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The NordicTrack EXP 7i Folding Treadmill – Powerful And Full Of Features [A Review]

nordictrack exp 7i treadmill review

The EXP 7i is one of NordicTrack’s budget-friendlier models, but you wouldn’t necessarily know this at first glance because this treadmill is rocking some impressive specs and features.

The fact that a treadmill in this price range comes with an HD touchscreen console is pretty remarkable in its own right, but the EXP 7i doesn’t mess around when it comes to performance either.

With a 20″ x 60″ running surface and 3.0 CHP motor, this treadmill is capable of offering a legit workout for users of all skill levels.

But if we’re being honest with ourselves, I bet it’s all the streaming workout possibilities that really grab your attention.

And since this is NordicTrack we’re talking about here, of course the EXP 7i is iFit ready.

All things considered, the EXP 7i isn’t the heaviest-duty treadmill in this price range, but when it comes to streaming features, it’s going to be hard to find a better option in this price range.

But before you decide, you need to know what this treadmill is all about – and that’s where I can help.

In this review, I’ll go over all the specs and features this treadmill has to offer. I’ll also compare it to some of the other top options this price range to see how it stacks up.

After reading, you’ll know whether or not the EXP 7i is the right treadmill for your home gym.

The NordicTrack EXP 7i Folding Treadmill

nordictrack exp 7i treadmill

Image courtesy of NordicTrack

NordicTrack has a pretty large lineup of cardio machines to choose from and they’re all compatible with iFit these days.

There must be big bucks in workout streaming because all home brands seem to be trying to get in on it now.

But I’m not sure any brand has dove into streaming as aggressively as NordicTrack.

So, if you’re looking for a streaming fitness machine, NordicTrack is definitely a brand worth considering.

When it comes to treadmills, they have several models to choose from in their current lineup, including a few older models that are still floating around out there.

The EXP 7i we’re here to discuss now is the entry level model in their “EXP” series (which is NordicTrack’s most budget-friendly lineup).

At the time of writing this, the EXP 7i is selling for around $1100, making it quite affordable as home treadmills go.

Pros

  • 7″ HD touchscreen console
  • 3.0 CHP motor
  • 20″ x 60″ running surface
  • Folding frame
  • 300 lb weight limit
  • iFit ready
  • Access to unlimited workouts (iFit)
  • Automatic Trainer Control (iFit)
  • Scenic routes (iFit)
  • FlexSelect cushioning system
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • One touch speed/incline buttons
  • Cooling fan
  • Decent warranty

Cons

  • Rollers could be larger
  • Frame could be heavier-duty

Running Surface

I like to start my treadmill reviews with a rundown on the running surface and frame and I do this because I think this is one of the most important aspects to consider for any treadmill.

This spec tells us exactly how much room we’ll have during workouts and the fact is, if a treadmill is too small, it isn’t going to be very comfortable to use.

And if it isn’t comfortable, it doesn’t matter how many cool streaming features it has – odds are you won’t be using it for long.

Anyway, with a running surface of 20″ x 60″, this shouldn’t be an issue with the EXP 7i.

With a 60″ length, runners of all heights will be able to stretch out fully at faster speeds without having to worry about running out of belt.

And with a width of 20″, you’ll also have plenty of wiggle room from side to side, so you won’t feel like you’re running on a tightrope either.

Some quality treadmills are coming with even more spacious, 22″ widths, but I’m not aware of any treadmills in this price range that come with a running surface this large.

So, 20″ x 60″ is realistically as large as you’re gonna find at this price point.

When it comes to the frame itself, the EXP 7i is a folding treadmill, so you can easily fold the deck up vertically to get it out of the way when not in use.

This is especially helpful for smaller workout areas or when you might be sharing your home gym area for other uses.

I also like to look at assembled weights though, because this spec can give you a good idea as to how heavy-duty or robust you can expect the treadmill to feel.

With the expectation that heavier treadmills should feel more stable and secure than lighter ones.

That said, NordicTrack doesn’t exactly disclose the assembled weights for their products – instead, they provide us with the “in box” weights, which also include the weight of any packaging.

I’m not sure how much the packaging for this treadmill weighs, but I think subtracting 20 – 30 lb is a nice, conservative amount.

So, the EXP 7i comes with an in box weight of 222 lb – if we subtract 20 – 30 lb, that leaves us with an estimated assembled weight of somewhere around 200 lb (give or take).

As home treadmills in this price range go, that isn’t bad, but there are certainly heavier-duty options out there.

Like Sole’s F63, which comes with an assembled weight of 254 lb, or Nautilus’ T618 and its 253 lb assembled weight.

At roughly 200 lb though, the EXP 7i should still be able to provide a secure feel.

Like most of NordicTrack’s treadmills, the EXP7i also comes with their FlexSelect cushioning system that lets you customize how much shock absorption the deck provides.

If you want more cushioning, you can have it, but you can also opt for a firmer surface that more closely mimics the feel of running on a road.

Finally, I want to mention that this treadmill comes with a weight capacity of 300 lb, which isn’t bad, but again, the treadmills mentioned above both come with higher limits.

A 300 lb weight limit is pretty standard though, and certainly high enough to accommodate most users.

Overall, the EXP 7i definitely isn’t the heaviest-duty treadmill in this price range, but it does come with a nice spacious running surface and the customizable shock absorbing system is a nice touch.

Motor

Having a strong motor is a good thing because it’ll make your belt action feel smoother, especially when jogging or running at faster speeds.

And that’s because a stronger motor won’t have to work quite as hard to provide the same output as a weaker one.

For example, a 2.0 HP motor and a 3.0 HP motor might have the same top speed of 12 mph, but the 3.0 HP motor will likely feel a lot smoother at that top speed than the 2.0 HP motor.

It’ll likely be a little quieter too.

Something else to consider is that stronger motors can reach those faster speeds faster than weaker motors – in other words, they have better acceleration.

This might not make much difference to walkers and joggers, but it may come in especially handy when doing interval style workouts where you’re switching between speeds often.

Anyway, with a 3.0 CHP motor, the EXP 7i is about as strong a treadmill as you’re going to find in this price range.

The EXP 7i even matches the motor found on Sole’s F63 – one of my favorite treadmills in this price range.

With this strong treadmill, the EXP 7i is strong enough to support regular running and with a top speed of 12 mph, it can also challenge walkers and runners of all skill levels.

This treadmill can also reach a max incline of 12% for even more workout variety (no decline functions though, if you want those you’ll have to upgrade to NordicTrack’s EXP 10i).

So, in terms of motor strength, the EXP 7i scores very highly, but its rollers are a little smaller than most of the other top models in this price range.

FYI, the rollers are what the belt glides across and having larger rollers is always a good thing because they make for added durability and provide a smoother overall feel.

With 1.9″ rollers, the EXP 7i scores a little below par in this department, considering most of the other top treadmills in this price range come with rollers in the 2 – 2.5″ range.

Not a dealbreaker by any means, but something to keep in mind.

Features

The NordicTrack EXP 7i Treadmill comes with the following included features:

7″ HD touchscreen console- the star of the show here is the 7″ touchscreen display that pairs perfectly with iFit and all their streaming workouts. 7″ is certainly small compared to the 32″ console you can get on NordicTrack’s Elite Treadmill, but it’s still large enough to see your workouts clearly – and the fact that you get any touchscreen console in this price range is impressive.

iFit- this is NordicTrack’s (and ProForm’s) streaming platform and with it you get access to unlimited instructor-led workouts, metric tracking, scenic routes, and all that good stuff. You get a 30 day free trial with purchase then it’ll cost ya $39/month from then on.

Automatic Trainer Control- this feature allows the treadmill to automatically set its speed and incline settings to match what the instructors are instructing during your workouts. It’s a cool feature, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.

Bluetooth- the console on this treadmill is bluetooth compatible with headphones and heart rate straps.

One Touch controls- you can also set the speed and/or incline settings rapidly with the push of one of these convenient console buttons.

Cooling fan- there’s a built-in fan to help keep ya more comfortable during workouts.

Storage tray- there’s a tray under the console, giving you a place to store all kinds of small things, like remotes, phones, toys, pagers (if anyone actually still has one of these).

Water bottle holders- and yes, there’s even a place to hold your beverages.

Assembly

Putting the EXP 7i together is pretty standard stuff.

Like all treadmills, you have to attach each upright to the base and take care not to pinch the console cables when snaking them up through the right upright.

Then, you’ll have to attach the handles, the cross bar, the console, and a few covers.

This is all pretty straightforward stuff and NordicTrack’s assembly manual is easy enough to follow during this entire process.

The only thing that’s maybe a little out of the ordinary, is that you have to attach the storage latch on the underside of the deck – a lot of treadmills come with this step already completed, but NordicTrack has you do it yourself.

Not a huge deal.

Overall, if you’re at least a little bit handy, you shouldn’t have any problems getting the EXP 7i assembled yourself.

It’s a good idea to have a second person around to assist though, especially when it comes time to attach the console.

Warranty

NordicTrack backs their EXP 7i with the following home warranty:

  • 10 year frame
  • 2 year parts
  • 1 year labor

This is NordicTrack’s standard warranty they use on pretty much all their products these days and I think it works fairly well for the EXP 7i.

I like to see a lifetime frame warranty, but 10 years isn’t bad for a $1k treadmill.

Two years on parts is also pretty solid, considering most brands in this price range offer somewhere between 1-3 years.

And a year on labor is standard operating procedure, nothing too special there.

Overall, NordicTrack’s warranty on this treadmill isn’t bad – certainly not the best, but not the worst either (Sole and Horizon both offer lifetime frame/motor guarantees and 3 years on parts for their similarly priced models).

Final Thoughts

Ok, there ya have it.

I think the EXP 7i offers a nice combination of performance specs and console features for this price range.

True, there are certainly heavier-duty treadmills with larger rollers and longer warranties in this price range, but none of these other comps come with an HD touchscreen console with streaming capabilities.

And they don’t offer the Automatic Trainer Control feature either.

So, if you’re looking for an affordable streaming treadmill in this price range, I think NordicTrack’s EXP 7i is easily one of the best options out there. Recommended.

 

 

Will

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