Find out how James Dixon got on with this top of the range home treadmill in our our NordicTrack EXP10i review below…
Running and walking are pretty universal. They are available to most people, barring injury or illness, and bring with them some incredible health benefits. Pretty much all of the benefits to be gained from leading an active lifestyle can be elicited with just half an hour or so of this kind of training per day (less for more intense forms of running).
However, we can’t all get out and about to train. Nor do many of us want to. It’s too dependent on the weather and season. It’s not always safe, with risky conditions and dark nights making solitary runs a bit hair raising. Plus, it can get a little dull, doing the same thing, the same route, the same speeds, day after day.
This is where a decent at-home treadmill with decent training programmes can come into its own.
For me, there are a couple of companies to watch. NordicTrack are one of them, offering plenty of really high quality treadmills across a range of budgets, from a couple of hundred pounds to several grand.
Their EXP10i is on the pricier side of things, with just a little change coming from a couple of grand. However, there is no arguing that this is money well spent. It’s one of the best at-home treadmills I’ve used recently, earning every penny of its asking price and more.
First Impressions Of The NordicTrack EXP10i
First impressions mean a lot. Many people will skip over anything, in any walk of life, for want of a good one.
Don’t make that mistake with the EXP10i. It’s a little uninspiring to look at. There are far nicer, more elegant looking machines out there available at a fraction of the price. It looks like a bit of an outdated, chunky plastic pro treadmill of the kind you might find taking up plenty of room in a leisure centre.
However, I had read the specs when I first saw it. I also know what NordicTrack are about, having used and reviewed plenty of their treadmills, rowing machines, and bikes over the years. It’s no crime to not be a beauty – especially when you have what the EXP10i has to offer.
Therefore, my overall impression was positive; my main emotion was excitement. I couldn’t wait to try the EXP10i out and see, once more, what this fantastic company had in store for me.
NordicTrack EXP10i Specs And Features
This is where the magic happens – the EXP10i has some of the best toys going, delivering a truly fantastic training experience, both short and long term.
To start with, it has some great workout enhancing tech. This revolves around its 10” HD smart touchscreen, which is perhaps a little small but which has great graphics, is incredibly intuitive and user friendly, and clearly shows you everything you need with an impressive degree of clarity. It gives you all the specs you want from training – calories burned, distance travelled, time spent, speed, and so on. It also gives you full access to iFit, where NordicTrack come into their own.
You get a 30-day iFit family membership included with the EXP10i. This isn’t too generous, but it’s fine. Just note that you’ll have to subscribe to monthly payments of around thirty quid a go to continue with iFit, which I would thoroughly suggest you do in order to make the most of your training.
The EXP10i is also fully Bluetooth Audio capable, has two 2” digitally amplified speakers, and automatic trainer control.
It’s built for comfort and safety, too. NordicTrack have included their FlexSelect™ cushioning, which softens any impact going into your joints by engaging dampeners. Alternatively, it can create a real road-running experience. This is delivered through the 51cm x 152cm commercial tread belt, which should be enough room for even the longest legged of athletes to prosper. Larger athletes will do well with it, in fact, as it has a generous user weight limit of 136kg.
They have also included my favourite NordicTrack goody, found on all their best kit: their AutoBreeze™ Workout Fan, which does a wonderful job of keeping you cool during even hard training. I cannot emphasise my love for this enough – it keeps you incredibly comfortable, nice and dry, and safe as thermoregulation is aided.
The motor is pretty impressive, too. It is a little 3.5 CHP Plus dynamo that can take you anywhere between 0-22kph with ease. NordicTrack bill it as a Smart-Response Motor built to move you through your toughest interactive training sessions, which certainly chimes with my experience.
The EXP10i also comes with a decline/incline range of -3% to 12%, which is sufficient for most training programmes.
However, the EXP10i isn’t a commercial gym piece – it’s meant to be used at home. It needs to be convenient.
Again, NordicTrack generally excel here, and the EXP10i is true to form. Though it weighs around 101kg – or, at least, it does in the box – and stands at 180L x 99W x 151H cm, it’s easy to move around and store. This is thanks to NordicTrack’s SpaceSaver® Design with EasyLift™ Assist, which all their fancy models have. This means that even smaller athletes will be able to shift and store it without any help or effort. Coupled with a self-cooling, near silent motor, this all makes the EXP10i easy to live with.
The EXP10i comes with a lifetime frame warranty, 10-year motor warranty, 2-years parts and labour warranty upon registration within 28 days of purchase, which should all give you peace of mind as you hand your credit card over!
Using The NordicTrack EXP10i
There are a couple of things I like to find in a treadmill.
Firstly, I like a decent incline. Though there are better machines out there for this – some in NordicTrack’s line going up to a full 40% – 12% is as much as most people will ever need. Unless you’re training for hill running, 12% should represent a natural cap to where you want to go. It will burn your legs out, eliciting overload and hypertrophy from your thighs, whilst burning your lungs out, giving you great options for floating up into the 90%+ heart rate range.
Then there is speed, which pairs nicely with a decent incline. I like to run at a steady 10kph, which most machines meet. However, a full range of options can only come with a machine that goes up to 18kph+, which will give you decent sprint options, or allow for more advanced runners to really tax themselves. With a top speed of 22kph, the EXP10i once more serves us well.
For most people, I would also suggest a really good virtual trainer. iFit is this and more. I love iFit – I’m always most excited to try out machines that support it (generally ProForm and NordicTrack). You get thousands of hours of on-demand and in-person, live training, across all forms you can imagine – steady state, trail, FARTLEK, HIIT, hill running… the list goes on. It’s enjoyable, taxing, and engaging, more than enough to allow you always to find something new to train.
The EXP10i ticks plenty of boxes, therefore. It is also an incredibly comforting machine to use. It is sturdy, as its upper weight limit, the weight of the frame, and its overall build quality ensure. It’s also comfortable to use, with the fans, shock absorption, and running belt all being top-notch. I honestly felt like I could go for hours on it (not normally my experience with treadmills!).
Between the hardware and the software, there is very little to complain about. The EXP10i really is a joy to use.
Alternative To The EXP10i Treadmill
Though it’s a joy to use, the EXP10i is still a pricey model that may end up doing far more than many casual athletes need it to. If you don’t have the budget to blow on it, as many don’t, and don’t need it’s advanced specs, as many don’t, one of NordicTrack’s more reasonably priced models may be for you.
I’m talking about the NordicTrack C700 Treadmill.
The NordicTrack C700 Treadmill gives brilliant workout technology, on par with NordicTrack’s pricier options, whilst still allowing you a fair amount of change from a grand. NordicTrack keep the price on the C700 down in part by including no kind of special monitor. Instead, the C700 will allow you to use your tablet or smartphone as a monitor, where you will be able to stream those iFit workouts that I always love.
It also comes with 20 preloaded training programmes, a maximum incline of 10% and a maximum speed of 20kph.
You only get a limited warranty – a one-year parts warranty, which results in quite limited consumer protection. Though it’s cheap, it may not be the best value for money for everyone.
However, the integrated workouts, a decent incline and entertainment will make that power walk, jog, or run perfect.
All this, and it’s half the price of the EXP10i. Not a bad deal at all.
I really like the EXP10i. Not much makes it stand out too far from equivalent NordicTrack models. If you spend nearly two grand on anything from them, you’ll get a good quality treadmill with a host of features and iFit capability. It’s also none too pretty.
However, everything about the EXP10i is clearly designed to make your life easier and your run better. Its top speeds are fantastic, its incline and decline settings are great, it is one of the most comfortable, sturdy treadmills I’ve ever used, and it is a delight to live with.
It is worth its price tag and then some.