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Many are familiar with the Sole E95 from their stay in an Omni or Hilton hotel during your travels – in such cases, had you opted for their in-room fitness option, you would have seen a Sole Fitness treadmill or possibly a Sole E95 elliptical.

Sole E95

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A Sole Fitness elliptical trainer is a gym-quality piece of equipment at an affordable, mid-range price, under $2,000, though they are as valuable as an elliptical in the $3,500+ range, in the eyes of this reviewer.

They are available from a number of outlets, from Sears to Amazon and other retailers in most locations.

Sole E95 – My First Impression

After doing a search in my own location, I found 5 vendors within a 50-mile radius and promptly went to an in-store demo (making sure to call ahead, I wanted to be sure I could try it). The machine is bigger in person than it appears online, and I’m 5′-10″ – but that is the case with most ellipticals.

What struck me at first was the way it looks – “handsome” is the word that popped into mind – it does look good in person. That is not a selling point for me, though – I am not too interested in that since my favorite elliptical, Yowza Captiva, is hard to beat in aesthetics.

Sole E95 and Monitor


Read Sole Fitness E95 Customer Reviews From Amazon


Altogether, the Sole E95 is impressive when you come across it up close, and they are easier to find in person than many direct-sales elliptical trainers you find online, simply because they have had such a wide exposure.

Don’t confuse that with meaning it is the best elliptical for the price, though – it is a great buy, but not as good in my opinion as trying the Yowza Sanibel or Captiva, comparably priced.

Having said that, let’s look at the specs and then dive right in to the details. I’ll tell you right away, this is not a bad elliptical by any stretch – it is one of the best in its class, and has been selling online at Amazon as a top selling elliptical there for years.

(To be clear, this review is of the Sole E95 2011 model.)

Specifications and Features of the Sole E95

This information comes directly from the manufacturer, Sole Fitness.

Stride Length: 20″
Cushioned Foot Pedals: Yes
Resistance Technology: Eddy Current Braking (Current Top-of-the-Line Technology)
Number of Resistance Levels: 20
Power: Standard 110v (Regular Outlet Will Do)
Upper Body Workout: Yes
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes – A Belt
Heart Rate Controls: Yes

Data Displays:
Backlit, Blue Light
2 Data Windows
Message Window 20 Characters, Sufficient For Most
Tracking Capabilities For Monitoring Progress: Yes
Workout Programs: 10
User Defined: 2

In-Built Fans
Water Bottle / Accessory Holders
Plastic Cover Over Back Rails

Warranty Information
Warranty Service Is In-Home
Lifetime For Frame, 5 Years Parts/Electronics, 2 Years for Labor

Product Weight: 215 lbs.
User’s Weight Capacity: 400 lbs

There are a number of good features, and benefits for the user to consider – not the least of which is the unspoken reception of the public at large. For years, the E95 has been around – the 2008/2009 model sold for years on Amazon as a well-received elliptical.

Being re-released for 2011, the entire Sole Fitness line of fitness equipment has been re-vamped.

Something you may notice: the stride is fixed at 20 inches, with the exception of the incline. A handful of users have said the change in incline is not noticeable.

They fail to consider that physical therapists also had their hand in the engineering of the E95 elliptical – the elliptical trainer as a whole, as discussed in our home page Elliptical Trainer Exercise and Elliptical Machines for Sale (now labeled “Elliptical Shopping Tips”), was designed for low impact exercise.

The very beauty of an elliptical is that it is not jarring to the joints, nor is it jerky in motion – unlike a treadmill. Having used ellipticals myself during times of being otherwise too injured to run (such as having lower back pain), I can say for a fact that this is the very nature of the machine.

The inclines are causing the body to work harder, though the perception of the workout may not seem to indicate this. In other words, you don’t necessarily want to “feel” the workout, and I found that using the Sole E95 on incline did raise my heartrate and calories burned.

I, for one, appreciate the overall smoothness of the machine, and if you want to, try it at your local Dick’s Sporting Goods if you have one, or Sears will sometimes carry them. I don’t advise buying from these places since you get it for over $100 cheaper shopping online (see below for my money-saving tips).

What I Loved About the Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical

Full Features of More Expensive Models

The Sole E95 is a value, hands-down – but it was designed for home use. Keep that in mind while you compare it to the Precor models you may find in your gym – which is a mistake.

If you do that, of course you will find plenty lacking – but that’s why Precor has models at $3,000-$6,000: they are industrial-class, made for gymnasiums and constant abuse (and they invented ellipticals).

For those who want to pay a reasonable price and get a great value, Sole Fitness is not going to let you down for your home gym, at least that’s my opinion and that of hundreds of happy customers.

I love the fan – yes, I still use a floor fan, but this depends on how hot you get when you workout. I tend to need a hurricane fan, or something like a hurricane – no fans really please me on ellipticals. That goes for any elliptical you name.

But the Sole E95 has a fan – it works, it’s not going to be good enough for some who overheat, but most people own fans anyway. I like that it’s included.

I love that the heartrate monitor and calorie counter are included, and an iPod or MP3 docking station, speakers and a cup holder.

Sole E95 Blue Display Screen

The ramp inclines for a more rigorous workout – and because I do enjoy a low-impact cardio workout, I’m fine with the smooth and overall gentle workout: but don’t get me wrong.

The Sole Fitness E95 will absolutely give you high intensity. The machine does grow with you with its 20 included resistance levels – all without hurting your joints.

This machine has all the features you’d want – I call the Yowza Captiva my favorite because it is, I want a CORE workout, which is more intense on the Captiva and Sanibel than other ellipticals. Barring that, I don’t expect such features on any elliptical trainer but those.

So in my opinion, the Sole E95 is going to be a welcome addition for most people wanting a rigorous cardiovascular workout, without hurting their joints or injury. It is a great elliptical trainer, make no mistake about it.

Handles Control Resistance and Incline

This is not expected at this price range, at least usually – but it’s a nice feature to have. You can control the incline and resistance level in your workout on the fly, without losing momentum. That’s a big deal when you’re working out.

The advantage is that you keep your heart pumping at a constant level, rather than slowing down as you figure out how to work the controls – it’s very easy to use and handy.

Resistance and Programs

There are just enough programs to get you by in the E95, I don’t want to be overwhelmed nor do I want to be completely without options. I did wish there were a few more – but read more about what I didn’t like below.

I do like that you can save 2 user profiles, just perfect for my house. I don’t expect a home-based elliptical machine to offer much more, they aren’t designed for the gym abuse.

The overall resistance with an Eddy Current Braking system is the top of the line for ellipticals currently, the Sole E95 elliptical trainer doesn’t disappoint. The operation was smooth, resistance was great.

Heavy Flywheel

The 29-lb. flywheel is just great for creating a smooth operation, and forces you to cool down just a few strides before getting to a stop. This is perfect if you understand elliptical training theory, and great for me.

The flywheel on an elliptical will determine resistance and how smooth the machine operates to a large degree, if the flywheel is too light, this puts more strain both on the user and the machine.

In other words, Sole Fitness knows their product and did the right thing – the flywheel is durable and delivers the goods when it comes to resistance.

Cammed Foot Pedals and Cushioning

The foot pedals are cushioned, and they incline a bit – 2 degrees or so. (It might be 3 degrees, but you don’t really notice.) Some users say they don’t like the incline, but understand the design…

It’s because of the biomechanics and ergonomic design, which is to say that the engineers looked at the design of the human body and made this machine to be low-impact.

Your toes will not feel numb after a workout, and your heels won’t feel strained. Many ellipticals in the budget variety (usually under $1,000) are notorious for these two sensations, it’s all in the angle of the foot pedals and the lack of cushioning.

Adjusting Foot Pedals SOLE E95

Of course, it helps if you have great shoes, like New Balance or something. (Yes, that link takes you to my own favorite New Balance shoes on Amazon. I LOVE my New Balance running shoes!)

So – maybe it was a combination for me – the quality running shoes (which you need a pair of your own, no matter the brand – I find New Balance and Adidas are the best fit for me) and the cushioned foot pedals?

Something to consider, but I have been on a number of elliptical trainers – and these foot pedals are second only to the Yowza Fitness line so far (especially the Captiva, which is fully adjustable on the fly as you “run” or “walk” the elliptical).

The foot pedals also adjust on the Sole E95 elliptical – this was with a fancy-sounding “worm-drive,” which is simply an Archimedes screw of sorts. I do have one complaint about it (see below).

Overall, a great invention and ergonomic design – it makes the machine perfect for multiple users, as long as you remember what your settings are! (There are 10 different positions to try.)

Heart Rate Telemetry, Programs and Belt

I love using elliptical machines because of the heart monitoring available – I’m a nut for that, actually. I like the ability to monitor my heartrate, and there are two ways to do so.

The stationary handles have a heart monitor, or you can use the belt provided (which was genius of Sole Fitness to provide, very classy move).

Also, there are a couple of heart controlling programs to use to maintain a certain heartrate – I prefer to be up and down in a workout, but this is good to use especially if you have cardiac concerns.

Sole Fitness E95 Problems

The Sole E95 is a great home gym elliptical trainer – but not perfect. (I would not say that about any elliptical, but the Captiva and Sanibel from Yowza Fitness come awfully close.)

Foot Pedals Manually Adjust

The foot pedals adjusting is a good thing – but I don’t like to manually adjust if I can get away from it. On the Sole E95, it’s a manual adjustment. No tools needed, but still something I don’t like.

It isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but something that I don’t deal with on my Captiva (I’m spoiled that way).

Squeaking Noise Possible if You Aren’t Careful

If you read enough reviews or talk to enough users like I have, you will see some complain about squeaking noises – this is possible if you don’t use Loctite or something like it during assembly.

It can also happen as things loosen over time – which means you need to tighten screws and the like.

I expect this to happen, but it is annoying if you aren’t used to assembly or don’t opt for the in-house delivery from Sole Fitness, which does cost a bit more but you KNOW a pro is putting it together in your home, where you want it.

Still, I wanted to put it out there: tighten those screws and follow directions, and use lube where you need to (not WD-40 – use the lube provided, WD-40 is not recommended: lithium grease is).

Following the directions and giving yourself a couple of hours or so (depending on skill level) helps – and use your own wrenches: those provided in the box are not “professional” grade, I’ve heard people complain about that. Which is sort of funny, considering…

More Custom Programs

I do like to have more ability to customize programs – you can save 2, which is sufficient, but not great. Nonetheless, I love the machine.

I also assume you, like me, love to save money? Which is why I want you to consider the following ways to save money as you buy your Sole E95.

Tips To Save Money Buying Your Sole E95 Elliptical

Limited Tax Free + Free Shipping Advantage

It does matter quite a bit where you buy your Sole ellipticals, and I would buy from Amazon, but nowhere else.

That does not mean that every other merchant online is not trustworthy, only that I prefer Amazon when possible. Why? Simply because they have proven to have the best customer service of anyone I’ve ever dealt with.

Amazon is number one online for making sales, for a reason – they have customer protections and great customer service. They also offer free shipping on the Sole E95 if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber.

What that means, if you are not already an Amazon Prime member:

For around $80 you can have all your shipping costs paid for qualifying purchases, my family has saved hundreds of dollars this way. Compared to the shipping you can expect to pay on the Sole E95, which is around $100 or more, this is like getting a $20 coupon.

You can buy the Sole E95 elliptical machine from Amazon here, be sure to get their “Amazon Prime” and save on all your qualified shipping costs.

Don’t worry, when you check out, if you haven’t yet joined the Prime membership, you will be asked if you want free shipping. Follow the prompts and you will find the Amazon Prime membership as you checkout.

Sole E95 Elliptical on Display

Use your Amazon Shopping Cart and buy within 90 days:

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Don’t worry – you won’t get charged anything unless you follow through with the purchase, putting it in your shopping cart simply buys you time as you continue shopping.

Just click “Add to Cart” if you want to buy it later.

Personally I prefer to save money on taxes and shipping and handling – and I prefer getting my big packages, like the Sole E95, delivered to my door.

I would not buy the Sole Fitness E95 locally – this may sound like I’m against the local economy, but I’m far from it.

I’m simply more interested in saving money, time and effort – always a good idea in my opinion. If you are looking to save money as well, you’ll want to know…

The two problems for buying the Sole E95 elliptical in a local shop are:

  1. The need to ship it from the from the store to your home – 200 pounds plus, that’s not “easy” to deal with by any stretch, but that’s entirely your choice.
  2. You can save on paying taxes at the point of purchase if you shop at Amazon (in most states).

Warning Before You Buy Your Sole E95 Elsewhere Online!

This is critically important to understand. There are some marketers online, many through eBay and other auction sites, that will replace your Sole E95 with another product, such as a Spirit Fitness elliptical.

It’s important to note that Dynaco owns both companies, but Sole is the better product altogether.

Spirit Fitness has great ellipticals, mind you – but Sole Fitness is the top of the line compared side-by-side. Spirit is a quality product, but offers less quality than the Sole Fitness ellipticals.

You can see some Spirit Fitness ellipticals here if you’re interested in comparing.

This “bait and switch” technique is usually caught early on when you are asked to sign forms and fax them to the buyer – if it seems more difficult than it should (i.e.: besides simply filling out shipping and billing details), then take note – you might be waiving your rights as a consumer.

This was a popular problem in 2008, and is easy to catch – but shows you why I, at least, am picky where I buy things like the Sole E95 elliptical or anything online. Amazon is trustworthy, as is the manufacturer.

Stick with them, and you have nothing to worry about – no hidden charges, full buyer protection, full warranty – the works.
Sole E95 From Back

 

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I have given the Sole E95 4.7 out of 5 stars, but only because I’ve compared it against other ellipticals I prefer – overall it’s a great elliptical trainer and will give you many years of quality fitness training.  Feel free to leave your own Sole E95 ratings in the comments below, let us know your experience with the machine!

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