The Treadmill Sensei is back to work at the DOJO after the long Memorial Day weekend. It’s always tough to get back in the groove of things after mini-vacations like that…and when we spend most of that time with my in-laws I feel like I need to get back to work just to recover from my “vacation” time. Why God created in-laws escapes me and I’ll always be more than a little annoyed at him for it. Thankfully he also created Coldstone, so everything comes out even.
Because I am recovering from a long weekend with the in-laws, I’m going to do a bit of an easy treadmill review today. While I’ve already done a review of the Sole F63, I wanted to do a follow up on its twin, the Spirit Z88 treadmill, in an effort to answer reader some reader questions about the unit.
Like most of the other Spirit treadmills and ellipticals, the Z88 treadmill has a Sole Fitness counterpart which is as close to identical as you can get under the differing paint jobs. In the case of the Z88, the duplicate unit is the fantastic Sole F63 treadmill. As readers of this site already know, the Sole F63 was top winner of my Ichi-Ban Best Buy Awards last year.
The reason I rated the SOle F63 over the Spirit Z88 version was because of the paint problems the Spirits had. The Dyaco plant which produced the Spirit Z88 treadmills must have picked up a lot of different paint at a great price because the colors of the units seemed to change from batch to batch. This is further evidence of the quality control problems Spirit has been having over the last year or so.
Unfortunately, the QC problems seem to have extended to the walking belts on the Spirit Z88 treadmill as well. Here at the DOJO I’ve gotten quite a few emails talking about belts fraying very quickly from even light usage. So, if you do pick up a Z88 treadmill instead of the Sole F63 version, make sure your retailer gives you a guarantee on the belt as well, at least for 6 months…most problems with faulty belts will pop up in the first couple of months so you’ll know pretty quickly if you’ve gotten a bad batch or now.
Aside from that, the huge 2.5 horsepower motor, well crafted 2.5″, solid deck and great design make the Spirit Z88 an excellent choice for best buy under $1000. If I had any quibbles (aside from manufacturing defects and weird paint issues) would be the lack of heart rate control programs and lesser warranty.
UPDATED: Due to a high volume of reader complaint emails regarding and increased number of wiring and console issues on the Spirit Z88, I have downgraded the ranking of this unit and it is no longer recommended. Check out the Sole F63 Treadmill for the same unit but without the quality control issues of the Spirit.
Because of the QC and wiring issues, the Spirit Z88 treadmill comes up just short of the Sole F63 version and gets 3 out of 5 golden buddahs from the Treadmill Sensei.
A top performer, the Spirit Z88 gets 3 gold buddahs out of 5.
Spirit Z88 Specifications
Motor: 2.5 HP
Speed: 10 MPH
Running Area: 20″ x 55″
Heart Rate Monitor: Pulse grip and wireless
Heart Rate Control: No
Max User Weight: 300 lbs
Treadmill Weight: 245 lbs.
-The Treadmill Sensei