The Esprit EL5 Elliptical by Spirit Review – A great deal at under $1100

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When it comes to equipment made by Spirit Fitness out in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the Treadmill Sensei generally gets one of two questions. The first is usually from disgruntled Spirit dealers who are having problems selling this year’s lower quality Spirit equipment and generally amounts to “why aren’t you supporting Spirit equipment as much this year because I have a warehouse full of stuff that I can’t get rid of.”

The second question is from you, my loyal readers, who want to know how the “new” Esprit ellipticals are and whether or not you can trust product from Spirit Fitness with their recent drop in quality (long time readers of a certain Doctor’s website probably noticed Spirit’s absence from the “best buy” listings this year as opposed to last year when they were all over it – and the same went for my best buy awards).

I think I can address both of those questions with today’s review of the Esprit EL-5 elliptical, which we brought in to the DOJO on a loan from a local online retailer. For those of you who don’t know, the Esprit line of ellipticals is just a repainted version of the old award-winning 2006 Sole ellipticals, and the Esprit EL5 is just a repainted 2006 Sole E55, while the 2008 Spirit ellipticals are brand new designs. That, my friends, is a great example of the problems with the current line of 2008 Spirit products: their equipment shined in the past when their units were just repainted versions of the Sole treadmills and ellipticals (and received a ton of awards both online and off), but their new shorter frame ellipticals just feel stunted and ill-conceived. That doesn’t even mention that most industry experts find the 2008 Spirit treadmills and ellipticals highly over-priced.

Luckily, someone at Spirit was smart enough to keep the old award-winning line at least partially alive with the Esprit line of ellipticals this year. Sure they painted them a funky “refrigerator white” color, but at least the units themselves don’t have the issues and bad press associated with the 2008 Spirit ellipticals. But I digress a bit. Let’s get on to the Esprit EL5 Elliptical review. We received a note from Ryan C (a regular reader here at, asking for more information on the EL-5 elliptical trainer. Let’s see what he has to say…take it away, Ryan!

Do you know anything about the spirit esprit el5. I found it for $1095.00 (plus $4.99 shipping!). I heard it is a repainted version of the sole e55. How odes this item compare to the sole e25? – Ryan


Thanks for your note and questions. You are absolutely correct, the Spirit Esprit El-5 Elliptical is currently on sale at for $1095 and, at that price, the Esprit EL5 is a fantastic buy. You may see it on some slightly shady online retail sites for as much as $1397.99 but don’t be conned into paying more (some of those shadier dealers may also try to get you to “convert” over from a Sole unit at a that higher price).

You are also correct in that the Esprit EL5 from Spirit is a repainted version of the older 2006 Sole E55 elliptical. It is a slight downgrade from the current 2008 Sole E55 but at a more budget friendly price. That price is the reason for the high rating on the Esprit EL5 – you are getting a very solid elliptical with a 20″ stride, 20 levels of resistance, 6 preset programs, heart rate monitoring, heart rate control programs, articulating and adjustable foot pedals. The unit also offers a very smooth elliptical motion and Sole’s patented 2% inward incline pedals for a much more natural feel to your workouts.

The only real downside to the Esprit units is the lesser warranty, the so-so color and lack of the higher-end Sole padding on the foot pedals. It isn’t a huge downside, especially at the $1095 price point, but is something worth thinking about.

If you’ve been checking out the Sole E55 but can’t afford the price, or if you were turned off by the stair-stepper feel of the Spirit XE200/Spirit XE300/Spirit XE400 and their outrageous prices, then the Esprit EL5 elliptical is a very nice alternative at a great price.

For being a budget alternative to the Sole E55 and for being more comfortable than standard Spirit ellipticals, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Esprit EL-5 Elliptical by Spirit a sturdy 4 out of 5 golden buddahs. Wow, a 2008 elliptical from Spirit that isn’t a disappointment…who woulda thunk?

UPDATE: I don’t know how long the Amazon sale will last but this rating is for the Esprit EL5 priced at just under $1100.

The Esprit EL5 Elliptical from Spirit Fitness gets 4 gold buddahs out of 5 but only if priced at under $1100. Anything more than that and I’d suggest sticking with the current 2008 Sole ellipticals instead.

A repainted version of the Sole E55, the Esprit EL5 is currently on sale at for $1095
Get more information on the Esprit EL5 elliptical and find the lowest price online.

Spirit Esprit EL-5 Elliptical Specifications
Stride: 20″
Flywheel: Listed at 30lbs
Display: LCD
Resistance Levels: 20
Watts: 1000
Programs: 6 preset
Heart Rate Monitoring: Yes
Heart Rate Control: Yes
Articulating Pedals: Yes
Adjustable Pedals: Yes
Max User Weight: 350lbs
Unit Weight: 200lbs
Price: Under $1100

-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.