Our NordicTrack X32i review sees us tackle one of the most expensive domestic treadmills we have ever used. Read on to find out what our resident PT expert James Dixon thought of it…
Treadmills consistently earn and reaffirm their dominant position in any fitness buff’s arsenal. They are useful, accessible, incredibly effective machines for improving body composition, cardiovascular capability, lower body strength, muscularity and endurance, and for gaining the many health benefits associated with leading an active lifestyle.
I’ve used them a lot with clients over the years, from absolute beginners to seasoned athletes. Pretty much everybody can do something on them; pretty much everyone can find a safe challenge, a comfortable way to make themselves uncomfortable, on a good quality treadmill.
And, realistically, treadmills don’t often get much better quality than the NordicTrack X32i. It’s one of the smartest, high end, high spec pieces of home cardio equipment I’ve ever tried out (it’s also one of the priciest, with little change coming from three grand, so you’ll need to take a deep breath before investing in one!).
Is all this money worth it? (Spoilers: yes, it probably is).
First Impressions Of NordicTrack X32i
I expected a lot from the X32i. I generally like more cost-effective models that punch above their weight. JTX do a great line of cardio machines that fulfil this role admirably. Therefore, if you’re going to try charging me nearly three thousand pounds, I want you to thoroughly earn it.
And, as we all know, great expectations often mean great disappointments.
However, on first impressions, the X32i looked good. More than good – it looked like it did indeed warrant its price tag. It has specs to spare, a monster incline (which earns the price all by itself, as such an impressive range is incredibly rare in most commercial, and even professional, treadmills), wonderful technology, and a lovely looking aesthetic.
I think most people would be jumping for joy on taking delivery of one. I pretty much was.
NordicTrack X32i Specs And Features
I don’t want to waste any time. I want to talk more about this incline. My thighs are still aching from it (I got a little over excited!).
It’s the best I’ve ever been able to find. Most commercial trainers range from 0 to around 12 percent incline. This is fine. You’ll get a decent workout from it.
The NordicTrack Commercial X32i goes between -6 to 40 percent.
It’s pretty insane. I loved using it. If you’re looking to bring a great power element to your training, are really looking to burn some serious calories, or simply enjoy the variety that such a range naturally offers, you will benefit greatly from investing in a NordicTrack Commercial X32i. Your quads will never quite be the same again!
The X32i comes with a 4.25 continuous horsepower motor, which is exactly what you want of this calibre treadmill. It means decent top speeds and no groaning, adding that extra oomph to your hill runs.
There is some decent software involved with the NordicTrack Commercial X32i, with some great hardware for accessing it. You get a 32-inch screen as standard with it, which is perhaps the biggest one going for a home treadmill – I’ve certainly never come across a larger one. This works seamlessly with iFit, as modern NordicTrack machines generally do, and you get a year-long family membership included, which should soften the blow delivered by its price tag (membership will be around thirty quid or so per month thereafter, so do bear this in mind).
I personally really like iFit. It is basically a personal trainer in your own home, with plenty of on-demand and live classes, routes, and trails for you to follow along with, with a whole range of levels and goals catered to (I tried a few out – the HIIT options are wonderful with the X32i). It’s very intuitive, very fun, and will ensure you are always trying something new if you want it.
The X32i can double up as a sled for pushes, giving you some fantastic options for furthering your cardiovascular gains whilst bringing in an element of full body strength.
You also get some great options for comfort and safety. One of the big benefits that treadmills offer over road running is the lack of jarring impact going into the joints – ankles, knees, and hips tend to suffer in long-term, long-distance runners. However, the X32i comes with NordicTrack’s special ReflexTM cushioning system, which will keep you safe and comfortable throughout. You also get a lovely set of fans below the screen, with four levels of power options, and a large running deck, at 22 by 65 inches, which means that even taller athletes with longer strides will have all the space they will ever need.
The X32i includes a very accurate heart rate monitoring chest strap. These kinds of straps are generally much more precise and convenient to use than standard rail handgrips. All data is clearly presented on the X23i’s monster screen, so you will have everything you need to know in real time.
The X23i is big, however. It isn’t foldable and it weighs over 450 pounds. It will take a couple of people to move it around, so make sure you have the space available at home to keep it set up pretty much permanently.
Using The NordicTrack X32i
The most exciting thing when using the NordicTrack X32i remains the incline and decline settings. In taking you from -6 to 40 percent, it gives you the best range going on any treadmill I’ve ever used. This means that you can use it as any other, going between around a solid -2 to 10 percent, or you can open the taps.
In the interests of using and reviewing the X32i to its fullest, I made use of the whole range.
-6 percent was fun. I can’t imagine using it too much during training, as it becomes far less muscularly effortful to maintain your pace whilst being really quite hard on the Achilles tendon. -2 or -3 should do it.
40 percent was unreal. I’ve been running through mountains before, and playing around in the 30 to 40 percent range did genuinely feel like the real deal. My thighs took a pummelling, and my lungs were rags exactly where and when I wanted it. iFit have a broad range of mountainous and hilly terrain, which all comes together to give you a sense of fantastic realism.
This is backed up by the motor. It is quiet, durable, and will up its game every time you need it to – no matter how advanced you are.
Then there is the comfort. The large deck and superfluous cushioning system take any strain out of your run, keeping you and your joints safe and comfortable. I also personally loved the self-cooling element from the brilliant fans – this will keep you going for longer.
If you’re into graphics and smart tech, you’ll love the X32i. The touchscreen really is gigantic – you won’t find bigger on any treadmill. It has improved graphics processing over earlier, lesser models, and the X32i has dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The X32i is wonderful to use – brutal, but wonderful.
Alternative – ProForm’s 600i
I generally like to go with kit either from NordicTrack or ProForm. They both manage to very ably balance cutting edge technology with reasonable price tags (usually!).
If you’re struggling to justify the X32i’s price tag, you might be interested in ProForm’s Performance 600i. It is one of their more affordable treadmill options (relatively speaking of course).
It’s simple, straightforward and incredibly intuitive. However, though there is nothing stand out about it, everything it does is refined to the point at which it is a true gestalt machine – it is far greater than the sum of its parts. You end up getting very good quality for a very good price.
For instance, it has a great motor. At 2.5 CHP, it gives you all the power you would ever need for anything from a light walk to a hard run. It also runs near silently, which is always a big deal for any piece of home cardio equipment.
The shock absorption is also very good, in the form of its ProShox cushioning. Most treadmills above a certain price come with this kind of system, otherwise you would feel like you were running barefoot on concrete, so shock absorption is to be expected, not applauded. However, it is still a great system and leads to a very comfortable running experience.
There is nothing too special about the Performance 600i, except for the fact that all the simple little elements that go into it are masterfully executed – which makes it really rather special indeed.
The X32i isn’t for the faint hearted.
It will demand a lot of you if you use it to its fullest. Running with such a powerful motor at such a steep incline is tough, tough work. It is also a lot of fun and incredibly worth it for the fitness benefits you will gain.
It will demand an awful lot of you when you buy it, too. At around three grand, give or take, it isn’t an easy purchase to make – your budget will need to be in line if you’re going to go for it.
Everything is superfluous. This means that it is beyond what you need or expect from a home treadmill, both in terms of function and cost. You can get a decent workout in with a much cheaper machine elsewhere.
However, there is nothing quite like it. If you’re happy to spend the money, spend it here – the X32i is fantastic.