Top positive review
122 people found this helpful
Quick delivery, solid machine.
on August 3, 2010
I had been using a Proform elliptical for a few years until it started to breakdown. It had a 18 inch stride and provided a good workout. After the Proform started to give me problems I knew it was time to start looking for a new machine. My first inclination was to go with a Schwinn since my parents had a Schwinn recumbent cycle and I had always thought it was a quality product. I read the reviews on the Schwinn 420,430, 431 and the new 460. I live near a Dicks sporting goods and went to see what they had to offer, although they had Schwinn recumbents on the floor, they didn't have any Schwinn ellipticals to try.
They did have 2 Sole models, the E25 and the E95. Once I stepped on the Sole E25 I felt the quality of the machine, the E95 was even better but at 80+ inches long it was not of interest but the E25 was. The Sole E25 was priced at $950 plus tax. I then started reviewing other similar ellipticals and came upon the Spirit Esprit line which I came to learn was made by the same company that makes Sole.
In my reviewing I discovered that flywheel weight is important, the heavier the better it seems, that's the thing that gives you the smooth feel, instead of a choppy run where you exert effort on each peddle on each individual stroke. It's hard to explain until you feel the difference but the flywheel weight makes the difference. Cheap machines don't mention flywheel weight because they don't have it.
The Schwinn's come with a 25 lb flywheel the Sole E25 has a 23 lb flywheel, this machine has a 30 lb flywheel and you can feel it. It takes a little effort to get this thing going, but once you do it wants to just keep going. This provides a boost for those times that you feel like slowing down, this machine pushes you to keep it up, you can slow down on the pace but it takes a few revolutions. I bought the Esprit EL-455 for these reasons:
It is shorter in length than the Sole 95 and the Sole 25
It has a heavier flywheel 30 lb
It has heart rate control with telemetry
Back lit screen
20 inch stride
Made by Spirit who makes Sole machines
Less expensive than similar Sole
The Schwinn 430 may be better but I don't know since I couldn't test one. The Schwinn 460 was intreging but as it's new I wasn't willing to take a chance. Once you get a 200 lb machine delivered and then assemble it, the last thing you want to do is have to take it apart and send it back.
I've only had the Spirit for 1 day so I can't advise on much beyond assembly but it wasn't to hard. It took about 2 hours. 30 minuites was cutting the box and unpacking, 30 minuites was trying to feed the electrical wire through the column, I ended up using a coat hanger to push it through. The rest went pretty smooth but I was trying to be careful to do things in order and right because I know that if you screw up the assembly you might never get another chance to get it right.
Upon trying the machine I found it very smooth and quiet as I expected it would be. I went for 20 miniutes and was sweating pretty good. I'm used to going 50 minutes, but then I was already sweating from putting the thing together so I'll leave the full work out till tomorrow.
Just a note about delivery, I choose to take the free delivery offered by Amazon, total price was $999 no tax no shipping, they notified me a week after my order that the order had been shipped. Once I tracked the order I found that it had already arrived in my town and was ready for delivery, 10 days before Amazon said I should expect it. The delivery man wheeled it up my driveway and placed it in my living room exactly where I wanted to assemble it. The invoice said I had inside delivery included. I was worried I might have to pull it up the driveway myself because I didn't pay for preimium delivery.
I'll update in a few weeks after I put the Esprit EL -455 through it's paces.
Update - The machine does not have or use a heart rate strap and can only use the stationary grips for heart rate control programs. As I use a separate heart rate monitor, this is not a problem for me. It does make the heart rate control programs rather useless unless you don't use the swinging arms and keep your hands on the stationary grips. The machine itself has had a few minor skweeks but they seem to have gone away with use. I did spray a little wd40 on the joints this morning and the machine made very little noise at all. The work out is good, I have set up a program that keeps it on level 3 for 52 minutes. Once I build up some endurance I plan to try some of the programs that vary the level.
Update 2 - The manufacturer Spirit emailed me and now says the machine does use a heart rate strap they just don't include it. They suggested I could purchase one from them. As stated before I use a clip on HR monitor so I won't be trying the strap. After 2 weeks of use I am still very pleased with my purchase, the ride is smooth and quiet a real work out. Still on level 3 but my avg. speed is increasing, got it up to 82 RPM's briefly today and my HR is staying lower so I'll need to increase the resistance soon. Haven't tried the speakers as I use earbuds, so they are really useless to me.
Update 3 - About a month in I am very pleased with my purchase. The machine is quiet and smooth. I have 2 seperate user programs, one is more aggressive than the other. I use them both depending on how hard I want to go that day. Sometimes I use the easier program one day and then the harder the next. I set a long workout of 52 minuits so the preprograms are not used as they are all 30 minutes. I expect this machine to last many years and I intend to use it at least 3 - 4 days a week for as long as I am able. At 52 I spent most of my life as a couch potato, I am overweight but after six months on an elliptical 4 times a week for an hour, I am wearing clothes I haven't worn in years. The best part is that I feel good all the time and I have pride in the fact that I have changed my life around. Yes, I dread starting each workout, I think about quitting early every time, but I don't, I finish, then I feel great the rest of the day.