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Sole E35 Elliptical Review. Is it Worth the Money?

In another review, we looked at the Schwinn 431. It has a lot going for it, and even at $699, it is still a bargain. Sole makes an excellent elliptical trainer, the E35, but it costs: CHECK PRICE HERE.  This is  a great price, but it is still nearly twice as much as the Schwinn.  Is it worth the extra money to buy the Sole E35 or will the Schwinn 431 fit your needs?  Let’s take a look at what you get in the Sole.

Sole E35 elliptical features

  • Stride length: 20 inches
  • Front drive
  • Resistance type: Eddy Current Braking
  • Resistance levels: 16
  • Adjustable pedals: 3 positions
  • Upper body: Yes
  • Handgrip: Standard
  • Telemetry belt
  • Heart rate control
  • Power incline
  • Display: 6.5-inch blue backlit LCD
  • Data: Time, distance, calories, resistance levels
  • Profile matrix
  • Standard programs: 6
  • User-defined programs: 2
  • Heart rate programs: 2, with chest strap
  • Built-in cooling fans
  • Water bottle/accessory holders
  • Capacity: 375 pounds
  • Weight: 200 pounds
  • Warranties: Lifetime on frame; 5 years on parts and electronics; 2 years on labor

There are several differences that jump out.  The first is the difference in maximum user weight.  The 431 takes 300 pounds, the Sole E35 375 pounds.  At 200 pounds, the Sole E35 is 28 pounds heavier than the 431, the extra weight being in a beefier frame to support heavier users and a large flywheel.

If you are around 300 pounds, you should seriously consider the Sole.  Users that approach the max weight limit report no wobble when using the Sole, nor do they report any apparent flimsiness.  It gets high marks as a solidly built machine.

The Sole has a 20 inch stride length and the Schwinn has an 18 inch stride length.  If you have longer legs and are used to really “legging it out” when you walk, the shorter stride length of the Schwinn might seem choppy to you.

The pedals on the Sole slope inward 2 degrees.  This isn’t much but it helps reduce ankle and knee stress.  The 431 doesn’t have this.  Additionally, the footpads are adjustable at the toe to optimize your foot position.  These are little things, but go a long way to making for a comfortable workout.

One of the main reasons that home exercise equipment gets consigned to the attic to gather dust and become a home for spiders is the boredom factor.  Whether you use an elliptical trainer, stationary bike, or treadmill, they are repetitive exercises, and they can get boring unless the machine has features that will keep you continually challenged.

Both the Sole and Schwinn have 16 resistance levels.  Both have 10 workout programs.  The Sole E35, however, has a power incline, enabling you to raise the ramp from level up to 30 degrees.  With this variety of resistance levels, programs, and ramp incline, the number of variations you can choose for your workouts should keep you challenged for a very long time.

The Sole and the Schwinn have LCD displays that allow you to track various metrics during your workouts.  With the Sole, you can set up a heart rate-controlled workout.  The LCD will display a heart rate zone graph and the Sole will automatically adjust the resistance to keep your heart rate in that zone.  The Schwinn doesn’t have this capability.

The 431 has a built in MP3/iPod holder, a fan, and a water bottle holder.  The Sole also has a fan and a water bottle holder, but it has integrated speakers that you can plug your iPod into.  Neither the Sole nor the Schwinn get high marks from users for their fans.

With these differences in mind, why would you choose the more expensive Sole E35 over the Schwinn 431?

  •  Do you weigh close to or over 300 pounds?
  • Do you have a long stride?
  • Do you consider yourself a “power user”, willing and able to extract maximum performance from your exercise machine?

If your answers are primarily “Yes” then you should seriously consider the Sole E35.  The Schwinn is a good, solid machine, but if you aren’t completely comfortable on it, chances are you will stop using it after awhile.  If you exceed its limits and it breaks down, buying the Schwinn instead of the Sole is false economy, especially if you have to pay for repairs or buy another, more suitable elliptical.

The Sole is more expensive than the Schwinn, but it is a solid, full-featured elliptical trainer designed to give you years of reliable service.  You can be certain that it will be able to meet your needs today and in the future as your capabilities increase.

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