The 2008 Sole E35 Elliptical Review – The Best Buy Elliptical under $1500, Bar None

The Treadmill Sensei really hates fitness manufacturers because they keep putting out new treadmills and ellipticals every year. Sheesh, can’t they just take a year off so I can catch up! Don’t they see that I’m freakin’ swamped here!!

Seriously, though, every year fitness manufacturers release either all new equipment or ugraded, updated versions of their older equipment. Just like the auto industry, the next year’s new equipment starts appearing in June or August of the previous year. So what I’m going to do here at the DOJO for the next week or so is to focus on the new 2008 models of previously released equipment. This will, I hope, help everyone see what new offerings are available on some old favorite machines.

Today I want to talk about the brand new, 2008 Sole E35 Elliptical. With its newly redesigned ellipticals, Sole Fitness continues to deliver some of the best feeling, most comfortable and most natural feeling ellipticals available for under $2000. It’s easy to see why the Hilton and Omni Hotels have chosen Sole to exclusively provide equipment for their hotel chains. For the past 2 years the Sole E35 has come away with the Ichi-Ban Best Buy Award for an Elliptical under $1500 and, if Sole keeps up their quality and innovation, I expect it to continue to win in the future.

UPDATE: This is an old review. You can check out our latest Sole E35 review here.

In an effort to further differentiate their product from Spirit Fitness Ellipticals, this year Sole has redesigned the Sole E35 Elliptical. They’ve kept the best features from the past and fine-tuned the Sole E35 to be, once again, one of the best ellipticals available on the market today.

The first thing I want to mention about the Sole E35 unit we received in here at the DOJO is just how freaking great the new design looks. Now, I know that has absolutely nothing to do with the E35’s performance but it is worth mentioning. The new Sole E35 has surpassed the great look of last year’s model and is now one of the spiffiest looking machines I’ve had the pleasure to work on.

Next, I want to mention the flywheel on the Sole E35. Flywheels have been a bit of a shell game when it comes to elliptical manufacturers. It’s really hard to tell what is there under the shroud and what a manufacturer is basing their weight estimates on. This year Sole has given different flywheel weights to all of its ellipticals. However, and this is based purely on our observations here at the DOJO, the flywheels all seem to be exactly the same again this year as they were last year (and actually look to be the same flywheel drive as last year). I truly believe they only gave the Sole E35 and E55 different flywheel weights in order to allow their salespeople to “upgrade” consumers to a “better” unit for more money. The only significant difference we found in the SOle E35 and Sole E55 ellipticals was in the heart rate control programs. That’s it. The two ellipticals have the same exact feel when you get on them…and it’s a very nice workout feel.

The elliptical itself is slightly beefier than last year’s model, weighing in at about 15-20 pounds heavier and with an increased maximum user weight capacity (375 pounds this year versus 300 last year). This comes from a slightly heavier duty shroud around the flywheel and an upgrade in the unit’s tubing. Individually it doesn’t amount to much, but when you add it up you’ve got a much more solid elliptical in the new Sole E35 and one that will handle much harder and punishing workouts.

There are a few other changes as well, some upgrades and some features have been removed. Most interesting is the lack of heart rate control programs in the Sole E35 this year. Sole must have decided that users in this price range really aren’t interested in the HRC programs and so saved them for the upgraded Sole E55. I do think the heart rate control programs are one of the most misunderstood features in treadmills and ellipticals both. While it is a nice feature to have, most users really have no need for it and will never actually make use of it. If you’re an athlete doing heart rate training or you’ve been set up with one by your doctor for medical reasons, then you’ll want to check out the Sole E55. For everyone else, the Sole E35 is going to be more than enough of an elliptical for your needs.

The 2008 Sole E35 elliptical has also been upgraded to 20 levels of resistance over 16 last year, which is a nice little bit of icing on the cake.

Aside from that, the Sole E35 still has most of the same best buy award winning features as last year – adjusting and articulating foot pedals with a 2% inward incline, a fantastic 20″ stride, 8 programs, pulsegrip and wireless heart rate monitoring and the great Sole warranties and customer service.

Sole has done a great job in their redesign and it’s nice to see a beefier, sturdier Sole E35 elliptical this year. For being the best buy awarding winning elliptical under $1500 for yet another year, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Sole E35 Elliptical 4.5 out of 5 Golden Buddahs.

Another “WOW” from Sole, the Sole E35 elliptical is a best buy elliptical with 4.5 gold buddahs out of 5.

2008 Sole E35 Elliptical Specifications
Stride: 20″
Flywheel: 25 lbs
Articulating Pedals: Yes
Programs: 8
Resistance: 20 Levels
Display: LCD
Heart Rate Monitor: Pulse grip and wireless
Heart Rate Control: No
Max Weight Capacity: 375 lbs
Elliptical Weight: 200 lbs
Parts Warranty: 5 years
Labor Warranty: 2 years
Price: Under $1300

-The Treadmill Sensei