The Vision Fitness S7200HRT elliptical features a 20″ – 23″ stride length, 13% – 39% incline range, and the science-based Sprint 8® cardio workout program. But how does this measure up to the entry-level S7100HRT? Is the S7200HRT really the best elliptical machine for helping you achieve your personal fitness goals?
In this review we’ll compare the Passport™ compatible S7200HRT to other Vision Fitness ellipticals, including the S60 and S70 machines from their Suspension™ series. This means taking a look at what you gain by having the two-stage generator resistance system (S60 and S70) compared to the ECB magnetic braking system of the S7200HRT.
We’ll also be comparing the workout programs (16 with the S7200HRT), entertainment features, and fitness tracking options against similarly priced ellipticals. These will be from a range of fitness equipment companies, including NordicTrack, ProForm, and Horizon Fitness.
Design and safety features
The Vision Fitness S7200HRT suspension elliptical is designed around a front-drive system that removes the need for guide rails. This creates Vision’s PerfectStride® motion, which eliminates surges and dead spots with greater freedom of movement and a variable stride.
When we compared the S7200HRT to the S7100HRT, this variation in stride length was found to be one of the main differences. With the S7200 model you have a stride length of 20″ – 23″, while the S7100 is limited to 20″ – 21.5″.
But on its own this isn’t enough to justify what can be an $800 difference in price. So what else has been upgraded?
The incline range has increased to 13% – 39%, up from 18% – 37%, and you now have a total of 24 magnetic resistance levels instead of 20. The S7200HRT also has a slightly higher step-up height (9″ compared to 8.5″), but they share the same 23 lb flywheel.
Pedal spacing is also the same for both ellipticals, measuring 2-inches, and they have a very similar multi-position handle design that allows you to switch between lower body and total body cardio workouts.
There’s also a slight increase in the brake and parts warranties for the Vision S7200HRT (+2 years each), and the weight capacity has been increased from 325 lbs to 350 lbs. But the assembled weight of the S7200 model is around 80 lbs heavier than the S7100, weighing in at 323 lbs.
This heavier product weight and bulky frame design does make it somewhat more difficult to move around if needed, but it’s still much lighter than the AMT® 835 (412 lbs), which is Precor’s top-of-the-line Adaptive Motion Trainer.
One final comparison we want to make is between the Vision S7200HRT and their top-of-the-line S70 Suspension Elliptical™. The S7200HRT is usually the more affordable option by around $1000, yet they share the same variable stride length, pedal spacing, handle design, and have a very similar incline range (15 – 37% for the S70, 13 – 39% for the S7200HRT).
Although the S70 has 6 more workout programs, including a fitness test, we’re surprised to see it priced at over $4000, given the fact it has no touchscreen or entertainment features to speak of (MP3 compatibility, speakers, etc.). The construction may be slightly more durable given the 400 lb weight capacity, but in our opinion the S7200HRT still represents better value for money.
As with the traditional ellipticals from Vision Fitness, their suspension trainers haven’t been fitted with any special safety features. That’s because the elliptical stride is a very safe motion, where you’re the one creating the movement at the handles and foot pedals. This is compared to treadmills, where an emergency stop is needed due to the belt motion being powered by an internal motor.
Some elliptical machines have safety features fitted purely to control access. For example, the Precor EFX 425 has a passcode protected console, and locking pins to prevent the foot plates from moving when it’s not in use.
Vision Fitness S7200HRT – Features Summary
- 20″ – 23″ variable stride length
- 23 lb flywheel
- Front-drive non-folding frame
- 9″ step-on height
- 24 resistance levels
- 13% – 39% incline range
- 16 Workout programs
- Sprint 8® fat-burning interval program
- Contact heart rate monitoring
- Polar® wireless receiver and free Polar® chest strap
- Passport™ Ready
- 350 lb weight capacity
Display console design
The S7200HRT features an upgraded version of the console you’ll find on the S7100 model, with an improved ‘Heart Rate Zone’ window. This is designed to provide a quick summary of your current heart rate, percent of your predicted maximum heart rate, and target heart rate when using one of the HRT programs.
It’s worth mentioning that, unlike Vision Fitness treadmills, none of the suspension trainer consoles are touchscreen. In this case you have program keys for quick access to workout programs, a dot matrix display of the incline and resistance settings, and a feedback window for displaying your workout stats.
For the S7200HRT, this includes your incline, distance, watts, METs, resistance level, and number of calories burned. The console also includes a fairly basic set of up and down arrows for controlling the resistance and incline, but there are no quick-select functions, and no controls built into the handles.
You’re also facing limited entertainment options, with no built-in speakers or support for an iPod/MP3 player. If you own a tablet device then the built-in display shelf might come in useful, but there’s no way to avoid obscuring important workout feedback from the console screens.
Although suspension trainers are traditionally more expensive than your regular elliptical machine, we were certainly hoping for more from the console. There’s also no cooling fan, which has become a standard feature amongst most mid-range ellipticals.
But as with the S7100HRT, it feels like Vision have focussed the design of the console around your workout performance, which is no bad thing. It’s unfortunate that you have no entertainment features, but what you’re paying for is more advanced workout programs and a more challenging workout when you combine the resistance and incline settings.
The console also allows you to input your weight and age to ensure the workout feedback is as accurate as possible. Your age is used in the calculation of your maximum heart rate (Vision have adopted the formula of: 220 – age), and the weight is used in the calories burned calculation.
The S7200HRT Suspension Elliptical is also classed as Passport™ Ready, rather than Virtual Active integrated. But what does this mean for your workout experience?
Passport is something that’s unique to Johnson Fitness, which is the parent company of Horizon Fitness and Vision Fitness.
But most of their equipment (including the S7200HRT Suspension Elliptical) is only setup to be ‘Passport ready’, meaning you’ll have to purchase the Passport Player separately (usually $199). The alternative is if you see ‘Virtual Active Integrated’, which means the Passport Player is already built into the console. It’s something that’s reserved for their top-of-the-line machines, such as the Vision T80 treadmill with either the Elegant+ or Touch+ console.
Passport Player can connect to your home entertainment system and display workout data on your television, together with high-definition footage of real-world locations. The resistance and incline automatically adjusts to match a change in terrain for the route you’re following, and you have two destination courses pre-loaded on the Player; Northern Italy and the American Southwest.
If you want to experience different workout locations, you can purchase Passport Packs (A, B, and C), which each include 6 new locations (usually $99 per pack).
Heart rate monitoring
If heart rate tracking is an important part of your workouts, the Vision S7200HRT has everything you need.
Contact grips are built into the static handles, and a Polar™ wireless receiver built into the console. This picks up signals being transmitted from a Polar™ wireless chest strap (included) and is a much more reliable way to monitor your heart rate for longer periods of time.
Wireless heart rate monitoring is also a major advantage over elliptical machines that only have contact grips (Horizon Evolve series). Wearing the chest strap means you can use the moveable handles to create a total body cardio workout, rather than maintaining contact with the static grips.
Workout programs and user profiles
Vision’s suspension trainers use a different type of console to their more traditional ellipticals, resulting in some new and unique workout program categories. This includes the ability to create more custom workouts than any other piece of Vision Fitness equipment.
So how can this benefit your fitness routine?
We’ve provided a quick summary of what you can expect from each workout, to help you decide whether a suspension trainer is the best option for your fitness goals.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the Vision S7200HRT is their mid-tier model, so it’s worth taking a look at our review of the entry level S7100HRT and top-of-the-line S70 machines to see how they compare.
Workout program categories
- Sprint 8
Sprint 8 isn’t available on the Classic console, but is included with the Elegant+ and Touch+ models.
The duration is 20 minutes, and the workouts are designed around an 8-week cardio routine rather than a single program. Each of these workouts involves interval training, where you have 3 minutes of warm-up, 2.5 minutes of cool-down, and a series of 2-minute sprint and recovery cycles (30 second sprints and 90 second recovery) in between.
Before you start you’re able to choose from one of four intensity levels; beginner, intermediate, advanced, and elite. It’s a routine that’s designed to boost energy, reduce body fat, promote lean muscle mass and improve cholesterol.
This is the standard program that’s supplied with all Vision ellipticals. The resistance level and incline gradient won’t change unless you make adjustments at the console.
A high intensity workout that’s designed to strengthen your cardiovascular system by alternating between short periods of high and low intensity exercise.
- Summit Hike
This replaces the ‘Random’ program that we saw on the S7100HRT model. Although the profile isn’t entirely random, it doesn’t follow a set pattern like Constant Watts or Intervals, instead acting as a variable incline program to target your muscles from different angles.
- Constant Watts
If you want to focus on the effort you’re putting into your workout and not just on a specific incline or resistance level, this is the program for you. The resistance automatically adjusts based on your strides per minute to keep you at a constant work level.
- Glute Burn
The first of four Sculptor programs, Glute Burn is designed to build strength and muscle tone in your glutes and hamstrings by using carefully selected incline and resistance settings. It’s also an effective cardiovascular workout.
- Calf Toner
Designed to build strength and muscle tone in your calves by using carefully selected incline and resistance settings. This has the same cardiovascular and calorie burning benefits as the Glute Burn program.
- Quad Toner
As with the Glute Burn and Calf Toner programs, Quad Toner focusses the work on a specific leg muscle, which in this case is your quads.
- Total body
Whereas the previous three Sculptor programs were designed to focus the intensity on one or two muscles, the Total Body program uses a wider variation of resistance and incline settings to promote overall strength and conditioning.
- Heart rate target (HRT)
The Vision S7200HRT elliptical is pre-programmed with 4 variations of heart rate workout; HRT Cardio, HRT Weight Loss, HRT Interval, and HRT Hill.
HRT Cardio is designed to improve the endurance of your cardiovascular system by keep you at 80% of your maximum heart rate. HRT Hill uses four heart rate target zones instead of one, switching between 65%, 70%, 75%, and 80% by automatically adjusting the resistance level.
HRT Interval is a slightly simpler version of HRT Hill, where you alternate between two fixed heart rate levels of 70% and 80% of your predicted maximum heart rate. This is designed to maximize the number of calories burned and increase your overall fitness level.
The final heart rate controlled program is HRT Weight Loss, which replaces the ‘Fat Burn’ program that was available on the S7100HRT. This is designed to keep you at 65% of your predicted maximum heart rate to burn a higher percentage of calories from your body’s fat reserves.
- Target goals
This is a program that wasn’t available on the S7100HRT. You’re able to set a target for the distance, number of calories burned, or workout duration, then work towards your goal. The incline and resistance level follow no preset profile, leaving you in complete control of the workout intensity.
- Custom programs
For most Vision Fitness equipment the most custom programs you can expect is 3, which you can find on any machine with an Elegant+ or Touch+ console (Classic console has 2 custom workouts).
But for the S7200HRT suspension trainer you can create, save, and reuse up to 4 custom programs. Rather than spending time storing the incline and resistance settings manually, the console simply records any changes you make at the console and uses this to create your custom profile. It’s much more efficient than manually creating your profile segment by segment.
Unfortunately the Vision S7200HRT isn’t setup with any form of workout tracking, which means there isn’t really a need for user profiles.
With most of their treadmills, such as the T40 and T80, you can sync workout performance to an online profile through ViaFit connectivity. This lets you share the data with various other fitness apps, including RunKeeper and Fitbit.
The closest thing you have to user profiles here is the custom programs. They prompt you to set your age, weight, and the time, which is then used in the two main calculations; maximum heart rate, and number of calories burned.
Ease of assembly
If you’re buying the S7200HRT elliptical direct from Vision Fitness, their policy is to schedule delivery and bring the boxes inside the first ground-level door or into your garage.
The Johnson Fitness website (Horizon’s parent company) has a complete collection of owner’s manuals, diagrams, and other guides for assisting you with the elliptical assembly. Contacting Vision Fitness for after-sales service and support is also incredibly easy, with an email address, contact number, and contact form available through their official website.
But what if you’re looking for more than ground-level delivery? What if you want a trained service technician to assemble your new elliptical machine for you, so you don’t have to worry about heavy lifting and following diagrams?
Professional assembly services
Unfortunately we weren’t able to find any additional levels of home delivery from Vision themselves. This would be where a technician visits your address and assembles the elliptical for you in your room of choice.
However, if this is a service you’re interested in, Amazon have recently started offering a number of home assembly services. This includes home gyms, treadmills, and elliptical machines. To check whether your zip code is covered, please use the form below.
Amazon’s elliptical trainer assembly service already has hundreds of 5 star rated reviews, with customer feedback for the various installers.
The service itself includes assembly of 1 elliptical per product instructions, with a typical assembly time of 4 hours. Amazon have also started offering an ASAP version of the service. If you submit an order before 10am on a business day, a service pro will come to your home that same day.
Vision Fitness include a recommended maintenance routine with each of their ellipticals. These are fairly standard steps to ensure the continued operation of any home elliptical, but still worth a mention.
- Monthly: Clean the display console, frame, handlebars, plastic covers, and footplates.
- Bi-Annually: Inspect all bolts and hardware, frame, and power cord.
The S7200HRT user manual also includes troubleshooting solutions for issues such as lack of illumination at the console, or erratic heart rate readouts.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Brake: 7 years
- Parts: 7 years
- Labor: 2 years