Reader Mailbag – Sole E25 vs Sole E35 and what about an elliptical for a shorter user?


It seems the Treadmill Sensei has been neglecting his reader mailbag a bit recently. Sure, I’ve been using reader email as the starting point for reviews lately, but it has been a very long time since I did an old fashioned mass email answer here on and that is exactly what I’m going to do today.

In this episode of the Reader Mailbag, we’ve got questions on Sole (as always), Esprit, Kettler, Stride length, returning equipment and more! I’ll be answering each email in its own post to help keep the size of each one down. To start off I’ll be going over questions from readers asking about ellipticals from Sole Fitness, specifically the Sole E25 elliptical and Sole E35 elliptical.

Our first question for the day is from Del who is trying to decide between the Sole E25 and the Sole E35 ellipticals. Take it away, Del!

Thank you Sensei. You do a good job of reviewing the products. I was curious E25 tops the under $1k range and E35 tops the under $1.5k range… but between the two which do you think is a better value? They’re relatively close enough in price that one could justify “Oh, it’s only a little bit more..” for the E35 (ooo… it’s a bigger number, has to be better, right?), but has Sole packed in enough upgrades to realistically make the $285 jump? Is warranty (LT/5/2 vs LT/3/1) and programs (8 vs 6) pretty much a main differentiators?

I’m 5’2”, 135lb, so the weight range isn’t my biggest selling point. Stability was (which is why I’m looking at Sole – I’m not heavy, but when I go I like to go all out). I’m looking for something reliable, well built, and worth the money spent. Heart program or not aren’t big for me – I wear my own chest strap and monitor myself (I don’t trust the programs, they don’t seem to work all that well, unless someone’s figured out how to do it better than Precor).

Thanks for your time, -Del

Thanks for the note, Del, and I am glad has been of assistance to you on your search for an elliptical. You’ve got a couple of different questions going there and it seems like you’re wanting me to validate a decision you’ve already made. Let’s start with the first question, “is the Sole E35 worth the additional money over the Sole E25.” For average or larger-sized people that answer is going to be “yes.” The Sole E35 elliptical is going to give you a larger and more stable elliptical base to work out on, which equals a slightly smoother ride. The larger size comes in to play for those who “go all out” on their machines or are heavier users. The addition of the much better warranty (in particular, the two year labor warranty) is also a big plus, as is the addition of heart rate monitoring and control in the newest version of the 2008 Sole E35. Both machines are great and are best buy award winning ellipticals, but the Sole E35 is definitely a sturdier step up from its little brother, the Sole E25 elliptical.

With that being said, right now Amazon has a crazy deal going on the Esprit EL3 elliptical by Spirit, which is a repainted version of the old 2006 Sole E35 elliptical. The cost for the Esprit EL3 is actually about $100 less than the Sole E25 right now, although I have no idea exactly how long that sale will be going on for. It is definitely worth checking out for a great deal on the Esprit EL3. See the my deal of the week post for more information.

Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, I have a question for you, Del. Have you actually been on an elliptical with a 20″ stride before? The reason I ask is because, at your height, it might be a bit too long for you. Some shorter users like the longer strides, but some find it to be a bit too far of a stretch. It might be worth checking out an elliptical with an 18″ or even a 16″ stride. Ellipticals from Kettler or Smooth are on par with the Sole ellipticals in terms of quality of construction and design, but target those who are looking for a shorter stride length.

Thanks for your note, Del, and I hope I’ve helped out in your search. Zap a note back to us here at the DOJO to let me know what you eventually decided on and how it worked out for you. Take care!

-The Treadmill Sensei

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