Our Sole elliptical trainer review takes a look at the range of elliptical trainers available from a company better known for its treadmills – how do they shape up?
Very well as it happens!
If you’ve read our Sole treadmill review you’ll know a little bit about the company.
Sole is probably best know for the treadmills found in the hotel rooms of many leading chains, like Hilton and Omni.
The company manufacturers near-commercial quality equipment for home use at prices significantly lower than those of well known high-end brands like Precor and Life Fitness.
We were very impressed by the quality and performance of their treadmills, so we decided to take a look at their ellipticals.
Now Sole are a relatively recent entrant to the elliptical market, which may account for the extremely competitive pricing of their machines as they seek to establish market share.
However, whilst they may well appear to offer value for money, how do the company’s elliptical trainers stack up in terms of build quality and performance?
Sole Elliptical Trainer Review – Introduction to the Range…
The Sole elliptical trainer range currently comprises the:
The entry level E25 starts at $1,999.99, currently on sale on the Sole website at $1,099.99, all the way up to the top of the range E95 at $2,699.00. Again, this model is currently on sale on the company’s website at $1,699.99.
Sole do tend to have frequent sales, so it’s well worth checking the Sole Elliptical Trainers website for the current prices.
These are invariably lower than store prices, so buying direct from the company would seem to offer the best deal.
Sole elliptical trainers are aimed at the mid-range market. However, our Sole elliptical trainer review would suggest that these ellipticals, particularly the higher end models would give machines costing $3,000-$4,000 a run for their money.
As with Sole’s treadmills, it pays to ask yourself why you’d shell out more for an elliptical trainer that will give you little extra in terms of build quality, features and performance.
Ok, so let’s take a look at the features that most of the models covered in our Sole elliptical trainer review share and that make Sole ellipticals serious contenders in the elliptical market.
Sole Elliptical Trainer Review – Features…
Whisper Quiet Drive System. Essentially, the four models are the same machine and share many of the same features and components, with a few additional features as you work your way up the range.
Probably the most important feature of any elliptical trainer is the drive system. Our Sole elliptical trainer review would conclude that Sole’s is pretty much the quietest and smoothest that we’ve come across in trainers under $3,000.
Sole use the ‘eddy current brake’ (ECB) system to provide resistance. This is the most reliable and durable resistance system and a better option than the motorised brake system found on most mid-priced ellipticals.
ECB is the resistance system found on commercial machines and the best home-use machines. To find it on the cheaper Sole ellipticals – given their price – is unusual.
Combine this with a heavy 30lb flywheel (23lb on the E25) and a high gear ratio and you have the ingredients for a stable machine with a very fluid, smooth motion – there isn’t a hint of jerkiness.
Now I’m on record as saying that I prefer rear drive ellipticals as I feel they provide a truer, more comfortable elliptical movement.
Sole only make front drive machines and I’ll admit, I was expecting to be disappointed when I first tried one out in the course of our Sole elliptical trainer review.
I was very pleasantly surprised!
Sole have overcome the problems associated with front drive ellipticals and have come up with a system that I found as comfortable to use as the rear drive machines I’m used to.
Essentially, it’s down to the articulating pedals that provide the crucial heel toe ellipse.
Oversize, inward-sloping pedals
The reason that I now use an elliptical trainer more often than a treadmill is due to the low impact nature of the workout.
The passage of time (and countless miles of road running!) hasn’t been as kind as I would have hoped to my knees and other lower body joints.
Even so, some elliptical trainers still generate knee and ankle stress.
Sole claim to have overcome this through oversize pedals with a 2 degree inward slope.
This is supposed to be more ergonomically correct, resulting in reduced lower leg joint stress.
Only time and regular use will tell whether this is indeed the case, but with my knowledge of kinesiology and biomechanics it certainly makes sense in principle.
Rear wheels and rails
The pedals themselves run on four rear wheels, which glide along heavy duty rails.
Having tried many different low to mid-price elliptical trainers, this is certainly not a common feature and results in a smooth, stable feel.
The side to side movement you’ll find on cheaper machines is also eliminated. To find this feature on the entry level E25 is unexpected but welcome.
All four models come with a 20″ stride length, which eliminates the jerky, truncated movement often found in lower end ellipticals.
I’d expect 20″ of the more expensive models, but not on the E25.
Ellipticals in this price range normally have little more than the minimimum ideal stride length of 16″, let alone 20″.
Upper body workout
The appeal of an elliptical trainer for many is the whole-body nature of the workout. Ellipticals aren’t called ‘crosstrainers’ for nothing!
The handles on all the models have a good range of motion and provide enough resistance for a meaningful upper body workout.
As with their treadmills, Sole’s elliptical trainer console display is functional, straightforward and easy to program and read.
All models also offer wireless heart rate monitoring through a chest strap, although cheaper models don’t come with the heart control feature.
Sole warranties are outstanding. Even on the entry level E25 you get a lifetime warranty on the frame, three years on the parts/electronics and a one year labour warranty. Pretty much unbeatable.
Sole Elliptical Trainer Review – Model Reviews…
Ok, so that’s our overarching Sole elliptical trainer review, so how do the individual models compare?
We’ve carried out a Sole elliptical trainer review on each of the four models in the range so that you can compare them and see which might be the right choice for your specific needs.