You know, one of the things that bugs the heck out of the Treadmill Sensei when he’s here at the DOJO late at night researching on the internet? Websites that rate Sole Treadmills/Ellipticals differently than their Spirit counterparts when they are almost the exact same equipment. Say it with me “Sole equipment is just Spirit manufactured equipment with a different label on it.” Well, I say almost exactly the same except for the quality control issues that have been popping up lately with Spirit. The Sole versions have been shipping out at a slightly higher quality because of that (check out my Spirit Z88 review for more info).
If you’ve done any research at all about quality treadmills then you should already be very familiar with the Sole name. Their treadmills and ellipticals are on every top equipment list out there (well, unless you’re a fuddy old consumer print reports magazine who enjoys recommending discontinued machines or having your reviewers bought off…but don’t get me started). The Sole juggernaut continues its winning streak with the Sole F63 treadmill.
With a price of just under $1000, the Sole F63 is a much more solid machine than anything else at this price. In fact, the F63 is just a Sole F80 with a slightly different console on it — the actual mechanics of the machine (speed, incline, motor, etc.) are all the exact same as the F80 (the upright bars are slightly heavier in the F80 as well). So, if the LED screen on the Sole F80 treadmill isn’t important to you and if 6 programs are enough instead of 10, then the Sole F63 is a much better buy than it’s more expensive brother. You’ll save $500 for giving up a couple of features you’ll never miss or even care about.
The Sole F63 has a monster 2.5 horsepower motor that runs at about 3500RPMs (versus the 9000 RPMs on a similarly rated motor from Proform or NordicTrack). What that means is the motor runs cooler and doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain speed and power. In the long run that means the life of the motor is going to be a lot longer on the Sole F63 treadmill. Which is good because the unit ships with a 20 year motor warranty. The Sole F63 is one of the few treadmills out there that might actually last as long as its warranty! Finally, as with all Sole treadmills, the motor is a lot quieter than you might expect. They call them whisper quiet and it is a pretty accurate description.
Along with the great motor, the Sole F63 treadmill has giant 2.5″ rollers in the deck versus the under 2″ rollers standard in units at this price. The advantage of bigger rollers is a reduction of wear on your treadmill belt and bearings, as well as reduced stess on the motor itself. Larger rollers will extend the life of your belt, bearings (a major wear item), motor and treadmill itself by years.
The deck on the Sole F63 is a good size 20″ x 55″ and is a full inch thick. The unit itself weighs in at about 250 pounds and is a solid machine with a max user weight of about 350. There is no heart rate control system on the F63 but it does have pulse grip heart rate monitoring and comes with a free wireless heart rate chest strap. Speed on the F63 is 10 miles per hour and incline is up to 15%, giving you the option for a pretty intensive running workout. You also get a pair of water bottle holders and fans. Nice to have, but not anything that increases the treadmill’s performance.
If I had to pick a single “best unit under $1000” then it would be the Sole F63. You get a lot of machine for your money in these units. If you’re already looking at the Sole F80 — or even the Spirit Z100 — then take a peek at the Sole F63 instead and you’ll be able to put $500 back in to your bank account.
For being the best, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Sole F63 treadmill 4.5 out of 5 Golden Buddahs!
TheSole F63 rank at the top of the heap with a 4.5 out of 5!
Sole F63 Treadmill Specifications
Horsepower: 2.5 HP
Shock Absorption: Yes
Max Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
Speed: 10 MPH
Max Incline: 15%
Heart Rate Monitoring: Yes
Heart Rate Control: No
Programs: 6 standard
Weight: 245 lbs.
Deck Size: 20″ x 55″
-The Treadmill Sensei