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If you’ve been to a gym or health spa and spent time on their treadmills, you’ve probably noticed that they are noticeably bigger, more durable, and overall just a bit “beefier” than typical residential treadmills. Bringing a gym-quality treadmill into the home isn’t doable for many people since the combination of a bigger size and greatly increase price isn’t worth how much use you’ll get from it. However, since Sole models aren’t for typical commercial gym use, but rather light commercial use, their treadmills can work very well in a home gym situation.
One model that has not only been rated as a Best Buy but also as the Best Folding Treadmill is the Sole F85. This folding treadmill is one of Sole’s best sellers and is ideal for the home or even in a small gym where multiple people may be using it every day. The F85 has more power than typical residential treadmills, as well as some great features like a wider track and greater maximum weight capacity.
If you are looking for a treadmill for your home gym but you have a budget under $3k, the F85 will deliver some incredible advantages without feeling like “too much” for the typical consumer.
Specs and Features of the Sole F85
Before getting into why you may (or may not) want to invest your own F85 treadmill, here is a rundown of the basics you need to know.
- Total Dimensions – 57″ x 83″ x 37″ (h x l x w)
- Track Dimensions – 22″ x 60″
- Weight – 301 lbs
- User Weight Capacity – 400 lbs
- Speed Range – 0.5 to 12 mph
- Incline Range – 0 to 15 levels
- Powered by a strong 4.0 HP motor
- Extra wide, double-ply belt track
- Retails originally for $2,999.99 (often on sale for under $1850)
- Comes with 6 preset programs and ability to save 2 custom programs
- Comes with 2 preset heart programs
- Includes pulse grips and heart rate monitoring chest strap (included)
- Built with a fan cooling system and sound system
- Bright, easy to read 10″ TFT LCD display
- Designed with Easy Assist folding mechanism
- Upgraded 2017 F85 now has Bluetooth connectivity
- Lifetime warranty on frame, motor, and deck
- Up to 5 year warranty on electronics and other parts
The Sole F85 is loaded with some great features but remains very user-friendly and enjoyable to exercise on. It is ideal for walking, jogging, or running, and can easily handle sprints. While most people invest in a treadmill for home use so they can maintain their passion of running or jogging, those that are just beginning their fitness journey or recovery from injury can appreciate the slow speeds of this treadmill as well.
With that out of the way, let’s get into a few reasons why the F85 is such a popular treadmill.
Advantages of the Sole F85
Here are a few reasons the F85 is a great choice.
- Bluetooth Connectivity Compatible with Many Fitness Apps
Bluetooth wireless connection is a very useful tool in the fitness world. Since the average person uses a smartphone, the availability of fitness apps makes tracking workouts and progress much easier. Sole brought this technology to the F85 which is a huge bonus for those that already rely on fitness apps. The treadmill will talk to your app via Bluetooth, delivering important stats such as time, distance, speed, calories burned, and more. Some compatible apps include popular ones like FitBit, MyFitnessPal, and iHealth. Sole also has their own app which can be used to track fitness information.
- Very Enjoyable to Use
If exercising on your treadmill is difficult you’re less likely to use it – plain and simple. The F85 is really an enjoyable piece of equipment to use, not to mention comfortable. The first thing many notice when comparing this model to typical residential models is that it’s wider track makes running so much easier. At 22″ of width there is plenty of space and little fear of accidentally stepping off. The 60″ running surface length is ideal for vast majority of runners, even those with fairly long strides. Under this track is Cushion Flex Whisper Deck technology. This provides a great bounce and is remarkably quiet. This deck also reduces impact up to 40%, compared to running outdoors on asphalt.
Other additions, like cooling fans, water bottle holder, and a bright display really add to the fun of this treadmill.
- Can Handle Heavier Use and a Range of Users
Consumers that are a bit heavier in weight can struggle to find a residential treadmill that can safely handle their weight without failure or damage. The F85 is designed for users up to 400 lbs in weight, so even those 250+ can run on this machine without worry. The treadmill itself feels extremely secure and strong, which really helps to add peace of mind. Height also won’t be a concern since the wide, long track, as explained above, is great for those with longer legs and therefore a longer stride.
Disadvantages of the Sole F85
If you are considering the F85, you should also keep these two downsides in mind.
- Takes Up Quite a Bit of Space
The F85 is a larger treadmill than most residential models. When folded out it eats up 83″ x 37″ of space, and that doesn’t include having space around it for ease of use and safety. Taking up roughly 8′ x 3′ of area, plus a couple feet behind it means you’d need more like 10′ of space in length to use this treadmill. Those with small homes or a small room dedicated to their home gym just might want to give up that much space, especially if they do circuit training or train with a partner.
- Fairly Small Arms/Side Rails
Rather than having traditional side rails, the F85 has arms instead. It is discouraged to hold onto rails while using a treadmill, but some may find that the lack of a visual barrier makes them feel unsafe while running at higher speeds. While regular use and looking forward while running will help this psychological issue, it is still a downside for some.
Sole F85 Alternatives
Are you finding that the Sole F85 might not be the right model? There are two alternatives that perform equally well but may be more suitable for your needs.
First up the Sole F80, the little sister to the F85. If you love almost everything about the F85 but it’s out of the price range or you just don’t want that much treadmill, the F80 is an excellent step-down. It retails for under $1.5k and is powered by a smaller 3.5 HP motor. It still offers an extra-wide track and majority of the same program features. Sole also has another model called the F65 which is even more budget-friendly. If you really don’t want to spend too much over $1k, the F65 would be a wonderful little splurge for a private treadmill for a single user or family.
If you actually want more than what the F85 offers, the Precor 956i is a tempting choice. This treadmill is close to the same price as the F85, if you can find it used or through a retailer outside of Precor. This treadmill has the same 4.0 HP motor but can handle faster speeds up to 16 MPH. It is loaded with 26 preset programs, including intensive ones designed for Army and Law Enforcement physical tests. It has a larger display screen as well as a reading rack. Those that rely heavily on preset programing will really enjoy what this treadmill offers.