If you’re hunting for an affordable rear-drive elliptical, NordicTrack’s SpaceSaver SE7i is certainly worth checking out.
With solid performance specs and impressive tech features (including iFit compatibility with automatic trainer controlled resistance/incline), the SE7i does have a lot to be proud of.
And since this elliptical can fold up for storage after workouts, it can fit comfortably in smaller homes as well.
It’s even backed by a solid home warranty.
Overall, the SE7i has a lot to offer for an elliptical in this price range, but with a smaller stride length and lighter flywheel, it isn’t going to be for everyone.
In this review, I’ll go over everything you should know about this model – I’ll also include my thoughts regarding who this elliptical would work well for and who it probably wouldn’t.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not this is the right option for your home gym.
The NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i Elliptical
NordicTrack is a brand most of us should be pretty familiar with. They’ve been around for decades and they’re always on tv marketing one of their newest innovations.
They also happen to be one of the most popular home fitness brands in the world.
Generally speaking, they’re a pretty well respected brand too.
True, their customer service doesn’t come with the best reputation, but to be fair, that’s a problem most of the bigger fitness brands face these days.
Their products are usually some of the best for their respected price ranges, although I do think they push their iFit streaming app a bit hard, but more on that later.
The SE7i is one of 2 rear-drive ellipticals currently in their lineup, with the other being the upgraded SE9i.
The SE7i comes with a full retail price of around $1299 (at the time of writing this), but can often be found considerably cheaper through sites like Amazon.
- Folding frame
- Rear-drive design
- 325 lb weight limit
- 22 levels of magnetic resistance
- 24 built-in workout programs
- Power incline (up to 10%)
- iFit compatible
- Automatic trainer control (with iFit membership)
- Bluetooth heart rate monitor compatible
- Easy assembly
- Good warranty
- 18″ stride length
- Flywheel a bit light
The first thing I look at for any elliptical I’m investigating is always the stride length.
I know this spec is far from interesting, but it tells you a lot about how comfortable you’re going to be while using it.
And just to make sure we’re all on the same page here- the stride length literally tells you how far apart your legs will be stepping with each stride.
Shorter folks could have issues with a stride length being too long, in which case they could feel like they’re having to stretch out too far with each step.
Taller folks could have issues with a stride length being too short, in which case they feel like they’re marching in place instead of running or jogging.
Either case kinda sucks and is less than optimal.
The gold standard for home ellipticals is a 20″ stride because at this length, it’s been shown that folks of most heights can workout comfortably.
With this in mind, the SE7i comes with an 18″ stride length.
This is a bit shorter than what you find on most high-end home ellipticals and it means the SE7i could feel a little tight for taller users.
If you’re 5’8″ or shorter, you probably won’t have an issues, but any taller and you might feel like you’re having to shorten your stride.
Which isn’t the end of the world, I mean a 6′ tall individual could use this elliptical and feel comfortable with the shorter steps- it depends on personal preference too of course.
But generally speaking, with an 18″ stride, I think the SE7i is better suited for shorter individuals.
When it comes to the frame, the most notable feature of this elliptical is the fact that it can fold in half and be stored vertically, which is a great feature for homes with limited space.
But I also want to point out that this machine comes with a 215 lb in box weight.
I’m not sure what that makes it’s out of box weight (which seems like a more important spec to disclose), but I’d guess somewhere around the high 100’s.
My point is, that’s pretty heavy-duty.
Another way to get an idea of an elliptical’s heavy-dutiness is to look at the weight capacity- more stable machines should come with higher limits.
The SE7i comes with a weight limit of 325 lb, which is pretty solid, especially for a folding elliptical.
Overall, I’m a little disappointed with the 18″ stride, but the SE7i scores highly with a heavy-duty frame and high weight capacity (plus it folds, which is cool).
Ok, now we’re getting to more interesting stuff.
The resistance system is another key feature to consider because this not only dictates how challenging (or not challenging) your workouts will be, but it also plays a big part in determining how smooth the pedal motion is going to feel.
Most home ellipticals are designed to use a weighted flywheel paired with a magnetic system to create the resistance you pedal against.
With this design, having a heavier flywheel is beneficial because the extra weight builds more momentum as it spins.
Which creates a smoother feel because the momentum actually helps keep the pedals moving between strides (the same is true for spin bikes and heavy flywheels).
The SE7i comes with an 18 lb flywheel.
Much like the stride length, this isn’t awful, but it’s a little lighter than what a lot of the other top trainers in this price range are offering.
Of course to be fair, neither of those fold.
The flywheel on this model isn’t quite big enough to be considered “heavy” in my book, but it’s not far off. And, I should mention that most folks agree the feel of this elliptical is pretty smooth.
Oh, I also want to mention the rear-drive design.
When it comes to front-drive vs rear-drive, the rear-drive design usually feels a little flatter, with less overall incline, which can be beneficial for people with aching joints.
And most rear-drive models cost a lot more, so the fact that the SE7i is rear-drive and is this affordable is cool.
But back to resistance.
The flywheel is a little light, but the SE7i does come with 22 resistance levels which is nice.
Having this many levels is good because it gives you the ability to make smaller incremental changes to the intensity of your workouts.
This elliptical also comes with a max incline setting of 10% which can be used to adjust the intensity. Again, not as much as some other front-drive models, but not bad.
Overall, the flywheel on this machine is a little lighter than some of the comps, but I like that it comes with a bunch of resistance levels to work with.
NordicTrack’s SE7i comes with the following features:
5″ LCD console- the console on this elliptical is pretty standard, no touchscreens or HD or any of that jazz. But it’s backlit and large enough to see all your workout metrics comfortably.
24 workout programs- this machine comes with a lot of preprogrammed workouts to choose from, which is great in case you don’t opt for the iFit membership.
iFit compatible- iFit is NordicTrack’s streaming fitness service. It gives you access to unlimited instructor-led workouts, scenic rides, metric tracking, and all that stuff. NordicTrack gives you a free month with purchase, but it’s completely optional. I’ll say that again because NordicTrack really pushes it on ya, but you don’t have to sign up! They try to force you into it when you initially set-up your machine, but if you push and hold the bluetooth button for like 20 sec, you can get past the iFit sign-up screen!
Automatic trainer control- if you do choose to use iFit, you’ll have access to the automatic trainer control. This allows the machine to automatically adjust your resistance and incline settings during workouts, so all you have to do is try to keep up.
Heart rate monitoring- the SE7i comes with grip heart rate monitors in the stationary handles, but it’s also compatible with bluetooth monitors (one not included however).
AutoBreeze fan- there’s a built-in fan to help keep ya cool and comfortable.
Tablet holder- there’s a tablet holder that allows you to conveniently place your tablet out of the way of the console screen during workouts.
Audio jack- you can plug your mp3 player up and listen to your workout tunes through the built-in speakers.
Water bottle holder- hey, ya gotta put your water bottle somewhere.
The SE7i is one of the easiest ellipticals to assemble you’ll ever find.
95% of this trainer comes preassembled. Once unpacked, all you’ll be responsible for is attaching the front and rear stabilizers, connecting the handles, and attaching the tablet holder.
The assembly manual is even easy to follow with large images and clearly written instructions for each step.
I think most folks should be able to have this machine unpacked and functional within 15-20 minutes.
Just keep in mind the weight of it- there are built-in transport wheels, but it’s still pretty heavy.
Overall though, assembly should be a piece of cake.
NordicTrack backs their SE7i with the following residential warranty:
- 10 year frame
- 2 year parts
- 1 year labor
Not bad, not bad at all.
A lifetime guarantee on the frame would be preferred for this price range, but with this being a folding, rear-drive model, 10 years isn’t bad.
Two years on parts is pretty solid and a year on labor is standard operating procedure.
Overall, I think this is a fair warranty for this elliptical.
As I mentioned at the beginning though, NordicTrack has a pretty awful reputation when it comes to their customer service.
There have been numerous complaints about how difficult they are to contact and how long it can take for them to take care of malfunctioning machines and whatnot.
A lot of bigger fitness companies have this issue, but NordicTrack is especially notorious for it.
Ok, that’s about all I got when it comes to the SE7i.
I think this is a pretty nice elliptical with some solid features.
I like that it comes with so many built-in workouts to choose from and I’m impressed by the heavy-dutiness and weight capacity of the frame.
The most impressive feature is the folding frame itself, which could be a game-changer for someone living in a small home.
But when it comes to performance, I think the SE7i is pretty mediocre- there just isn’t that much to get excited about.
With an 18″ stride and an 18 lb flywheel, I think this elliptical is best suited for smaller folks or folks who plan on lighter-duty use.
But to be fair, there aren’t many rear-drive ellipticals in this price range to begin with, and even less that can fold vertically for storage.
So, if you’re looking for a rear-drive elliptical specifically or one that will fit in a tight space, I think the SE7i makes sense, but I think there are better options when it comes to performance.