. I havent found much of a difference when power walking on a 15% reduction versus a 30% reduction. (ProForm 400 GL)
I liked the ProTech Impact Reduction system. I could feel the deck flexing as I walked. If you dont like that feeling and want a hard surface under you this wont be the machine for you. You will be better off with a treadmill that has an adjustable deck. (Life Fitness T7-0 but youll be spending $4000 more!)
At this price you will not find a noiseless machine but I didnt note anything so loud it will wake up the neighborhood. If you run of course you will hear more noise as your feet hit the deck than if you walk. It seemed to me the ProTech design kept the noise down.
If you have read my reviews youll know I am a handle fanatic. Perhaps it is because I am sensitive to the needs of seniors. The 525 X has very short handles. They are perhaps the shortest I can remember. It has a safety clip that I could attach to my clothes. If I fell or started to the machine would stop immediately. I urge anyone with balance problems to utilize this feature.
I found the traditional bar in front of the console that houses heart rate sensors. I put my hands on this bar and was shown my heart rate on the console.
I found ProForms usual CoolAire fan which blows air at 4 to 6 mph. I am close to 5 feet 5 inches tall. The fan is fine for me. I know from e-mails and others that if you are very tall this fan wont hit you in the face if in fact you even want air on your face. If you like this machine I wouldnt let the fans placement stop you from buying the 525 X.
If you are looking for iFit Technology the 525 X does not have this feature. What this means is that your computer, CD or MP3 player automatically controls the machine if it has the iFit technology.
The 525 X has a 6x6 LED Matrix console that showed me my time, speed, distance, calories burned and my pulse. What the Matrix means is that it showed me a 1/4 mile track that monitored how many times I went around the track. Some find this annoying and cover it; some dont care; some like it. I dont care. I dont use it because that isnt how I monitor my progress. The 6 x 6 is the size of the Matrix which lights up. I have found this track on other ProForm models and other brands. ProForm has trademarked it RaceTrack. The numbers on the console are in green and are easy to read.
The 525 X allowed me to input my weight so it could track how many calories I burned. This is not an unusual feature and considering that machines are about 20% inaccurate I wouldn't buy the machine for this feature.
The console has two integrated water bottle holders and a large area for a magazine.
The 525 X has my favorite features. They are the Quick Features. QuickSpeed allowed me to increase my speed or decrease it immediately. I didn't have to push the incline or decline button for each tenth of a mile per hour faster that I want to walk or for each level of incline I want to walk. If I am walking at 3 miles an hour and want to go to 4 rather than pressing the up arrow, which is what is usually done, I just press 4 and it immediately jumps to 4. The buttons from 1 to 10 are at the base of the console. There are QuickIncline buttons that do the same thing. The machine adjusted the incline from 1.5% to 10%. The fact that it doesnt start at 0 shouldnt be a concern. 1.5% is a very low incline that I didnt even notice. At any time I could use the arrows to change the incline or speed so dont think you are stuck with the program you chose.
The 325 X only gave me 4 programs. I say only because that is a bare minimum for a treadmill. Still for the beginner these 4 programs are enough in my opinion.
You will get 2 Personal Trainer workouts that automatically adjust the speed and incline of the treadmill based on my program selection. The other 2 are called 2 Learn (also known as customized) programs that I could personalize in any way I wanted. The way this works is that I could pick P 1 or P 2 in the Personal Trainer workouts. From there I picked a level and a speed I wanted. The machine adjusted itself to my settings. For the Learn programs I picked P 3 or P 4 thus the 4 programs. I could pick distance and hills for example and I could save my workouts.
Now we come to the rack that holds 2 pair of polyurethane covered dumbbells. There are two pairs- 2 and 3 pound weights. I have mixed feelings about using dumbbells while on a treadmill. Actually my feelings arent really mixed. I dont like the mix of weights and treadmills. I think in spite of the low dumbbell weight it is too easy for them to throw you off balance. If you are holding them you cant grab onto the railing. If you like this machine though you can think of getting $10.00 worth of dumbbells for free.
It has a 2.5 horsepower motor which is certainly adequate.
Please check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Please do not allow your children on or around your treadmill and that includes pets!
The 525 X is certainly adequate for the beginner but the shorter, narrower belt and the lack of lots of programs has me rating it 3 stars. I dont feel the dumbbells add to the desirability of the machine and in fact having them I feel detracts from the desirability. I do like the deck but there are other decks that are as nice in the same price range. I have heard a number of complaints about customer service at ICON though I have spoken with the company and they seemed very responsive. In any case be aware of that and make sure you get a decent warranty on any inexpensive machine. ProForm certainly cant live up to the durability or workmanship of Life Fitness but the average person can't spend $4500 on a treadmill.
My treadmill reviews:
ProForm 400GL • ProForm 595 Pi • ProForm 350 • ProForm CS17e Treadmill • ProForm CX18i • ProForm 840 • Proform 540 • ProForm CrossWalk Performance • How to Choose a Treadmill • Life Fitness T9i • Life Fitness T7-O • Nordic Track ViewPoint TV • Nordic Track Incline Trainer • Landice Treadmill • Star Trac Pro Treadmill • Cybex Pro Teadmill • Cybex 900T Treadmill
Please feel free to leave me a question or comment. Thanks for reading. jo