Hey there, Suzanne! (Thanks so much for all the work you do to provide this wonderful site to the community, by the way!
You're doing a good thing for the world!)
In answer to your question, I am just TODAY in fact expecting the delivery of my Weider Cross Bow. After extensive research, I decided on the Cross Bow as the machine of choice, and I'm so excited about using it!
I'll spare you the whole saga of my selection process; suffice to say that when I got to the point where I wanted the Bow Flex but was deterred by the cost, I started to do research on the Cross Bow. In addition to googling it, I went to about 6 fitness/weight lifting sites and did searches on the Cross Bow, even joining a couple of message boards. I highly recommend that you check out the WeiderCrossBow group at Yahoo Groups before making your purchase, as it's by far the most comprehensive Cross Bow user resource I found. You'll find logged there an enormous amount of objective personal experience, along with literally thousands of comparisons to the Bow Flex -- from actual users at various levels of fitness and weight training experience.
Bottom line, this is what I came away with: Neither machine will be as effective at building mass and power as free weights, but there is no discernable difference between the two machines in their ability to help an individual realize goals of building plenty of muscle (although probably not "competing" muscle), achieving great muscular definition, and getting a safe and productive all-over body workout without a spotter. Both machines are supposed to be better for the upper body and torso than for legs, but that's true more often for men than for women. Squats are problematic for some -- but not all -- on the Cross Bow (I don't know about the Bow Flex), but some people opt to augment their lower body workout with squats and lunges performed with free weights.
As for quality, both are comparable. The stability, sturdiness, smoothness of operation and weld-quality of both are completely in line, and they both offer 65+ exercises. The standard Bow Flex (without
leg extension or lat bar) comes to around $1500. (With these, the price apparently jumps significantly.) My Cross Bow Advantage (I did not want the Platinum model as I heard more negative reports about it) came standard with the leg extension (also rowing capacity) and I added the lat bar for $40.00. I bought it directly from the manufacturer, paid $100 for shipping, and the total cost was $600 plus tax. I paid a one time $35.00 finance charge, and at zero interest, I'll pay $35.00 per month till it's paid off, while using it.
I don't know about the Bow Flex warranty, but my Cross Bow warranty --since I bought it directly from Icon (Weider) -- is lifetime on the bows, and 5 years for the machine. (If you purchase the machine from Sears, you save on the shipping since you can pick it up, but get a lesser warranty -- a year, I think. The warranty is what prompted me to purchase it directly from Cross Bow.) Standard weight for the Cross Bow is 240 lbs., I think, but it can sustain up to 440, which I think is higher than the Bow Flex. Some people purchase additional bows for the leg resistance or if they're just plain mighty!
Assembly is supposed to be a pain for the Cross Bow -- apparently you need to painstakingly sort the parts beforehand, but it can take anywhere from 2 1/2 hours - 8 hours, depending on you, I guess! Cross Bow customer service is supposed to have been bad but since improved; my exerience has been great so far; responsiveness and good follow through to my inquiries. Also, I ordered it like 2 weeks ago, and I'm getting it delivered today. Not bad, in my book. There's also a generous return guarantee, but I've forgotten the particulars. Also, the Cross Bow doesn't come with a very good exercise instruction manual, but the Bow Flex does, so a lot of Cross Bow users just use the Bow Flex version and it's completely transferrable/applicable.
I strongly encourage you to visit the Yahoo group I mentioned above; there's so much information there on literally every aspect of both machines and their use that you can get answers to any questions you might have.
I feel confident that this machine will meet my current needs just fine: I want a quality, effective machine that will help me safely build muscle and provide the ability to get the fat burning/cardio benefits of circuit training. I don't want to pay thousands of dollars for it, and I don't want it to take up my entire basement, as I've got a treadmill, exercise bike, and some free weights down there also, and would someday like to add an elliptical. Additionally, I love that it's easier on the joints than free weights, there's consistant resistance, and recovery time is reduced.
I suspect I gave you more information than you were looking for, and I know it's much more weighted on the Cross Bow side.......but I hope this helps -- if you're still awake,that is!
If you'd like, I'd be happy to follow up here with a report on how my new machine's assembly and use work out for me.