SOLE Fitness E55 Elliptical Trainer
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Parts: 5 years
Electronics: 5 years
Labor: 2 years
So far, Sole has actually released two E55 models, one in 2011, and one at the end of 2014. Evidently, the second one is a more inclusive machine, offering a superior console and a few extra features. In this review we’ll cover the 2014 model.
Although this Sole E55 elliptical trainer model has been around for a bit more than a year, it still is one of the most solid and inclusive elliptical trainers that you can have at the moment. In other words, if you want a machine that’s made for commercial use, with a rock-solid construction, this Sole model is definitely one that falls within this category.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 71L x 27W x 64H inches (180L x 68.5W x 162.5H cm)
- Assembled weight: 211 lbs (95.7 kg)
- Flywheel weight: 25 lbs (11.3 kg)
- Supported weight: 375 lbs (170 kg)
- Stride: Adjustable, maximum 20 inches (51 cm)
- Incline: Automatic, 0°-40°
- Footplates: Articulating, angle-adjustable
- Handlebars: Mobile (with incline and resistance digits) and fixed (with pulse sensors)
- Resistance system: Eddy current, 20 levels
- Console: 10 workout programs
- Amenities: Bottle/accessory holder, media tray, speakers, cooling fan
- Warranty: Frame lifetime / Parts 5 years / Electronics 5 years / Labor 2 years
The main frame of the Sole E55 is made of two main parts, connecting at the middle. The front part has the drive and resistance system enclosure attached to it, while the rear part incorporates the incline motor and rails.
The machine features 3 bases, each base being finished with adjustable feet with rubber caps, which supply an excellent grip to the floor, making it possible to fully stabilize the unit even if the floor is not even. On top of that, the machine is quite heavy. At 211 lbs (cca 96 kg) it won’t wobble or move around even if the user is close to the maximum allowed capacity – 375 lbs (170 kg). It’s still not that difficult to handle or transport, as the rear base features a handle, which facilitates the tilting of the machine on its front transport wheels.
Like most gym-grade elliptical trainers, the SOLE E55 has a pretty sizeable footprint. It takes 71″L x 27″W (180 x 68.5 cm) of floor space. However, it still is cca 1 foot shorter than the Sole E35 or Sole E95. Thus, if space is an issue, but you would still love to have an extremely well-built machine, the E55 model may be a much better option, over the other two models.
Needless to say, most parts in the frame construction of this elliptical trainer are made of steel tubing. They’re also coated with scratch resistance and corrosion resistant paint, the dominant color being black. The gliding rails of the machine however, have a chrome finish. Most PVC parts within the frame of the machine have a protective and cosmetic role. For example, the frame’s bases, the flywheel enclosure, the incline motor case, and the base of the console are all PVC made, keeping dust and possible perspiration drops from falling into these parts and causing damage. But on the other hand, they give the machine elegant, professional line.
Pedals and handlebars
There’s quite some engineering behind the pedals of this elliptical machine. First of all, they have a 2° inward tilt, which considerably reduces the stress on the ankles and knees during workouts. Second of all, they’re pretty spacious, with a length of 15″, being able to accommodate shoes of all sizes.
But the best part regarding the pedals of this elliptical is the fact that they can be angle-adjusted from heel to toe. This way, you can obtain the pedal angle that feels best to you. And by using the perfect angle for the pedals, certain unwanted effects such as soreness in Achilles tendons, or toe numbness, can completely be eliminated.
The adjustment of the pedals is done by turning the dial at the rear of each one of them. And finally, one last aspect to mention here about the pedals, is that they’re made of industrially tested PVC material, designed to last a lifetime.
The E55 elliptical features both fixed, and mobile handlebars. The fixed ones integrate pulse sensors, while the mobile ones feature buttons for incline and tension adjustment. Grips on both types of handlebars are made of rubber foam, to supply optimal comfort when held.
Last but not least, the lateral legs of the machine, as well as the mobile arms are made of the same steel tubing as the main frame.
Drive and resistance
Just like the other SOLE elliptical models, the E55 features an eddy current brake. Its resistance mechanism involves a magnetic element, controlled by a small motor. In other words, the machine features an automatic, current-assisted resistance system. Resistance can only be adjusted from the machine’s console, or from the keys on the mobile grips. You can adjust it freely as you exercise, or, in case you’re using one of the pre-set programs, it will adjust resistance automatically, as well as the incline.
This elliptical features 20 levels of resistance, a bit more than the E35 model. The lowest levels supply a light workout, while the top resistance settings offer quite a challenge. On top of that, the intensity of your workout can also be increased by adding incline.
Since it’s an eddy current machine, the E55 requires to be connected to a power circuit (110-volt, 15-amp) , in order to make available the resistance settings, the workout programs and the other functions of the console. A power cord with a plug (not adapter) is supplied with the machine for this purpose. It connects to the machine near the front base on the left side. There’s also an ON/OFF switch near the connector.
When it comes to its drive system, this machine is belt-driven, supplying a smooth and quiet pedaling motion. It also uses a balanced, 25 lbs (11.3 kg) flywheel, which is a pretty heavy one for an elliptical machine. This also adds momentum and stability to the pedaling motion.
In case you’re wondering, the machine allows pedaling in reverse, this way diversifying the possible workouts that can be carried out on this machine. And when pedaling in reverse, you will benefit from the current resistance setting of the machine, while the console will continue to track your progress.
Stride and incline
The SOLE E55 elliptical machine features a motorized incline. The incline motor is placed at the rear, and adjusts the angle of the gliding rails. It offers a maximum incline of 40°, with 20 settings. Evidently, since the incline is motorized, its adjustment is done either from the console, or from the control keys on the mobile handlebars.
At maximum incline, the highest pedal will give you an elevation of approximately 26″ (66 cm) from the floor level. Therefore, in order to determine whether the room where the machine should be placed has the right ceiling height for you, add this dimension to your own height.
The stride of this elliptical trainer is 20″ (51 cm). In other words, it can accommodate comfortably, users above at least 6’4″ (193 cm). There isn’t a direct stride adjustment mechanism, but the user’s stride will vary a little bit along with the adjustment of the incline.
The console features a 9″, blue backlit display, which offers excellent readability even in a darker room, or if the sunlight hits the display in a direct angle. It indicates the most important values required by any user to know during their workout, such as speed (in MPH), time, distance, RPM, calories, pulse, the resistance level and incline. There’s also a trail function, which allows you to measure your distance traveled in laps.
The console offers 10 workout programs, including 5 Preset, 2 Custom User profile programs, 2 Heart Rate programs, and of course, the Manual program. The 5 Preset programs include Hills, Fat Burn, Cardio, Strength and Interval. The 2 Custom profiles allow you to create, save and re-use your own workouts. These will also call for your age and weight, in order to offer a better calculation of your calories burned. The Heart Rate programs focus on two zones: 60% and 80%. 60% of your MHR is the zone best used for calorie burning, while 80% is the zone that works best for strengthening your cardiovascular system.
The console can read pulse via the pulse sensors on the fixed grips of the machine. However, it’s also telemetry enabled, being able to track pulse via a heart rate chest strap transmitter. This accessory is also included with the machine.
Last but not least, the console incorporates several other functions. It has a sound system compatible with most MP3 devices, smartphones or tablets. Thus, in case earplugs may become a nuisance during your workout, you can listen to your music via the integrated speakers. A cooling fan and tablet tray are also integrated in the console. And finally, the lower part is molded into a compartment that you can use as a holder for your phone, remote, keys or bottle of water.
Assembly and Maintenance
The assembly of this machine, although not complicated, it might take a couple of hours. One, because the machine is pretty heavy, and it takes at least two people to transport, and two, because there are many little parts to attach. But as a general idea, for assembly you will have to attach the main parts of the frame together, connect the console mast and the machine’s wires, then add the console, and finally mount the arms and the rest of the little plastic covers. The manual supplied is quite comprehensive, giving you step-by-step, detailed instructions. The tools for assembly are supplied as well, with the box.
Maintenance requires you to keep the machine clean, especially the rails, as any dirt fallen on it may cause nicks. Also, in case the joints begin to squeak, a little greasing should do the trick. The insides of the machine are pre-lubricated with industrial lubricants, and shouldn’t require additional lubrication for a long period of time.
In order to benefit from the full warranty, you will need to register your product with soleellipticals.com.
- Frame built like a tank, with a high user capacity;
- Heavy machine, aspect which contributes considerably to its stability;
- Elegant, professional design;
- Smaller footprint than other ellipticals;
- Angle-adjustable footplates;
- Automatic resistance, with 20 levels available;
- Automatic incline, also with 20 levels available (and up to 40°);
- Quick resistance / incline adjustment keys, built-in the handlebars;
- Pulse sensors;
- Telemetry enabled console – HR chest strap transmitter included;
- 10 workout programs on the console;
- Various amenities, such as cooling fan, speakers, tablet tray, accessory / bottle holder;
- Smooth and quiet operation;
- Fairly easy to assemble;
- Great warranty plan.
- A tablet placed on the tablet tray will partially (or totally) cover the console display, which may be an inconvenience;
- No online connectivity.
As you can see, basically the only major downside of the Sole E55, is its lack of online connectivity. But apart from this, it offers just about everything else, focusing on sturdiness, ergonomics and fitness features. It’s a heavy-duty elliptical trainer that you have already probably seen in your gym. It covers the full range of workouts that can be carried out on an elliptical trainer, being a great choice for users of all levels. It’s a great machine for cardio training, muscle toning, for building stamina, and of course, for losing weight. The top resistance levels, as well as the incline will most definitely give you a challenge. It’s an elliptical machine that offers great value for the money, and currently benefits from an average rating of 4.5 to 5 stars, on various websites.