on April 18, 2011
I did a ton of research online including here at the Amazon site and allellipticals DOT com. This helped me focus my research down to two brands Sole and Smooth. Before visiting stores, my first choice was the Sole E35.
I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and Sears and tried the machines. The help I got at Dick's was tremendous. It was a slow night and the salesperson was very generous with her time. They had an E25, E35, E55, and E95 on display. I tried them all and was amazed at the difference in feel. When I left the store, I really wanted to buy the E95. My wife was more adamant than me - she loved the smoothness and heft of the E95.
Tried the Smooth at Sears. Not so good experience. Machines that have sat on a store floor are really a good way to see how they will look and feel after a couple of years in private home. Based on my in-store experience, and the fact that most of the really highly-rated Smooth reviews are two or three years old (versus new reviews highly rating the Sole machines), I decided to by the Sole.
Somewhere in the reviews here on Amazon was a guy who said he found sellers on eBay for the Sole machines. I checked and found one seller who quoted "factory delivery" and a lower price for the E95 - lower by $200 than the Dicks / Sole direct / Amazon price. I called Sole and told them I wanted to buy from them, and asked them to match. I added the $100 "deliver to any room" feature - very much worth it as my house is 175' from the road, and two flights of stairs were involved. When I ordered my machine (direct from Sole), the guy who took my order encouraged me NOT to have the in-home assembly ($140 extra). Being handy, I decided to do it myself.
Product arrived at the ABF depot within a week. They called and were polite and courteous. Ordered on a Monday, and my wife got them to deliver the product within two days - 12 days from order to home delivery total.
Delivery was friendly and professional. Two guys hauled the 260 lb box up the driveway and placed it precisely where we wanted it in the basement. The box had been roughed up in-transit, and my wife asked them to open the box and check. They did this graciously and noted the box damage in case any damage was found subsequently. The drivers said they were the ones who did the in-home assembly. They gave my wife a bunch of tips on how to assemble the machine which she relayed to me.
My wife and I assembled the machine on Saturday, and it took us about 3 hrs. Looks perfect and runs great.
Sole appears to have completely updated the packaging and assembly instructions (based on comments in other reviews). The hardware is now packaged by step, something I have never seen before. So all the little bits you need to assemble "Step 1" are packaged together in a blister pack. There are four major steps and then half a dozen or so sub-steps inside each. In addition to a master parts list, the instruction manual has a parts listing required for each step. I photocopied the full-sized parts pages (which include pictures) and held that alongside the assembly steps. As an aside, one of the reviews talks about how difficult it is to snake wires through the mast. Appears someone at Sole read this, and they now have a plastic tab preloaded into the mast to aid in snaking the wires through it.
As far as the assembly itself, there are a couple of major component parts such as the rear assembly and mast which are heavy. You really need a second adult. Doing it by yourself would be virtually impossible.
The only part of the assembly I had any trouble with was something which should have been simple - plugging in the five electrical plugs to the back of the console. This is very difficult because the wires are short. If you have large hands, find someone who can help! I ended up using a needle-nose pliers to complete the job. The driver said this was the most difficult part of the assembly - and he was right!
Having done the assembly once, it would take me 90 minutes to do the second one. I took my time, checked and rechecked, so you may do better if you assemble it.
I have completed five work-outs to date. I absolutely love the machine. That I got delivered to my house for just under $1600 ($1499 plus $100 delivery) made it sweeter.
One final note - you definitely need to pay attention to ceiling height. Mine is the basement where my ceilings are 87" high. I am 5'10". On this machine, I have 2" of clearance. Measure first!
on March 7, 2011
Having never attempted an elliptical before I wasn't quite sure what I was in for. When this giant package arrived at my front door I had the delivery men deposit it in my basement, which has now become a workout room. I immediately got to work removing it from the box and attempting to assemble it. 4 hours and 1 nervous breakdown later I emerged from my basement like the groundhog of lore. The Sole E95 Elliptical was done and ready for action...only I was in no shape to exercise. I needed a cocktail.
The next day, refreshed and with a new attitude, I was ready to begin my exercise program. I am extremely out of shape with bad knees that hurt whenever I walk too much. I gingerly stepped up on the elliptical and started going through the programs. There are a number of different workout levels, so one needs to try them to find the one best suited to their level of fitness. I chose an easy program to start. I LOVED it. I was on the elliptical for 45 minutes and time just flew by. My knees didn't hurt at all, and that night, for the first time in over a year I slept through the entire night without waking up. The next day I was a little sore, but I got back on the elliptical and did the same program and my soreness quickly dissipated.
The Sole E95 Elliptical is better than walking because my knees were not in any pain at all. I feel better both physically and mentally and I have lost 3 pounds in 1 week. I am so happy to have discovered this machine. It is wonderful to be able to exercise without pain. I highly recommend this product, especially if you have problems with sore joints as there are no jarring motions.
on November 29, 2010
I purchased the E95 a few weeks ago. The Amazon delivery arrived when scheduled and the service was great. I was a little concerned with the height of the machine. I am 6'2' and have it located in the basement with 90" ceilings. I have about 3" of head clearance with no incline and my hair rubs the ceiling at full incline. The E95 is very smooth and the integrated programs are great. I especially enjoy the wireless heart rate strap and the associated workouts. The machine is heavy and the assembly is not difficult but does take some time. I would highly recommend it
on June 17, 2011
I have a very expensive Treadmill which I can't use much any more because of knee pain. I tried all the models of this elliptical at a retail store, and because of Amazon's interest free financing, splurged on this model. I'm so glad I did. Assembly took about 3 hours by myself. (I'm not too gifted in the assembly department.) Most of that time was reading and understanding the instructions. As others have said, have the machine delivered where you're going to assemble it. The main body is too heavy and bulky to move easily. I expected a million little pieces and a complex process. Actually, you're just putting together the frame. The main "body" of the machine, the flywheel, is sealed. This is the main weight of the machine. This is sooo much quieter than a treadmill, yet offers almost as a good an aerobic workout. It even converts your workout to equivalent miles. I was a runner for 20 years, and it's difficult to accept that I can't do the same, but believe me, this is the next best thing to running. By increasing the incline, it works the quads even more, helping to strengthen my knees. Note on size: I almost didn't buy this because the drop ceiling in my basement is 82 inches. When I tested it in the store, and stood up at the highest incline, we determined that my head would be 4 inches into the ceiling. I'm about 5 10. I took the chance anyway, and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to use this. I just can't incline all the way, unless I remove a ceiling tile. Despite that, this machine is the absolute best. Quiet, rugged, smooth, and easy to use. As a runner, I don't work out my arms enough. This machine lets me relax my legs, and lets the arms get a good workout, similar to rowing. One of the big differences between this model, the E95 and the E35 (the one highly reviewed in that major consumer magazine), is that the arms are thicker and sturdier. Too me, that's worth the extra money. I've had cheap exercise machines in the past, and they are garbage. Invest in something good like this, and you won't be disappointed. Thanks, Sole for a great product. Thanks also to Amazon for quick, hassle free delivery.
on May 11, 2011
I ordered this machine directly through Sole Fitness. I picked up the machine at a freight distributor and installed the machine upstairs in my "home office". At first the machine was whisper quiet, but I have since had multiple problems with this machine. The first issue was the left foot pedal that had a creaking/squeaking with an occasional popping sound. I called service and they sent out the part with a technician coming a couple days later to swap the pedal out. The machine was whisper quiet again. About a month later, I started having a knocking sound around the flywheel. I called out tech support and they either added or replaced a very tiny spring shim on the fly wheel. Again, the machine was very smooth and whisper quiet. About 2 months later, the right foot pedal began to crack and pop on every rotation I checked and tightened all screws and lubed the entire lower pedal assembly. The tech came out again, and replaced the right foot pedal. Later that night I had a ticking noise and called the tech back immediately and he told me to call Sole Fitness and authorize another repair order. By shifting my feet to the outside edge of the pedal, I could make the noise go away. Currently, the right foot pedal is popping again. I can physically move the pedal side to side about an 1/8 of an inch which creates the popping noise. I am at a loss since I have spent several hours trying to troubleshoot this thing. I am currently awaiting a response from Sole Fitness on my 4th repair ticket.
I found that I can control some noises by shifting my body weight. I have also noticed that the elliptical is not as smooth since the first day that I used it. I bought this machine for the 400 pound weight capacity. I started at 384 pounds and now weigh 324 pounds thanks to my nightly 1 hour exercise routine. I even managed to get off my blood pressure medication for the first time in six years. I work hard on this machine. I will exercise each night on a resistance of 18 for 1 hour. I usually burn over 800 calories and put on 3.3 miles. After 7 months of use, I suspect that I have put over 600 miles on this unit. This machine maybe good for the average person, but I think that 300+ pound people may be a bit too much even though the machine is rated for 400 pounds.
I will give credit to Sole Fitness for sending out technicians each time I have made a request, but I have concerns about what will happen after the 2 year complete parts and labor warranty. I can't afford to be buying parts every two months. I hope that Sole will come through for me.
on September 19, 2012
I have purchased two ellipticals before, one from Amazon, and both developed issues within a matter of days or weeks of casual use. The last elliptical I purchased was a cheaper Proform model that broke within one week of casual use.
The Sole E95 Elliptical Trainer is expensive, but you get what you pay for. It is superbly designed, with quality components designed for the long haul. And, unlike previous cheaper models I have used, it is whisper quiet (so far). The graspable, comfortable handle bar grips do not leave me with sore hands at the end of the workout as have cheaper ellipticals.
This model is the 2011 model. Sole will be offering their 2012 model soon and that is why the 2011 model is being offered at a discount price. They have to clear old inventory for the newer upcoming model. But that in no way should deter anyone from purchasing this outstanding 2011 model. The newer 2012 model, not yet advertised on the Sole wesite, has just a few additional minor "bells and whistles" and design modifications.
One of the biggest issues with purchasing a machine to be assembled is the matter of torque. Most of the problems that develop with an assembled machine is due to loose or overtightened bolts and fasteners during assembly. Manufacturers should provide a torque spec sheet, along with a torque wrench in the assembly hardware parts kit, in order for the end user assembling the machine to properly tighten down all assembly hardware bolts. This would reduce the number of reports of noise and other anomolies of the machine following assembly.
Notes from assembly:
- I had no problem assembling the elliptical by myself. I recommend that the video showing complete assembly of the E35/E95 be viewed or referenced during assembly. The Sole website Service Documents section provides the downloadable video link.
- The tools provided are cheap. Use higher quality tools (12mm, 13 mm, and 14mm wrenches and Phillips #2 (long and stubby) screwdriver) than the ones provided. Also acquire some Lithium grease and a tube of Loctite. Apply a little bit of Loctite to the threaded ends of the mounting bolts (don't Loctite the part#142 sheet metal screws!). The parts provided include a tube of lube for the rear rails, but I think that it is designed only for use on the aluminum rear rails (I might be wrong). Some of the bolts have pre-applied blue thread locking compound on them, but I recommened applying Loctite to the other assembly bolts as well. DO NOT APPLY LOCTITE TO BOLTS THAT PASS THROUGH SPACERS, such as those in step 3 of the assembly instructions. I applied some lithium grease to the handle bar axles (step 2 of assembly) prior to mounting the handle bars. I also sprayed some lithium grease inside the connecting arm sleeve spacers prior to connecting the connector arm to the handle bar (step3).
- When installing the handle bars in step 2, since they are not yet connected to the connecting arms, they will rotate down when let go, pulling on the handle bar button wires tucked inside the console mast. This could possibly cause damage to the wires. I recommend temporarily tie-wrapping each handle bar to the adjacent console mast stationary handle bar. This prevents the handle bar from rotating away during the wire connecting and positioning through the console mast as detailed in step 2. The tie-wraps can be removed when each handle bar is ready to be connected to their connector arm in step 3 of the assembly procedure.
- The two console covers do not quite engage along both sides of the machine. The covers were the only two assembly parts that need more design consideration. Or, the two covers not mating could have just been the result of a quality control undersight during manufacturing or packaging.
- Entering the Equipment Maintenance menu is not exactly as described in the manual (page 24). You have to first press the Stop button, then the Start and Enter buttons simultaneously (all three buttons) for five seconds.
- The Equipment Maintenance menu was not exactly the same as listed in the supplied manual. The console's firmware version of my elliptical is v2.2:
Actual Menu: Display Mode
In the Manual: Sleep Mode
Actual Menu: Pause Set
In the Manual: Pause Mode
Actual Menu: Key Tone
In the Manual: Beep
Actual Menu: Manual
In the Manual: No reference, but allows stepping of gear motor(?)
If you do not like being annoyed with the key beeps, I recommend that you disable the Key Tone in the Equipment Maintenance Menu.
Overall, I am quite impressed with the quality and warranty service that Sole provides with this elliptical. The warranty provided is the best in the industry.
on June 10, 2013
After doing an extended amount of research both at my local shopping malls and on the Internet, I chose the Sole E95 because it really is the best bang for the buck in the $1,200 to $1,900 price range in my researched opinion.
Before purchasing my elliptical machine here on Amazon, I went to Sears and other sporting goods stores and tested the machine along with several others (NordicTrack, ProForm, Horizon, Livestrong, Nautilus, Best Fitness) which are also available here on the Internet. Not one of the other brands that I tested came even close to how the E95 operates and feels during a workout. Machines such as the "NordicTrack Elite 17.7" had very cool display interaction software and others had Jillian from the "Biggest Loser" or HD videos to help move you along, but in the end it was all about the machine itself and not the bells & whistles for me.
I went with the Sole E95 over the E35 because the E95 has a heavier flywheel which is a main component of the machine overall. Also, the display panel on the E95 has more functionality which was a plus.
Here are 3 reasons why I took one STAR away from this product,
1. The fan does little to nothing to help cool you down.
2. The water bottle holder leaves some to be desired. This little nook has several icons at the base suggesting that it is a multi-use space, the reality is that it's an either "OR" space. Either put your water bottle "OR" your iPod there during your workout. If I put my water bottle there I have to be careful when I pick it up because I have to reach in between the moving machine parts.
3. I do not like that I have to place my iPod or iPhone directly in front of my screen display. In doing so, I cannot see a portion of the screen. That said, when I wear my iPhone armband it's a non-issue.
This machine is solid and it provides me with an excellent workout every time I use it.
When I put the machine together, I took my time to do the job properly (4 hours) and I have had ZERO problems with the machine because I took the time to assemble it right the first time. The machine was packed extremely well and everything was inside of the box when I got it.
If you are looking for an elliptical machine at this price level, you need look no further, this is it!
on December 28, 2010
I bought the E95 about a month ago and so far it has been nothing but wonderful, very smooth and whisper quiet. The Elliptical was delivered by large truck (choose scheduled delivery window), the driver had no problem carting it on a dolly to just inside my door where it would be installed on the basement level. The machine is quite heavy, but makes it very sturdy when using it hard so no complaints there. The assembly was a few hours as i took my time following the instructions carefully, they weren't too hard to figure out but it would have been nice if they actually put number stickers on the individual parts as they had numbers in the manual, had to match the shape in some instances but not rocket science material folks. As long as you take your time in assembly and lubricate the tracks as mentioned in the manual regularly it should last longer than my previous elliptical. If you are 6ft or taller I would recommend this model for sure, very stable.
on February 24, 2011
I did quite a few hours of research, test drove several models in the $2000 and under price range, narrowed it down to the Sole product line. I was at Dick's one day and they had the e35, e55 and e95 assembled and side by side. It was like mama bear, papa bear and baby bear. I started on the e35 and moved my way up. After doing about a minute of activity on each, the choice was obvious, of the three, the e95 was the smoothest, most stable and despite the price, in my opinion, the best value.
On to purchase...I learned on a forum that Sole will price match, so I found an eBay authorized Sole seller that was selling them for $200 cheaper than both Sole and Dick's. I called Sole and they matched. I did the $99 inside the house, room of choice delivery method, so I really saved $101 and no sales tax.
The crate arrives at my house, in my home gym room. The box is huge and I can barely budge it. It took me about an hour just to unpack and discard all the packing materials. My OCD kicks in and I arrange all the pieces, parts and trinkets into seemingly neat little rows. I break out the assembly instructions like a good little consumer. Here is where things turn South. I do not know what Sole was thinking. Whom ever the technical illustrator is, is either a PhD or Rain Man. After much interpretation of the assembly diagrams and 8 hours, I had this well made, solid as a rock, piece of exercise equipment rearing to go.
All in all, this was a great buy and I am happy with the selection and purchase. If you do not have much mechanical ability, patience, time or you frustrate easily then I would think long and hard about Sole's or another vendors delivery and assembly price. Hind sight being 20/20 I would have gladly paid a little extra to have my Saturday back.
on April 4, 2011
I bought the Sole E95 a week ago. I love this machine. It was relatively easy to put together, and it offers a wide range of usage. I'm very happy with it so far.
The instruction manual has good directions for assembly, program options, and general maintenance.
Just a heads up for new or existing owners. I discovered a small "clunk" sound coming from the connecting arm area. The bolt sleeve is a sliding fit and provides just enough gap to create some noise in the ball joint.
I used some of the lube provided on the sleeve spacers and ball joints on each connecting arm and the noise went away.
Assembly instructions should include a note to lube this area.
Update: So far so good. I lost 50 pounds already by using the Sole E95 twice a day every day with half hour sessions each time. I find my target RPM is 58-60 and I'm up to level 12 now. My normal blood pressure and heart rate is lower and my breathing is much improved. Did I say I love this machine?
I also recommend the Stamina Fold-to-Fit Folding Equipment Mat (84-Inch by 36-Inch). I thought it might be overkill when I bought it, but if you are serious about using this machine you will find it catches a lot of sweat and lint that collects under the user.