What Is It With ProForm?
They seem to be all over the place. They claim to be the #1 brand of exercise equipment for the past twenty years, both in units sold and dollars. Yet many online reviews of their treadmills are negative. Their parent company, ICON Health & Fitness, has been rated an “F” by the Better Business Bureau. What gives?
ProForm is the leading brand of ICON. ICON’s predecessor company started selling exercise equipment in the 1980s, as interest in fitness boomed, and started the ProForm brand. In 1988, ProForm was sold to Joe Weider’s company, the manufacturer of sports nutrition products and publisher of fitness magazines. In 1994, when Weider was retiring and selling his publishing empire, he sold the exercise equipment business to the private equity firm of Bain Capital, run by Mitt Romney.
So there has been some big and smart money behind the ProForm brand, as well as good timing. It appears the rest of the industry in trying to catch up, taking pot shots when it can, and imitating when it can’t. It also appears that ProForm has grown to the point where the BBB is not important. In the same way that General Motors and General Electric choose not to become members of the BBB, ProForm and ICON just don’t seem to need it. One thing is certain: ProForm’s prices and quality have improved greatly over the past few years, so the older reviews may no longer be meaningful.