Nordictrack Freestrider FS5i Review – Pros and Cons of the Most Affordable Freestride Trainer

The Nordictrack Freestrider is a new breed of elliptical trainer that gives you the ability to set your own stride. This is something that traditional crosstrainers cannot do because of the limitations of their design.

The Freestrider used to come in two models: the original FS7i and the premium FS9i. However starting just under $2,000 made the FS7i a bit cost-prohibitive for some buyers.

But now there’s a more affordable option – new for this year – the FS5i Freestrider.

It’s a bit more simplified than the other models but it also comes in around $400 less than the FS7i. So is it right for you? Here’s a review of the pros and cons of the Nordictrack FS5i to help you decide:

Pro #1 Set Your Own Stride

The FS5i comes with the main advantage of the Freestrider design: mainly the ability to set and change your own stride. So you can do short stair-climbing motions, longer jogging strides or even longer hurdling type motions.

While most traditional elliptical trainers give you around 18 – 20 inch strides, the Freestrider FS5i can give you up to 38 inch strides, which is incredible.

This helps to more fully work your leg muscles and you can end up burning more calories overall in less time.

Pro #2 Center Drive Design

Again, like all of the Freestride trainers, this is a center drive design. This means that instead of one large flywheel out front or in back of the pedals, you get two smaller flywheels on either side of the pedals.

This has the advantage of having you stand more upright on the machine with less leaning on the arm bars. This feels much more comfortable for most people and again, can result in more calories burned since the machine isn’t shouldering your weight.

Pro #3 Tablet Holder Above the Console

You can attach your tablet above the console and surf the net, watch your favorite shows or connect to iFit LIVE (see below) while working out, which is a great little option to add more entertainment to your workout.

Pro #4 iFit LIVE

The Nordictrack FS5i is iFit compatible. iFit connects your elliptical to the Internet. From there you can track and map your workouts over time and set new goals.

You can also download new workout programs to your trainer. You can even run famous world trails – from Hawaii to Paris – and watch real life landmarks pass you by in the tablet screen.

You’ll basically never get bored with all of the things you can do with iFit LIVE.

Pro #5 Compact

The FS5i trainer is also more compact than a traditional elliptical trainer. So if you have a smaller workout area, it’s a great choice.

Pro #6 Bright Backlit Console

The dual color console is bright and backlit with a scrolling message board to lead you through your workout. There’s also an iPod dock with speakers to listen to your favorite tunes as you workout.

So those are the pros – what about the cons?

Con #1 Dual Color Console

The FS5i doesn’t come with the full color console or the built-in web browser that the other two models carry. Still, if you have a tablet that you’re going to use to surf the net or connect to iFit, you may not really care about this.

Con #2 No Incline

The other two models have incline, which changes the slope of your elliptical pathway. The FS5i does not have this feature.

Con #3 No Handrail Controls

While you can control the resistance from the console area, there are no resistance controls on the moving arm bars – which do come with the higher end models.

Bottom Line?

The Nordictrack FS5i Freestrider is a new more affordable crosstrainer coming in about $400 less than the standard Freestrider trainer.

It’s a bit pared down in terms of the luxury extras that you get with the other models. However overall, you still get the main benefits that people like with this Freestrider: the ability to choose your own stride and the low impact, center drive design.