The Sole Fitness F85 Folding Treadmill features a number of important improvements over the earlier F80 model, including a more powerful motor and larger display screen.
This product article takes an in-depth look at everything from the design features and workout programs, to the customer reviews and how easy it is to assemble.
As with any new item of home fitness equipment, the size of the machine will usually be a factor that’s high up on your list of things to check before buying. Fortunately the Sole Fitness F85 is a folding treadmill, with a hydraulic lift system to make raising and lowering the running deck easier, and locking position when folded to keep the deck safely out of the way.
As the flagship design in the Sole Fitness range of treadmills, the F85 features a range of high quality features that outperform many similarly priced models, including the Sole Fitness F80.
Extra large running deck
One of the most important design features to consider when buying any new treadmill is the size of the running area. Unless you match the size of the running area to your natural running stride then you won’t be able to take full advantage of the 12mph maximum belt speed, as you can’t extend your legs to your full stride length.
Although this will be most noticeable for taller users, having the extra room to run means you don’t have to worry so much about your position on the deck no matter how tall you are.
Cushioned running deck for a smoother run
While the size of the running area is certainly the most noticeable feature of the running deck off the machine, once you start running you can really notice the double portion frame and softness of the running belt.
With running generally considered quite a high impact form of exercise, this cushioned running belt design helps to reduce the impact on your knees by up to 40%, making for a quieter and more comfortable workout.
Sole Fitness F85 Treadmill – Features Summary
- Featuring a Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, shown in a study to reduce impact on your joints by up to 40% compared to running on asphalt
- 4.0 CHP, DC Type motor with 0.5-to-12 MPH speed range
- 0-to-15% rack-and-pinion gear design incline
- Two-ply belt
- Pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitoring
- Six standard programs, two custom programs, and two heart programs
- Cooling fans and MP3-compatible sound system
- Nine-inch LCD workout display
While the range of workout programs and impressive list of design features is certainly important, if you are working out at home instead of a commercial gym, it’s important to train safely.
This is something that Sole Fitness have taken into account, providing several features specifically to make sure your workouts remain injury free.
An emergency stop button has been positioned as close to you as possible on the main display console.
This can be used to quickly stop the running belt from moving if you start to feel faint during a workout.
Although the hand rails can also provide added support if needed, the main safety feature provided with the Sole Fitness F85 is the safety tether cord.
With the plastic clip attached to your clothing and the magnet positioned on the display console, if you were to fall when running this would displace the magnet and cause the belt to come to a quick stop.
Improvements on the F80 design
If you are thinking about buying a Sole Fitness treadmill, it can be useful to know the differences between two of the main designs in the range; the F80 and the F85.
The most noticeable difference between the two is the size of the display screen, with the Sole Fitness F85 measuring 1.5 inches larger than the F80 at 9 inches.
As well as the larger screen size, the F85 also features a stronger running deck (400 lb weight limit compared to 375 lb for the F80), and a more powerful motor (4 CHP compared to the 3.5 CHP of the F80 treadmill.
One of the best ways to keep your workouts both varied and interesting is by choosing a treadmill with a collection of workout programs designed to meet specific fitness goals.
The Sole Fitness F85 includes 10 of these programs, split into 3 main categories; preset profiles (5), user defined (2), and heart rate control (HR1 and HR2).
Preset training profiles – Each of the 5 preset training profiles is tailored towards a specific fitness goal.
This includes a program specifically designed to improve fat burning, one to increase your cardiovascular function and endurance, and one to increase muscular strength in your lower body.
User defined programs – While the 5 preset profiles will meet the majority of fitness goals, there will of course be times when you feel like training in a specific way.
The 2 user defined programs will let you create your own custom workouts, allowing you to set the speed and incline settings for specific points during your workout.
Heart rate control programs – Keeping your heart rate within a certain range is one of the most effective ways of training towards a particular goal.
While many fitness professionals now believe that keeping your heart rate between 60% and 80% of its maximum is the ideal range for fat burning, the exact level will often vary from person to person.
The HR1 program has a default level that is 60% of your projected heart rate maximum, designed for individuals with fat loss as a goal. The HR2 program has a default of 80% of your projected heart rate maximum. This is geared towards individuals with a goal of improving cardiovascular & lung function.
Display console design
One of the greatest differences between high and low quality treadmills is in the design and features of the display console.
Sole Fitness treadmills have become well known for their high quality display consoles, with the Sole Fitness F85 being no exception.
Speakers positioned on either side of the display screen make it easy to listen to your favourite music while working out, and even provides you with a headphone jack if you want to keep your workouts quieter.
Quick select buttons positioned between the speakers and the screen make it easy to switch between preset incline and speed settings, with the standard increase and decrease buttons also provided on both the main display console and the hand rails for convenience.
But the main feature of the display console is its extra large 9 inch screen. With a range of display features including a peak and valley graph for keeping track of your workout progress and virtual dials for keeping track of your incline and speed, this goes beyond displaying the standard workout information.
In terms of the workout information you can keep track of through the LCD display, this includes your speed, distance, calories burned, heart rate, and current workout program.
Ease of assembly
Although the weight of the Sole Fitness F85 is around 265 lbs, once the pre-assembled running deck is out of the box there isn’t any more heavy lifting required.
One of the great benefits of buying a treadmill from Sole Fitness is how simple and well explained the setup is.
The user manual includes a detailed parts list, complete with diagrams and part numbers before you even get to the main assembly steps.
The steps themselves are covered in just 4 pages, but still provide complete explanations and exploded diagrams for how each part fits together and the parts / tools you will need.
While the time it takes to get setup will vary from person to person, based on customer reviews this will usually be around 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Despite the range of price comparison and review sites now listing the Sole Fitness F85 (2013 model), Amazon still remains one of the most trusted marketplaces in terms of price and verified purchases.
While the majority of reviews are 4 or 5 star rated, there were also a couple of negative points mentioned by some customers that are also worth bearing in mind.
To provide a clearer idea why these ratings were chosen, we’ve summarised the most frequently mentioned pros and cons from the reviews and sorted them into the lists below.
My wife and I have been using our new Sole treadmill for six weeks and love it…I did extensive research and I still believe the Sole F85 is the best treadmill for the money. – Ben Burke, Amazon Verified Purchase
- Smooth running belt motion
- Powerful 4.0 HP motor is very strong
- The weight limit is a very generous 400 lbs
- Wide running deck is well suited to taller users (over 6ft tall)
- Quiet enough to watch TV or listen to music while you run
- Quick to setup
- Wide range of incline and speed settings
- Quick select buttons for both speed and incline make it easy to adjust the running belt to your desired settings
- Slight delay when changing speeds can have an effect on interval training
- 10 workout programs is less of a selection than similarly priced treadmills
What’s included in the warranty?
- Frame and motor: Lifetime.
- Deck: Lifetime.
- Electronics: 5 Years.
- Labor: 2 Years