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Is Sole’s E98 Elliptical A Smart Investment? [A Review]

sole e98 elliptical review

If you’re looking for a commercial grade elliptical that’s affordably priced, Sole’s E98 should probably be on your short list. As Sole’s highest-end model to date, the E98 is a no-BS machine with a lot to be proud of.

Highlights of this elite home elliptical include a 20″ stride length, a 32 lb flywheel, and a heavy-duty steel frame that can hold users weighing up to 400 lb.

It’s also bluetooth friendly and chest strap heart rate monitor compatible.

And the E98 is backed by one of the most generous warranties you’re gonna find anywhere.

Long-story-short: Sole’s E98 is one of the toughest, most durable home ellipticals on the market.

If you’re interested in the longer story, keep reading.

In this review, I’ll go over everything the E98 does and doesn’t have going for it. After reading this article, you’ll know everything you need to in order to decide whether or not this is the right elliptical for your home gym.

Off we go.

The Sole E98 Elliptical

sole e98 elliptical review

Photo courtesy of Sole Fitness

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Sole Fitness. I like that they’re a no-thrills brand that emphasizes performance over anything else. I also like that their products are fairly priced and backed by great warranties.

Sole started off as a provider of light commercial grade treadmills to hotel chains.

As their popularity grew, it only made sense that they’d branch out to the world of home fitness.

These days, they still make awesome treadmills, but they also have other quality cardio machines to choose from as well.

They offer all the basics you’d expect, like exercise bikes and ellipticals (duh). They also have a high-end rower and a step machine that’s pretty sophisticated (the CC81 Cardio Climber).

When it comes to ellipticals, they’ve got 6 to choose from (check out my complete Sole Elliptical Guide for more info on the other models).

The E98 is the highest-end and most expensive of the bunch and will cost ya about $2500 on sale (PS – it’s always on sale through Sole).

Pros

  • 20″ stride length
  • 32 lb flywheel
  • 20 levels of magnetic resistance
  • 20 levels of power incline
  • 10.1″ LCD console
  • 10 workout programs
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Fitness app compatible
  • Chest strap compatible
  • USB charging port
  • Tablet holder
  • Heavy-duty frame
  • 400 lb weight limit
  • Great warranty

Cons

  • Chest strap heart rate monitor not included
  • Assembly manual can be a little confusing

Stride Length

When it comes to treadmills, I always start with the running surface because this spec tells you how much room you’re gonna have during your workouts.

For ellipticals, this spec is the stride length.

As you’d probably guess, an elliptical’s stride length refers to how far apart the pedals move back and forth during use.

The stride length will vary from machine to machine, but most home ellipticals come with stride lengths between 14 – 20″. Cheaper models tend to come with smaller stride lengths and vice-versa, although this rule isn’t set in stone.

Taller folks should consider a model with a stride length closer to 20″, because it’s going to feel more comfortable to use- you’ll be able to stretch out further with each step.

As opposed to a smaller elliptical that makes you feel like you’re jogging in place.

Sole’s E98 comes with a 20″ stride length, making it a comfortable option for most users (for a more detailed discussion on stride lengths, check out this article).

So when it comes to the stride length, the E98 is right where we’d expect a high-end model to land.

And when it comes to build quality, this elliptical also scores very highly with it’s heavy-duty steel frame. And when I say heavy-duty, I mean this elliptical weighs 249 lb assembled.

This is massive for a home elliptical (NordicTrack’s Commercial 14.9 weighs about 200 lb, just sayin’) and I mean that in the best way.

A heavier frame is going to make for a more stable base- this means less wobbling and unwanted movement during your workouts.

The weight limit for the E98 is also very high at 400 lb- another great indicator as to how well-built this machine really is.

Overall, Sole’s E98 scores very highly in this category. It comes with a long stride length, a heavy-duty frame, and a high weight limit.

Flywheel

Most (not all) home ellipticals utilize a weighted flywheel system to produce the resistance you work against. In these systems, when you pedal, a perimeter weighted flywheel spins.

This flywheel is paired with a magnetic resistance system. The resistance is increased or decreased by adjusting how close or far away the magnets are from the metal flywheel.

A heavier flywheel is beneficial because it tends to provide a smoother feel as you pedal.

The extra weight builds more momentum, which helps eliminate any unwanted awkwardness between pedal strokes (the flywheel wants to keep spinning, which essentially helps you keep the pedals moving).

Heavier flywheels can provide more overall resistance as well- makes sense when you think about it, a 30 lb flywheel will take more energy to move than a 15 lb flywheel.

Personally, I consider anything over 20 lb to be a “heavy” flywheel.

With all of this in mind, the Sole E98 comes with a 32 lb flywheel, which is very heavy for a home elliptical.

A flywheel this heavy will be able to provide a smooth pedal action as well as a substantial workout, especially when paired with 20 levels of resistance and 20 incline settings at your disposal.

Overall, the E98 scores highly in this department as well. With a flywheel this heavy, this elliptical is well-equipped to challenge users of all fitness levels.

Features

The Sole E98 comes with the following features:

10.1″ LCD console- the screen isn’t touchscreen or HD, but it’s large and lightly lit, making it easy to read during your workouts.

10 workout programs- this elliptical doesn’t come with a ton of workout programs like some, but it comes with plenty of options to choose from. These include 5 standard profiles, manual, 2 custom workouts, and 2 heart rate workouts. There’s also a fitness test.

Bluetooth speakers- you can listen to your workout jams wirelessly from your tablet or phone through the built-in bluetooth speakers.

App compatible- you can also use bluetooth to connect the elliptical to Sole’s free fitness app for data tracking. Sole’s app can also sync with other popular fitness apps.

Tablet holder- the tablet holder is located conveniently above the console, so you won’t have to worry about blocking your view of your workout stats while using a tablet.

USB charging- you can plug you smart devices into the USB charging port to keep your devices charged up during your workouts.

Cooling fan- there’s a fan to help keep ya comfortable during your more strenuous workouts.

Water bottle holder- this one’s pretty self-explanatory. There’s a large area to store your beverages, as well as any other small thing you might need to store conveniently while exercising (remotes, keys, phones, etc).

 

Assembly

Assembling the E98 shouldn’t be that challenging, although there are a lot of covers and parts that need to be attached. And as much as I love Sole, I think they could do a better job with their assembly manuals.

I like that they include a large, to-scale image for the necessary hardware for each step, but I’d prefer if they split the steps up so that there’s less going on in each step.

The way it’s organized, there’s only 4 steps to get this elliptical up and running.

In reality, those 4 steps could easily be split up into 10 steps.

Especially step 4- at first glance, this step could look a little overwhelming, with all the plastic parts that need to be attached.

My advice would be to take it one at a time and start on one end at work your way to the other.

Manual organization aside, putting the E98 together should be pretty straightforward. Just keep in mind this is a heavy elliptical, so it might be nice to have another person around to assist.

I’d expect to spend 1 – 1.5 hrs getting this elliptical assembled.

Warranty

The Sole E98 Elliptical comes with the following residential warranty:

  • Lifetime frame
  • 5 year parts/electronics
  • 2 year labor

This is a great warranty from top to bottom. You can’t beat a lifetime guarantee on the frame and 5 years on parts is longer than the 2-3 years most brands offer.

The 2 year labor warranty is 2x as long as the year most competitors offer as well.

For the sake of comparison, NordicTrack’s Commercial 14.9 offers 10 years on the frame, 2 years on parts, and a year on labor.

Sole also offers a light commercial warranty on the E98: lifetime frame, 3 year parts, 1 year labor.

Overall, warranties like this are one of the reasons Sole has become so popular.

Final Thoughts

That about does it for Sole’s E98. I think it’s pretty safe to say this is a heavy-duty elliptical from top to bottom. I like that it comes with such a heavy flywheel and the stride length is just where most users are going to want it.

I also like the high weight limit and I love the extended warranty.

You may have noticed that I compared it to the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 a few times in the review.

I’m not hating on NordicTrack or anything like that, but the 14.9 is one of the most popular ellipticals out there, so I wanted to illustrate how the E98 stacks up.

And when it comes to quality of build, warranty, and overall heavy-dutiness (I’m not sure that’s a real word), the E98 wins every time.

So I think it’s safe to say the E98 is a great elliptical, but is it the right elliptical for you?

If you’re looking for a really heavy-duty machine that can handle multiple users day in and day, then I would say, yes- it makes sense to invest in the E98.

But if you’re simply looking for a nice elliptical for yourself to use, the E98 might be more elliptical than ya need.

You might want to save yourself some cash and consider Sole’s E95–  the flywheel is a little lighter (27 lb), but it still comes with a 400 lb weight limit and the same great warranty.

Either way, I do think the E98 is an awesome machine- you really can’t go wrong with a Sole.

 

Will

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