A Broken Treadmill Review – By Rob
I have owned a Sole S77 treadmill for almost two years. The treadmill comes with a lifetime warranty for most major components and a two year in home repair warranty for all parts.
The original Sole S77 I purchased was a great treadmill when it works, but unfortunately it had several parts that needed to be replaced or repaired during the time I had it. The first problem with the treadmill occurred a couple months after I got it. Bearings in the rear roller broke and the roller had to be replaced. Sole initially thought it was a front roller issue, but after replacing that roller they had to replace the rear one. So, those were the first two visits from the Sole repairman to my house. About eight months later, the console of the treadmill malfunctioned and Sole sent me new boards and cables to be replaced.
The treadmill worked again for a couple months and then the console crashed again. In response, Sole sent an entirely new console. Another two visits from the repairman and the treadmill was working. A few months later, I noticed a squeaking noise in the deck of the treadmill. Sole sent me new cushions to install in the deck. The squeaking persisted, and then a bracket on the frame snapped off. It was a bad weld which resulted in the frame breaking (see photos). Sole saw the pictures of the frame and sent me a new S77 treadmill to replace the original one.
I got my new S77 treadmill delivered and set it up. It looked great, but when I turned it on the motor sounded like an outboard engine from a boat and it vibrated a lot. There was also a thumping sound coming from the rear roller. I called Sole and held the phone next to the treadmill. They said the noise from the motor was so loud they thought they were in the same room with me. The tech from Sole also said it sounded worse than a motor would after 10 years of heavy use. The sad thing is that this was a BRAND NEW treadmill straight from the manufacturer.
Sole sent a replacement motor, the repairman installed it, and the noise was still there. Sole sent another motor and new front and rear rollers, the repairman installed them, but the noise still didn’t go away. Sole concluded it was an electronic problem with either the motor board or the power regulator. So, more parts were mailed to me. They were installed and the outboard motor sound was gone.
However, the repairs were not over. Once the outboard motor sound was fixed, a new motor issue was identified. The brush cover on the most recent motor replaced was damaged during shipping and the plastic finger from the brush cover was lodged somewhere in the motor, causing a scraping sound. Sole is now sending another motor. That will be the fourth service call in six weeks since the second treadmill was delivered. With luck, the treadmill will be fixed. With a little more luck, it might not have the same frequency of problems as the original S77 I purchased less than 2 years ago.
Sole obviously has some quality control issues with their suppliers. Despite the great service from Sole, I am hard pressed to recommend buying a treadmill from them due to the quality control problems from their manufacturer. Also, I learned that the warranty for their products begins with the original purchase. So in my case, I have a couple months left on my 2 year warranty and then I am stuck paying for repairs. Even though Sole sent me a BRAND NEW treadmill, it is treated for warranty purposes like it was bought 1 1/2 years ago. So, if a console, motor, roller, etc. breaks six month from now (or sooner) which has been my experience on multiple occasions, I am stuck with the repair bill (even if Sole replaces defective parts – or frames a year down the road).
I hope Sole can fix the problems with quality control, because the customer service is solid from the company. But, for people like me who buy treadmills to actually use them, the routine downtime with the unit is unacceptable.