Sole F80 Treadmill: A review of the most important features

by Jack on August 28, 2016

We have read more than one website reviewing the Sole F80 Treadmill these sites do a great job providing lists of this model’s specification and features. However, they do not go into specifics needed to judge the quality of this machine and few mention how this treadmill model compares to other in its price range.

Our review here will not be in the form of an easy to read list, instead, we will concentrate on explaining in detail the 5 most important areas to examine when searching for the right treadmill to buy and how well the Sole F80 treadmill rates in these areas and also compares to other models on the market.

sole f80 treadmill review

What you have to gain by reading this: There are numerous models to choose from on the market today. The rules laid out here explaining the 5 most important areas of a treadmill to examine can be applied to virtually any model you might be interested in buying.

So whether or not you end up buying this Sole model, this review will help you in your overall decision making.

How to buy a treadmill – Sole F80

Treadmills these days come with many different “extra” features.  Many of these extras are only for marketing strategies to allow a company to better differentiate their machines from the competitions.

The best way to buy a treadmill is to first narrow down your choices by the most important core features of any model. We think when you look at the bullet list below you will agree these are vitally important to the functionality of any treadmill.

  • Motor
  • Frame
  • Tread belt
  • Cushion System
  • Warranty

Rule #1 -The best treadmill motor

There are a couple things you need to look for when judging the motor quality. And you also want to keep in mind your intended use. Are you a hardcore runner? Is jogging high enough intensity? Do you only plan to exercise by walking?

The first thing you will need to look for is the style of motor that comes with a treadmill.

There are a few different styles of motors, some are more durable and efficient than others. Buying the wrong style could leave you broken down in the short-term. Buying the right type should provide long-term satisfaction.

The following two types we do not recommend:

  • Treadmill Duty
  • Peak Duty

What you need to look for are models having a Continuous Duty Horsepower Rated (CHP) style of motor. These are the best motors, the CHP is both more durable and efficient than the lesser alternatives listed above.

The second specification to be aware of is the amount of horsepower (hp) the motor provides. This applies very much to your intended use. For example, if you only intend to exercise by walking you will not need as much horsepower compared to a person buying a treadmill for running.

2.5 horsepower CHP style is the absolute lowest amount of horsepower we would recommend to people buying a treadmill for running.

What does the Sole F80 have? It has a CHP motor with 3.5 hp.

So, it does have the right style and also more than enough horsepower for running. But what about walkers and joggers? Of course this model would work. However, one thing we want to mention, the size or horsepower of the motor is one of the biggest factors in price. And walkers and jogger don’t necessary need the 3.5 hp that this Sole model provides, although we would still recommend buying the CHP style of motor

Treadmills with more horsepower will be more expensive compared to models with lower horsepower. This is just something we want you to be aware if you are a price conscious person who only plans to walk or jog.

Rule #2 -Frame

The frame might not be the first thing (or 20th) that comes to mind when buying a treadmill. However, some people may wonder, “how sturdy or what the maximum weight capacity of a certain model is?”. And the answer to these questions and more all involve looking at the frame.

There are basically have two choices, either frames made out of steel and frames made from aluminum.

For a few different reason we recommend buying a steel frame. And you can usually find what type of frame any particular model has in the product description online or the specifications.

Besides increased sturdiness and providing high user weight capacities, a couple additional (and not so obvious) reasons exist to why we prefer steel frames over aluminum.

  1. Steel frames fit together better and tighter and therefore are quieter.
  2. Steel frames provide a little bounce to your step compared to the deadpan feeling of aluminum.

Rule #3 -Tread belt are you a runner?

The tread belt or exercise platform is… Of course is the part that spins around and around, where you will be exercising. It seems simple enough but there are a few things to be aware of.

Look at the Dimensions. As we mentioned about the motor and horsepower, those planning to run will need more horsepower compared to those who only plan to exercise through walking or jogging. The same is true about the dimensions of the tread belt.

Obviously, as we go from walking to running the length of our stride increases. This means if you do plan to buy a treadmill for running you will want to make sure the tread belt dimensions fit the increase length of your runner’s stride.

For running, we recommend at the very least a tread belt 55-inches in length. Longer would be better. For walking and jogging the average person will be able to get away with a exercise platform under 50-inches. Personally, the shortest we would go for walking and jogging is 48-inches.

How thick is it. Most treadmills worth buying come with 2-ply thick belts. Obviously, the thicker the belt the longer it should last. A 2-ply belts should last the average treadmill user 5-8 years depending the type of exercise. If you are running on it then this will wear it out quicker. Commercial treadmills usually come with thicker 3-ply belts. The only thing we should say to watch out for is if you are spending a decent amount of money, you deserve more than the thinnest (1-ply) belt. These are usually only found on the cheapest treadmills.

Rule #4 -Cushion System.

The Sole F80 offers an industry-leading warranty and a proprietary Cushion Flex Whisper Deck.

Many times, when dealing with similarly priced and quality treadmills it is extremely hard to judge which model has the best cushion system. Even when surveying groups of people who have used a number of different treadmills you will get different answers on which model provides the highest level of comfort.

This probably has a lot to do with different people having slightly different body mechanics, resulting in certain cushion systems feel more comfortable to some people.

What we will say the F80’s Cushion Flex Whisper Deck has shown in laboratory tests to reduce joint impact by over 40% when compared to pavement.

Rule #5 -Warranty.

While the warranty is not a functional moving part of the machine, nontheless, it is extremely important to look at especially when you are spending the amount of money this Sole treadmill costs. The warranty can also provides clues to the overall quality of the treadmill you look at.

If you think about it. When it comes to any expensive big purchase you make in life the company who you are buying from isn’t going to provide an extended lifetime warranty on their product if they know its low quality and likely to not last over the long-term.

Sure there are con man and bad companies who scam but for the most part any mainstream company that has been around for years will not attempt to match a great warranty with a bad product.

What does the Sole F80’s warranty provide and does this at least meet the industry’s standard?

  • Motor – Lifetime
  • Frame and deck – Lifetime
  • Electrical Parts – 5 years
  • Labor – 2 years

The more you pay for a treadmill the better the protection in the warranty should be. All and all, this warranty meets or exceeds what is provided in warranties of the other treadmills in its price range.

Overall opinion of the Sole F80 Treadmill

In what we consider the five most important areas that we have discussed here:

  • Motor
  • Frame
  • Tread belt
  • Cushion System
  • Warranty

We do have a high overall opinion of this treadmill compared to many other models currently in its price range. Meaning if we were narrowing down our choices this would be one we would keep on our list as a potential model we would buy.

With that said, this is now when we would say, compare the “extras” included with the different models you are interested in to further narrow down your choices.

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