What Is NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i?

Published on: Mar 17, 2017

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i uses a unique floating suspension design that delivers nearly zero impact and promises to provide all the benefits of three machines in one—a stepper, elliptical, and treadmill—while ergonomically adapting to the way you move.

This means you’ll be able to take short up-and-down steps, smooth elliptical-like strides, or stretch a wide running gait up to 38 inches simply by changing your stride. It all depends on your preferences and the workout you’re looking to achieve.

Using the FS7i’s simple handle controls, you’ll also be able to adjust your incline or resistance on the fly to focus on specific muscle groups, without interrupting your workout.

And with interactive iFit technology, you can use the 7-inch touchscreen display to choose a workout from the library, create a custom route with Google Maps, access interactive training tools that adapt to your progress, and even work out with friends across the globe.

If you just finished watching the FreeStride Trainer commercial, you’re probably pumped up and ready to get fit. You’re likely intrigued by this machine’s unique design as well, along with its potential to improve your health.

But before you hand over thousands of your hard-earned money, join us as we discuss what we learned during our research, which can help you make a more empowered buying decision.

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i’s Main Features

FreeStride Trainer vs. Traditional Elliptical Machines

At first glance, the FS7i looks a lot like a traditional elliptical machine.

But upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that its pedals ride on belts, versus on rails attached to a crank. According to NordicTrack, this is the difference that allows you to experience smooth rotation, nearly zero impact, have total control over your stride length, and to be able to effortlessly change between strides.

Compared to traditional ellipticals, the FS7i features a center drive design that makes it about half the size and boosts dependable stability. You’ll also be able to adjust stride angle, resistance, and incline at the touch of a button with OneTouch controls, allowing you to focus on different muscle groups like thighs, hips, rear, and abs.

FS7i’s 24 levels of resistance are provided by magnets, which control a heavy 20 lb. flywheel that’s precision weighted and balanced to deliver a smoother, more natural ride.

Finally, we’re told FS7i’s simple assembly process takes less than half the time of a traditional elliptical. Other miscellaneous specifications include:

  • Dimensions: 68.4" L X 28.5" W X 62" H
  • 375lb weight capacity
  • Autobreeze workout fan that automatically adjusts speed to match the speed of your workout
  • Built-in water bottle holder
  • Oversized pedals
  • Front-mounted, built-in transport wheels

FreeStride Trainer’s 7" Touchscreen & iFit Coach Compatibility

Outside of its belt-based design and multi-stride functionality, the FreeStride Trainer’s most notable feature is its 7" web enabled color touchscreen that allows you to swipe through your stats, surf the web while you work out, watch sports, or browse social networking sites.

This screen will give you access to 35 workout apps that were designed by a Certified Professional Trainer, across three different categories (calorie burning, intensity, and performance). The included wireless chest strap will help you stay in the proper heart rate training zone.

On the exterior, this touchscreen features two, 2-inch speakers and a 3.5 mm jack that’s compatible with most smartphones and tablets, giving you the ability to listen to music without earbuds.

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i?With its unique belt-based design and 7" touchscreen, the FreeStride FS7i promises to deliver three-in-one capability, along with onboard tracking and entertainment. Image credit: ICON Health & Fitness, Inc.

With an iFit Coach subscription, this screen will also provide you access to a library of hundreds of workouts, or create your own with the help of Google Maps. Not only will you be able to watch your progress, but the FS7i will also automatically adjust its incline or resistance to match the terrain.

How Much Does the NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i Cost?

The NordicTrack FS7i is priced at $1,999, plus free shipping.

Important note: Although the NordicTrack website advertises payments as low as $64 per month on approval with Fortiva Retail Credit, only 12 months of this involves no interest (or, about $170/mo).

If you don’t pay it off in full within 12 months, however, all the past interest will be applied to your account at once. So, while you might technically be able to pay as little as $64 per month, it will take you a long time to pay off your balance if you choose this repayment route.

All NordicTrack FreeStride Trainers come with a 30-day money back guarantee, less to and from shipping charges, as well as a 10% restocking fee. We spoke with customer service and learned that these two fees would cost you about $350 combined ($150 for initial shipping; $200 for restocking).

Customer service also told us that you could expect your return shipping to be about $150 (the FS7i's boxed weight is 280 lbs), meaning that you'll be putting $500 on the line for giving it a try.

All FreeStride FS7i’s come with a lifetime warranty on the frame, a 5-year warranty on parts, and a 2-year warranty for labor.

If you need to request a refund, file a warranty claim, or just ask questions about the FreeStride Trainer, a NordicTrack customer support representative can be reached at 866-896-9777.

What Will You Pay For an iFit Coach Subscription?

According to the iFit website (a subsidiary of NordicTrack), an iFit Coach subscription will cost you $9 per month.

Note: This is in sharp contrast to the iFit Coach plan used with devices like the ProForm Tour De France Studio Bike, which also includes daily spinning classes, but is priced at about $39 per month.

While the FreeStride Trainer’s touchscreen is internet-capable, you’ll need to have a home Wi-Fi connection to access its iFit features. And if your FS7i is placed in a room other than where your router is located, remember that this could impact signal strength.

How Much Does FreeStride FS7i’s Maintenance & Replacement Parts Cost?

According to NordicTrack’s parts list for the FS7i, you'll pay anywhere between a couple of dollars for minor replacement parts, all the way up to $1,300+ for a replacement touchscreen.

Inside the manual, we also learned that NordicTrack offers two different service plans. Preventative maintenance service plans entail:

  • Includes an annual preventative maintenance and performance check at your convenience
  • Unlimited in-home repairs; no shipping required
  • Covers parts and labor on all manufacturer’s defects, as well as wear and tear on parts

At FS7i’s price of $1,9999, this plan will cost you an additional $339.99 for 3 years and $489.99 for a 5-year plan.

Standard service plans include:

  • Unlimited in-home repairs; no shipping required
  • Covers parts and labor on all manufacturer’s defects, as well as wear and tear on parts

1-year is priced at $109.99, 2 years at $139.99, and 3-years at $179.99.

It appears that these plans are handled through UTS (Universal Technical Services).

What Can We Learn From Customer Feedback for the FreeStride Trainer FS7i?

There were 67 customer reviews for the FreeStride Trainer on the NordicTrack website at the time of our research. While no star ratings were provided, most seemed positive, complimenting the device’s quality construction, ease of setup, and flexible functionality.

Amazon Customer Feedback for FS7i

On Amazon, the FS7i had an average rating of three stars at the time of our research, although just seven customer reviews. Interestingly, these seemed evenly dispersed among 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 stars.

As on the NordicTrack website, most compliments appeared related to effective workouts and low impact on joints. Most complaints referenced handgrips that were uncomfortable and too big, unnatural motion (more like cross country skiing instead of running), and frequent parts replacements (especially related to belts).

Consumer Reports Puts the FreeStride Trainer to the Test

Back in September 2015, Consumer Reports tested the NordicTrack Free Stride against the Octane Fitness Zero Runner and Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer. What did they find?

Among a panel of 18 Consumer Reports employees, who ranged in age, weight, and fitness levels, they liked its touchscreen display, the ability to gauge progress during workouts, and the built-in controls in the handgrips.

On the other hand, they found that the limiting stops (to prevent users from exceeding stride length) were noisy and distracting, and the retaining lip on each pedal was short, causing one panelist's foot to slip off the machine during their first two sessions.

From an ease of assembly perspective, they reported that “a less experienced consumer might have serious trouble.” In the end, the panelists gave the FreeStride Trainer the lowest marks of all the machines tested, stating that:

“…many couldn’t get past the mechanical deficiencies. The motion of the machine was difficult to control, as it tended to favor its own striding length. The “stops” that control pedal travel caused a loud bang as they contacted the roller, so much so that several panelists thought there was a problem with the machine. We think this jarring noise will be a major turnoff for some consumers.”

What about FreeStride FS7i’s Manufacturer?

Like all NordicTrack machines, the FS7i is manufactured by ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., based out of Logan, UT.

The company wasn’t rated with the Better Business Bureau as of writing, although they had 50 customer reviews and 700+ complaints as of 3/14/17.

Overall, most of these appeared related to problems with functionality/defects, difficulty obtaining parts and repairs under warranty, along with less-than-stellar support experiences.

On both iTunes and Google Play, ICON’s iFit app had an average rating of about two stars. While some reported great functionality, many of these complaints revolved around functionality problems.

FreeStride Trainer FS7i vs. Bowflex Max Trainer & Other Alternative Motion Machines

While alternative motion machines can encompass a wide variety of designs, they all combine elements of treadmill and elliptical machines. Many also add a stair-stepper-type motion.

These types of machines have only been around for a few years and they tend to be priced fairly high, so there isn’t a whole lot of competition. Here, we’ll compare some of the more popular options:

Product Price Special Features & Motions Refund Details Warranty
NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i $1,9999 Combines a stepper, elliptical, and treadmill; Belt-based floating suspension, Nearly zero impact. Strides up to 38" 30 days; responsible for S&H both ways, 10% restocking fee Lifetime frame, 5-year parts, 2-year labor
Bowflex MAX Trainer $999 - $2,199 “Reverse elliptical” motion, 14-minute workouts, virtually zero impact 6 weeks; responsible for return S&H M3: 1-year parts; M5 & M7: 2- and 3-years, respectively. All models come with a 90-day labor warranty
Octane Fitness Zero Runner $3,299 - $8,399+ Use same muscles as running outside, but with zero impact. Custom fit. View stride activity. Strides up to 58" 30-day; responsible for S&H; 30% restocking fee Lifetime frame; 3-5 years parts; 90 days detachable powerbands; 1 year labor
Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer $8,295 - $12,395 Adjustable stride height, 36" stride length, commercial-grade construction, touchscreen on some models No refunds after product is delivered or installed 7 yrs – lifetime frame; 5-10 yrs motor; 6 mo – 10 yrs parts; 1-2 years console/screen; labor 1 year
LifeFitness FlexStrider $8,999 10" LCD touchscreen, On-the-fly stride length adjustment, Natural ellipse path, Fingertip control 30 days, less S&H; 25% or maximum of $500 restocking fee Lifetime warranty frame; 3 years parts; 1 year labor

Overall, it seems that most of these options offer similar essential features, such as color screens, long stride lengths, multiple functions, fingertip control options, and even warranties.

Outside of this, it’s really all about where you place your emphasis. For example, if budget is your number one consideration, Bowflex Max Trainer’s models feature the lowest price, along with no need for an ongoing subscription service, but it doesn’t feature adjustable stride or height.

By all appearances (we didn’t test any of these machines first hand), Octane’s Fitness Zero Runner seems to most closely mimic a true running experience, and also comes with the longest stride at 58". But it doesn't offer resistance, incline adjustability, or onboard programs that change intensity.

Precor might be your best option if you’re looking for commercial-grade quality, but it’s also the highest-priced option and can’t be refunded after delivery.

Bottom Line on NordicTrack’s FreeStride Trainer FS7i

If you’re looking for one of the lowest-priced alternative motion machines available with a color touchscreen then the FS7i might be right up your alley.

But will this price necessarily deliver a better value? Based on what we learned from Amazon customer feedback, along with Consumer Review’s comparison insight, it appears some of the (much higher-priced) competition might be worthwhile if you’re concerned about noise, true running motion, or a perhaps more agreeable handgrip position.

And while the FreeStride Trainer comes with a 30-day refund policy, keep in mind that you’ll lose $500—or about 25% of the purchase price—in non-refundable S&H and re-stocking fees if you’re dissatisfied with its performance.

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