Sole Fitness F80 (2011 model) Treadmill Review

The Sole Fitness F80 treadmill is one of the best selling treadmills in the US market and is now available in the UK market. It’s also one of the best reviewed machines and highly rated by US based review websites. So, now that it’s available in good old Blighty, is it any good and how does it compare to similarly priced treadmills already in the market?

First impression of the Sole F80 treadmill are that it’s a heavy duty treadmill that’s build to last. Certainly, it passes the classic ‘shake test’ with flying colours!

Let’s start with the basics: This treadmill is powered by a large 3 horsepower continuous duty motor, has a 20 inch by 60 inch running belt, a top speed of 20 kph (12.5 mph) and a maximum incline of 15%.

The combination of a powerful motor, large rollers and other high quality components has a big impact on the treadmill’s noise levels. Certainly, it’s much quieter than other treadmills in its price range.

What’s it like to run on? Simply put, it’s a pleasure! The deck provides ample room and the belt is a nice thick 2 ply belt. The running deck is relatively firm, whilst still providing a good degree of impact absorbtion. In terms of the feel of the deck, this is the perfect platform for serious training!

The console is an area where the Sole F80 really shines. The design of it is similar to a gym treadmill; typically gym treadmills have a clear and intuitive display and large, clearly labelled buttons for the simple reason that their members need to be able to use the machines without being confused. This philosophy has been adopted on the Sole F80. With this machine, there are separate buttons for ‘start’ and ‘select’, clear buttons labelled ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘slower’, ‘faster’ as buttons for selecting each of programmes offered on the treadmill. At the center the console, there is a very large, very clear & backlit LCD display which displays all the key information in a clear and easy to understand fashion. In additon, the built-in speakers are pretty decent (for a treadmill) and the dual fans in the console provide a welcome stream of cooling air when running.

The Sole F80 has 10 programmes: Manual, 5 pre-set programmes, 2 user defined programmes and 2 heart rate controlled programmes. On the surface, this sounds like a very limited range of programmes in comparison to other treadmills in the same price range. This comparison, however, would be somewhat unfair as each of the pre-set programmes on the F80 can have their duration and intensity set. On many other treadmills, each combination would be counted as a separate programme. We actually prefer the simplicity of Sole’s approach: it makes it easy to select one programme type (such as fat burn) and to start with a lower duration and top speed and gradually increase the intensity (top speed of the programme) and duration of the session as fitness levels improve over time.

The console has a Polar compatible wireless heart rate receiver and an optional chest best can be used to communicate ECG accurate heart rate measurements directly to the treadmill’s console. A chest belt needs to be used to make use of the treamill’s two heart rate controlled programmes. We’re pleased to see heart rate control functionality on offer here as this represents one of the best forms of training for specific fitness goals.

There are many details about the Sole F80 that make it stand out from its competition: the elegant unfolding mechanism, high quality finish, handlebar speed and incline keys, the fact that the treadmill can be moved without having to tilt it onto two wheels etc. But, there a couple of factors that really increase our confidence in this treadmill. The first is the very high maximum user weight and the second is the warranty. In addition to 3 years on site labour warranty, Sole Fitness are offering a lifetime warranty on the parts. This is something that we’ve not seen being offered by any treadmill manufacturers in the UK and it demonstrates Sole’s confidence in their products


 

Best Price

The Sole F80 (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

The Sole F80 is a serious treadmill that's built to last. The powerful motor, high quality components, feature rich and easy to use console as well as the lifetime parts warranty really make this treadmill stand out from the crowd. We have no hesitation in recommending this treadmill to those looking for a serious running machine!

Sole F80 (2011 model) Specifications

  • 3.0 HP continuous duty motor
  • 0 – 20 km/H speed range (0 – 12.5 mph)
  • 0 – 15% Incline
  • Direct Speed and Incline keys
  • Fold-up treadmill with hydraulic lift assist / soft drop
  • Large, clear LCD
  • 10 programmes including HRC
  • Elastomer cushioning system
  • Maximum user weight – 170kg (26.7 stones)
  • 51 x 152cm running deck
  • Hand Grips and chest strap for heart rate monitoring

Sole F80 (2011 model) Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

Sole F80 (2011 model) Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • The solid feel
  • Large running deck with quality belt
  • The sound quality from the speakers
  • Direct programme access keys
  • The cooling fans

The Cons

  • Initial assembley requires two people and can take about an hour.
Sole F80 (2011 model) Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

Power - 9
Appearance - 8.5
Running Area - 9
Comfort - 8.5
Reliability - 9
Noise - 8.5
Ease Of Use - 9
Controls - 9
Warranty - 10
Value for Money - 8.5
Best Price

The Sole F80 (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

Treadmills We Like

Under £599

£599 - £1000

Over £1000