NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS9i Elliptical Review 2019

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The FS9i is NordicTrack’s high-end Freestride trainer that combines the fluid motion of an elliptical with the mobility of a stair climber. This elliptical is built well and has a handful of fun accessories like the HD touchscreen and it’s compatibility with iFit Coach. Take a look and see if the FS9i is a smart buy for your home gym.

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NordicTrack FS9i FressStride Trainer

Features

9/10

Tech Specs

9.5/10

Build Quailty

10/10

Treadmill Review

Last Updated: 7-16-2019

This NordicTrack elliptical review is taking a good hard look at the Freestride Trainer FS9i. This elliptical is NordicTrack’s top model in the Freestride series, a series that combines the traditional elliptical with the stair stepper - two great forms of cardio. The movement from this machine is fluid and comfortable, making it a great home cardio machine for anyone in need of something that’s low-impact.

The FS9i is comfortable and low-impact without sacrificing a good, hard, calorie burn. Working out on an elliptical usually means you’ll be exercising for a lot longer to burn the same amount of calories as you would running or rowing. But the Freestride series from NordicTrack does a better job than most home ellipticals. By combining the movements of an elliptical and a stair stepper, your working more muscles to achieve a great cardio workout at home. As far as ellipticals between $2000 and $2500 go, our best buy is the Sole E95S. But coming in as a close second is the FS9i. Read on to better understand why we love the FS9i.

Buying The NordicTrack FS9i FreeStride Trainer

The Freestride Trainer FS9i retails for $3799 and is regularly marked down to $2799. However, we got ours on sale for $2499. You can also find NordicTrack coupons and active promo codes online with a quick Google search. Our purchase included curbside delivery and a Bluetooth chest strap heart rate monitor. We buy our treadmills, ellipticals, and other home exercise equipment the same way anyone else would. We do not inform NordicTrack that we are a popular review site so that we can experience their customer service the same as a typical customer.

Who The NordicTrack FS9i Is Built For

  • Anyone who needs a low-impact way to exercise - So many of us are looking for ways to exercise that are comfortable and manageable with bad backs, sore knees, and other bodily issues. Whether you’re reaching your golden years, you’ve just had a baby, or you’re new to fitness, the FS9i is a great machine for easing users into regular physical activity without harmful stress on the body.

  • Users looking for high-tech home cardio equipment - The FS9i has a fantastic display for viewing iFit Coach. iFit Coach is a subscription service for accessing elliptical studio classes, global workout videos, and more. Your iFit Coach account constantly tracks your activity, completed workouts, nutrition, and more for a well-rounded look at your overall health and goals.

The FS9i Is One Of the BEST BUYs for Ellipticals Between $2000 - $2500

This is a high price to pay for a home elliptical machine and what we expect for this price range is longevity. While our BEST BUY award for the $2000-$2500 category goes to the Sole E95S (primarily for its build quality), the FS9i is still a well-built, durable, and long-lasting home elliptical. The warranty for this home elliptical really speaks for itself. Purchasing the FS9i automatically gives you a lifetime warranty on the frame, meaning NordicTrack is so confident in their product, they back it for life. Besides that, here are a few other standout features that come on the FS9i that we feel justify the price tag.

Larger Display and Access To iFit Coach - The FS9i is a jump in price partially due to the larger HD touchscreen display. This 10” monitor is your viewing window to iFit Coach studio classes. With your purchase, you have access to iFit Coach for free, for 12 months. iFit Coach is much more than your on-board workout program for the Freestride trainer. You can use this service on treadmills, rowers, and more. Go outdoors and track your activity. Monitor your calorie intake. Connect with others on iFit and more.

Auto-Adjust Incline, Decline, and Resistance - The FS9i has a 10% incline range that can be adjusted with the touch of a button, while you’re exercising. Many ellipticals come with an incline ramp that must be set to one position prior to starting your workout. And when you access iFit Coach, the software with auto-adjust the incline and resistance to match the class you’re watching on your display.

These are just two excellent selling points for the FS9i. We’re breaking down all the features and accessories below so keep reading our Freestride Trainer FS9i  review to learn more.

NordicTrack FS9i Build Quality 4.5/5


MODEL OVERVIEW


Item Weight:
Weight Capacity: 375 lbs
Stride Length: 32 inches
Footprint: 58.3" L x 29.5" W x 73.6" H
Drive: Center Drive, 20 lb Flywheel
Step-Up Height: 14.75 inches

Materials:
  • Commercial Solid Steel Construction
  • Oversized Cushion Pedals
  • Transport Wheels

Resistance: 26 Resistance Levels, SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance
Power Requirements:  nominal 120-volt circuit, the machine must be grounded

Moving The FS9i

The FS9i has small wheels on its base, on the back side of the elliptical. So moving it is pretty easy, as long as you can lift the front end to pivot the elliptical on its wheels. There is a metal handlebar attached to the base frame at the front of the FS9i for lifting. But watch out for the foot pedals as they swing. We’ve found it’s easiest to have two people involved in moving this elliptical so we don’t damage our walls.

Software Updates

We’ve read comments online concerning the iFit software on their ellipticals but have also found that many of these complaints are due to the user not updating the software when their machine sends them a reminder. If you notice that iFit is glitchy, always remember to check the console for updates! In our experience, the NordicTrack customer service is pretty good at helping your troubleshoot any issues. We avoid calling them on the phone and instead use their chat feature on the website. We’ve gotten quicker responses this way and then they can direct message instructions for fixing our equipment.

NordicTrack FS9i Features & Accessories 4.5/5

Display: 10” Smart HD Touchscreen
On-Board Workouts:

  • 38 On-Board Workouts
  • With iFit Subscription 100+ On-Board workouts

Speakers: Yes
Fans:  2
Handles: Moving
Incline/Decline: -10% to 10%
Heart Rate Monitor: Bluetooth chest strap included with purchase

Other:
  • Auto-adjust Resistance and Incline Control
  • Tablet holder
  • Aux plug
  • Water bottle holder

Display - The FS9i has a larger display screen than other Freestride models. This is one factor when addressing the price difference between the FS7i and the FS9i.

On-Board workouts - Other Freestriders are dependent on iFit for preloaded workouts. The FS9i is the only Freestrider to come with on-board workout programs completely independent of iFit.

Fans - The fans are fantastic and totally worth considering if you’re comparing with another machine. Most often, we find that NordicTrack (sometimes ProForm) is the only company that gives users a fan that actually makes a difference. It’s a really comfortable feature to have on a piece of cardio equipment - and not all fans are created equal in the industry.

Auto-Adjust Resistance and Incline Control - When you’re comparing ellipticals and other home cardio machines, this is a major feature to look for. Many ellipticals that offer an incline adjustment do so with an “Incline Ramp”. This ramp is something that has to be set prior to starting your workout. If you decide mid-workout to change the incline, you have to hop off, adjust the ramp, and then resume your workout. The FS9i has quick controls on the console to adjust the incline digitally. The elliptical will adjust to your desired setting without interrupting your workout. The same goes for resistance. But the pièce de résistance for iFit compatible equipment like the FS9i is that the elliptical will adjust the incline and resistance automatically, based on the video workout you’re following.

Display


 

Traditional Elliptical Display – At the gym, and on many home ellipticals, your display has an LCD screen with basic data display. You track your progress by watching for how much of the blinking bar graph you’ve completed. You can monitor your power outputt, calorie burn, or time. Perhaps there are a few other details you can track. But the FS7i display is leaps and bounds more developed and technical.

FS9i Display – The display on the FS9i goes well beyond the standard LCD screen on old-school ellipticals. You can view life-like video instruction as well as tons of progress stats including heart rate, calorie burn, time elapsed, and more. The touchscreen is incredibly responsive and when you also pair your mobile device (like what’s shown in the image above), you can view multiple screens at once.

NordicTrack FS9i Subscription Service 5/5

Name: iFit Coach
Brief Description: View an expansive library of studio elliptical classes, outdoor running, walking, and hiking tours, google maps, and more. iFit classes control your elliptical to change your incline/decline and resistance to mimic real-world terrain and training scenarios.
Cost: $15+

User Profiles: $15 per month for one user profile OR $33 per month for up to 5 user profiles

Class Varieties:
  • Cycling
  • Running
  • Bootcamp
  • Outdoor
  • Strength
  • Yoga

Community: Share results, create and join challenges, post to message boards
Subscription Limitations: We’re crossing our fingers that iFit can make their UX more user-friendly and intuitive. Currently, the learning curve is a little uncomfortable.

NordicTrack FS9i Home Delivery and Set Up

  • The FS9i comes with free curbside delivery. The WILL NOT bring the packages inside your home.
  • In-home delivery is possible. It’s an additional $99 but is limited to bringing packages just inside your doorway.
  • To have the packages moved to your desired room of the house, you’ll have to opt for white glove delivery which is currently $250. The good news is that they will assemble the elliptical for you.

We opted for free, curbside delivery. The flywheel portion of the FS9i was the heaviest package but two of us could easily move it around the office. The rest of the packages (handlebars, console, etc) were easy to carry. We recommend white glove delivery for heavy equipment like any of NordicTrack’s incline trainer or their Fusion CST.

One person was able to put together most of the FS9i on their own. However, there was one step during the assembly that an extra set of hands were needed to hold things in place while the other person fastened screws and bolts. We also found that hand tightening bolts was necessary until all bolts were in place for each step. If we tightened these bolts with a wrench before other bolts were also in place, the threading did not align and we couldn’t get certain bolts in place. Hand tightening gives you enough wiggle room to get every bolt into their corresponding threads. Then you can tighten the bolts with a wrench.

NordicTrack Warranty Info

The FS9i has a great warranty. With your purchase, you have a lifetime warranty for the frame, 5 year warranty for parts, and a 2 year warranty for labor. Extended warranties are also available for purchase if you’d like the piece of mind.

Extended Warranty (3 years) $179.95

Add 3 years to the standard warranty to get an 8-year parts warranty and a 5-year labor warranty.

Maintenance Service Plan (3 years) $339.99

A NordicTrack technician will visit your home once a year for three years to perform a maintenance check on your equipment.

NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS9i Review - Final Thoughts

We like the Freestride trainer series a lot, including the FS9i. But we don’t think the price difference makes the FS9i a better purchase than the FS7i. So to save a bit of cash and get just about the same thing, give the FS7i.

If you’re looking for an excellent home cardio machine, don’t forget to check out our list of BEST TREADMILLS for 2019.

Buying The FS9i Directly From NordicTrack

We always recommend buying your home gym equipment directly from the manufacturer. This helps to avoid bad lemons, poorly maintained equipment, and other problems that arise from buying second hand or off brand cardio machinery. As more manufacturers transition to selling their equipment solely online, you’ll find that ordering equipment is easier and gives you more reliable access to customer service for returns or repairs.

You can also almost always find discount coupons and promo codes online for making purchases from these companies’ websites. In case you aren’t sold on the FS9i, take a look at these reviews, too:
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