Currently available for £1149.99 from Argos
Sole Fitness E25 (2016/17) Elliptical Cross Trainer Review
After a couple of previous iterations, the Sole E25 is back again, this time at a higher price point than its predecessor. Now, Sole have a good reputation in the market and generally bring to market good, solid machines. However, on the last version of the E25 they did miss a few tricks and didn’t get it quite right so we took a closer look at the new E25 to see if it justifies that higher price tag and whether the new E25 model represents a good deal when faced with the super tough competition out there for ellipticals at similar price points.
Assembly was straightforward enough but we’d expect nothing less from Sole. There were no complications and everything went together as intended. It’s definitely a 2 person job though and you should allow about 1 to 1.5 hours.
Visually the new E25 is instantly recognisable as a Sole product. The same colourway of black and silver with a splash of burgundy is there and it looks like a gym-style machine. Although, this latest incarnation has more black making it look quite a lot beefier and slicker than before. One of the first things that stood out was the double rail configuration that was sadly missing in the previous version of the E25. Interestingly the first version also had double rails, these were then dropped in favour of a single rail set up for the Mark II and it looks like Sole have realised their mistake and gone back to the tried and trusted double rail set up. This is most welcome and does provide more stability than the previous model. It also, no doubt, will ensure better durability too.
The flywheel weighs in at a respectable 11.3kg (25lbs) and as you’d expect this provides a nice fluid and consistent action and when combined with the 20 inch stride and slightly inverted pedals what you get is a very comfortable, smooth ride. Whether you’re working forwards or in reverse they’ve got the mechanics of this elliptical spot on and again, the dual rails add much improved stability. Also the distance of the moving handles seems to have been set very well as regardless of their height or build, all the testers here found it comfortable to use without having to over-reach at the farthest point. Though if you’re 5’ 3” or less, you may want to look at a smaller model.
To increase the stride length and vary the shape of the ellipse that you’re travelling on there’s the power incline feature. Incline is a very welcome feature when cross training as the pedal action becomes deeper (a bit more like a stepper) and more stress is put on the lower body musculature and then setting it back down again provides a flatter ellipse putting more focus on the core and upper body. Changing the incline isn’t the quickest process in the world but it’s smooth and quiet and provides a very easy way of targeting different muscle groups. A very welcome feature related to this are the incline and resistance adjustment buttons in the moving handlebars which really do make it very easy to change the incline setting while you’re working up a sweat.
There are 20 levels of resistance that range from easy to quite challenging. But as with the incline, it does take a while for the computer to register commands and for the resistance to kick in. So it’s worth waiting a few seconds longer, before deciding it’s not hard enough and ramping up the power. Otherwise you’ll find yourself struggling and quickly out of breath, just like yours truly did! 😊 Of course, there are static handles too with built in pulse sensors but as Sole include a complimentary compatible chest strap, and you’ll most likely want a whole body workout so you’ll be using the moving arms, making the pulse grips more or less redundant, though they can be handy for if you want to focus purely on your legs.
The console itself is much the same as previous versions though this version is more minimalist and the LCD screen has a good contrast that makes it easy to read, though in bright light it can be a little tricky as it is will all LCD screens. There are 10 programs in total, and while on paper that looks a little low spec, once you begin to make your selection, the instructions that scroll across the message provide the opportunity to alter the intensity settings. This means that every program can be tailored to suit your individual preference. In addition, by having 2 user programs as part of the menu, it allows you to create and store your own programs. The programs are also easy to get to grips with in terms of what they’re like and what they do. The names, such as Interval, Fat Burn, Strength, Cardio and so on make it very easy to choose the type of workout you’re looking for.
One thing that’s missing from the console are the usual ‘quick keys’ that let you instantly select an incline or resistance level, but given that you can already set these levels from both the console itself and the moving handlebars this really isn’t a big deal, and it’s offset by the fact that Sole have finally entered the latter part of the second decade of the 21st century and decided to add the ability to link your smartphone/tablet via Bluetooth to get some interactive training features. With the Sole Fitness app you can download and track your training data but unlike many of its rivals the E25 will also connect to the Fitbit, Record by Under Armour, Mapmyrun, and Apple Health apps which is a very welcome feature.
The new E25 also retains the cooling fan, an input jack to accept an iPod or MP3, water bottle holder and a set of inbuilt speakers which deliver a respectable sound. Last but not least you benefit from that excellent Sole warranty of Lifetime cover on parts, motor and frame, plus 3 years on-site labour cover.
Is it worth it? That's the million dollar question. Undoubtedly the E25, with the addition of the dual rails is well built. It also performs smoothly, is comfortable to use and now that it finally has some interactive training options is definitely more current and up to date. The thing is that at over a thousand pounds it's dearer than both previous versions and it doesn't offer anything that machines in a significantly lower bracket don't offer too. A prime example is the Proform 7.0 which has the same weight flywheel, same stride, power incline ramp, dual rails, bucket loads of preset workouts, adjustable footplates and the option of iFit interactive training. While iFit does require subscription the Proform 7.0 is hundreds of pounds cheaper! It's not the E25 is a bad machine. It's not. The E25 is very good. It's just that for the money being asked for it, there's better value to be had out there at the moment by quite some margin.
Sole E25 (2016/17) Specifications
- 11.3 kg (25lbs) flywheel weight
- ECB – Eddy current brake – electro magnetic resistance
- Incline: Powered 0-20 degree incline ramp
- Size (L x W x H): 176cm (69.3”) x 61cm (24”) x 163cm (64.”)
- 20” (50.8cm) stride length
- Product Weight: 76kg (167lbs)
- Maximum User Weight: 135kg (300lbs)
- 6.5” (16.5cm) blue backlit LCD display
- Feedback: Time, Speed, Distance, Resistance, Calories, Programme and Pulse
- 10 workout programmes (1 manual, 5 pre-set including Cardio, Strength, Hill, Fat Burn and Interval Training, 2 user design and 2 heart rate control programmes)
- Pulse measurement via hand grip sensors or built-in wireless receiver (chest strap included)
- Conveniences: cooling fan, integrated speakers, MP3 connectivity and sound system, water bottle holder, front drive, custom designed foot pedals
- Guarantee: Lifetime frame, 3 years electronics and parts, 1 year labour
Sole E25 (2016/17) - Console / Display Unit
Currently available for £1149.99 from Argos
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