NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS9i Review

Editor's Rating: 9.7 /10


Train without pain! A joint-friendly alternative to treadmills, the NordicTrack FS9i FreeStride Trainer lets you swap the repetitive jolt of walking or running with a smooth “floating on air” sensation. It works as an elliptical and stairclimber too; just shorten the stride and add incline for a new workout style. Owners love the FS9i’s versatility, the low-impact exercise, and the infinite workout possibilities with iFit Coach.

iFit Coach is the personal training app made for NordicTrack and its sister companies. Using a 10″ touchscreen on the FS9i, you can download unlimited iFit Coach exercise programs that are tailored to your ability and fitness goals. iFit Coach also adapts to your activity… so if you exercise very intensely on Tuesday, it might suggest a lighter workout on Wednesday.

Most popular for FreeStride training are interactive iFit Coach workout programs with views on the HD screen. These workouts dabble with virtual reality while controlling the machine’s speed and incline. One format for programs uses Google Maps to let you move with realistic incline/decline changes and synchronized street views. Another format is HD video made with world-class personal trainers. Like the Google Maps workouts, these let you experience scenic paths that synchronize to your pace. The personal trainers occasionally appear with helpful tips and motivation. In some videos they prompt you to dismount the FS9i occasionally for other styles of cross training.

Highlights of the new NordicTrack FS9i include stride settings from zero to 38 inches; a 10-inch HD touchscreen with web browser; 38 built-in workouts plus iFit Coach; 10 percent up/down slope; and Bluetooth wireless heart rate monitoring. Read on for details about these and other features.

Three Benefits in One!

Three Benefits in One

What We Like:

Customer reviews of the NordicTrack FreeStride FS9i Trainer tend to describe it as a smooth-running fitness machine. Here are some specifics.

  • Three in One: A FreeStride Trainer can support the work of three fitness machines. It lets you seamlessly combine workout styles in one session, yet it’s more space-efficient than a typical home treadmill.
  • Adjustable Stride: Accommodating a maximum 38″ stride, the FreeStrider FS9i is good for teens and adults of any height… from very short to very tall.
  • Low Impact: The NordicTrack FreeStrider FS9i has its pedals move over suspended belts. This promotes a “walking on air” sensation and minimizes the risk of stressing your joints, ligaments and tendons during exercise.
  • Resistance: This unit’s 20-pound flywheel offers a good range of resistance for low-impact cardio training, muscle toning and weight management.
  • HD Touchscreen: A 10″ web-enabled touchscreen makes it convenient to surf online as you stride.
  • 38 Workouts: Choose from dozens of built-in workout programs. To help you focus on specific fitness goals, workouts are categorized by main objective such as losing weight or building speed. Each workout controls the FS9i speed and incline for a set time period.
  • iFit Coach Enabled: The built-in iFit Coach app takes the FreeStrider FS9i online with your home WiFi connection. Via the touchscreen you can download a new customized workout anytime! With membership iFit Coach lets you experience the ups and downs of any route you set in Google Maps, and the FreeStrider’s screen can stream a street-level view. You can also exercise with iFit’s world-class personal trainers by your side in HD video, or virtually race your real-life friends. And away from your fitness machine, the iFit Coach app for iOS and Android devices can give 24/7 personal training support with exercise, diet and sleep suggestions that adapt to your activity.
  • Automated Incline/Decline: Automatic incline/decline is a special feature that helps simulate outdoor training and recruit different muscle groups. The pedals slope to follow preset programs, including Google Maps programs that use terrain data. Exercising on an incline/decline is not only great for muscle toning, but also keeps exercise interesting, can relieve stress on your joints, and speeds up calorie burn.
  • Wireless Heart Rate Monitoring: Exercise in your ideal heart rate zone with help from a constant pulse readout. NordicTrack includes a Bluetooth SMART chest strap with purchase of the FS9i.
  • Amenities: Conveniences include a port to 2″ speakers for an MP3 player; a water bottle holder; and a workout fan. Additionally caster wheels make it easy to roll this unit to a new spot in your home.
  • High Capacity: The FreeStrider can safely hold up to 400 pounds.

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS9i Treadmill - Key Specs:

Star Rating:4.85-stars
Motor:20 HP
Incline:-10% to 10%
Running Area:38" Auto Adjustable Stride
Top Speed:n/a
Weight Capacity:400 LBS
Dimensions:68.4" L x 28.5" W x 62" H
Built-In Programs:38
What We Don’t Like:

Our home fitness reviews always consider disadvantages, but in this case it’s not easy to complain. Here are a couple factors you might not like.

  • Price: This three-in-one fitness machine costs more than the typical home treadmill.
  • Flywheel Weight: The 20-pound flywheel makes this a beginner’s elliptical. On the other hand the FS9i is a good treadmill alternative for any workout intensity.
  • Short Warranty: With recent changes at NordicTrack, warranties across the board have been shortened to 10 years on frames, 2 years on parts and electronics, and 1 year on labor. Unfortunately this just doesn’t keep up with their competitors, and is a bit of a disappointment.

Our Verdict:

The NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS9i is a fun alternative to treadmills, standard ellipticals and steppers. It’s like three machines in one yet it’s humble about taking floorspace… and with iFit Coach included, you can have a new workout program anytime! Experienced elliptical trainees might soon outgrow the maximum force potential, but people who primarily want a low-impact alternative to treadmills could benefit from the FS9i for many years.