Sole treadmills are marketed by Sole Fitness, a fitness equipment company that has been in the business of making treadmills for twenty years. Sole’s overall philosophy seems to be to design treadmills that are simple yet functional in design, and then manufacturer them from high quality components. They then underwrite them with long, comprehensive warranties backed by excellent customer service and then pitch them at an affordable price to the consumer.
In addition to being used in residential locations Sole treadmills can also be found in commercial setting such as gyms and hotels. In fact Sole treadmills are used exclusively by hotel chains such as Omni, Monaco and Hilton. Sole pioneered the idea of “in-room” fitness by placing high end treadmills in individual guest rooms. Treadmills used in these commercial environments must be able to put up with a lot of punishment and keep working reliably or the hotel companies would not continue to use them.
In fact Sole are so confident in the durability of their products even in commercial environments such as hotels that they offer one of the best warranties available. This includes lifetime cover on the deck and motor and 2yrs labor (in home service) on most models. They also offer a money back guarantee on their treadmills.
Sole’s current model range comprises of four folding treadmills and three non-folding treadmills. The four folding treadmills are designated as F63, F80, F83, F85 while the three non-folding treadmills are designated as S73, S77 and TT8. All models are broadly similar in shape with variations in motor size, running area, deck suspension, and programs depending upon specific model.
There are several design features which are present in many models across the range and help to characterize the marque:
Motor – at the heart of all Sole treadmills are high torque motors with precision flywheels. These are industrial quality motors with large diameter flywheels made from steel with zinc coating and balanced to provide a vibration free running experience. The use of heavy flywheels results in the sort of silky, smooth motion that you get from expensive commercial treadmills that you find in gyms.
Frame – Sole uses a double horseshoe folding frame in their folding treadmills. This design of frame is actually more stable than most non-folding frames putting the lie to the notion that all folding treadmills are less stable than non-folding models. This design also permits the treadmill to be moved with ease once the deck is in it’s upright locked position.
Folding Mechanism – Sole uses the “easy assist” mechanism on their folding treadmills, helping to make it one of the best folding treadmills on the market. The mechanism comprises a rack and pinion system with an integral safety lock which engages when the deck is in it’s upright “stored” position. When in operation the user merely has to release it and the deck will unfold into it’s operating position smoothly and gently without any effort required from the user.
Deck – while the majority of treadmill decks have a phenolic coating, Sole have improved upon this and produced their own deck technology which they term a “whisper deck”. These decks are smooth, quite and durable and as the name suggests permit “whisper” quite operation of the treadmill. Sole are so confident in the durability of their decks that they offer a life time warranty on them.
Rollers – Sole uses high quality rollers that are usually only found on expensive commercial treadmills. The rollers are a sealed bearing design of 2.75″ diameter and is electrically grounded in order to reduce static build up. These large rollers form a larger contact area with the belt and result in a smooth, quiet, running experience.
Belts – the tread belts that Sole use on most of their treadmills consist of double woven 2-ply construction with four layers. This is made up of two rubber layers formed over a middle PVC layer with a nylon backing layer that moves over the deck and rollers. The rubber layer gives the belt it’s durability, whilst the PVC layer stops the belt from over stretching. Finally the nylon layer presents a smooth static free surface which glides over the deck and rollers.
Heart Rate Control – this is a facility that is available on the majority of Sole treadmills across the range. Pulse measurements are taken from the user’s chest strap and transmitted via wireless telemetry to a receiver mounted in the treadmill. The treadmill’s computer then uses this information to moderate the speed and incline of the treadmill in sympathy with the user’s heart rate. Being able to train within a specific target heart rate zone will enable the user to obtain the greatest benefit from their workout.
Display – the console mounted display on Sole treadmills acts as a message center that provides the user with informational messages to guide them through the inbuilt workouts. To the new user a treadmill can appear to be a bewildering complex device and ploughing through a user manual in order to find out how to run a specific program can lead to frustration. Sole have come to terms with this problem with their message center which guides the user through almost everything that the treadmill is capable of doing. The display will also provide feedback of all your ongoing workout data and will even review your whole workout so that you can check your overall progress.
The Sole range of treadmills extends from their extremely popular entry level F63 folding treadmill which has given many people the opportunity to have a quality home treadmill at an affordable price to the TT8 with it’s huge running surface that will accommodate the demands of the most serious runner or fitness enthusiast. By combining innovative design with quality components and supporting their products with long and comprehensive warranties, Sole continue to be a trusted name in the world of exercise treadmills.