Sole Fitness E25 Cross Trainer Review

At just shy of 4 figures, the E25 is sitting at a price point where one should rightly expect good quality and longevity from their investment. This is fortunately where Sole fitness truly excels. They are renowned for manufacturing solidly built machines with great attention placed upon functionality. Best of all, they offer their customers the peace of mind of a Lifetime warranty. Sole’s customer service is generally regarded as very good – mainly due to the fact that their products don’t generally cause many issues! All good to know, but that’s a general historic overview of the brand – we are here to test whether the new E25 model represents a good deal when faced with the tough competition of similarly priced machines.

Visually, the E25 has the impressive characteristics typical of a Sole elliptical –it’s got that ‘Health Club-style’ looks that convey Sole’s attempts to create a commercial-type machine for home use. Have they succeeded? Overall, yes! They have a ‘if it’s not broken, don’t try and fix it approach to style…and as we said earlier, Sole machines are seldom ‘broken’ so why try and re-invent when the design was good in the outset?

Although we didn’t really want a complete overhaul of the previous model, we had seen from testing the new E35 that Sole have been busy making necessary improvements over the last 2 years in preparation of their new Elliptical range. The E25’s bigger brother E35 model had an impressive list of exciting alteration that made the new launch very exciting….so what’s new here?…

One significant improvement has been with the flywheel. This has been beefed up by an extra 6lb in weight, which delivers an extra smooth elliptical motion. The E25 certainly has the substance and quality of components to ensure the user of a nice fluid movement whether going forwards or backwards. Plus, the ergonomic engineering involved means the bio-mechanics is spot on! This model may not have the provision to adjust the angle of the foot plates as with the E35, but being as the designers have got the angles of the pedals right as standard, this really isn’t an issue for most users!

Perhaps due to Sole’s keenness to keep the E25 RRP at under 4 figures in the face of increasing material and labour costs when manufacturing,there has been a knock on compromise since the 2011 version. This model has suffered a slight downgrade in that the rear guide rails are now single unlike its predecessor which had double rails for extra stability. Despite this, it’s a very solid and rugged unit that is fit to carry over 23 stone! (that’s 23 lb more than the entry level E20 too). There is also an upside to the single guide rail design, and that is that the pedals are positioned slightly closer together during the pedal motion, therefore offering a slightly more natural gait, (Better Q factor) which may be appreciated by shorter users.

Speaking of range of motion, this machine has a longer stride length as standard compared to the cheaper E20 so at 20” it should be ideal for users over 5’3” tall.

To extend the stride length and vary the elliptical pattern can be done with the power incline feature. Incline training is a great function when cross training as the pedal action becomes deeper (Rather like an oval stepper motion) and even greater emphasis is put on the lower body musculature. With the press of a button a separate elevation motor sends the guide rails pivoting at the rear of the machine. This process happens quietly but slowly, taking about 30 seconds to power up to top incline – but it’s worth the wait! –  The rollers are then travelling up and down at an angle of between 0 and 20 degrees giving a completely different elliptical arc and greater calorie burning effects!

For a total body workout, we highly recommend holding onto the dynamic handles and getting the upper body muscles working! This is made even more convenient by the presence of thumb controls for quick adjustment. At the top of the left handle are up and down buttons to adjust the angle of incline and on the right, are controls to alter the resistance levels. Talking of which, there are 20 levels of smooth, gradual resistance, from easy to ouch! But beware, as with the incline, it does seem to take a few seconds for the computer to register commands and for the resistance to kick in on this machine – so don’t let your thumbs get ahead of yourself!

Of course there are static handles too, which house the pulse grip sensors. But there are three reasons why they may be rather superfluous: 1. We always encourage the use of a wireless chest transmitter to achieve more accurate readings from the inbuilt receiver. 2. Sole are now including a complimentary compatible chest strap so the pulse grips are rather redundant. And 3.  This model also has the incentive of offering 2 heart rate controlled programs too.

With regards to the various programs available, the console is much the same as the more expensive E35 (but with a smaller screen). There are 10 programs in all, and to those uninitiated with Sole machines, the number of programs can first appear a little mean! However, once you begin to make the selection, the instructions that scroll across the message window tell you how easily the time and intensity settings can be adjusted. This means that every program can be tailored to the users individual preferences – that’s a lot of variety! Plus, by having 2 user programs as part of the menu, it allows you to create and store your own programs.

If you want the ‘quick start’ method you can simply skip the set-up process and use the machine’s default settings, however, we recommend spending the few extra seconds to input your personal details of age, weight etc so that the computer can calculate the calorie consumption figures more accurately based upon your statistics.

Next up, we come to the all-new crowning glory of the E25 – The console! For starters, the old version of the E25 had a 6.25” screen so it’s nice to see another little improvement this year by way of a slight size increase up to a 6.5” blue backlit screen. This isn’t huge but due to a new design of the display screen, it now makes it even clearer to view the training feedback which has been set out around the ¼ mile track dot matrix, it. The arrangement of buttons has undergone a new formation, which proved to be exceptionally well organised. They are set out in two horizontal strips beneath the screen and each are clearly labelled. Plus, even the buttons themselves have been beefed up to be chunkier and tactile!

Another wonderful addition to the console are the two vertical strips of quick keys at either side of the screen. Now the user can make one-touch adjustments to jump between incline levels or to change the resistance with a single press.

With the continuing surge in popularity of all things technological, it should be made clear that this machine does not offer standard or upgradeable features such as software downloads or  internet compatibility. That fact certainly won’t appeal to fans of gadgets and gizmos, but for those that want a bulletproof machine with less to go wrong, it’s perhaps a good thing! The E25 does have a cooling fan, an input jack to accept an iPod or MP3 and the set of inbuilt speakers deliver a decent sound or there’s a headphone port for disturbance-free workouts.

So what’s the overall verdict?

In terms of competition at just under a thousand pounds, Sole is up there with the best of them! As we’ve established, if you’re looking for lots of entertainment features, we must urge you to keep looking! However, across the Sole ranges, the two most outstanding selling points are undoubtedly ‘Quality’ and ‘Dependability’. They have a proven and consistent track record for superb build quality (with a warranty to back it up!) Plus they have the expertise to design and engineer Ellipticals with a thorough understanding of safe and effective training… the E25 is yet another very good example of this and well the money.

Best Price

The Sole E25 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 E25 Specifications

  • 11.3 kg (25lbs) flywheel weight
  • 1-20 levels of computer controlled magnetic resistance
  • Incline: Powered 0-20 degree electronic incline ramp
  • Size (L x W x H): 181cm (71.2”) x 61cm (24”) x 163cm (64.2”)
  • 20” (50.8cm) stride length
  • Product Weight: 80kg (176.3lbs)
  • Maximum User Weight: 147kg (324lbs)
  • 6.5” blue backlit LCD display
  • Feedback: Time, Speed, Distance, Resistance, Incline, Calories, Program, Pulse
  • 10 workout programmes (1 manual, 5 preset – Cardio, Strength, Hill, Fatburn, Interval Training + 2 user programs and 2 heart rate control)
  • 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 foot pedals, bottle holders
  • Guarantee: Lifetime frame, magnetic braking and parts, 3 years labour

Sole Fitness E25 Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

Sole Fitness E25 Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Commercial-style machine priced for the home!
  • Solid build quality
  • Improved Console
  • Smooth elliptical motion that’s safe on the joints
  • Chest Strap Heart Monitor Included
  • A Lifetime guarantee on frame, magnetic braking and parts, 3 Year on-site labour

The Cons

  • Won’t appeal to gadget fans
Sole Fitness E25 Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 7
Appearance - 8
Smoothness - 7
Comfort - 7.5
Reliability - 9
Noise - 9
Ease Of Use - 8
Controls - 8
Warranty - 9
Value for Money - 5
Best Price

The Sole E25 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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