Our NordicTrack Commercial X9i review sees resident PT James Dixon take this treadmill for a spin (or three)…
Treadmills definitely earn their place in any training regime. If you’re looking to furnish your home gym with a decent, versatile piece of cardiovascular equipment, you should give serious thought to buying one. It will help you to improve body composition, cardiovascular capability, lower body strength, muscularity, and endurance, very effectively, alongside building up the many health benefits associated with frequent physical activity, with little to no prior experience needed.
I often turn to treadmills, both in my own training and with clients. They are good for a warm up or cool down, gently easing your muscles and bringing your heart rate to where you need it. They are equally good for a hard training session, pushing yourself, your muscles, and your cardiovascular system to the limit.
NordicTrack are one of my favourite manufacturers of commercial quality home cardiovascular equipment. Their treadmills are fantastic. Their Commercial X9i is one of the greatest treasures they offer. Let’s find out how it fared in our NordicTrack Commercial X9i review here.
First Impressions Of The NordicTrack X9i
I always expect a lot from NordicTrack. They are far from a cheap manufacturer. I recently had the pleasure of reviewing their X32i – more on this below – which performed wonderfully but cost a fortune. Though the X9i is a lot more affordable, it still sets a high bar at nearly two grand.
I also expect a lot because I am used to their products being so great. The X32i was far from the only piece of cardio equipment I’ve tried out from them that has worked so well.
Luckily, a glance over the X9i’s specs and design seem to herald good things. It has everything you could want of a decent commercial treadmill, including the hardware, software, and, honestly, aesthetics that will tend to set out the best from the rest. It offers the same kind of incline settings as the X32i – which is formidable for any treadmill! – alongside the functionality and utility you would expect from a high-end model, whilst costing around 2/3 the price.
NordicTrack X9i Specs And Features
The X9i comes with everything a high-spec, modern treadmill should.
You get a 7” highly intuitive, very navigable, HD Touch Screen Display from which to access everything you need. It will show you all the usual metrics you would want – speed, incline, decline, heart rate, calories burned, distance run, and so forth. It’s synced with an EKG grip pulse heart rate monitor, which is decently accurate, so you should be able to get good readings on how you’re doing. For better accuracy, however, you can use the Smart Bluetooth Chestbelt that’s included with the X9i.
You can also use the touch screen to access iFit, with which the X9i is fully integrated. You only get a 30-day family membership included, where other models give you a full year. iFit is then around thirty quid per month thereafter. It’s worth it for everything you can get from it – more on this later – but do bear this extra cost in mind when buying the X9i.
The hardware is also great.
Dual 3 inch speakers allow you to play your media out loud with good quality and noise levels, whilst an integrated tablet holder further increases those media options.
Then there is the comfort, which this hardware and its build quality offer in spades. The tread belt is generous, at 55 x 152 cm, so that those with longer strides will be well catered to. Reflex™ Cushioning allows the X9i to do what all treadmills should – be far less impactful than street running, keeping your joints safe and your whole body far more comfortable. With a maximum user weight of 135kg, larger, heavier athletes will do well with it.
Dual AutoBreeze™ workout fans finish this off, keeping you cool no matter how hard you train.
NordicTrack seem to be on a bit of an incline kick, which I love. I recently stated that the X32i was the best incline treadmill I’d ever come across. Well, the X9i matches it degree for degree, with a decline to incline range of -6 to +40 degrees.
This is insane. It is perfect for anybody looking to make the most of their lower body power and get a real workout in. With a 3.6 CHP motor, and 0 – 20kph speed range, all the power is there to keep you sweating hard.
The X9i comes with a lifetime frame warranty, ten-year motor warranty, with two years on parts and labour upon warranty registration within 28 days of purchase.
Using The NordicTrack X9i
I’m a sucker for anything that uses iFit. It is near enough a personal trainer in your own home, offering a wide range of high-quality, on-demand and live classes, routes, and trails for you to follow along with. They are all set up to cater to any and all fitness levels and goals.
I gave a couple of long distance and HIIT classes a go with the X9i. It manages both very well. The incline allows for those longer distance trails to give a real bite at certain points, whilst keeping realistic to the real-world conditions through which the routes take you. HIIT is a natural fit, given how heavy the X9i can push you.
This all allowed me to try out near enough the full incline and decline ranges. I don’t like declines too much – they put a bit too much pressure into the hamstrings, knees, and Achilles’ tendons for my liking. However, there are times when going down to -3 or -4 degrees was a relief during some of the longer routes.
40 percent is incredible. I doubt you’ll go quite this far too often, as your thighs will burn out pretty quickly, but the low thirties are very usable. I’m lower body strong, and even I was smoked by just a few minutes in this kind of range!
The motor is quiet and gives enough power for the X9i to do what you need it to do, and the deck’s size and impact absorption meant that I never felt uncomfortable. I have a weak left ankle and knee, with a tendency for them to ache or give out during longer runs. They were absolutely fine no matter what I did on the X9i. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone suffering with any kind of joint concerns.
The X9i really is a pleasure to use.
Alternative To The X9i
The Commercial X9i is pretty reasonably priced. It’s far from cheap, at nearly two grand, but it’s a decent mid-point in NordicTrack’s higher ranges.
However, if you want to go all out, pushing your budget further to get one of the best models on the market, the NordicTrack X32i is fantastic. It’s one of the smartest, high end, high spec pieces of home cardio equipment I’ve ever tried out, as I noted in a recent review.
As above, it gives you the same incline and decline settings as the X9i, taking you from -6 to 40 percent. The motor is great, too, with a decent amount more power than the X9i (you can really feel the difference, even at the same speed settings). It’s comfortable, with the same kind of cushioning system to take any strain out of your run.
The graphics and tech really bring it alive, however.
The touchscreen really is gigantic – at 32 inches, you won’t find bigger on any treadmill. It has improved graphics processing over earlier, lesser models, and the X32i has dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. You get a full year’s family iFit membership included as standard.
You can also use it as a sled for some extra full body power, dominating the legs as you build strength from the ground up.
It’s one of the best cardio machines I’ve ever used, if not the best. It’s pricey, but you get what you pay for, and then some.
The X9i, much like the X32i, is for those looking to push themselves hard. If you’re after a simple, easy jog, a cheaper treadmill will likely be for you. However, the sheer range of the incline, and the extent to which it goes, will give those wanting a tougher workout room to really develop.
At a couple of grand, give or take, it is an investment. It is far from the priciest model out there, but cheaper options are available (and, realistically, lesser, worse ones). However, I’ve yet to come across a better range than this – NordicTrack have put together a stellar list of machines that are fun to use across a variety of intensities.
You will have the power to expand your cardiovascular fitness and build up your lower body strength, endurance, and muscularity far beyond what most other treadmills will offer. This, alongside some very good tech, fantastic training options from iFit, and incredible comfort, makes the X9i a serious player.
I loved using it. You will, too.