Reader Mailbag – Sole E55/Spirit XE350 vs Sole E95/Spirit XE550

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The end of the busy season has us hard at work here at the DOJO so I do apologize for not posting as frequently lately. I hope to get back on track after IRHSA at the end of March. In the meantime, let’s hear from a recent reader who followed the Treadmill Sensei’s advice on a purchase and see what he has to say.

Treadmill Sensei,

Many thanks for your quick reply and information! I went to several fitness stores to try out the different models and did about 5 minutes on each one. The Life Fitness models (except the X9i) all felt a little flimsy in the front when I got on them. Not a big noticeable wobble, but definitely one I could feel. Ditto for all of the discount fitness store models. The Life Fitness X9i and the Precors are out of my price range so I didn’t even consider them, but they are nice machines. After many tryouts on several models in the different fitness specialty stores, I decided that I liked the Sole E55 (Spirit XE350) and the Spirit XE550 (Sole E95). But since the Spirit was on sale for $1388 compared to the $1499 for the Sole E55, it was an EASY decision on what to buy!

I just finished a quick 30 minute work on the Spirit XE550 and I am very happy with the machine! I was ready for a longer work out but my wife demanded equal time on it this morning. :) I am 5’9″ and 195 lbs and I really gave the elliptical a work out, getting up to level 14 and about 70-75 PPM with no discernable wobble or flimsy feelings. The machine is very quiet and I like the adjustable foot pads too. My only negative observation is the placement of the angled water bottle holder and the fact it will only fit the small water bottle that came with the machine. The bigger ones we regularly use will not fit. But if that is I have to “complain” about, I am doing pretty good with this machine! Again, THANKS for your information. -Dave

Get the Sole E55 at the lowest price online and save 3% with the code TMSENSEI


Thanks for the note and I’m glad I could be of service. A lot of the Life Fitness residential grade equipment doesn’t hold up to their commercial units. Their commerical ellipticals are fantastic, but the home units tend to be a lot less stable.

You got a great deal on the Spirit XE550! Spirit has some very strict MAP pricing (meaning the minimum a unit can be advertised at) and the XE550s normally sell for around $1699. One of the best features in the Spirit XE350 and Spirit XE550 is the adjustable foot pad option. They allow you to get the most comfortable workout on your elliptical and blow away just about everyone else out there. As for the water bottle, I’m not completely sure what Spirit was thinking with that one, but there are third party clip on bottles out there for you to replace it with.

Thanks again for your note and have a great workout!

Find best price online for the Sole E95 and save 3% with the code TMSENSEI.

-The Treadmill Sensei

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About Treadmill Sensei

Treadmill SenseiThe Treadmill Sensei has been in the fitness industry for several years. He is familiar with several brands of fitness equipment and has written several reviews of many different treadmills and elliptical machines. You can see what he thinks are the best treadmills or you can get help choosing a treadmill.

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About My Treadmill Reviews

TreadmillMy treadmill reviews are both subjective and objective. They are objective in the sense that I will provide you with information about each machine, such as motor, weight capacity and other features. But they are subjective in the sense that I am really giving my opinion of each treadmill. You may agree or disagree with my opinion, but my hope is that my elliptical and treadmill reviews can be helpful to you in making a decision on what to buy. Remember that each review is just what I think. You can always check out Treadmill Doctor, Treadmill Review Guru or these other treadmill reviews if you want another opinion.