Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

The latest E95 Elliptical represents the best of Sole’s E series in their ‘home use’ range. We are familiar fans of the original line up so we were eager to see what’s new and perhaps improved!

The assembly process is arduous and time consuming but at least in handling the components, one can truly appreciate the quality of parts used in its construction! The time and effort is well worth it as what is created is a very impressive bit of kit that wouldn’t look out of place in a commercial club.

The E95 does have a ‘bigger brother’ called the E98, which falls into the Light commercial category, but for home use this machine really is the Daddy! Weighing in at over 16 and a half stone and able to carry a user of over 23 stone, the build quality showcases Sole’s unwavering efforts to produce trusted, long lasting, functional equipment. As if the unshakable solidity of the machine wasn’t reassuring enough of it’s durability, the exemplary warranty should offer total peace of mind.  You get a Lifetime guarantee on the frame, the motor and all the parts (even electrical!) and there’s 3 years on-site labour too!

The over-engineering is also responsible for producing a fabulously fluid movement in use. Twin rollers under each pedal glide smoothly and positively along double guide rails. The flywheel weighs over 27lbs and once again this is quality that you can ‘feel’!

Sole have also gone to great lengths to ensure this model has been designed with ergonomic precision.  Firstly, their ellipticals have a 2 degree inward slope on each of the pedals, which is an idea developed by Sole in collaboration with a leading physical therapist to reduce ankle and knees stress.  Secondly, being a front driven machine, the pedals can travel more closely together allowing for a natural gait without the obstruction of the flywheel. Then we get to perhaps the best asset of the E95 for anyone concerned with comfort – the pedals themselves!  Not only has this model been enhanced to include Padded Foot beds to offer a giving, non-slip cushioning underfoot, the pedals also boast 10 settings of angle adjustment!

In a past review, the slightly cheaper model E35, got plenty of praise for it’s 3 settings of adjustment, and rightly so – The option to adjust the pitch of the footplates is an important feature for many users (especially those with sensitive joints). The E95 takes that great concept and hones it to near bio mechanical perfection! Instead of the pull-pin mechanism found on the E35, this model has a turn dial at the rear of each pedal which allows you to ‘fine tune’ the angle anywhere from a pitch of zero up to 10 degrees.

As far as improvements over the 2011 E95 model goes, by far the most visually noticeable are the large D-shaped handles on the dynamic arms. Cross Training is supposed to be a TOTAL body workout so having a variety of grips to really push and pull works the upper body a treat! Perhaps on anything less than a Sole machine, these handles may be considered a bit overkill(!) but the rock solid E95 allows you to crank up the resistance, really push and pull, and unlike more lightweight ellipticals, the only things you feel flexing here, are your muscles!

There are 20 resistance levels in total and considering the build of this brute we had anticipated the top levels to be almost as immovable as the machine itself! Instead we found it was certainly challenging but not the toughest machine we have encountered in past reviews.

There are various ways to control the intensity of the workouts. One of the most convenient are thumb controls at the top of the D handles allowing for easy adjustments of speed or incline without having to let go.

Positioned on the console at either side of the screen is a vertical strip of 6 quick keys. The values are the same on both (I,3,6,9,12,15) but the left hand buttons control Incline and the right is to make instant adjustments to resistance levels.

The static handles have inbuilt pulse grip sensors for approximate heart rate monitoring but for more accurate readings we recommend you strap on the free Sole chest belt transmitter which sends the feedback wirelessly straight to the console.

The console display is another noticeable improvement over its predecessor. This time you can see data such as incline and speed levels clearly displayed on a ‘car dashboard’ style set of gauges. Below these in a dedicated area is a dot matrix display to show profile courses and the lower third of the screen is taken up with a message window which shows important info such as Laps, watts, RPM etc. as well as user instructions to assist when setting programs.  The clear layout combined with a vibrant blue backdrop contrasts well with bold white LED’s. Plus all the important feedback titles of ‘Incline…Distance…Level…’ etc are picked out in black over white text boxes making the whole screen easy to read at a glance.

The incline function of the E95 also deserves a special mention! The pair of twin guide rails electronically pivots at the rear from flat to incline all the way up to 20 degrees. The higher the incline, the higher your knees rise with each step which means the user will need to recruit more muscles fibres = improved toning for the legs!

Training variety is obviously very important to continually keep the body responding to new challenges. Therefore the idea that the 10 dedicated buttons running across the console, is ‘it’ in terms of workout programs may, on the surface, seem to be rather limited. However, the scope to adjust the time of the workouts, the users peak exertion level as well as activating/de-activating the incline profile of each program means that there is the potential to create countless combinations and keep things interesting.

On the topic of creating new workouts, the E95 has 2 customisable user defined programs where you can put together bespoke sessions and store them under your name.

There are 5 pre-set courses which are all very different and designed to cater for specific goals with titles like fat burn, strength, cardio etc. Plus there are 2 heart rate controlled sessions, which, once you wear the chest strap transmitter, take wireless heart rate readings and the E95’s computer automatically adjusts the incline and/or resistance to keep you within the pre-set target heart rate range.

To enhance your workout experience, the console is fitted out with a few welcome ‘extras’. To ensure you keep hydrated there is a generously sized bottle and accessory holder. The inbuilt fan does a decent job of blowing a light breeze up to your face (or wherever you tilt the vents!). Oh and that reminds us, the whole console tilts by just over an inch; this may not sound like much, but it’s a godsend if you need to tweak it to avoid the reflection of overhead ceiling lights. For music fans, there is a jack plug for your iPod or MP3 player, a headphone socket and perhaps most importantly, a pair of inbuilt speakers that actually sounded rather good!

There is a large chunky D-shaped handle at the rear for lifting and rolling on the transport wheels at the front of the machine. Please be aware though, this is a heavy bit of kit so not one that you can ‘pull out – play- and then pop away!’ Instead it’s probably best to think of these features as a plus if you ever have to move house and take the E95 with you!

The E95 is certainly built to stand the test of time and appears to be a VERY ‘Solid’ investment in more ways than one. The 2011 E95 was undoubtedly a very good machine but it’s not the ‘Sole’ way to rest on their laurels! Instead they have clearly got their thinking caps on and made some neat ‘enhancements’. The result is that the ‘very good’ just got even better!….The E95 is now very, VERY Good!!

Best Price

The Sole E95 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

Sole Fitness really have done an excellent job with the E95, which is their top of the range elliptical trainer for home use. Its silky smooth motion, bio-mechanically correct stride pattern, 20% power incline ramp and challenging top resistance make this a fantastic choice for those with both the budget and the space.

Sole E95 Specifications

  • 15.4 kg (34lbs) flywheel weight
  • 1-20 levels of electronically controlled magnetic resistance
  • Incline: Powered 0-20 degree incline ramp
  • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 209cm (82.3”) x 55cm (21.7”) x 171cm (67”)
  • Product weight: 107kg /236lbs
  • 20” (50.8cm) stride length
  • Maximum User Weight: 170kg (375lbs)
  • 9″ blue backlit LCD display
  • Feedback: Time, Speed, Distance, Resistance, Incline, Calories, Program, Pulse, Laps
  • 10 workout programmes
  • Pulse measurement via hand grip sensors or built-in wireless receiver (chest strap included)
  • Conveniences: cooling fan, integrated speakers, MP3/Apple device connectivity, handlebar resistance controls, oversized, adjustable foot pedals
  • Guarantee: Lifetime frame, magnetic braking and parts, 3 years on-site labour

Sole Fitness E95 - Console / Display Unit

Sole Fitness E95 - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Awesome build quality!
  • The unique D-Shaped handles allow for great upper body exercise
  • There are 10 settings to adjust the pedals to your perfect angle
  • One of the safest ellipticals for your knees and ankles we have ever tested
  • The outstanding warranty

The Cons

  • Too heavy to be considered easy to move (BUT we wouldn’t ever want to sacrifice that solid build quality!)
Sole Fitness E95 Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 8
Appearance - 9
Smoothness - 9
Comfort - 9
Reliability - 9.5
Noise - 9.5
Ease Of Use - 9
Controls - 9
Warranty - 9.5
Value for Money - 9
Best Price

The Sole E95 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Also see our Elliptical Cross Trainer Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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