Life, Running, & Medicine.
Notes on life as I see it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Second Review of Sole E35 Elliptical

Please refer to my first early review of my new elliptical machine.  I now write a brief followup to that review after about 6 months of use.
Price: $1299 at, includes shipping.
Pros: price, quiet, very sturdy/heavy duty feel, adjustable "pedal" angles, multiple workouts, remembers my weight/age
Cons: remote HR monitor requires a hairless chest and even then its iffy
Weird: The calorie calculator consistently reads about half the calories of a similar workout on a LifeFitness or Precor, the fan is so weak you can barely detect its on, there is audio input & small speakers & audio output (the output is pointless)
Sound bite: A durable high quality low-frills machine at a good price, much less than its competitors.
Would I buy again: YES!
I admit I haven't used it as much as I had hoped.  I used the machine quite a bit in the heat of summer to get a run in here or there, probably averaging twice a week.  We have sort-of built a little home-gym around the elliptical featuring a TV, iPod stereo, wood floors, some inspirational posters and a towel rack.
One place this has really helped is with my IT Band problems.  This elliptical does not quite take your knee through 30-degrees of motion (at least for me), so even when my knee is flaring up I can run on this with very little problem.
After using only this elliptical for a while then getting back on the LifeFitness at the gym I must say I like the Sole E35 a lot better.  It has a much smoother "running feel" with what seems like less "up and down".  I didn't think that would be true with a front-flywheel but it is definitely noticeable.
The near-silence of the machine is huge plus.  After a couple months I noticed a "rubbing" noise like there was some extra friction going on somewhere.  Turns out the plastic/rubber guides in the back were not really lubricated (I never lubed them).  I used the supplied "elliptical lube" and put a couple drops on the guides and voila! Silence.  Now when I work out my wife usually just hears my huffing and puffing and not the machine at all.
Our home gym is on the second story of our wood-framed home.  I was a little worried that using the elliptical would make the whole house shake or vibrate (like the washer does sometimes).  But no, no such problems.  Unless immediately below the elliptical downstairs you can't tell anything is going on at all.
One recommendation I definitely make is to put your machine on some kind of hard flooring.  Since this is my house and not the gym I definitely notice that I make a virtual sea of sweat when I work out more than 30 minutes.  It is disgusting to think that if this were on carpet all that sweat would get soaked in.  On the wood floors I just wipe it up with a towel (and of course do regular floor cleaning).  BTW I have the machine on top of a cheap WalMart 3/8" rubber mat; no damage or denting noted to the bamboo floors yet.
Anyway if you are thinking about a machine I think this is a great alternative to the high-prices Precor or LifeFitness, and far better than the department store cheap-o's.  You can try out some models in person at Dick's Sporting Goods, they are an authorized retailer but I went with the factory store to save money on sales tax.


Doc26.2 said...

Quick updates:
1. The resistance setting does go up to 20, but putting it at much past 12 is ridiculously hard.
2. Your kneed does get taken through 30-degrees (about 45 really) but did not aggravate my IT band.
3. The HR monitor strap is worthless.
4. Con: the preset workouts are only 20 minutes each, so you have to reset the workout to do these for longer (manual setting is infinite).

Anonymous said...

I just got my Sole E35 this week. A creaking noise that was clearly on the left side was driving me crazy. I lubed up the rails and I took apart the entire left side, sprayed WD40 everywhere, and put it all back together and STILL the creaking noise. After an hour, I tightened up the pre-assembled left foot pad attachment and the noise went away.

Nicholas M said...

@anonymous - Thanks for the tip. I also have a sole e35 and tightening up the left foot pad stopped the creaking. This also happened to my sole f63 treadmill and a tightening it helped. Maybe the shipping process made the screws a little loose.

Anonymous said...

Hi, what exactly did you tighten in the left foot assembly? Te same sound is driving me nuts too. Thanks very much for any help ou can provide!


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