NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i Elliptical Review – Pros & Cons 2020

Last Updated: April 9, 2020

The NordicTrack Freestride FS7i Trainer is a multi-function hybrid elliptical trainer with high quality components and enhanced functionality. The FS7i foot pedals move both forward and back as well as up and down, so it will function as an elliptical, treadmill or stair stepper. These multi-position functions make the FS7i a great option for users who want a low-impact but high-yield workout! The FS7i also has a 7” touchscreen with hundreds of iFit classes to enhance your training.

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Review

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Who it’s For: Users looking for a multi-function elliptical that provides the ultimate low-impact workout

  • Unique pedal motion allows for both up and down as well as forward and aft.
  • Low impact movement still provides high-intensity training with power incline and 24 levels of digital resistance!
  • Offers 32” of stride length for extra range — this is nearly double the length of regular ellipticals
  • Power incline up to 10% grade enhances training variables and increases posterior muscle engagement
  • Moving handlebars allow users to train upper body muscles as well
  • Full color 7” display showcases hundreds of fun iFit classes
Pros
  • Both resistance and incline offer hearty training variables that will kick that heart rate up!
  • Smooth quiet motor is centered under the user’s body weight
  • Quick touch controls on the console make it easy to choose resistance or incline levels
  • iFit is included free for one year so you can evaluate the content to see great trainers and classes
  • Comfortable foot pedals are cushioned underfoot
  • Transport wheels enable you to move or slide the machine gently when needed
  • Pedals are designed to be multi-directional so you can use the FS7i as an elliptical, stair stepper or treadmill
Cons
  • Touchscreen is full color, but only 7” so it may be hard for some people to see
  • There is a monthly subscription cost for iFit after the first year

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 20 Lb. Effective Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel
    • The flywheels on the Freestride FS7i are hearty and smooth. Centered under the user’s body weight, the flywheels make each pedal motion fluid
  • SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance
    • SMR is NordicTrack’s signature resistance which is calibrated to provide maximum resistance with minimum noise, friction, and wear.
  • Oversized Levelers and Cushion Pedals
    • Upright handlebars are well positioned and easy to hold. Pedals and handlebars are coordinated for synchronized motion. You can pedal forward or backward.
  • Steel Frame and 375 Lb. User Capacity
    • We love this max user weight! 375lb indicates a strong, well-built machine. Ellipticals have to be sturdy and reinforced to hold that max user weight up off the floor throughout the workout. We are impressed with NordicTrack’s design and functionality.
  • Transport Wheels
    • This is a heavy machine and so NordicTrack makes it easy to move with transport wheels under the front uprights. This way you can roll or slide the Freeslide Trainer when needed.
  • 7” Smart HD Touchscreen with 1-year iFit free with purchase
    • This is one area where NordicTrack excels! This screen displays iFit classes to keep you focused with engaging trainers and constantly updated content. The iFit subscription is free for the first year so you can see if you enjoy and like the content before spending any money.
  • Pivoting Integrated Tablet Holder
    • In addition to the 7” smart screen, there’s also a tablet holder attached at the top of the console so you can see or listen to your device while working out.
  • AutoBreeze™ Workout Fan
    • A workout fan in the console is super nice! There are multiple speed options so you get the right amount of air flow.
  • OneTouch® Controls for both Incline and Resistance
    • Single touch buttons allow for easy transitions between incline and resistance levels. These are within easy reach on the console.
  • 24 Digital Resistance Levels
    • 24 digital levels is plenty! That level 24 feels like walking through mud, it will kick up your heart rate and torch some serious calories!
  • Power Adjustable 0 – 10% Incline
    • One great thing about the Freestride Trainer is you get incline in addition to resistance. The 10% incline adds difficulty to any resistance level so you can work hard while still being low impact.
  • 10-Year Frame Warranty
    • This extensive warranty reflects NordicTrack’s solid design and construction.

Construction:

  • Oversized Cushion Pedals
  • Center Drive
  • 20 Lb. Effective Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel
  • SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • Commercial Solid Steel Construction
  • Oversized Levelers
  • 375 Lb. User Capacity
  • Transport Wheels
  • 58.5″ L x 29.5″ W x 74″ H Footprint

Console:

  • 7” Smart HD Touchscreen
  • Pivoting Integrated Tablet Holder
  • Auxiliary Music Port
  • Two 2” Digitally Amplified Speakers
  • AutoBreeze™ Workout Fan
  • SoftTouch™ Upper Body Grips
  • OneTouch® Controls
  • Water Bottle Holder

Functionality:

  • Includes 1-Year NordicTrack iFit® membership**
  • 32″ Auto-Adjustable Stride
  • 24 Digital Resistance Levels
  • Power Adjustable 0 – 10% Incline
  • iFit® Bluetooth® Smart Chest Strap Included

Warranty:

  • 10-Year Frame
  • 2-Year Parts
  • 1-Year Labor

In-depth Review of NordicTrack Freestride FS7i Elliptical


Construction

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Frame

Frame

  • The FS7i frame is built of steel side and cross beams that hold the machine securely on the floor. The center drive system allows for a more compact footprint with most of the machine standing upright rather than extending front to back. However the upright design never compromises stability as the FS7i feels sturdy when in use with no rocking or rotation side to side.
  • Horizontal pedal supports and vertical uprights are also steel with powder coating for protection. Plastic overlays on the flywheel and console protect the more delicate features from dust and sweat.
  • Oversized Levelers under the base provide extra support for the varied motion on the FS7i.
  • 375lb user capacity is impressive and opens the FS7i up to most users.

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Extended Range

Geometry

  • The FS7i is a center drive flywheel system, with the flywheel positioned to the side of the pedals. This allows users to stand upright and provides better balance with less forward-leaning motion than on front or rear drive systems. However, stability can be an issue when getting on or off the FS7i so be sure to hold on to the uprights when stepping onto the pedals. Since the pedals are designed to move both up and down as well and forward and back, there is more motion than users may be expecting the first time. Always hold on to handles or uprights for stability and balance when using the FS7i.
  • Handles and pedals are synchronized so you get a fluid motion between upper and lower body. With the extended pedal range, the horizontal pedal bars do jut out both in front and behind the FS7i — so make sure to have enough space — we recommend not positioning the FS7i close to a wall or door. And warn people who may walk behind or in front of you that the pedals to extend forward.
  • The handles allow you to use more upper body muscles than usual on a treadmill or stair stepper. Pulling the handles towards you engages the biceps, anterior deltoids, and lats. Pressing the handles forward engages the triceps, rear delt, and forearms. This feature makes the FS7i beneficial for multiple muscular systems since you can develop both lower body and upper body conditioning all at once.

Pedals

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Pedals

  • The foot pedals are wide with extended length and extra support under foot. Large steel horizontal beams underlie each pedal which attach to the handles.
  • The pedals have an extended range of 32” which enhances your range of motion significantly. Users can move pedals forward and backward with ease so the workout is in your muscles not your joints.
  • Foot pads are molded with a ledge around the sides and front to keep your foot from slipping forward or side to side.
  • Gently textured surface provides a nice foot-hold for any athletic shoe. The pedals are plenty large and will support users of all sizes.

Handles

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Pedals

  • Handles are angled up to provide a vertical grip so you can keep your wrists, elbows and shoulders in alignment while in use. A spongy grip material adds a bit of cushion to the steel beam bars.
  • Handles connect down to the pedal beams so motion is streamlined between hands and feet.
  • From the base of the console, the handles extend 8” vertically to provide plenty of area to hold whether you are pedaling up and down or front to back.

FlyWheel

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Flywheel

  • This is a center drive system. The Flywheel is effectively 20 pounds so rotation is pretty smooth. Heavier flywheels generally produce smoother motion, but we didn’t notice any jerkiness or heaviness in the pedal rotation. The flywheel is covered with a plastic overlay to protect the drivetrain from sweat, debris, dust or damage.

Incline

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Power Incline

  • Unlike most other center drive ellipticals, the FS7i pivots up to a 10% incline. This increases training variables for a more well-rounded workout. Try using the pedals in an up/down stair stepper motion with the drive angled to a 10% grade for one glute-killing workout! The combination of incline and resistance makes the FS7i a great training machine!
  • Incline is automated in any iFit or onboard programs, so you can start any class and the machine will adjust for you as you progress. This allows users to keep their hands on the handles at all times.

Resistance

  • Magnetic resistance is quiet and smooth. Magnets adjacent to the flywheel oppose the wheel’s rotation to create resistance. There is no friction which reduces both noise and wear on the flywheel.
  • 24 resistance levels are digitally set to be precise and consistent. Resistance is automated to sync with both the iFit classes and onboard programs, so you have the option to manually adjust resistance or allow it to follow the course of the workout without having to adjust it. This lets users keep their hands on the handlebars throughout the workout.
  • This many levels augments the functionality of the multi-directional design. Most people are strongest in the sagittal plane when motion is forward, so using the FS7i as a treadmill or elliptical is easier than as a stair stepper since pulling the feet up and down tends to be more challenging. Having several different resistance options not only enhances the functionality of the FS7i as an elliptical, it makes it more usable as a stair stepper or treadmill as well.

Console/Controls

Screen

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Console

  • 7″ Screen
    • The touchscreen is embedded in the center of the console. This position makes it easy to see and touch when needed. It is flanked by speakers and a fan which makes the design intuitive to use. Touchscreen functionality reduces the buttons needed on the console which also cleans up the overall design and keeps it clutter-free.
    • At times this screen feels rather small. Although it is nice to have a full-color touchscreen, it is hard to see the smaller metric numbers or options in iFit. A slightly larger screen would be a useful upgrade.
  • Resolution
    • The screen is crisp, has bright resolution and easy to read graphics. Screen technology has significantly improved in the last few years and these days, touchscreens on NordicTrack equipment are as good as we find anywhere.
  • Touchscreen Capabilities
    • The touchscreen controls are good. Occasionally we had to tap a button twice to get it to respond, but nothing too concerning. Toggling through class options or screen controls is easy and navigation is intuitive in both the iFit and onboard programs.
    • Resistance levels, incline grade and volume can be adjusted via the touchscreen.
  • Metric Display
    • A white display bar along the top of the screen provides the following stats:
      • Calories burned/Calories per hour
      • Strokes/Strokes per minute
      • Time Elapsed/Time Remaining
      • Distance
  • Functionality
    • The overall functionality of the FS7i is greatly enhanced by the touchscreen. It makes all the difference in creating an engaging and motivating workout. Occasionally we found the 7” to be a bit small but it’s better than comparable models with LCD screens and no subscription content.

Accessories

  • Fans

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Fan and Cup Holder

  • A multi-power fan is located in the console of the FS7i which you can control via buttons on the console or in the touchscreen.
  • The fan is such a great addition! When working out at home, it is more difficult to control ambient temperature since others may be home at the same time (not exercising!) A fan allows users to get the most out of the FS7i and really kick up a sweat but still stay cool and comfortable.

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Tablet Holder

  • Tablet/Phone holder
    • There is a tablet holder connected to the top of the console. Adjustable clips on both top and bottom will hold most phones, tablets or other digital devices securely. You can listen to music, watch a movie, or even read a book on your device while working out.

Noise Level

  • The FS7i makes very little noise. It is smooth and quiet in operation. The only real noise is generated from the iFit program and/or music volume, but not the machine itself.

Storage / Folding

  • The FS7i does not fold up. It has a rather compact footprint, but you will need extra length in front for forward kick from the bars and extra length behind for the kick-back stride. Even though the machine itself doesn’t take up a lot of space, make sure you have adequate space around it to use correctly.
  • NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Wheels

  • There are wheels under the frame to roll the FS7i when needed, but moving it regularly is not recommended.

iFit and Onboard workouts

Pre-programmed workouts

  • There are 35 pre programmed workouts on the machine that will guide you through various intensities and resistance. There is also a featured workout of the day from iFit that is free for non-subscribers, so you can enjoy whatever class or outdoor route is promoted. The onboard workouts are sufficient to keep you active and provide plenty of training variables. However, we find iFit workouts to be a great way to stay interested and motivated, so it’s nice to have one free year to determine how much you will actually use it.
  • NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i Onboard Workouts

iFit Subscription

  • iFit is included free for the first year with up to five profiles. Elliptical classes are filmed in a studio with a trainer in front of you and other participants working out alongside. Trainers are excellent at cueing form since it can be easy to develop sloppy form when on an elliptical. The resistance is automated, so it will automatically adjust to whatever the trainer is doing.
  • NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i iFit


Bottom Line:

The NordicTrack FS7i is a multi-function elliptical trainer with 10% incline, 24 levels of resistance, and an extended pedal range for enhanced range of motion. Both up/down and forward/back motion target additional muscle groups. As a center drive elliptical, the FS7i allows users to stand upright for better balance and more posterior engagement. The 20lb flywheel motion is smooth so both pedals glide evenly. We love the extensive iFit classes and content that keep users motivated and attentive. The Freestride Trainer FS7i is a fun, engaging way to get a full body workout at home.

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