With its impressive performance, the Sole E95 is the total package. Sole created a heavy elliptical to produce the smoothest motion possible and added a comprehensive warranty to keep it that way for a long time. Reviewers warn that once you try the E95, you won't want anything else.
Smooth operator. Thanks to its 29-pound flywheel and dual concave track wheels, the Sole E95 provides a noticeably smooth ride. In fact, reviewers say it has the one of the smoothest motions of any elliptical on the market. Fred Waters of Fitness-Equipment-Source.com says he experienced a "very solid motion" and cites the trainer's overall sturdy build as a major contributing factor. Very few users report any issues with performance. One Amazon.com poster describes the E95 as "very stable," and recommends the model to anyone 6 feet or taller. The stride length of the E95 isn't adjustable, but is set at a very versatile 20 inches.
The Sole E95 provides all the tools needed for a great workout: 20 resistance levels, a fully automatic incline adjustable to 40 degrees and six preset workouts, two custom programs and two heart-rate interactive programs. The latter adjust the machine's resistance to maintain the user's targeted heart rate, which is read by the included chest strap. We saw only one review complaining that the strap is inaccurate. The E95's adjustable incline allows exercisers to target different lower-body muscle groups.
It has everything. The E95 is equipped with a 9-inch Vibrant LCD. Resistance and incline can also be controlled via handle grip controls, which users say makes exercising safer. Consumer reviews report great success using the machine's plethora of features, with no problems accessing them from the console.
The backlit display is large enough to simultaneously show speed, time, incline, distance traveled, calories, pulse and pace, plus graphical tracking options. It also tilts for improved visibility. The E95 console isn't compatible with iFit Live, and no other elliptical-syncing apps are mentioned or tested in reviews. The machine's fans and speakers, which include MP3 and iPod input plugs, are average in quality but conveniently placed. One review calls the speakers "tinny" sounding.
According to the Sole Fitness website, assembly is easy and should take 25 to 35 minutes with the help of the manual. However, most consumers report that assembly requires approximately 2 hours. One Amazon reviewer gripes that the provided crescent wrenches are of poor quality and "rounded out too quickly."
Solid use up to 400 pounds. The E95 is rated for users up to 400 pounds, well above the weight limit of most elliptical trainers on the market. One poster on Amazon.com used the machine for just two months before experiencing loose, noisy pedals. However, he admittedly pushed the 400-pound weight limit and rigorously trained almost seven hours per week.
With the E95, Sole improved on its E35 model with a thicker, stronger frame for a final weight of 215 pounds. One eBay.com reviewer says, "It is very heavy, sturdy, (and) does not wobble even for the over 200 pound users in my family."
Efficient in-home repair service. Despite an issue with noisy pedals, the Amazon.com customer mentioned above was very pleased with his Sole customer service experience; "I will give credit to Sole Fitness for sending out technicians each time I have made a request," he says. Other users report similar experiences, receiving friendly and efficient in-home service.
Sole couples the E95's impressive performance with an outstanding warranty. The frame has a lifetime warranty while parts, including electronics, are covered for five years; labor is covered for two years. Sole Fitness technicians perform in-home diagnosis and repair, typically within three days of the call, reviewers say. The company also provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, but returns made during this period will be charged an 8 percent restocking fee. The guarantee doesn't cover third-party shipping or assembly.
Review Credibility: Very Good Waters, the former vice president of marketing for Smooth Fitness, gives the E95 a complete but noncomparative review. He neither rigorously tests the elliptical trainer nor performs extended time tests, and can't speak to the longevity of the product. Ultimately, he calls it "one of the better values in the $1,500-$2,000 range."
Review: Sole E95 Elliptical Trainer Review, Fred Waters, September 2012
Review Credibility: Very GoodTreadmillDoctor.com has a good reputation in the fitness industry for its unbiased reviews of treadmills and elliptical trainers. The Sole E95 typically earns Best Buy or first runner-up status from the site, but drops to third runner-up here because the competition is catching up.
Review: Sole E 95 Elliptical Review, Clark and Jon Stevenson, As of October 2012
Review Credibility: Good About 30 users comment on the 2011 Sole E95, giving it a total of 4.1 stars out of 5. Owners say the elliptical is sturdy and the stride feels natural, but a handful of reviewers complain about the assembly process.
Review: Customer Reviews: Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Good Nearly 20 reviewers who own this machine post comments on this e-commerce site. Their product experience varies, but in the end the Sole E95 receives overwhelmingly good reviews.
Review: Sole Fitness E95 Front Drive Elliptical Trainer, Contributors to Ebay.com, As of May 2012
Review Credibility: Good Although the reviews here aren't complete, some are quite extensive. Each contributor lists pros and cons, a summary, and whether they would recommend the product. More than 15 users give the Sole E95 an average score of 3.5 stars out of 5. They praise its solid, smooth build, but say it can be noisy.
Review: Sole E95 Elliptical, Contributors to Epinions.com, As of April 2011
Review Credibility: Good Buzzillions.com compiles owner-written feedback from various online retailers and currently shares a dozen reviews of the Sole E95. The machine gets positive marks, with most calling it a great buy and easy to use.
Review: Sole E95 Elliptical Trainer, Contributors to Buzzillions.com, As of November 2012