Sole F60 (2011 model) Treadmill Review

The award-winning Sole Fitness F63 treadmill has caused such a sensation over the past few years that any Sole treadmill to follow that closely resembles it, is bound to generate some excitement. The fact that the F60 is their entry-level machine and comes at a particularly affordable price, most certainly adds to that appeal. Now it’s time to discover what else the Sole F60 treadmill has to offer!………

First impressions? Well it’s tricky to describe this model without us repeating excerpts from every other Sole review we’ve produced, but…well…they’ve gone and done it again! With regards to their usual treadmill design we think we must share Sole’s belief that “if it’s not broken – don’t try and fix it!” They seemed to come up with the right formula early on and stuck with it – and in ending up with a treadmill that looks like this, we’re glad they’ve kept the tradition going!

Appearances can sometimes be deceiving but as is typical of Sole kit, the F60 ‘feels’ as solid as it looks! The fact that it is lighter than the F63 (by over 50lbs!) shouldn’t be seen as a negative, in fact, for anyone having to install this machine in an upstairs room, it’s rather a plus! The weight difference on paper may seem very significant but when you grab hold of the F60 and climb aboard it’s clear that this machine is built to last (and with Sole’s lifetime guarantee, you can take that last sentence very literally).

To add further proof of its durability, the F60 has been given a maximum user capacity of over 21 stones. The size of the running area makes it very accommodating for all shapes and sizes too. At such a bargain price we were surprised and delighted by the machines proportions. Measuring 20” by a whopping 60” the running deck is 5” longer than the F63 and generally longer than most other machines period!

It wasn’t just the size of the deck that impressed us, but also the feel of it under-foot. To plagiarise from Sole’s spec sheet, the F60 has an “18 mm thick phelonic deck with a unique design cushion flex whisper quiet running deck”. In actual use (and plain English) all those complex–sounding features combine to ensure some very simple and pleasing benefits. To describe any running deck as ‘whisper quiet’ must surely depend on who is pounding away on it but despite the punishment inflicted to it by our reviewer, the F60 did a sterling job of absorbing impact and comfortably doing so without too much noise or vibration.

The ‘Comfort’ factor has to be an outstanding plus-point of this particular treadmill. Here is a machine that despite its low cost, seems to have undergone no evident compromises in this area. The cushioning system is basic but effective – it provides adequate cushioning (even for our heavy-footed reviewer!). A ‘serious’ runner would probably want/need to invest more in a high-performance machine BUT for the slightly less discerning, the F60 can be great for running sessions. The vast expanse of running area provides unrestricted freedom to move and the 2.5 CHP motor is happy to run along at 10mph if you are!

Even more impressive is the incline capability. You can send the deck right up to 15% and with such a steep gradient, it feels very reassuring to have all of that 60” long treadmill belt to stride out on. If we had to find some reason for criticism it would be that the treadmill belt itself felt slightly on the thin side at 1.4 mm, but having said that, it would be unreasonable to ever think that Sole could have factored in an orthopaedic belt at this price point!

One area that does feel economised is the Display. In size and clarity it proved a slight pain in the <eyes>! Despite bestowing the F60 with such a monumental console, Sole have neglected to combine it with a worthy display. The 5 and a half inch screen looks rather lost in there and even during the initial setup process, the size began to quickly frustrate. For starters, there are instructions that scroll across the bottom of the screen (which is not far from the top of the screen!) and being as the screen is small means you don’t get many words to fit….before you…are waiting…for the words… to scroll across (Yep frustrating isn’t it!). The dawdling speed in which the words crawl across adds to the annoyance and while all of this is slowly happening, you have to attempt to make out the small and faint dot matrix while it inertly flashes.

So unless you have superhuman patience AND eyesight, you’ll probably grow weary of awaiting instructions and resort to the trial and error method! The good news is that we found this approach worked rather well, as thankfully, the computer is very intuitive.

Once you get going, most of the display becomes easier to monitor as you get familiar with the layout. All the user detailed workout feedback is there (when you look closely!) such as time, speed, distance, calories burned and heart rate.

You can monitor your heart rate by simply grasping the pulse grip sensors on the handlebars, but as with most machines, if you want to ensure accuracy, we’d recommend investing in a compatible chest strap transmitter. With one of these inexpensive devices, your pulse rate is wirelessly transmitted straight to an inbuilt receiver in the console; In doing so you’ll be able to let your arms swing free during training, get super-accurate readings AND enjoy the 2 heart rate controlled programs on offer here.

Although there isn’t a huge abundance of training programmes to choose from, the 5 pre-set ones are diverse enough to keep boredom at bay. Plus you can create your very own bespoke workout sessions with the 2 user programmes that give you free-reign over the speed, time and incline settings. All programmes are split into plenty of segments and the console makes a handy ‘beep’ sound as it warns you of any changes as each new increment approaches.

In addition to the programmes, there is a great quarter mile track display feature, which we found challenging and motivational as well as rather fun to race around!

Positioned at either side of the display screen are 6, one-step quick keys to allow you to go straight to your desired level of speed or incline at the touch of a button.

Also housed at each side of the console are handy storage compartments. Showing nice attention to detail, there are raised icons embossed under each holder. These display a phone, keys, water bottle and Mp3 player and there looks to be enough space to safely store all those important items within easy reach.

The convenient layout extends to having an Mp3/iPod jack plug next to one holder and a socket for your headphones by the other. MP3 connectivity is becoming a widespread feature on many machines, which is a great for music lovers, but for those nearby who might not share the same musical tastes, it’s a great idea to have the option of a headphone socket. If you’re not too concerned about disturbing anyone else then the integrated speaker system can pump out the tunes with decent clarity and volume.

Finally at the top of the console is a dual fan system that does a surprisingly effective job at blowing cool air. So much so, that while standing next to the machine making notes (resting!) we found ourselves turning them off to keep pages from being blown around! Maybe the fact that Sole have treated us to TWO cooling fans goes some way to make recompense for scrimping on the display size!

However, we can’t imagine that at this price, anyone could ever feel hard done by with all that you get with the Sole F60 treadmill!

 

Best Price

The Sole F60 (2011 model) is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

We're fans of Sole Fitness treadmills as they're designed to be true running machine and manufactured to a very high standard. As a result, most Sole treadmills are at premium price points. With the F60, Sole Fitness have delivered a machine with all the essential features that make a Sole treadmill a great running machine at a price of under £700! The huge running deck and powerful motor more than make up for the compromises made to meet this price point and we'd highly recommend the Sole F60!

Sole F60 (2011 model) Specifications

  • 2.5 CHP motor (4.00 Peak CHP)
  • Speed range of 1-16kmh (0.5-10mph)
  • 0-15% power incline
  • 51cm /20” by 152cm /60” running area with 18mm thick phelonic deck and unique design cushion flex
  • 1.4mm thick running belt
  • Computer with 5.5″ blue backlit LCD display, dot matrix profile display
  • Feedback: Time, Speed, Distance, Incline, Calories, Program, Pulse, Pace, Laps, HR % Profile
  • 10 Programmes: Manual, Hill, Strength, Interval, Cardio, Fat Burn, 2 User, 2 HRC
  • 1/4 mile lap track feature: Yes
  • Pulse measurement via grip sensors and wireless receiver (requires using optional chest strap)
  • Conveniences: dual turbo cooling fans, dual water bottle holders, audio system with Apple device/MP3 connectivity, quick speed and quick incline keys, transport wheels, easy to assist folding design;
  • Product Weight: 85kg / 187.4lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 136kg / 300lbs
  • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 187.5cm / 73.8” x 84.5cm / 33.3” x 135cm / 53.1”
  • Dimensions folded (L x W x H): 121cm / 47.6” x 84.5cm / 33.3” x 159.5cm / 62.8”
  • Guarantee: Lifetime frame, motor and parts, 3 years on-site labour

Sole F60 (2011 model) Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

Sole F60 (2011 model) Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Solidly built machine with a sturdy feel
  • A large 20” x 60”, well cushioned running area
  • Nice extras i.e. MP3/iPod Connection/Integrated speaker system/Cooling Fans etc.
  • Quick and easy folding system
  • Lifetime warranty on parts & 3 years labour

The Cons

  • Small console display
  • Rather thin 1.4 mm running belt
Sole F60 (2011 model) Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

Power - 9
Appearance - 8
Running Area - 9.5
Comfort - 9
Reliability - 9
Noise - 8
Ease Of Use - 8.5
Controls - 8
Warranty - 9
Value for Money - 9
Best Price

The Sole F60 (2011 model) is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Also see our Treadmill Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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