The NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i is the mid-range model in the popular series, offering a large 38" adjustable stride that allows you to use the machine as an elliptical, a treadmill or a stepper.
It has all of the great features we've come to expect from the company, at a very affordable price, and is our best overall elliptical choice for 2018.
The floating suspension gives you the sensation of working out mid air, which is something you don't typically experience. You get a bright, 7" color touchscreen that is web-enabled, so you can surf the web or watch videos or whatever else it is you like to do online.
The machine is center drive, as opposed to front or rear, which means it takes up a lot less space in your home gym...plus you're centrally located as you work out which helps with balance and stability.
Let's take a look at the FS7i specs...
The NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i has received great reviews since it was first introduced a few years ago. Although the series is more expensive than some of the traditional ellipticals, the fact that you get a treadmill, a stepper and an elliptical in one compact machine really justifies the price.
How does it work exactly? With the 38" adjustable stride (which is 6" longer than the FS5i model) you can set it at the lower lengths to create the shorter, choppier feel of a stepper machine. At the middle lengths the motion is like a traditional elliptical trainer. At the longer lengths your stride is completely opened up, similar to how it would be if you were jogging or running on a treadmill.
So the FS7i gives you all of that capability, along with adjustable resistance and up to a 10% power incline to diversify your workouts even more.
Expert reviews tend to focus on the fact that these machines are quite sturdy, with a 375 lb. max weight capacity and a large number of workouts to choose from.
Plus, with iFit Coach, you have access to a host of additional trainer-created programs, tracking capability and Google map integration to run anywhere in the world. (A small yearly membership is required...but it is well worth it for all that it offers.)
The floating suspension is another aspect that experts and users like, as the pedals ride on belts rather than rails, which gives you the feeling that you are floating while you train...with almost no impact whatsoever.
The FreeStriders are fantastic machines, and the FS7i probably offers the best value of all three models. If you're interested in decline as well as a bigger touch screen take a look at the top of the line FS9i model, which you may find even more appealing.
All of the NordicTrack FreeStride Trainers provide the same smooth, natural, walking on air feeling, making them the ultimate elliptical machines.
The FS7i is definitely the most popular of the three, because it has the perfect combination of features and capabilities for the price. It is also one of our Best Buy picks for overall ellipticals for home use for that reason.
The FS5i is a good choice at around $1500 on sale, but it is definitely lacking some of the features that the FS7i and FS9i have. For starters, you get a basic backlit display as opposed to a Smart HD touch screen on the others. It has a lighter flywheel, less resistance levels, no incline or decline, a smaller 32" stride as opposed to 38" on the others, and fewer on-board workouts.
The FS7i at just a few hundred dollars more improves upon the FS5i with a 7" Smart HD touch screen, 24 resistance levels, 10% power incline and higher max weight capacity, as well as 35 built in workouts.
The jump up to the FS9i doesn't give you too much more than you already have on the FS7i. You do get a larger 10" HD screen, a few more workouts and resistance levels, and decline capability. Those are all nice upgrades, but you have to decide if it's worth the additional $700 price increase from the FS7i to the FS9i.
In our opinion the FS7i is the best choice of the three, but any one of them will give you a great workout.
The NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i is a solid choice if you're interested in a machine that goes beyond the traditional elliptical to give you additional workout options to target all of the different muscle groups effectively.
In addition to the three in one capability, you get incline, a lot of workouts, a free wireless chest strap for accurate heart rate monitoring, oversized cushioned pedals and easy assembly. This is why we chose it as our top overall pick.
This one is a nice step up from the FS5i model, and definitely worth the extra money. If you are also interested in decline capability take a look at the up-level FS9i model as well.