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The NordicTrack FS10i FreeStride Trainer – Versatile And Full of Features [A Review]

nordictrack fs10i freestride trainer review

Few elliptical trainers are as versatile as NordicTrack’s FS10i FreeStride Trainer and I say that because this machine lets you perform 3 different movements, instead of just the regular old elliptical motion we’re all used to.

Combining the vertical motions of a stepper, the flat motions of a treadmill or cross-country skier, and the combined motion of a traditional elliptical, there isn’t much you can’t do on this trainer.

And with a max stride length of 32″, there’s plenty of room for taller users to stretch out too.

But if you’re skeptical the FS10i is all talk and no walk (and you should always be skeptical by the way), you might appreciate the fact that this elliptical is packing some legit performance specs.

More specifically, we’re talking a 20 lb flywheel, a very heavy-duty frame, and a power adjustable incline up to 10%.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – this thing comes with a 10″ HD touchscreen console too.

Add all this together and I think NordicTrack has a pretty awesome cardio machine here, but that doesn’t mean the FS10i is perfect.

Before you decide to buy or not, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into – and that’s where I can help.

In this review, I’ll go over everything this elliptical does and doesn’t have going for it.

After reading, you’ll know whether or not the FS10i is the right elliptical machine for your home gym.

Well, let’s get to it already.

The NordicTrack FS10i FreeStride Trainer

nordictrack fs10i freestride trainer

Image courtesy of NordicTrack

Generally speaking, I like NordicTrack as a brand.

Personally, I wish they offered a few machines that weren’t designed solely for workout streaming, but if you’re looking for HD consoles and streaming workouts, they’re easily one of the best brands around.

All of their cardio machines (and I guess their strengthening machines too now that I think about it) are iFit friendly these days.

So, if you already have a NordicTrack (or ProForm) product, you can use your same iFit membership across different machines.

Which is actually a pretty sweet deal.

Anyway, when it comes to ellipticals, NordicTrack has several to choose from.

The FS10i we’re here to discuss now is part of their FreeStride series (which also includes the higher-end FS14i), but they also have a few traditional and rear-drive ellipticals to choose from as well.

At the time of writing this, the FS10i is going for around $1900, making it competitively priced for higher-end home ellipticals.

Pros

  • 3 different pedal motions
  • 32″ max stride length
  • 20 lb flywheel
  • Power incline up to 10%
  • 10″ HD touchscreen console
  • Heavy-duty frame
  • 375 lb weight limit
  • Access to unlimited workouts (iFit)
  • Scenic routes (iFit)
  • Automatic Trainer Control (iFit)
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Cooling fan
  • One touch speed/incline controls

Cons

  • Warranty could be longer
  • No stationary handles

Stride Length

I like to start my elliptical reviews off with a discussion on stride lengths because I think this spec is really important to consider – but in this case, it’s also the most interesting feature this elliptical has to offer.

But before I get rolling here, I do want to mention that I don’t exactly consider the FS10i to be an elliptical.

I think FreeStride trainers need their own category because these machines are a lot different than traditional home ellipticals…

I’m not sure where I was going with that, my apologies.

Anyway, as I was saying, the stride length is important because it tells you how much room you’ll have to work with during your workouts.

You can check out my guide on stride lengths for more detailed info, but generally speaking, most home ellipticals come with a stride length somewhere in the 18- 20″ range.

Well, the FS10i allows a ton of freedom when it comes to the motion patterns you can use and you also get a lot of freedom in terms of the size of your stride length.

Technically speaking, this trainer comes with a max stride of 32″, which is crazy long compared to the 20″ stride most other home ellipticals max out at.

This would be the stride you might take advantage of while using the flat, treadmill motion (although it reminds me a lot more of a cross-country skiing movement than running on a treadmill).

You get to control how far your legs move, so you don’t have to stretch out completely to reach that 32″ stride – which is good news for shorter users.

With the FS10i though, you can also use a vertical, stepping pattern as well.

This mimics the feel of working out on a stepper or stair stepping machine and it can really target your glutes.

If you combine the stepping and flatter treadmill motion, you get the more traditional elliptical pattern we’re all familiar with.

And it’s the ability to choose between these different movements that really sets these FreeStride Trainers apart from most other ellipticals.

That said, some users have mentioned that it can be a little challenging to switch movement patterns during workouts and that you sometimes have to basically stop and start the other movement.

This isn’t a huge issue, but the transitions might take a little getting used to.

Anyway, I like that the FS10i comes with such a large range of available stride lengths, but I also like how robust this machine is in general.

This elliptical comes with an in box weight of 284 lb and even though I don’t know how much the packaging weighs, I’m still guessing this trainer itself weighs somewhere around 250 lb.

Which is very heavy for a home elliptical machine.

And being heavy is a good thing when it comes to a stable feel – heavier machines are harder to move, meaning they’ll wiggle less during use.

And with a weight this high, you won’t have to worry about the FS10i feeling wobbly.

But moving it around won’t be that easy either, so you might want to make sure you know exactly where it’s going before assembly.

It also comes with a really high weight capacity of 375 lb.

Not only does this allow folks of all sizes to use it safely, but seeing a high weight limit is just another good indicator of overall build quality.

Overall, I think the FS10i scores very highly in this department. It comes with the option to choose your movement pattern and stride length and is quite heavy-duty.

Resistance

When it comes to home fitness equipment, being heavy-duty goes a long way, but you still need to have smooth operation.

And when it comes to ellipticals, looking at the flywheel weight is a good place to start when trying to figure that out.

Higher-end home ellipticals usually come with flywheels in the 20 – 30 lb range and having a heavier flywheel is generally a good thing because the extra weight builds more momentum and improves the pedaling feel.

Just like how it works with most indoor cycles.

With that in mind, the FS10i comes with a 20 lb flywheel, so no issues there.

With a flywheel this heavy, you shouldn’t have to worry about this elliptical’s feel – it’s got plenty of weight under the hood.

And users seem to agree the FS10i comes with a smooth acting pedaling motion, so that’s always a plus.

That 20 lb flywheel is paired with 24 magnetic resistance levels, giving you a lot of control over the intensity of your workouts.

Having more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean more available resistance to work with, but it does mean you can make smaller adjustments to the resistance.

Which I think is an advantage in itself because you can really fine tune the intensity.

The FS10i also comes with an adjustable incline up to 10%, giving you even more chances to challenge yourself and add variety to your workouts.

FYI, one of the biggest differences between the FS14i and FS10i, besides the console size, is that the FS14i can also decline down to -10%.

Combining the incline angles with the different stepping motions certainly gives you a lot of workout options, plus it makes it easier to target different muscle groups.

In other words, boredom shouldn’t be a concern with this elliptical.

Overall, the FS10i also scores highly in the resistance department – I like that it comes with a pretty heavy flywheel and plenty of resistance and incline levels to work with.

Features

The NordicTrack FS10i FreeStride Trainer comes with the following features:

10″ HD console- it’s hard to miss the HD touchscreen display mounted front and center on this machine. This makes it easy to select and view all workouts, whether you’re on the trainer or not.

iFit- that sophisticated console is there for a reason and that reason is streaming workouts through iFit. Through iFit, you get access to unlimited workouts of all varieties, scenic routes, and metric tracking. And while technically, you don’t have to join iFit to use the FS10i ($39/month by the way), you need iFit to access all the good stuff. I think NordicTrack includes a 30 day free trial with purchase.

Automatic Trainer Control- oh yeah, there’s also this feature that automatically sets your resistance and incline settings to match what your instructors are instructing. Most folks love this feature, but you can always make your selections manually too.

Bluetooth- the console is bluetooth compatible with headphones and strap heart rate monitors.

One touch controls- these convenient buttons allow you to instantly set your resistance/incline settings to preset values.

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

Water bottle holder- and yes, there’s even a place to put your water (so there’s no excuse for not staying hydrated).

Assembly

Assembling the FS10i is a little more involved than most traditional home ellipticals.

The base comes preassembled, and by base, I’m really just talking about the compartment that holds the flywheel.

From there, you have to attach the upright, the pedals, the handles, the pedal straps, the console bracket, the console itself, your water bottle holder, and several covers.

And NordicTrack’s assembly manual isn’t bad, but some of the images could be a little larger (especially when it comes to attaching the pedal straps).

I’m sure putting the FS10i together is very doable for folks who are handy and like putting things together, but this is a machine I’d think about paying extra for the professional assembly.

Also, keep in mind how big and heavy this thing is – if you do decide to assemble yourself, do yourself a favor and have a second set of hands around to assist.

Warranty

NordicTrack backs their FS10i FreeStride Trainer with the following home warranty:

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

This is NordicTrack’s go to warranty for pretty much all their equipment and even though it works better for some machines than others, all things considered it isn’t a bad warranty.

For this price range, it would be nice to see a lifetime frame guarantee (like Sole offers), but 10 years isn’t awful.

Two years on parts also isn’t bad, although to be fair, other top ellipticals in this price range come with 5 year parts warranties.

And a year on labor is pretty standard stuff.

As I write this, I’m not sure if it’s fair to compare the FS10i to other traditional ellipticals because as I mentioned earlier, I don’t really consider this thing to be an elliptical.

But if I don’t compare it to other ellipticals, what am I going to compare it to? I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to commercial grade free stride trainers that cost 3x as much either.

Final Thoughts

I think that about does it for the FS10i.

Overall, I think this is a nice cardio machine with a lot to offer folks who are looking for a versatile, streaming workout experience.

The FS10i is loaded with nice tech features and it’s no slouch when it comes to performance either.

I like how heavy-duty this trainer is and having the ability to switch between movement patterns is pretty unheard of in this price range.

My biggest complaint would probably be that I think the warranty could be longer for this price range, but honestly, I don’t consider that a dealbreaker.

Especially considering this trainer basically falls into its own category of fitness machine.

Oh, something I forgot to mention earlier – you need plenty of space to use the FS10i because of the way the pedals extend out in front of the machine.

Several feet in fact, to be safe.

So, even though the footprint isn’t that big for an elliptical, you have to make sure you have enough room around it to use it safely.

Otherwise, I think the FS10i is a good option for folks looking to get their stream on.

Will

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