The Flower and the Allen Wrench

Showing my herculean capacity for procrastination, I finally got around to fixing my Sole treadmill. You may recall my saga with the first shipment being messed up, and the second shipment was of a (very lightly) used machine which hadn’t been refurbished, and so had some odd screws and the like missing.

Sole has been great about it and sent me all the missing parts (except lube which they’re supposed to have sent me last week) but the machine was good enough to use, especially with the mild use I put on it. (Yes, it’s in use for long stretches, but at very low speeds. That might be harder on the motor, come to think of it, but it’s doesn’t stress the frame much.)

Anyway, the stars were right today for tightening all the parts up (and fixing the plastic arm pieces) and adding the missing screws and what-not, so once again The Flower helped me out.

At this age (seven), it’s usually a wash when they help, if it’s something they’re good at. They can do a pretty good job, but it’s a bit slow and you spend extra time checking out their work and fixing a few things.

There was a little bit of that, but for the most part, she was a huge help. What she lacks in strength, she also lacks in size, allowing her to get into the corners to put in screws and tighten them without having to roll the treadmill out of its usual resting place.

I explained to her that it was customary after the screws were in place to go and tighten them further. I figured there was no way she’d be able to get them very tight. But after the first one–once she knew I was going to go in and tighten further–she managed to get it so that I could barely get another quarter turn.

Her head is also at eye level with the screw holes in the arms, so she could see how the pieces lined up–or in the case of the right arm fittings, how they didn’t line up. That was our only shortfall in our project. (The plastic coverings fit okay but once they go on the arm, the holes don’t line up.)

She has such a facility for this sort of thing, I’d love to figure out some way to encourage it but can’t figure out what. Any ideas?

Treadmill Reboot

Well, the Sole S77 arrived on Tuesday.

After the initial vicissitudes from the previous delivery, the parts in this shipment came in a Food Lion bag, sans a few crucial pieces.


I got all the screws, though the manual suggests there should be more of one type there’s no place to put the extra ones it suggests are needed. So I think that’s a typo.

However, no Allen wrenches. No lube. And as Orlando Jones would helpfully remind us: “There’s always time for lubricant.” I thought there was supposed to be a heart monitor but I’m not sure that that’s the case. One of the arm fittings (they cover the wires from the console to the arm) was a real challenge to put on, and the other seems just grossly mismatched.

The Flower and I put it together, though, which was fun.

I called the Sole and the woman was genuinely horrified at the situation, though she wasn’t able to send out a new kit. I’m supposed to be contacted by tech support before the end of the week.

This seems less than optimal. But I’m hanging tight–and I’m using the machine as it is, because I’m not going very fast.

I thought initially it was mashed up at LAX–the box was fairly trashed (again!)–and I thought maybe they had inspected at the airport (I guess it wouldn’t have to be LAX) and not bothered to put it back right.

Now I’m thinking this was a return product and it got returned and then shipped out to me without being inspected.

That aside, the machine itself is quite impressive, compared to the one I’ve been using. (Similar model here.) Granted, that one was half the cost of mine new, and I bought mine off Craig’s List for $50. So, no complaints against the old ProForm, and I understand the new ones are better.

However! The Sole S77 is a good example of getting what you pay for (relative to the cheaper Proform).

  • It’s really quiet. You can’t hear the motor at all. Just the sound of the belt as it moves around, and sometimes not even that. (I haven’t figured out what the magic is that makes it quiet.)
  • It’s smooth. You set the speed and it transitions smoothly from whereever you are to where you want to be.
  • It’s safe. The Proform had some plastic pieces at the end that I could get my feet under if I pulled a George Jetson. This may have been a factor of it being a fold-up (the S77 isn’t) or of sloppy construction or just of being used, though.

Although it’s not a big issue for me, the S77 is defnitely fancier. The console has a music widget that I’ll never use, and some built-in fans that are somewhat useful. Even though I have no heart monitor, you can grap these little motorcycle-like handles on the console to take your pulse, which is kind of cool.

Sort of amusingly, the Proform had a speed problem: It was highly uneven at low speeds. (Maybe at high speeds, too, but I didn’t use it at high speeds.) I adjusted to this unconsciously; it never bothered me. The new one is so much smoother I can use it at higher speeds easily. But–this is the sort of funny part–I may develop a program to alter the speeds randomly. My theory is that the speed change is probably good for the brain, though I’m extrapolating from this and other experiments.

The only thing I overlooked–a hazard of exclusively shopping online–is that there are buttons on the arms (for speed and elevation). The desk would smoosh those buttons, though they’re well protected and it might not matter. Rather than risk it, I took some styrofoam and carved it to fit over the arm, without touching the buttons.

I was thinking about doing something more elaborate but so far I’m happy with what I have.

Apart from tht, it still remains to be seen about how Sole responds to the issues, but this is a really fine machine for the purpose, at least on the surface.

Anyway, tomorrow I should be able to do a full day of walking and working. I’m thinking of resetting my counter to Day 1, since it’s the first day I’ll be able to do the full monty.