Sole Exercise Bikes - while fairly new - are becoming popular with those who want a commercial grade bike without the commercial price tag.
Sole started out making treadmills for the hotel market (they are used by Hilton and Omni hotels for in-room fitness). They've recently branched out into home exercise bikes with an emphasis on a more luxury-style bike.
One of the best things about these bikes is the special 2 degree inner angle cant found on the foot pedals. This gives a more proper body alignment when you pedal and helps to prevent aches in the knees and feet, especially after long or frequent workouts.
Sole offers a couple of recumbent bikes, upright bikes and a light commercial indoor cycling bike. Here are some of their strengths and weaknesses:
1) 2 Degree Inward Angle on Footpedals
These bikes are made for proper ergonomic comfort, and most carry a 2 degree inner angle slant on the foot pedals. This helps give you more proper body alignment and reduces the stress on your joints. It also helps give you a more comfortable workout.
Plus there are other features that add to your comfort like ergonomic padded seats that are easily adjustable. So no matter what your height, you can find the right pedal to seat ratio for a smooth, easy ride.
2) Heavy Flywheels Give Smoother Ride
Different bikes carry different types of flywheels. A heavier flywheel gives you a smoother, more comfortable ride, especially when you're changing resistance levels.
Sole exercise bikes carry heavier flywheels. For example the Sole R92 recumbent bike flywheel is 26 pounds. And the light commercial Sole LCR bike has a 30 pound flywheel.
3) Large, Backlit Consoles - Having a large, bright console can really make the difference between a workout you enjoy and one you just endure.
Many cheaper bike brands have non-backlit consoles which can make it really hard to see your workout stats. We like Sole bike consoles since they are large and backlit (bright). They
4) iPod Docks with Speakers - Most Sole bikes come with an iPod or mp3 dock with console speakers. So you can plug in your iPod and listen to your favorite tunes or audiobook when you workout. This is another little luxury that many bikes do not have.
5) Self-Generating Power - Some Sole models like the Sole LCR (Light Commercial Recumbent) bike comes with self-generating power. So you can place the bike anywhere you want, instead of having to put it near a wall outlet.
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6) Lots of Resistance Levels - One of the biggest complaints when people buy a bike is that they quickly top out at the highest resistance and there's no more challenge. Sole bikes offer a lot of resistance levels to give you a challenge. For example the light commercial bikes offer 40 levels of resistance, which means you'll have a serious challenge for years to come.
7) Extra Long Warranties - The warranty is often a sign of the quality of construction on a bike. And Sole offers some pretty long warranties. For example the R92 recumbent bike carries a lifetime frame, 5 years on electronics and 2 years on service warranty. Since many cheaper bikes give you 90 days on service, this is a great value and can save you serious money in the future.
While this isn't really a weakness, Sole exercise bikes are not as well known as other brands. So they can sometimes be a challenge to find. See below for the one place you can currently buy them and get Free Shipping.
Conclusion: Highly Recommended
If you're looking for a commercial grade exercise bike - without spending $2000+, you may want to consider a Sole. They have a great track record with other types of commercial grade equipment and their exercise bikes are made to the same level of construction as their treadmills.
Plus with their special ergonomic design, large, bright consoles, iPod docks and padded seats with back supprt, they're made to give you a more comfortable feeling workout.
Where To Buy At A Discount:
You can buy Sole exercise bikes direct from the Manufacturer. They often have discounts going on and as of this writing, are offering Free Shipping to your home which can save you about $75.00