To the untrained eye, the elliptical machine is the vainest of the cardio machines. Gym snobs deride it as being mindless and easy with no perceived benefits. They’re missing out.
Using an elliptical machine provides a host of science-based benefits when you’re using an appropriate program. Are you looking for a heart-rate based workout? You’ll raise it faster on an elliptical than a treadmill when you use the right settings.
Two factors impact the effectiveness of an elliptical workout. The first is form and program. You won’t get anywhere if you’re absentmindedly swinging your legs on the lowest setting. The second is the machine itself. A flimsy machine that encourages poor form isn’t just ineffective: it could hurt you more than it helps.
We’re reviewing the Sole E25 elliptical machine to see where it falls in the spectrum. It’s one of the more affordable machines available on the market, but does it offer the stability and program options required to make your workout effective? Let’s find out.
What Is the Sole E25 Elliptical?
The SOLE E25 Elliptical is designed to mimic natural movement for a comfortable elliptical workout. It features a dual wheel design for extra balance and a heavy frame for a smooth workout. It offers a stride length of 20” and carries people weighing up to 350 lbs. Those stats make it a good family machine because it’s suitable for both taller and heavier users without creating discomfort.
The E25 comes with built-in workout programs and Bluetooth to transfer data from the machine to your phone or mobile device using the Sole App. It also features 20 levels of brake resistance and 20 levels of powered incline. You’ll learn more about those later.
Before we get into the technical details, let’s look at the basic specs:
- Height: 64”
- Length: 70”
- Weight: 212 lbs.
- Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
- Heart Rate Monitoring: Pulse grips and or chest strap
- Standard Programs: 6
- Custom Programs: 2
- Heart Programs: 2
- Workout Display: 6.5” LCD
- Display Color: White back-lit
- Flywheel Weight: 20 lbs.
- Pedal Size: 15”
- Maximum Stride Length: 20”
- Resistance: ECB
- Drive System: Front
- Adjustable Console: Yes
- Box Dimensions: 66” x 23” X 34”
The Work Out
The workout begins as you step into the foot pedals. Like many other ellipticals, you’ll find oversize foot pedals that allow you to find the perfect position before and during your workout. Foot placement makes a difference when achieving a natural motion that works your muscles without encouraging overuse injuries.
Sole consulted with physical therapists to design a foot pedal that supports the foot instead of working against it; there’s a two-degree inward slope on the pedal that Sole suggests reduces knee stress and protects your ankles.
As previously noted, the stride length on the machine is 20”, and you’ll determine the best stride length for you according to your height. Stride length is arguably the most important factor in your elliptical workout. Using a machine with a length that’s too short sends your legs in an awkward direction that may end up feeling physically uncomfortable. In addition to encouraging injuries, it dramatically limits the benefit of the workout.
Stride lengths may also be too long. Using a length that’s too long sends your legs further than they should naturally travel and may result in injuries like a pulled muscle.
With the E25 Elliptical, you can adjust the stride length according to your height. The ability to adjust it from 20” to 22” means it’s comfortable for your whole family even at various heights.
The Sole E25 pedals offer forward and reverse motion fuelled by the natural motion that comes with Sole’s quiet drive system. At the heart of the motion system is a 20-pound flywheel with multiple gears for dynamic workouts. Both the flywheel and the machine-build itself are heavy enough for you to increase the number of strides per minute to your max rate without compromising your form or safety.
Your new machine will feature ten built-in workout options including:
- Fat Burn
- Custom x 2
- Heart Rate x 2
The machine tracks your workout according to:
- Rotations Per Minute (RPM) and Miles Per Hour (MPH)
- Work Level
Added workout features include a 20-level incline feature for an added challenge. Using the incline feature allows you to target each of your lower body muscle groups individually and increase your heart rate faster than using regular programs or even a treadmill.
Sole’s products each come with the added features you’d expect for the price and quality of the machine. In particular, the E25 Elliptical features an electronic console with a 6.5” LCD display; though, the display is smaller and less complex than on Sole’s high-end range. You’ll also get a water bottle holder and a built-in cooling fan. The entertainment system consists of built-in speakers that allow you to play music from a phone or an MP3 device.
Home machines require some assembly, and the Sole E25 is no different. The machine itself weighs 189 lbs, so it’s likely that you’ll need a helping hand to unload and assemble the machine.
Assembly should be made easier with the use of the step-by-step instructions. However, the large parts are also accompanied by a huge number of plastic pieces and bolts. The average user says that assembly takes between one and two hours and the number of pieces involved makes the process arduous.
A review of assembly critiques suggests it’s easier to leave the plastic pieces off the machine until all the bolts are in place. Doing so allows you to adjust the bolts with less fuss, and reviews suggest some adjustment is required.
The frame features a lifetime warranty. Sole prides itself on its heavy-duty frames that stand up to regular use by multiple people.
Your machine’s electronics and parts come with a three-year warranty.
All labor comes with a one-year warranty.
Who Is SOLE?
- Elliptical machine provides challenging cardio workout, supported by blue, backlit LDC display that helps you track essential training data
- Power adjustable stride with 20-to-22-inch maximum stride length; six standard programs, two custom programs, and two heart rate programs
- Pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitoring and includes heart rate chest strap; LCD console with 6.5-inch display; ECB resistance, built-in fan, and 15-inch pedals; includes sound system and water bottle holder
- Measures 27 by 58 by 71 inches (W x H x D), with 189-pound weight and 350-pound weight limit
- Includes the following manufacturer's warranties against defects in materials and workmanship: lifetime on frame; three years on electronics and parts; and one year on labor
Have you ever used a treadmill in a hotel gym? Then you’ve likely used a piece of SOLE equipment. The company prides itself on buying easy-to-use durable equipment that stands up to use in gym-like conditions. Its focus isn’t so much on apply the latest tech to machines but in producing durable, high-quality machines to ensure you don’t need to invest in new exercise equipment more than once a decade.
SOLE makes treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes to the North American market, but it recently started to make its way into Canada and the European Union.
What Makes It Unique?
The Sole E25 Elliptical is unique among other machines because
How Much Does It Cost?
The Sole E25 Elliptical is sold at a recommended retail price of $$ without tax. Sole’s E25 model is among its less expensive models with only the Sole SC200 Stepper coming in cheaper. On average, Sole elliptical equipment rings in at an average of $$$.
What People Think About the Sole E25 Elliptical
We’ve trawled through reviews by fitness professionals and home users alike to find out what people who use the machine think about their product. Out of all the reviews, we were able to identify several common themes that came out in almost every review. These themes include:
- Works for all bodies
- Powered incline
- Noisy for home use
The Sole E25 is popular among buyers who already have a home elliptical machine but who felt the need to upgrade. Home machines at prices under $$ tend to lack the durability required to use the machine on a regular basis and often feel unstable once a certain pace is achieved.
While the E25 isn’t as heavy-duty as something you’d find in a hotel or commercial gym, it’s reminiscent of these machines. The frame is sturdy, and the base is stable, so you don’t feel as though you might topple over when you get into the swing of things.
Consumers report lifespans of between three or four years and ten years depending on use. If you use it as the average person does – regularly at some points and not at all during other periods – you’ll likely see your machine last for at least five years before issues arise.
Works for All Bodies
With an adjustable stride and a weight capacity of 350 pounds, you’ll find that the machine is suitable for everyone in the home regardless of their size.
Although it sounds standard, this is a huge improvement compared to other home machines in the $$ range. The average machine comes with an 18” to 20” stride and isn’t adjustable. Anyone who doesn’t fit that stride won’t get all the available benefits from their workout. Additionally, smaller, cheaper machines may claim they support weights over 300 pounds, but in reality, the integrity of the workout may be compromised, and there may be additional wear and tear on the machine.
The powered incline function is often found on high-end machines – not home machines. You’ll get 0-30 degrees and 20 different levels, which is sufficient for the price you’ll pay. In most cases, machines with powered incline start at $$-$$$ for the feature.
Remember, powered incline gives your more bang for your buck because it improves your workout options, helps you achieve a high heart rate faster, and targets specific muscle groups in ways unachievable without an incline.
Noisy for Home Use
Some complain that the noise isn’t suitable for home use. The complaint popped up enough to note, but few people quantify how loud the noise is, where it comes from, and why it’s not suitable. The flywheel does make some noise, as expected, but you won’t hear the rocking that you might find in other machines.
The machine does come with a quiet drive motion system, and the glide is smooth, so it’s possible that those who find it noisy may need to adjust their build.
How It Compares to Other Ellipticals
The price difference between the E25 and other machines offered by Sole is the result of two features. The other machines, like the Sole E98 and E95, are suited for commercial use in hotels or gyms. They are heavier and more durable than the E25, which makes the workout each offers smoother than the £25. They also feature 10.1” LCD TFT display consoles, which is missing from the E25.
Sole’s E35 elliptical is the closest product in the range to the E25. Its heavy-duty frame isn’t quite a commercial standard, but it does offer a 7.5” LCD display and the same Bluetooth capabilities offered by the E25.
Ultimately, you’ll lose some features with the E25, but these aren’t features needed for daily use at home.
What We Think
The combination of the features and price make the Sole E25 Elliptical a great choice for home and family use. It accommodates people of a wide range of heights and weights and offers the features you’d normally find on a machine found in the gym. The foot pedals and stride adjustment features are worth buying the machine for because they support safe, comfortable, and effective workouts.
While other machines offer more program features and even heavier frames, home users don’t need a heavy-duty commercial machine unless you’ve carved out one hour a day for each member of your family to use the machine every day. If you use it as the average person does, regularly for some periods and not at all during others, you could see the machine last nearly a decade. Heavier use will degrade it just like any other machine.
Anyone who buys this machine should consider the issue of assembly. It is heavy, and it isn’t easy to get set-up even with instructions. Be sure to give the machine a once-over before using it. It is likely adjustments will need to be made even after assembly as the machine settles.
Discounts and Offers
At the time of writing Sole offered the E25 and other elliptical machines via its website for $$. With a regular price of $$$, it’s sale constitutes a 50% discount on the machines.