The Spirit Esprit EL3 Elliptical Review – Old Elliptical, New Name, Great Value

Happy Post-Holiday Season! Now that the Christmas season is over and visiting family will soon be heading back to their own little corners of the world (most exciting is that my den won’t be doubling as a second guest room for too much longer), the Treadmill Sensei can get back to work and to you, my loyal readers. I absolutely love Christmas-time, but I feel more tired the day after Christmas than almost any other time of the year. Of course, large numbers of my wife’s family can have a draining effect on anyone!

One of the most confusing parts of the Treadmill Sensei’s job is to delve in to the naming game a lot of manufacturers like to play. Much like the electronics industry, fitness manufacturers like to put different names or labels on units when they’re sold through different outlets. If a unit is sold at Costco or Sears it may have one name, or if a unit is sold online versus offline it may have a different name. The Icon Health and Fitness companies (Proform, Reebok, Image, Weslo and so on) are masters at this game .

Another company that has been guilty of this is Spirit Fitness. As I was the first one to let the cat out of the bag last year, we all now know that Sole and Spirit treadmills and ellipticals were almost identical units pre-Summer 2007. In spite of semi-shady rankings to the contrary, their units came off of the same assembly line and used the same parts. The only difference came in the QC process done once units reached the US, in customer support and warranty support. That has changed a bit this year with both Sole and Spirit redesigning their units independently of one another.

Now, while Spirit has been getting hit pretty hard by experts everywhere over the decrease in quality of their X-series Treadmills and Ellipticals, they have done an incredibly smart thing. Spirit has put together a brand new line of equipment, made up of award-winning older units under a brand new name. The Esprit line of treadmills and ellipticals from Spirit is made up largely of last year’s best buy award winning Sole Ellipticals and Treadmills. Better yet, these units are all around $200-$300 cheaper than their poor-performing Spirit X-Series cousins. The best thing Spirit could have done was the give these great units their own brand in order to keep them from the stigma of the current Spirit X-Series reputation (easily one of the poorer perfoming lines on the market right now). Besides, why pick a brand new unit with a new, untested design when you can pick up a design that has been tested and highly rated for 4+ years…AND get it for more than $200 cheaper?!

That brings us to the new Esprit EL3 Elliptical, formerly known as the 2006 Sole E35 of years past. This unit has been one of the best and most consistantly performing ellipticals on the market for 3 or 4 years and has dominated its price range. The Sole E35 has won just about every consumer and expert award on the market, and the Esprit EL3 is the exact same unit with a new paint job.

The Esprit EL3 Elliptical has the same 2% inward incline in the pedals which Sole has been known for. The 2% incline, when added to the smooth 20″ stride and articulating pedals, gives the Esprit EL3 (and Sole E35) the best elliptical feel and workout available in a best buy elliptical under $1000. It is easy to see why owners love the comfort and natural stride the El3 Elliptical gives them.

I do want to talk for a moment about the Esprit EL3’s flywheel…and the flywheel on the new Sole E35. They’re both ranked as 25 pounds for some reason this year — 5 pounds less than the Sole E55 or Esprit EL5. It’s nonsense. They all use the same flywheel and should be rated the same. There has been no change in the size of the flywheel since last year and the Esprit EL3 has the same 30 pound ranked flywheel that last year’s Sole E35 had.

With the price at under $1000, the Esprit EL3 may be one of the absolute best buy ellipticals available for under $1000. You’re getting the exact same great feel, the exact same solid frame, the exact same best buy award winning elliptical as the 2006 Sole E35, but with the Esprit EL3 you’re getting it for more than $200 off the comparable Spirit XE200/XE300 ellipticals. In comparison to the Esprit EL3, the Spirit XE200/XE300 ellipticals are incredibly over-priced and under featured, especially when you consider the large number of reported problems on the Spirit Ellipticals this year.

Save yourself $200+ and check out the Esprit EL3 Elliptical by Spirit. It is head and shoulders above the Spirit X “equivilent,” the Spirit XE200/XE300, in design and manufacture, and blows away the competition.

For being the same great unit as the old 2006 Sole E35 elliptical, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Esprit EL3 Elliptical by Spirit 4.5 out of 5 Golden Buddahs.

The 2006/2007 Sole E35 Elliptical is now called the Esprit EL3 Elliptical from Spirit..and is still a solid elliptical by any name
It was a great elliptical as the 2006 Sole E35 Elliptical and it’s a great elliptical as the Esprit EL3 Elliptical, getting a best buy elliptical ranking of 4.5 gold buddahs.

Spirit Esprit EL3 Elliptical Specifications
Stride: 20″
Flywheel: 25 lbs
Programs: 8
Resistance: 16 Levels
Display: LCD
Heart Rate Monitor: Pulse grip and wireless
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Max Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
Elliptical Weight: 190 lbs
Price: Under $1200