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Sole Fitness Exercise Bike Equipment Review

9.14/10

Sole Fitness Exercise Bike Equipment Review

9.14/10

Quick Overview
  • Difficulty
    Moderate
  • Cost
    Average
  • Trial Period
    30 Days

Sole Fitness is a popular health and fitness equipment manufacturer that is perhaps best known for their treadmills, and to a lesser extent, their ellipticals. However, Sole Fitness also sells a full line of exercise bikes, a fact that may be one of the better kept secrets in the fitness equipment industry. Sole Fitness offers five different exercise bikes (including uprights and recumbents), each of which are designed to cater to different needs and budgets.

All Sole Fitness exercise bikes feature sturdy steel construction adorned with high quality parts, such as kevlar braking and chrome-plated flywheels.

This allows for a rigid and stable pedaling platform that matches the feel of using an exercise bike in a professional gym. The frame and parts are covered by extensive warranties that you probably won't need to utilize so long as you're using the exercise bikes as intended.

Sole Fitness exercise bikes are built specifically with user comfort in mind. The company makes this apparent by including comfortable, gel- or foam-stuffed back and seat rests that are fully adjustable to accommodate users of various shapes and sizes. Gone are the days of being "too tall" or "too short" to safely and effectively ride an exercise bike.

Sole Fitness exercise equipment, including exercise bikes, comes with a 30-day trial period. If you decide to return your exercise bike, you'll receive a full refund minus an 8% restocking fee. Most customers opt to keep their equipment, a testament to the quality and value you can expect from Sole Fitness.

Pros

    • Various models available at a range of price points.
    • High quality parts and frame designed for durability.
    • Ample bells and whistles such as 9" LCD displays, heart rate monitoring and MP3 player dock.
    • Slightly angled pedals offer optimum pedaling comfort and save joints.
    • Strong warranties and customer support.
    • Smooth, highly-adjustable resistance levels.

Cons

    • Most of Sole Fitness' site focuses on treadmills and ellipticals, not exercise bikes.
    • Trial period is short compared to those offered by other exercise bike manufacturers.

Rating Criteria

Technology

Sole Fitness has a reputation for taking classic exercise equipment designs and modernizing them with technologically advanced features that you'd expect to find in a commercial gym. The company's approach to its exercise bikes is no different, as all five models offer smooth, adjustable resistance and exceptional user comfort along with bells and whistles such as backlit LCD displays. These range from a 3" by 4" blue LCD on the SB700 spinning bike to a 9" commercial grade display found on the other models.

Another unique technological feature included with all Sole Fitness exercise bikes lies in the way in which the pedals are designed. The pedals are mounted with an inward cant of two degrees, allowing the joints of your body to maintain the proper alignment as you're exercising. This prevents unnecessary aches and pains in your feet and especially your knees. Sole Fitness' approach to technology is that all features should minimize distractions rather than create them, and this philosophy is realized with their exercise bikes.

Features

Sole Fitness upright and recumbent exercise bikes come with some of the most advanced and useful features available on the fitness equipment market. Although feature sets vary between models, you can expect to find many of the following features after assembling your Sole Fitness exercise bike:

  • Power: Self-generating or 110V (for the B94 Upright Bike and R92 Recumbent Bike)
  • Adjustable Seats (with up to twelve fore-aft adjustment positions)
  • Adjustable Back Rests (with comfortable padding that allows for an extended workout)
  • Variable Resistance (ranging from 20 to 40 levels of adjustment)
  • Heart Rate Control (available on select models, this allows you to monitor your heart rate as you're exercising in order to achieve the optimal workout)
  • Various Workout Programs (including six or more predefined programs as well as heart rate programs and customizable programs)
  • MP3 Docking Port and Speakers(allowing you to connect an iPod or another MP3 player in order to listen to music as you're working out)
  • Chrome-Plated Flywheel (weighing between 26 and 48 lbs, with a Kevlar braking design)
  • Water Bottle Holders
  • Fans

All of these features are packed into units that, considering everything you receive, take up relatively little space. The Sole Fitness upright exercise bikes have a footprint of approximately 44" by 23", while the two recumbent models require 57" by 30".

Quality

Sole Fitness exercise bikes are constructed from durable, high quality materials such as 2 mm oval steel tubing (for most models) and commercial grade structural steel (for the heavier-duty LCB and LCR Light Commercial models). Depending on the model you choose, the steel frame construction allows for a maximum rider weight limit of 300 or 350 lbs. The exercise bikes themselves weigh between 125 and 160 lbs, which gives a good indication as to how solidly and sturdily Sole Fitness exercise equipment is built.

The ergonomically designed seats are filled with either durable foam or gel, allowing for a comfortable workout with minimal fatigue from sitting. The equipment itself benefits from an impeccable fit and finish, leaving no question as to why Sole Fitness exercise equipment is often found in luxury hotels including Hotel Monaco, Hilton and Omni Hotels.

Customer Support

Sole Fitness offers direct customer support via email and toll-free phone. Phone support is offered during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, while email support is available 24/7.

Additional customer service from Sole Fitness can be found by visiting the Technical Support area of the company's website, found under the Support menu item in the top navigation bar. Here, you'll find downloadable product manuals, assembly videos, troubleshooting videos, technical self-help resources, a warranty registration page and service/parts request page.

Warranty

All of the Sole Fitness exercise bike models come with the following standard warranties:

  • Frame - Lifetime
  • Parts and Electronics - 3 Years
  • Labor - 1 Year

If you purchase one of Sole Fitness' Light Commercial exercise bikes for residential use, you'll receive the following warranty upgrades:

  • Parts and Electronics - 5 years
  • Labor - 2 Years

All labor is performed in your home during the 1-year or 2-year labor warranty.

In addition to their standard warranties, Sole Fitness offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all of their fitness equipment. This allows you to try out any of Sole Fitness' exercise bikes for up to a month before deciding whether you'd like to keep it. If you decide to return your Sole Fitness exercise bike within the 30-day trial period, you'll receive a full refund including shipping and handling. However, you'll be required to pay a 8% restocking fee. This fee increases to 15% if you return the item without its original packaging and manuals.

Parts and Service

Sole Fitness offers both parts and labor for free while their respective warranty periods are still active. In order to request in-home service from Sole Fitness, you can fill out a service request on the company's website. This form is found in the site's Technical Support area. You'll need to provide a description of the issue you're encountering in addition to your name, address, phone number and the serial number of your exercise bike.

If you require replacement parts outside of the warranty period, you can order them from the Sole Fitness website. These parts (in addition to the exercise bikes themselves) should also be available from your local Sole Fitness exercise equipment dealer.

Cost

The various exercise bike models available from Sole Fitness are priced as follows:

  • SB700 Bike Light Commercial - $799.99
  • B94 Upright Bike - $799.99
  • R92 Recumbent Bike - $999.99
  • LCB Bike Light Commercial - $1,299.99
  • LCR Bike Light Commercial - $1,499.99

All of these prices include shipping; however, Sole Fitness offers two optional shipping upgrades for all of their exercise bikes. These include:

  • In-Room Delivery - $99
  • Turn Key Deliver (In-Room with Assembly) - $239

Summary

The days of Sole Fitness being recognized only as a treadmill manufacturer may be numbered, as the company is now offering a line of exercise bikes that easily competes with those available from other manufacturers.

One of the biggest selling points of Sole Fitness exercise bikes is their 9-inch, back-lit LCD displays, available on all units except for the SB700 Light Commercial exercise bike. The display is easy to read and helps you monitor your workout by showing your progress through the selected program. Sole Fitness exercise bikes with heart rate monitoring display this information on the LCD screen as well.

Overall, Sole Fitness exercise bikes are an excellent investment for anyone looking to expand the cardiovascular sections of their home fitness centers. The affordable pricing, solid construction, smooth, adjustable resistance and assorted convenience and comfort features add up to a product line that's worth exploring, especially in light of the 30-day trial period.