Ohiyo!

Sole Fitness has become one of the dominant brands in the fitness industry over the past few years. Their great position has come from producing some of the best treadmills and ellipticals for some of the best pricing, and also from their great customer service. That being said, even the best companies have problems with their equipment and we’re here to take them to task for it.

Over the past couple of months, the DOJO has been receiving emails asking about issues with the current Sole E25 ellipticals. A few readers a week have written in and mentioned they were having problems with their E25 and asked if we could help them out with it. I know there is nothing worse than getting a new piece of equipment and not being able to use it. For me, it’s computers. I always seem to buy a computer that has some sort of problem which requires me to pack it up and take it back to where I purchased it from. I hate that feeling.

Before I get to addressing the problems with the Sole E25, let’s hear from Dan in Texas who has a question about problems with the unit. Let’s see what Dan has to say. Take it away, Dan!

Hi Sensei,

First off thank you for all the hard work in putting together all the information on the elliptical machines. I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods to try out a few ellipticals (Sole and Horizon). I tried the Sole E25 and E55 and the Horizon E900. All three machines felt very sturdy. There was no shaking or side to side movement. I really could not tell a difference in the strides between the Sole and Horizon models. I noticed on all three machines that the tracks were marred and scratched especially the Sole models. I read the reviews the Dick’s website on the Sole machines (models E25, 55, & 95). There are many bad reviews on the Sole E25 due to the wheels coming off the tracks. There was nothing said about the Sole E55 and E95 models. I am curious as to you take on the problem. Is it the owner’s error while putting the machine together or a design flaw?

Thanks, -Dan from Prosper, TX

Dan:

Thanks for the note and the great question. We’ve been getting in a lot of reader emails about problems with the Sole E25 elliptical, but this is the first real chance we’ve had to sit down and investigate the issue.

First off, the Sole E25/E55 and the Horizon E900 are all very solid units. The difference between the Sole E25 and Sole E55, and why only one of the units has had any problems, is probably because they are manufactured at two different plants (from what I understand, the Sole E25 comes from a Chinese plant versus a plant in Taiwan for the Sole E55). The Horizon E900, in particular, is a spectacular incline elliptical for the price. It is a very tough elliptical to beat for those looking for a sturdy incline elliptical at a budget price. The Horizon E900 elliptical is a great value for your money and I whole heartedly recommend it even over its bigger brother, the Horizon E1200 incline elliptical.

In regards to the issues with the Sole E25 ellipticals over the past few month, we’ve turned up two recurring problems. The first was from a thoroughly annoying squeak coming from the pedal assembly. We received a number of readers asking about the issue and whether or not it would work itself out. The problem itself came from the articulating pedal assembly and how it connects to the E25 itself. The squeak didn’t affect performance of the unit but was annoying to find on what is normally a very quiet elliptical. The fix came in the form of a bushing which can be obtained from Sole’s customer service department. From what we’ve heard, this problem was in a small number of units and Sole reported to us that the issue had been fixed back in January.

The second issue we’ve been hearing about sounded a lot more drastic. We received emails from our readers reporting a problem with the pedal assembly of the Sole E25 elliptical jumping or popping off of the track during workouts. When we heard this we ordered up a Sole E25 elliptical to test out ourselves and saw no mechanical problems in the machines at all — in fact, we couldn’t for the life of us get our unit to jump the track like we’d been hearing about. So we took the mass of reader emails directly to Sole Fitness to find out what the issue was.

Surprisingly, Sole was completely upfront with the issue. I say “surprisingly” because a lot of other manufacturers would try to hide problems like this from us. The problem itself comes from over lubrication at the overseas manufacturing plant. Too much lube on the rails causes the wheels to slide over the track instead of rolling along it. This sliding would cause the wheels on some units to pop out of place and would cause scratches in those that didn’t. The fix is to clean off the lubrication and then reapply a small amount back to the rails. If you contact Sole Fitness customer service they can walk you through it and have a PDF they send out to illustrate how to do it.

Sole said they have since fixed the over lubrication issue and new units are back up to the high quality consumers have come to expect from them. That being said, there are probably still a few of the over-lubed units running around at local fitness dealers.

The Sole E25 elliptical was and is a very solid budget-priced elliptical, even with the pair of burps it experienced recently. However, there is a great alternative with the same basic design. A great alternative to the Sole E25 is the Bladez 850e, which is an almost identical elliptical in feature and design to the E25 but at a crazy-low price of just under $700. The Bladez 850e elliptical also features one of the coolest new technologies out on the market, adjustable width on the pedals. The AWT feature of the 850e elliptical allows you to change the distance between the foot pedals, giving you a much higher level of comfort to your workout.

The Bladez 850e elliptical is easily one of the best deals for ellipticals going on right now.

Thanks again for your note, Dan. Good luck with your elliptical search!

-The Treadmill Sensei
http://www.treadmillsensei.com