Sole’s F85 Treadmill offers a great combination of power and finesse. Between the powerful motor, large running surface, and new fancy console, one could make a pretty solid argument that the F85 is the finest treadmill for under $2000.
Am I here to make that argument?
Hmm, not sure yet. But I’ll probably make my mind up by the time I finish this review.
Seriously though, the F85 is a stellar treadmill provided by one of the most impressive brands in home fitness. It’s no wonder this treadmill often finds itself near the top of annual “best in class” lists.
This review is here to show you everything this treadmill has to offer. Regardless of whether you’re narrowing down your search or just beginning, you’ve come to the right place.
After reading this article, you’ll know everything you need to about the F85. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
The Sole F85 Treadmill
I want to start out by saying I’m a big fan of Sole Fitness’s work. I love how understated they are. You never see a lot of fancy commercials or marketing for their products because their users’ reviews speak loudly enough.
I also like that they keep things simple. One thing you’ll notice about all Sole fitness equipment is that they’re pretty easy to use. You won’t find a lot of complicated programs or screens on the console.
Their products are more down to Earth. Sole concentrates more on the function of the machines than on frivolous details that don’t improve the quality of your workouts.
Sole Fitness started out providing treadmill for hotel chains and gradually worked their way into the home fitness market.
All of their treadmills, even the more affordable ones, are heavier duty than you’d expect. I’m guessing that they learned from their experience in the light commercial arena that heavy duty products work better and last longer.
Sole’s treadmill lineup currently has 7 treadmill models in it (well 8 if you count their treadmill desk). They offer models in every price range, from their budget friendly F63 to their highest-end TT8.
Although their most famous for their treadmills, Sole offers some pretty awesome ellipticals, exercise bikes, and rowers too.
The F85 is one of their mid-range treadmills and will cost ya right under $2000. I think the moderate price level is where we usually find the best deals (and the F85 is no exception).
PS- if you like the F85 and don’t want the hi-tech console, check out the S77– it’s almost identical and costs about a $100 less.
- 22″ x 60″ running surface
- Cushion Flex Whisper Deck
- Folding deck
- 4.0 CHP motor
- Top speed of 12 mph
- 15 levels of power incline
- 10.1″ touchscreen display
- Access to entertainment apps
- 400 lb max weight capacity
- 2.75″ rollers
- Bluetooth speakers
- Bluetooth compatibility with fitness apps
- Chest strap HR monitor included
- USB charging port
- Quick touch speed/incline buttons
- Awesome warranty
- Console known to have a few glitches
Personally, when I’m researching treadmills I always look at the running surface first. I think this is one of the easiest ways to tell a high-end treadmill from a dud.
And that’s because higher-end treadmills will come with larger running surfaces (usually- this is the rule, but there are exceptions).
And by larger running surface, I mean at least 20″ x 60″.
Treadmills with a running surface of 20″ x 60″ will be able to comfortably handle pretty much all users without any issues. This means that you’ll be able to walk or run at top speed without having to worry about altering your stride.
Which is crucial for a comfortable workout experience. I don’t know about you, but if I’m looking for a treadmill to run on, I want to make sure it’s long enough to accommodate my full stride.
Running surface isn’t as important if you’re just looking for a treadmill to walk on, but that said, larger is always better.
The Sole F85 comes with a 22″ x 60″ running surface. Not only does this meet our size goal mentioned above, but it actually exceeds it by 2″ on the width.
The extra room is a nice luxury because you’ll have plenty of wiggle room to work with. If you sway a little while walking or running, you won’t have to worry about running out of belt space (or falling off the treadmill).
The running surface is generous, but the deck itself is pretty sophisticated too. The F85 comes with Sole’s Cushion Flex Whisper Deck (great name)- this is basically just their shock absorbing system.
According to Sole, their Cushion Flex system can reduce the impact your joints experience by up to 40%.
I also like how heavy duty the frame is. This treadmill weighs 300 lb fully assembled and has a user weight capacity of 400 lb.
Both of these numbers are more impressive than most of the home treadmills we see these days, making it a great treadmill for the bigger and taller folks out there.
A larger, more robust treadmill like this is going to move and wobble less during your workouts. It’s also going to be able to handle the stresses of daily use better, which is evident by the warranty Sole backs this machine with (more on that in a sec).
Oh, the F85 is also a folding treadmill. I know, it’s surprising that a treadmill this beefy would also be able to fold, but it does. So, if space is limited, you can easily fold this treadmill vertically and cut its footprint roughly in half when not being used.
If the running surface is my first priority, the motor is my second. A good treadmill needs a motor strong enough to handle reaching and maintaining higher speeds.
Well, if you plan on running anyway.
Regardless of what your plans are, the F85 should be able to handle it. This treadmill comes with a 4.0 CHP motor that is capable of reaching a max speed of 12 mph. It also comes with 15 levels of power incline to bump up the intensity level of any workout.
At 4.0 CHP, the F85 has plenty of muscle to maintain those higher speeds without crapping out.
I always encourage runners to look for a treadmill with at least a 3.0 CHP motor under the hood. This really should be the cutoff point for folks looking to log some serious miles on their treadmill.
The F85 easily surpasses this and has one of the most motors you’ll find on a home model.
Sole built this treadmill with 2.75″ rollers to help this powerful motor provide a smooth and quiet ride. Rollers are the part that makes contact with the belt, propelling it along the track.
When it comes to rollers, larger is better because they make more surface contact with the belt. This reduces stress through both the rollers and the belt, prolong the life of both.
It also creates a smoother feel.
Sole also uses 2-ply belts with 4 layers. These thicker belts add a little extra cushion and also last longer because they’re less likely to stretch out over time.
Overall, Sole did a great job providing the F85 with a powerful motor and large rollers.
The Sole F85 Treadmill comes with the following features:
25 workout programs- Sole isn’t known for cramming a lot of workout programs on their treadmills, but the new console on the F85 comes with more options than any other. These programs include 6 standard workouts, 12 custom workouts, and 7 fitness tests.
10.1″ touchscreen display- the F85’s new console includes a large, touchscreen display that makes it easy to make all selections during your workouts. It also comes with 7 built-in apps, including Netflix and YouTube (although there have been some complaints about getting the apps to work correctly). There have also been user complaints about little glitches in the new software, like getting the clock set correctly and the AM/PM being opposite- strange, but doesn’t seem to affect the treadmill’s performance.
Bluetooth speakers- with the built-in bluetooth speakers, you can wirelessly connect your phone or mp3 player to the console and listen to your playlists through the treadmill.
Bluetooth compatibility with apps- you can also connect this treadmill with your phone for data tracking and all that jazz. You can use the free Sole app or one of several other popular fitness apps.
Chest strap HR monitor included- this treadmill is compatible with chest strap HR monitors and Sole includes one with your purchase. A great feature if you like to track your HR during workouts.
USB charging port- the charging port is convenient because you don’t won’t to drain your phone battery jamming out to your workout tunes.
Cooling fan- this is pretty standard, but it might help keep ya a little more comfortable during your workouts.
Quick touch speed/incline buttons- this is a nice feature, especially if you like to do interval training. Hit the quick touch buttons and you can instantly set your speed or incline to one of the predetermined values.
Integrated tablet holder- the tablet holder is conveniently located above the console so you won’t block the screen when you’re watching Netflix on your tablet.
Sole always does a great job with their assembly manuals. I love that they show you ahead of time which hardware will be used for each step- and they also provide a to scale image of that hardware so you know what you’re using along the way.
Assembly for the F85 is pretty straightforward. There’s only 9 steps and you’re basically just attaching the console to the deck via the support beams.
The most challenging part is probably step 4 where you have to connect the wires from the deck to the console before attaching the console to the supports.
It would be convenient to have another set of hands for this step, but you could always place the console on a table at roughly the right height and do it yourself.
The most challenging part of assembling this treadmill would be the fact of how heavy it is. Keep in mind this machine weighs 300 lb. You’ll need some help moving this bad boy to its final destination prior to assembly.
Overall though, most fairly handy folks should be able to assemble the F85 by themselves (or with a helper).
The Sole F85 comes with the following guarantee:
- Lifetime frame
- Lifetime motor
- 5 year parts and electronics
- 2 year labor
Sole is always a leader in the industry when it comes to warranties. And I must say, the guarantee they provide on the F85 doesn’t disappoint.
I think this is a great warranty for any price range. You can’t beat lifetime on the frame and motor. Five years on parts and electronics is also really good.
Most treadmills (or any fitness equipment really) only offer 1 year on labor. It’s awesome that Sole doubles down and provides that extra year.
Overall, I love this warranty. I think it’s a great guarantee for a treadmill that’s built to last anyway.
Ok, I really like this treadmill. The F85 undoubtedly has a lot to offer. There’s really no way to argue against that fact. I love that it has an over-sized running surface and one of the most powerful motors you’ll find on a home model.
I also love the generous warranty which provides some extra peace of mind when making a purchase of this magnitude.
The new touchscreen console is great and it’s cool to see that they’ve added entertainment apps, but there have been several complaints about weird little glitches with the software.
These irregularities don’t seem to actually effect the treadmill’s performance, but it could make using some of the entertainment features more tedious.
I assume this is something Sole will figure out eventually.
Even with the console flaws, I think the Sole F85 is awesome- easily one of the best treadmill for under $2000.
But is this the right treadmill for you?
If you’re a serious runner and plan on doing a lot of running on your home treadmill, than yes, this is a great option- the F85 is easily one of the best running treadmills on the planet.
If you’re a casual runner, who runs a few times a week and isn’t always reaching those higher speeds, you may want to save yourself some cash and consider the Sole F80– it has the same great running surface and warranty, but the motor is a little smaller.
If you’re only going to walk, you can save yourself a lot of money and go with a less powerful treadmill.
Overall though, Sole’s F85 is a beast of a home treadmill and a steal at under $2000. You probably aren’t surprised that it landed a spot on my best treadmills of the year list. Highly recommended.