Currently available for £1799.00 from NordicTrack
NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer Review
One of the best-known names in home fitness equipment manufacturing in the world today, NordicTrack has been building treadmills for longer than many NordicTrack owners have been alive. This premium brand is synonymous with innovation, build quality and great value for money so expectations were high when we got to take a closer a look at the NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer. Here’s what we found….
Upon delivery, the first thing becomes instantly apparent is that the X9i is a substantial machine. Very substantial. The box for this incline trainer is truly enormous, weighing in at around 150kg and measuring around 2 meters in length. Bad for delivery men, great for your confidence that you’ve spent your money wisely. Getting the box into the required room for assembly is probably the hardest part of the assembly. In fact, this turned out to be the hardest part of our build by quite a margin, though all other aspects of the build went smoothly with our test model. There are clear and easy-to-understand instructions making the assembly process simple, and all the components fit together as intended without the need to force things into place, which is always a very welcome sign.
Once assembled the X9i doesn’t seem quite as shockingly large as it does when it arrives on your doorstep in that mammoth box. That’s largely down to the curved, sleek, design of the main upright posts either side of the deck that somehow softens the outline of this beast and makes it blend into the room. That being said, one look at this machine leaves no doubt that what one is looking at is a serious piece of fitness equipment. With a footprint of 182 x 101 (71.6” x 39.7”) L,W and a height of 178cm (70″) this incline trainer looks stocky and built to take a battering. And, with a kerb weight of 135kg and thick gauge steel construction, it feels it too. Just make sure that you double check the space you’re planning to put it in before it actually arrives as sending a machine this big back to a retailer would not be an easy or inexpensive task!
NordicTrack say that you can use the X9i as a running machine as well as an incline trainer and this is definitely the case. Unlike some other incline trainers we’ve come across the running area on the X9i is a whopping, over-sized, 55cm x 152cm (21.6” x 59.8”). This is larger than many classic treadmills available at a similar price so there’s absolutely no doubt that this incline trainer can be used as a day-to-day traditional treadmill and there’s no requirement to have the space for both an incline trainer and a treadmill. And, while this is clearly a logical and sensible thing to do, it’s also a new one on us. The incline trainers we’ve seen in the past could be used for the odd jog here and there but really weren’t very suitable for a proper daily 10k run. The X9i changes that and seemingly without compromise, which is impressive for this type of machine in this price bracket. NordicTrack has still managed to include high quality 2.5” balanced, non-flex rollers which help to keep noise to a minimum and to increase the lifespan of the machine. There’s also a 3.6hp drive motor which delivers plenty of power to drive the running belt to its max speed of 20kph (12.4mph). During testing, we attempted to put this machine through its paces by putting the biggest and toughest members of the team on it and getting them to hit it – hard. In the event, it was the X9i that put our team through the mill and not the other way around. Another impressive development is that NordicTrack has appeared to have solved the problem of the belt speeding up when an old incline trainer machine is set to a maximum incline and running at low speed. This is an effect that happens due to gravity and was common older models. We don’t quite know how the clever people at NordicTrack have done this but it works. You can set the X9i to max incline and low speed, step aboard and the belt speed will remain consistent and not increase in speed. This was true even when biggest testers we have were using the machine so a big ‘hats off’ to Nordic for completely eliminating this issue.
Changes in speed and incline take place quickly enough to make X9i feel responsive while the cushioning feels quite typical of a NordicTrack running machine. It’s a soft ride without being bouncy but hard enough not to sap your energy. It’s a good balance and there’s a reason why this has become standard fare for this venerable manufacturer. The incline goes further than other trainers as it also features a -6% decline as well as the 40% incline. This means that it’s possible to begin to simulate more accurately some real-world conditions and makes it easy to shake up your training routine and add some variety to your workout. For safety reasons, as the incline goes beyond +15% the max speed becomes gradually more limited until on inclines beyond +25% and -5% it’s limited to 9.7kph (6mph). While there may be some hardcore fanatics out who are a little disappointed to hear that you can’t sprint at full speed on a +40%/-6% incline, take it from us that this is a good thing. Safety is paramount when using this type of equipment and the speeds that it does allow are more than suitable for the sort of incline you’re running on. The build quality of the X9i means that there are no unwanted rattles where there shouldn’t be any and no squeaks or groans from the machine when under pressure of intense usage.
The console features two large fans to help cool you during your workout and they’re a most welcome addition given the nature of the exercise. There’s also a 7-inch full-colour capacitive touch-screen display which is bright enough to be seen in bright light conditions and provides multiple display modes with the selected display mode determining what workout information is displayed, including information on incline, elevation gain/loss, elapsed time, theoretical calorie burn, heart rate, distance, pace, speed and a virtual 1/4 mile (400m) running track. Large, easy-to-reach, one-touch fast access keys for speed and incline feature up the right and left-hand sides of the console making it easy to instantly dial up to the settings you want without having to muck about with settings using the touch-screen in the middle of your run. In terms of programmes, there’s a manual mode and more than 50 high-definition workout videos which are great fun. In each of these videos, a personal training session is delivered by a personal trainer. Each video has a specific aim such as cardio, weight loss, endurance and so on, just like traditional workouts, but instead of a dull graph, you get a motivational fitness instructor encouraging you and pushing you throughout the workout. This really does help you to stay focused on your goal. Some of the videos involve getting off the machine to perform an exercise in the middle of your run and then stepping back on to the incline trainer to complete the session. This really does change the nature of the experience compared with traditional home fitness machines and is a big step forward when it comes to working out at home and staying motivated. In addition to the library of 50 videos, there’s also a daily workout that gets downloaded each day. At the time of writing these videos are available free of charge, for now at least. More videos are available via the iFit service which is available for an annual subscription fee (the first 12 months is included in the purchase of a brand new X9i). The iFit service provides you with access to all your historical training data, allows you to map out running routes on Google maps and run them, race against other runners on the same courses, access a huge video library of workouts and also get sleep and diet advice. It does a lot more than this but there’s too much to go into here. If you want to know more then take a look a the iFit website for full details. While we’re on the subject of downloading things it’s worth mentioning here that in order to access the video library, the daily workout and the iFit service you need a wireless internet connection that’s permanently connected to the X9i but we reckon it’s well worth it, even if you have to get a WiFi extender as the range of training options is simply huge.
Other features include a Bluetooth wireless heart rate receiver (the chest belt is included in the box), tablet holder so you can access your iFit account from your tablet/phone while running, and a music port with stereo speakers. The X9i is also covered by NordicTrack’s lifetime frame, 10-year motor and 2 years parts and labour warranty.
The NordicTrack X9i incline trainer is big, well built, packed with state-of-the-art training features and a pleasure to use. The workout videos really do bring this machine to life and change the nature of the experience of using this incline trainer. It's also well built and comes with a good warranty. It's a good option for those who want an incline trainer but also want a proper treadmill. The X9i does both those things and it does them well. We'd say that it's also well worth checking out the X9i's bigger brother, the NordicTrack X11i, which has a more powerful motor and a larger 10" touch-screen and is available on offer right now, making it hard to resist given you get a whole load more incline trainer.
NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer Specifications
- 3.6 HP motor (continuous)
- 0–20 kph speed range (0-12.4 mph) with 1-Touch™ Speed Keys
- -6 to +40% incline range with 1-Touch™ Incline and Decline Keys
- 55cm (21.6”) x 152cm (59.8”) running area
- ReFlex™ cushioning
- 7-inch full-colour capacitive touch display (web-enabled)
- Several display modes to choose from (display mode determines which workout data is shown). The screen can show: incline, vertical gain, vertical loss, elapsed time, calories, heart rate, distance, pace, speed, a track representing 400m (1/4 mile)
- Programmes: Manual mode, access to 50+ video workouts and a daily updated map based workout
- iFit® enabled (comes with a 12-month subscription)
- All programmes, as well as iFit® require a Wi-Fi based Internet connection
- Heart rate measurement via Hand pulse grips + Bluetooth® Smart wireless receiver (chest strap included)
- Audio: Compatible music port for iPod®/mp3 and dual 3” speakers
- Extras: Tablet holder
- Dual AutoBreeze™ workout fan
- Transport Wheels
- Product Weight: 135kg (297.6lbs)
- Max. User Weight: 135kg (297.6lbs)
- Dimensions in use: Length=182cm (71.6”), Width=101cm (39.7”), Height=178cm (70”)
- Power Supply: Mains
- Warranty: Lifetime frame, 10-year motor, 2-year parts and labour (if registered within 28 days of purchase)
NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer - Console / Display Unit
Currently available for £1799.00 from NordicTrack
Also see our Treadmill Comparison Table
Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer