Remanufactured Elliptical Trainers:
Are They a Good Deal? By Rich Rojas
There are on-line distributors of fitness equipment who offer both new and remanufactured or refurbished elliptical trainers. The most common types of remanufactured equipment are treadmills and elliptical trainers. This article will focus on remanufactured and refurbished elliptical trainers, but the basic concepts apply to any type of remanufactured or refurbished fitness equipment.
It’s typically higher-end commercial-grade elliptical trainers (MSRP over $3000), which are remanufactured or refurbished and offered for resale. This is because they can be offered at a substantially reduced price compared to new ellipticals and the distributor still makes a decent profit.
Health clubs that want to keep costs down are typically the buyers of remanufactured or refurbished equipment. They often buy more than one. It’s easy to see the cost savings at this level -- buy 5 remanufactured elliptical trainers that retail new for $5500 and get them for $3000 remanufactured.
It’s important to distinguish between used, refurbished, and remanufactured equipment. The bottom line is that whether it’s refurbished or remanufactured it’s still used equipment and just like buying a used car, you need to protect yourself.
Keeping this important point in mind, can you get yourself a good deal? Absolutely! Just do your homework before deciding to purchase one of these ellipticals.
1. Used Ellipticals - Private individuals usually offer these. You won’t get any warranty so you’re stuck if the elliptical trainer has problems as soon as you get it home. This is the riskiest way to buy a used elliptical trainer. In general, unless the elliptical trainer is an expensive, high-end machine that is still it the box and offered for next to nothing, you should probably stay away from it.
2. Remanufactured Ellipticals - Remanufactured fitness equipment of any type is taken completely apart, re-powder coated, rebuilt to the manufacturer’s original specifications and then put back together again. The end result is typically a used machine that is as good as a new one, but selling for much less. Ellipticals more than 2 years old are the usual candidates for remanufacturing. It’s not cost-effective to go through the process for newer machines.
Some elliptical trainer manufacturers rebuild their own equipment and offer it for resale to their dealers, but it is much more common to find equipment dealers who remanufacture elliptical trainers in their own shop and then offer them for resale on-line.
It’s definitely worth your while to ask a lot of questions of dealers offering remanufactured elliptical trainers. You’ll want to ask about exactly what steps they perform in the remanufacturing process from inspection to tear down to rebuild.
Below is a list of what a thorough remanufacturing process should consist of:
- Thoroughly test the machine looking for defects
- Fully disassemble the machine
- Sandblast the frame to remove original powder coat
- Inspect the frame
- Re-powder coat the frame
- Rebuild the motor
- Thoroughly test the console electronics; repair or replace defective components
- Replace the drive belt
- Replace bearings and bushings in the mechanical components
- Replace the grips
- Replace the keypad overlay
- Test the reassembled unit
- Check the dealer’s Website to see if this process is described. If not, then ask either via email or over the phone. If the dealer is reluctant to answer your questions then go look elsewhere.
Also be sure to ask about the warranty that is offered on these machines. Warranties on remanufactured ellipticals tend to be short.
3. Refurbished Ellipticals – Machines less than 2 years old are typically refurbished. The refurbishing can be done either by the manufacturer or a fitness equipment dealer. The machine is cleaned up a bit and any broken components are replaced. However, this is not the same rigorous tear down and rebuild that goes into a remanufactured elliptical trainer. For instance, the frame will not be sandblasted and re-powder coated. As a result, the machine may look a bit used depending on its original condition.
A manufacturer-refurbished elliptical trainer will come with a longer warranty than a remanufactured elliptical or a refurbished one that was done by a dealer. It’s also a good bet that a manufacturer-refurbished elliptical was checked out more thoroughly and accurately.
When making your decision weigh the final price, quality of the work, and length of the warranty. All things being equal, the best choice sometimes turns out to be a manufacturer-refurbished elliptical trainer.
So there you have it. If you’re willing to invest a little time doing some research, you can land yourself the equivalent of a late-model, used BMW, with essentially no mileage on it for the price of a new Chevy!
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