Friday, 19 April 2024

Elliptical Trainers

Vision Fitness S60 Elliptical Trainer Review

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The Vision Fitness S60 Suspension Elliptical™ features a 21″ stride length, 25 resistance levels, and the science-based Sprint 8® cardio workout program. But how does this measure up to the top-of-the-line S70? Is the S60 really the best elliptical machine for helping you achieve your personal fitness goals?

In this review we’ll compare the Passport™ compatible S60 to other Vision Fitness ellipticals, including the S7100HRT and S7200HRT 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 S7100HRT and S7200HRT.

We’ll also be comparing the workout programs (21 with the S60), 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

In terms of price, the Vision Fitness S60 suspension elliptical is usually in the same range as the S7200HRT. So how does it compare in terms of design features?

By choosing the Vision S60 you’re missing out on the multi-position upper body grips, and the elliptical path switches from variable stride to fixed stride. Whereas the S7200 model has a stride range of 20″ – 23”, the S60 is fixed at 21”.

This elliptical path uses Vision’s PerfectStride® motion to eliminate surges and dead spots for a smoother running experience. Although you don’t quite have the same freedom as one of Precor’s AMT machines, it’s a significant improvement over the fixed guide rails we saw on the X40 and XF40 ellipticals.

We wouldn’t consider the fixed stride length a negative feature of the S60, and there are actually many more areas where we consider it the better of the two elliptical machines. You have 25 resistance levels (compared to 24), a 400 lb weight capacity (instead of 350 lbs), and 21 total workout programs instead of 16.

The resistance is also created through a self-powered generator, rather than an ECB magnetic resistance system. This means you’re not forced to position the elliptical close to a power outlet.

Unfortunately the 2” pedal spacing isn’t quite as close as the 0” distance on the SixStar frames of Horizon Fitness ellipticals. But it’s still considered the ideal distance for proper hip alignment, given the size of the foot plates and the PerfectStride® elliptical motion.

Comfort has also been considered when Vision designed the S60, with large, cushioned pedals to reduce the stress on your feet, and foam handles for a softer grip.

One of the biggest differences between the Vision S60 and their S7200 elliptical is the incline range. Because the S60 is considered the entry-level suspension elliptical in their self-powered collection, it has no incline range. It appears Vision wanted to add it as an upgrade on the later S70 model, where the gradient can be set between 15% and 37%.

This is compared to the Vision S7200HRT, which has a 13% – 39% incline range as standard.

So what can you expect from the technology at the console? Do you have a range of consoles to choose from like their X40 elliptical or is it a single design? Also, what level of workout tracking is available and is there enough workout variation?

These are the questions we’ll be answering in the next section of our review.

Safety features
When we reviewed the Horizon Fitness line of elliptical machines, we didn’t notice any unique safety features. There was no mention of a passcode protected console (available on the Precor EFX 425), or safety screen timeout.

But with the Vision S60 you have a Safety Mode, which keeps the resistance level at its highest setting when not in use to prevent accidental movement of the pedals.

Because the S60 is self-powered and requires 20 revolutions per minute to power the console, this has the effect of disabling the console until you disable Safety Mode. This can be a particularly useful feature for family environments with young children.

Vision Fitness S60 Elliptical Trainer

Vision Fitness S60 – Features Summary

  • 21″ fixed stride length
  • 2″ pedal spacing
  • Suspension Elliptical™ frame design
  • Self-powered two-stage generator system
  • 9″ step-on height
  • 25 resistance levels
  • 21 Workout programs
  • Sprint 8® fat-burning interval program
  • Contact heart rate monitoring
  • Polar® wireless receiver
  • Easy-to-read LED display
  • 400 lb weight capacity

Display console design

The Vision S60 has a similar console to the Vision S7200HRT, with a dot matrix profile display of the current program, and a message window for displaying workout feedback. This includes your speed, distance, watts, METs, resistance level, and number of calories burned.

As with their other Suspension Ellipticals, there are no quick select controls for the resistance level, meaning you have to rely on the basic set of arrow buttons. Because the Vision S60 has no incline settings, you only have a set for the resistance level.

Despite being one of their premium elliptical machines, there’s still no sign of any entertainment options. This is compared to NordicTrack FreeStrider trainers, where even their mid-tier FS7i model has a 7″ web-enabled color touchscreen, two 2-inch speakers, and an iPod compatible sound system.

The FS7i also benefits from an adjustable stride of up to 38” in length, and OneTouch™ controls for adjusting the incline and resistance levels with a single button press. All for what’s often $600 less than the Vision S60.

However, if you take a look under the Vision S60 console you’ll find a Cardio Port hidden under a removable cover. This means the S60 is compatible with entertainment systems such as Cardio Theatre, where you could purchase a freestanding E-Zone Personal Viewing System and have a 15″ or 17″ wide HD screen setup above the console.

Unfortunately this tends to be geared more towards commercial health clubs than home gyms, and when you take into account the additional cost, you would struggle to justify it over something like the NordicTrack FreeStride FS9i.

So what about tracking your fitness goals and creating an immersive workout experience? The Vision S60 doesn’t have the same ViaFit workout tracking as their treadmills, but it is classed as Passport™ Ready.

Passport Ready
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 you need to keep track of your heart rate during a workout, it’s important to find an elliptical machine that’s compatible with wireless heart rate monitors. Contact sensors are useful, but restrict your upper body movement too much to have much benefit unless you only need a quick reading.

The Vision S60 features contact sensors built into the static handles, with a receiver built into the console for picking up the signal from wireless chest straps. Your current heart rate is then displayed in the HRT feedback window, together with the percent of your maximum heart rate, and target heart rate when you use one of the HRT® programs.

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.

The big difference you’ll notice is that the self powered S60 suspension elliptical has no ‘Sculptor’ programs, which were a major focus of the S7100HRT and S7200HRT machines. That’s because there’s no incline with the S60, so there’s no way to automatically adjust your body position to shift the focus between specific lower body muscle groups.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the Vision S60 is their entry-level self powered model, so it’s worth taking a look at our review of the S7100HRT and top-of-the-line S70 machines to see how they compare.

Workout program categories

  • Sprint 8Sprint 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.

  • ManualThis 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.
  • IntervalA high intensity workout that’s designed to strengthen your cardiovascular system by alternating between short periods of high and low intensity exercise.
  • Fat BurnDesigned to keep your heart rate at the optimum level for calorie burning, this program maintains a lower intensity than the interval program but with a longer duration.
  • RandomThis isn’t a program that’s included with Vision’s treadmills or traditional elliptical machines, but creates a high level of workout variation for their suspension trainers. The console randomly selects the resistance and incline levels for each segment of your workout.
  • TrailsThe Vision S7200HRT suspension elliptical had a series of goal-based workout programs, one of which allowed you to set a target distance. It looks like the S60 has replaced these goal programs with ‘Trails’ which is available in 3 variations; Trail 5k, Trail 15k, Trail 20k. Unfortunately you can’t set any targets for the number of calories burned or your workout duration.
  • WattsThe Vision S60 features three variations of Watts programs; Constant Watts, Interval Watts, and Hill Watts. On the S7100HRT and S7200HRT models you only had access to one Watts program, which was the equivalent of Constant Watts. This is where you set a goal and maintain a certain level of power output throughout your workout.Interval Watts lets you choose a high WATTs value and a low WATTs value then alternate between them for more of a high intensity workout. Hill Watts works in a similar way, whereby you choose four WATTs levels and the program rotates through them at 1 minute intervals.
  • Heart rate target (HRT)The Vision S60 elliptical is pre-programmed with 4 variations of heart rate workout; Target HRT, HRT Weight Loss, HRT Interval, and HRT Hill.Target HRT is designed to improve the endurance of your cardiovascular system by keep you at a preset target 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 to build cardiovascular strength.

    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.

  • Fitness TestWe’ve seen Vision include a fitness test with their equipment before, most recently on the Classic console of their treadmills (T40 and T80 models). With their treadmills this is based on the Gerkin protocol, but in this case it’s a simple 5 minute test that calculates your fitness level based on a calculation using your V02 level and maximum heart rate.
  • Custom programsFor 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 Vision S60 suspension trainer you can create, save, and reuse up to 5 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.

User profiles
Unfortunately the Vision S60 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 S60 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 (Vision’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.

Elliptical Machine Assembly
Start by confirming your service location

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.

Maintenance required
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.

  • Weekly: Clean the display console, frame, handlebars, plastic covers, and pedals.
  • Monthly: Inspect the display console, handlebars, plastic covers, and pedals.
  • Bi-Annually: Inspect the console mounting bolts.
  • Annually: Inspect the frame.

The S60 user manual also includes troubleshooting solutions for issues such as lack of illumination at the console, or erratic heart rate readouts.

Vision Fitness Elliptical Guide

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Generator: Lifetime

  • Parts: 7 years
  • Labor: 2 years

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4 / 5

So is the self powered S60 Suspension Elliptical worth buying, or does one of the electric powered models (S7100 and S7200) represent better value for money?

After reviewing each of these machines in detail, the S60 has one major downside, which is a lack of incline. This is compared to an incline range of up to 13%-39% for the S7200 model. The console is also lacking in terms of entertainment features and workout tracking, but this is something that’s true of all Vision Fitness suspension ellipticals.

But for us it really comes down to the incline range. Being able to adjust the incline to something resembling a stepper and having a variable stride length makes it much easier to shift the focus between lower body muscle groups. This isn’t something that’s possible with the S60.

However, if you’re not too worried about the incline and are more interested in the long-term cost benefits, it really depends on how often the machine is likely to be used. The self powered models (S60 and S70) are much better suited to family environments or commercial gyms due to the amount of money you could save on electricity.

For example, the S7200 has electrical requirements of 120V on a 15 amp circuit, which means running for 1 hour will consume 1.8 KWh. It depends how much your electricity costs, but if 1 KWh costs 12 cents you’re looking at 22 cents per hour. Now multiply this out across the years covered by the warranty. At 3 hours use per week the S60 saves you $34 per year, multiplied by the 5 year warranty on the generator gives you $170. But consider commercial gyms that might see one of these machines used for 3 hours per day everyday, and that cost saving becomes $1204.50.

In summary, unless you or your family plan on using the S60 more than 2 hours per day everyday, you’re probably better off buying the Vision S7200. The list price is usually $200 more than the S60, and you have to pay for the electricity, but the incline range alone will create more challenging workouts.

Product dimensions: 73.2" L x 29.5"W x 64.5"H Product weight: 345 lbs Weight capacity: 400 lbs

Related articles:

Elliptical Machines Review and Comparison Guide
Vision Fitness S7200HRT Elliptical Machine Review
Vision Fitness Elliptical Machines Guide

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