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F85 Sole Review

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PROS / This treadmill is ideal for small spaces, provides extra support with CushionFlex technology and has a well-designed console with cooling fans, built-in speakers, MP3 player and headphone jacks.

CONS / For this price range, we would have liked to see a touchscreen with Android and iFit capabilities.

 VERDICT / The F85 Sole is designed well, offering you features and functions that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.

F85 Sole

The Sole F85 treadmill is all that a treadmill should be: sturdy, powerful, user friendly and packed with features. The Cushion Flex shock-absorption technology and a 3.50 horsepower motor are two outstanding features that allow you to run for hours with ease and in comfort. For those living in a small apartment or condo, or those who love the idea of a treadmill but not its overbearing size, this fitness treadmill is perfect for you. With space-saving technology, this treadmill allows you to easily raise and lower the treadmill deck with the help of a hydraulic lift and drop system. It's that simple.

The Sole F85 ranks among the top treadmills on the market today. Unlike its competitors in the top tier of treadmill greatness, however, this treadmill is missing a touchscreen and Android browser. This treadmill is in the same price range as treadmills sporting the touchscreen consol, true, but we are still impressed with the attractively designed backlit 9-inch LCD screen. The LCD screen serves as your treadmill information center that shows you your speed, incline, miles, calories burned, pulse and pace. Depending on the program you choose, the screen displays a peak-and-valley graph that showcases your progress throughout the treadmill workout.

The Sole F85 fitness treadmill has several features besides the interactive message board screen that will keep you motivated throughout your treadmill workout. You have the option to choose between several programs and features including:

  • Six standard programs
  • Two user-defined programs
  • Two heart-rate based programs

You must take several steps before you can begin any treadmill program, which are:

  • Set your workout time.
  • Calibrate your treadmill calorie counter by entering your body weight using the up or down arrows on the treadmill console. Note: The calorie counter is not 100 percent accurate because many factors determine how many calories you burn. We suggest using a true calorie calculator so you will know exactly how long and how hard you must workout in order to achieve your fitness goals.
  • Set your target heart rate. Your target heart rate is based on many factors. The main factors are your age and fitness level. After you have entered your weight into the treadmill, you will then enter your age, which will help the treadmill determine whether you are meeting your target heart rate during your workout.
  • Before beginning your treadmill workout, enter the top speed you are comfortable going. Now, no matter which program you chose, you will never go faster than the maximum speed you set.

Music is a fantastic motivator because it moves your focus from asking yourself "how much longer?" to actually enjoying your workout. On this treadmill, music is an integral part of the design. Built-in speakers flank either side of the console, as do niches specifically designed to hold your MP3 player. You can plug your MP3 player into the treadmill and blast the music through the speakers. If you love working out in the early morning or late hours, there is also an earphone jack so you can still rock out to your favorite tunes without disturbing those around you.

This folding treadmill is designed well and serves the purpose of a running machine very well. This motorized treadmill offers several inches more of running surface than the average treadmill and allows for a higher max user weight, which are both ideal for taller and larger people with a longer running stride. If you choose, you have the ability to increase your max speed to 12mph and your incline to 15 percent for an extreme treadmill workout.

The speed and incline control buttons are located on either side of the handrails. These are conveniently located for easy control, but their placement on the handrails does present a safety concern. You could accidentally trip and grab the handrail and increase the speed of the machine. The safety key may pull out, but the magnet is strong enough that a minor trip may not pull it out of the treadmill. This situation is plausible and worries us.

Sole obviously knows what its customers like, because the F85's console is expertly organized and designed. Each feature – function buttons, screen monitor, speakers, cooling fans and cup holders – is systematically placed in the perfect spot on the treadmill console. You won't have to search for a function button because they are grouped intuitively and placed perfectly. The beverage holder is the only feature that seems out of place because it is located below the console and arm rails.

The Sole F85 includes fantastic features, but the manufacturer did not focus solely on features and functional design. Sole incorporated many safety features into this treadmill, including both the standard and the unconventional.

The Sole F85 is heavy, weighing around 280 pounds. It is designed to fold up and down to save space. In order to fold up and take down this treadmill, you may need help, which is where the Easy Assist Folding deck with a Safety Lock design comes in. You simply pull down on a lever located under the deck and the treadmill deck lowers safely to the ground. When you are done with your workout, you raise the deck and lock it into place to avoid injury.

The safety key is a standard safety precaution that Sole has also included on this treadmill, but with their twist. Instead of an actual key, the F85 has a magnetic safety tether cord. There is a plastic clip at the end of the magnet that you should secure to your clothing and wear during your workout. The treadmill will not function without the magnet in place, so if you trip or fall, the magnet will release from the treadmill, which will stop. In addition to the safety magnet, you can also use the large, red Stop/Pause button located in the immediate center of the console.

A manufacturer's website must offer more than just its product, although that is extremely important. We cannot stress how crucial help and support options are. Thankfully, Sole got it right. Its website offers more than just a great product; it provides you with a technical-support and warranty-service telephone number, corresponding emails, a FAQs section and a PDF user manual. This running machine has a lifetime warranty that covers the treadmill's motor, frame weldments and deck wear, as well as a five-year warranty on parts and electronics and a two-year warranty on in-home labor. There are exclusions and conditions for the treadmill warranty, so make sure you read your user manual carefully.

Summary

The Sole F85 is built and designed very well and offers you many features and functions that will help you achieve your fitness goals. We appreciate the inclusion of built-in speakers and cooling fans, and we love the MP3 sound system and headphone jacks. Although 2 inches may not seem like a lot, we also appreciate (as will tall runners) the extra running space available and higher max user weight allowed.

F85 Sole