Now that the holidays are over and the extended family has left, the Treadmill Sensei is ready to get back to work at being the internet’s #1 source for information on treadmills and ellipticals. Interestingly enough, the Treadmill Sensei is also the internet’s #1 source for unbridled machismo…or was that mo’ cheese? I can never remember.
I’m sure that many of you, my loyal readers, have noticed I haven’t dipped in to the reader mailbag for quite sometime. Now, this isn’t from a lack of reader emails – heck, we get in around 50 reader emails a day here at the DOJO. What it comes down to is: your Treadmill Sensei has been a bit of a lazy bastard for the past couple of months. With work in the DOJO being at an all time high, treadmill and elliptical repairs have been taking up most of my time at work. Well, with the new year now upon us your Treadmill Sensei has made a resolution to answer more reader emails and to post more often in order to keep his readers more informed and better armed for when they head out to purchase their new fitness equipment.
As with most new years resolutions, we’ll see how long it actually lasts…
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Our first reader email of the new year is from D.R. who has a question about the Sole E55 Elliptical versus its big brother, the Sole E95 Elliptical. Let’s see what D.R. has to say. Take it away, D.R.
I found your site through by googling ellipticals and WOW I’m impressed. Treadmillsensei is clearly the best review site on the Internet. Period. Congratualtions!
I have a quick question for you on the Sole line of ellipticals: Does the extra bulk/rigidity and fancier display of the Sole e95 justify spending the extra $200 versus the Sole e55? We would have 4 family members using the machines on a fairly regular basis, so it’s certainly no a club-style environment.
Thanks for your time and keep up the great work! God bless you, D. R.
Thanks for the note and for your very kind words. I don’t know if we’re the best review site on the internet, although my mother thinks so…not that she even knows what an elliptical is. We do try to hard to provide you, our readers, with the most up-to-date and valid facts we can put together in order to help you with your treadmill and elliptical research.
On to your questions. First off, I’m going to be doing new reviews for the 2008 Sole equipment in the next week. Sole has done an excellent job with their new upgraded line of ellipticals and has produced one of the best looking, best designed line of equipment to come out in a very long time. Their new line shows why Sole has consistantly been ranked at the top of everyone’s list for best buy ellipticals for the past few years. They really do put out some very solid equipment and have a good customer service department to back it up.
In regards to the Sole E55 versus the Sole E95 and which you should buy: I hate to fall back to my patented answer to this question but, you’ll be happy either way you go. However, if you’re not in a commercial setting (a corporate gym, for example) then the Sole E95 may be a bit of an overkill for your needs. In fact, and the guys at Sole might kill me for saying this, I think you’d be better off going with the Sole E35 to get the best value for your dollar.
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Let me layout my somewhat convoluted thinking for you. There really isn’t much of a difference this year between the Sole E35 and E55…and, in fact, even the E95 is very similar in features. First off, the flywheels. I know the three units are listed with different flywheel weights. From what I’ve seen in opening the units up, they all have the exact same flywheel system…and, it’s almost the same as the “30 pound” flywheel system they had last year. I believe the differing weights are just there to help differentiate the machines and are a bit of creative copywriting by Sole. It’s not anything out of the ordinary for a manufacturer to tweak their specs on paper. From what I’ve seen, every manufacturer out there does it.
Once you get past the size of the flywheel, the only significant difference between the Sole E35 and the Sole E55 comes in the number of programs – the Sole E55 has 10 versus 8 on the Sole E35 – and in heart rate control programs – the Sole E55 has them and the Sole E35 doesn’t. The only differences in the E95 are the addition of the plastic guide rail shrouds on the back and the fancier LED monitor. Truthfully, the only reason for the guiderails is to make the unit a bit more stable for heavier users (and, in my thoughts, to make it look more like a commercial elliptical for the hotels which use the Sole ellipticals) and the upgraded console has absolutely no benefit for a home user. It’s a great console, it just doesn’t really do anything special for home users.
So what it comes down to is: will you miss those 2 extra programs and will you even use the heart rate control programs? Most people only use 3-4 programs and end up ignoring the rest and, more importantly, never even make use of the heart rate control programs (and, keep in mind, the two programs the E35 is “missing” are the two heart rate control programs).
Any of the Sole ellipticals are going to be very good machines, but if you don’t need heart rate control you’re going to be able to save yourself $200 by going for the Sole E35 over the Sole E55 elliptical…and you’ll save $400 with the E35 over the Sole E95 elliptical.
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Thanks again for your note, D.R., and I
hope this helps you in your elliptical search. I’ll be back later with more from the Reader Mailbag!
-The Treadmill Sensei