Judie’s Gear Diary – 2005-09-13

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Today I am going to tell you about something that has been driving me

Right at the end of June, I thought it would be great to get a stair-stepper
because that is an exercise I have always enjoyed at the gym. So I went to
Nordic Track’s site and saw they had one – the

MTN 740 Stepper
, and it looked pretty good. Since I have owned a Nordic
Track (NT) Treadmill in the past, I figured their stepper would also be a decent
product that would last for years. To sweeten the pot, NT was offering free
shipping and three payments with no interest, so I took the plunge.

A couple of weeks later, a big box was dropped off.

Steve spent that afternoon putting the stepper together, and once it was
complete – I was thrilled! The machine was solid and comfortable to use. I
thought it was very cool that it didn’t need to be plugged in – the
momentum of my stepping powered the display as well as the built-in two speed
fan.  Every day I would get on that sucker, doing either the pre-programmed
20 minute climb or a "free-style" 30 minute climb. For two weeks, I was
happy…then we went on vacation for 13 days.

The morning after we returned, I climbed on and found the display was dead.

Thinking that maybe the internal battery had died from neglect, I decided to
step for a bit and see if it could be revived. Sure enough, about 25 minutes
into the 30, the display powered on and the fan started, and by that time I was
very grateful to have it! I finished out my 30 and thought all was well with the
world. Alas, the next day the display was dead, once again.

So once again I stepped for about 25 minutes, and once again the display
finally powered on. Thinking that maybe I wasn’t building up enough of a
"charge", Steve offered to step for a while to hopefully add to the "reserve".
After his 30 minutes were done, I felt pretty confident that my stepper would be
ready and willing the following morning.

But of course it was dead. Deader than dead.

That’s when Steve called Nordic Track, and the helpful customer service chick
said that it might be the generator. They would send one out, and it
should be a simple piece for the do-it-yourselfer to exchange, or she could sent
out a certified repairman. Well after hearing how simple it was, of course Steve
said just to send it and he would swap out the generators. In the meantime, she
said it was fine for me to use it with no display and no programs, so I did. A
couple of days later a heavy box showed up. Inside was this solid
"fly-wheel" looking thing, and Steve said he would swap it out for me "first
thing" the next day.

Hours after he began the next day, I heard cussing coming from the bedroom…

Poking my head into the room, I quickly did an about-face. Evidently the
entire guts of the stepper had to be removed in order to replace the generator,
and the helpful CS chick was now firmly on Steve’s hit list – I didn’t want to
be next in line! An hour or so later, he called Nordic Track and said they had
better send out a repairman.

Evidently there are only two NT certified repair guys for our entire portion
of West Texas, and about a week later one made it to our house. He took one look
at the generator and all the dissembled pieces that Steve had laid carefully to
the side, and said "I’ve never had to replace of those before, it’s usually
the power board battery pack." Steve then had to spend several hours with the
poor guy helping him to replace the parts, once they were finally able to
disengage the previous generator and insert the new. For good measure, the
repair guy also replaced the battery pack and power board.

Once again, the stepper was working flawlessly, and all was good.

The next morning, I got on and enjoyed a rigorous 20 minute climb. The
following day I got on…and the display was dead. "I give up! Return the
$!#@!%^ thing!" I shouted.

I hadn’t even finished making the three payments, and it hadn’t worked
properly but for maybe 20 days!

So my long-suffering Steve called Nordic Track and was told they had a 30 day
money back policy…and we were at 60 days. Steve was able to calmly explain to
the customer service person that since I hadn’t even had a real 30 days use from
of the machine, they had probably better refund our money or else he would call
American Express to dispute their charges – including the as yet unmade third
installment. They finally saw eye to eye, and the customer service person said
that they would send their trucking company to pick it up in a week or so, but
that Steve would have to dismantle the stepper and place it in its original box
in order for them to accept it.

I bet that she was hoping he would say, "but we didn’t save the box because
we never planned on returning it!" But not Steve – he is a box-saver for this
very reason – HA! So he assured her that he had the box, and he would take care
of it.

So I was resigned to the fact that in order to have a stepper, I would have
to get one from somewhere else. That’s when I found out that

Stairmaster steppers
start at $2000…gulp! I also learned that just
about every other fitness brand that offers a stepper is owned by
Icon Health & Fitness, which also
happens to own Nordic Track. So it would be the same warranty, the same customer
service, the same repair guys, and probably the same core machine. <sigh>

Before Steve dismantled it, I decided to give the stepper one last try…and
it started right up. I guess it finally realized that I wasn’t playing,
and it was going back to the factory. The stepper has been working
perfectly for the last five days, so I finally told Steve not to box it up. I
don’t want to replace it and it does have a year warranty…hopefully the stupid
thing will keep working…GAH! :0/


Totally non-related to the above story:
The new O2 XDA
Exec…me likey! <drool>

And for something even more off-topic, yet clever as anything – click the following link:

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Sara April 8, 2007, 12:46 pm

    Judie — Just wondering how the Nordic Track MTN 740 stepper worked out for you? I am considering purchasing one but I cannot find anywhere to test one out…Sears sells them but doesn’t have floor models. After reading your post about it, I was hoping you could let me know if you are satisfied with it and if you recommend it.

    I usually use stairmasters at the gym which are very pricey for home purchase!!


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