The Proform 160 Elliptical Review – Low Quality and Over Priced

ProForm 160 Elliptical CrosstrainerThe Treadmill Sensei absolutely loves Proform Fitness — and Icon Fitness brands in general. Not because of their quality, which we all know is generally terrible, and not because of their customer service, which is even worse.

The reason the Treadmill Sensei loves Proform is because their equipment and its problems are so much fun to test out and review — I think some of my best written reviews are on Proform equipment. I always know there will issues with their treadmills and ellipticals, and the fun part is waiting for the failures to pop up.

We were working out on a Proform treadmill a few months ago for a review and its deck cracked in half! Now, in spite of what Mrs. Sensei says about my waistline, the Treadmill Sensei is not a big guy at all — around 5’7.5″ and 170 pounds. For a treadmill to crack with me doing a walking workout on it is insane.

The Proform elliptical I purchased recently to review is no different. The Proform 160 Elliptical (also known as the XP 160 elliptical in some places) was a below average machine with some very “interesting” problems. The only really positive thing I can say about it is that it shipped and arrived very quickly once we placed the order.

If nothing else, Proform ships their units very fast.

The Proform 160 elliptical arrived in a small to medium sized box (for an elliptical) and weighed in at somewhere around 135 pounds. I’m guessing at the exact weight because we couldn’t find the precise weight listed anywhere on the unit we received.

Assembly on the unit was fairly standard for us, but the instruction booklet wasn’t the best and could be more than a little confusing for the average consumer. Figure on it taking about 90 minutes to assemble the Proform 160.

UPDATE: This model is no longer available. You can check out all of our latest ProForm elliptical reviews here to find a comparable model.

As a front drive elliptical, the Proform 160 will feel a bit more solid than a rear drive unit in the under $600 range. I’m not saying that it is an overly solid or sturdy unit, but the front drive ellipticals tend to perform a lot better in the low end than rear drive ones.

The 160 elliptical’s flywheel is a bit on the small size…again, we were unable to find an actual weight listed anywhere for the unit’s flywheel, but I’d estimate it at 10-12 pounds in size at the most. The smaller, lighter flywheel makes the Proform 160 elliptical feel a bit bouncier than a larger or heavier one would, but the 18″ stride on the unit isn’t the worst I’ve felt on a low-end elliptical. I’d rank it at about average.

A few problems I did notice on the machine were that the front shroud and crank designs are aren’t the best thought at. The 160 elliptical has a lot of problems during workouts at RPMs of 55-60 or higher. At these higher RPMs you’ll start to notice a rather lound sound coming from the front of the machine. This is from the lower-quality plastic pieces becoming bent and rubbing against crank arms and gears. In fact, on our machine, the crank cover became so warped it was rubbing against the arm and producing a rather nasty plastic dust inside the machine.

In general, the Proform 160 Elliptical is one of the noisiest lower end ellipticals I’ve encountered in a long time. The last problem I want to mention, and it isn’t as bad as the mechanical ones above, has to do with the elliptical’s console and fans.

First off, batteries go in to the underside of the console and are a bit touchy to get placed in properly. Speaking of the batteries, for some reason the Proform 160 elliptical’s console is a battery hog and went through 1 set during my 2 week long workout. The other problem with the console is the fans: they just don’t work all that well. Well, they work well once you get them started — they don’t seem to want to start up on their own and required a “kick start” each time I wanted to use them. I think it has to do with the power issue in the console.

Overall, the Proform is a very poor performing machine and really isn’t worth the under $600 price it current goes for. It has a lot of problems I’d expect to see in a sub $400 unit and there are much better choices from companies like Horizon, Schwinn and Merit. For being another Proform let down, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Proform 160 Elliptical 2 out of 5 Golden Buddahs.

Proform 160 Elliptical Specifications
Flywheel: 12lbs (approx)
Programs: 10
Resistance Levels: 10
Display: LCD
Readouts: Distance, resistance, time, speed, pulse, RPM, carbs burned and calories burned
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Max User Weight: 200lbs
Unit Weight: 135lbs