The NordicTrack E 11.7 Front Drive Elliptical is one of the top machines in a collection that also includes the mid-range E 8.7 and top-of-the-line E 14.5.
Despite just missing out on features like a full colour, web-enabled console, the E 11.7 still has a lot to offer, including 32 workout apps and iFit compatibility.
In this elliptical review we’ll be taking a closer look at everything from the workouts and design features, through to the workouts and SNAP assembly process.
We’ll also be making comparisons with the next model up in the range: the NordicTrack E 11.9, which is one of two ‘E’ series ellipticals to include the full colour display.
By comparing the two models we’ll find out which is the best option for your budget and fitness goals.
After reviewing the NordicTrack E 8.7 and taking a look at the features for the E 11.7, we have to say the two machines have a lot in common.
The adjustable stride length is the same for both ellipticals, ranging from 18″ to 20″ based on the incline angle.
Even the power ramp incline adjusts to the same maximum angle of 20 degrees. Although this falls short of the 60 degrees that some Yowza Fitness ellipticals can offer, it’s still enough to make a noticeable difference to your stride, and shift the focus between different muscle groups.
By setting the ramp to a higher incline you’re going to be working more of your hamstrings and glutes, while a flatter stride path will work more of the quads and calves.
Having the two sets of handles means you can choose to use the static set for isolating lower body muscle groups, or the moveable set for more of a full body workout.
The stride itself centers around a 28 lb inertia-enhanced flywheel, that’s been precision weighted for a smoother, more natural stride.
NordicTrack then use their Silent Magnetic Resistance™ (SMR) technology to help create a frictionless transition between resistance levels.
If you choose to combine a steeper incline with one of the 24 digital resistance levels, you’re not only going to recruit more muscle groups, you’re also going to burn more calories,
This is the goal behind many of the onboard workout programs, which have been specifically designed to optimize calorie burning. We’ll take a closer look at these programs later in the review.
Adjustable foot pedals and avoiding dehydration
One of the features that’s often overlooked is the foot pedal design, with most people more interested in the stride path or incline range.
But this is something NordicTrack have paid attention to with the E 11.7 elliptical, coating the tops of the pedals with a textured cushioning that’s designed to improve traction control and stability.
Beneath the pedals you also have the option to adjust the toe-to-heel angle through three different settings. This is a feature that was missing from their FreeStride Trainers, but can really help with recreating your natural outdoor running stride.
You also have a water bottle holder positioned close to the console for keeping water and intra-workout energy / recovery drinks within easy reach. Although it’s a simple feature, studies have shown that by staying hydrated you can increase performance and endurance, particularly in warmer conditions.
In fact, an extract from ‘Sport Nutrition, Second Edition’ includes results from a study that found certain levels of dehydration reduced exercise endurance time from 121 minutes to just 55 minutes.
NordicTrack E 11.7 – Features Summary
- 32 Onboard workout programs
- 0 to 20° Power Incline Ramp
- iFit compatible
- 6″ Backlit Display
- NordicTrack® SNAP Assembly for fewer steps and simpler instructions
- 20″ Adjustable Stride
- 24 Digital Resistance Levels
- Adjustable Oversized Cushion Pedals
- 28 Lb. Inertia Enhance Flywheel
Stride length, resistance levels, and ramp incline are all important features, but unless you have a console that’s intuitive to use and displays the stats you need then the quality of your workouts is going to suffer.
Fortunately console design is something NordicTrack put a lot of thought into, using a combination of icons and labels to help you select a workout, change the incline, or increase the fan speed.
In our review of the earlier E 8.7 elliptical we noticed that the console had OneTouch™ controls for the resistance level but not the ramp incline.
One of the advantages of choosing the E 11.7 elliptical is that it now has OneTouch™ controls for both the resistance and power ramp settings. This helps cut down on the amount of time you spend at the console, particularly during interval workouts.
Although you’re missing the full colour touch screen that’s available with the E 11.9, the 6″ backlit display still has a wide enough viewing angle to keep up to date with a range of useful workouts stats.
Workout feedback includes:
- My Trail
- Workout duration
- RPM (pedalling speed)
- Resistance level
- Ramp incline
- Number of calories burned per hour
- Total number of calories burned
MyTrail is an interesting piece of feedback to have, as it not only acts as a measure of your performance, but also as a form of motivation.
It’s a visual representation of a quarter mile running track, and a feature that we’ve seen on every one of NordicTrack’s backlit consoles, from their recumbent bikes through to treadmills.
Not only can you view the total number of laps you’ve completed, but also your progress around the current lap. It’s not quite as immersive as a full colour StreetView image, but can still be extremely motivational, particularly if you’re using the ‘Distance’ Set-A-Goal workout program.
Heart rate monitoring and the AutoBreeze™ cooling fan
Knowing your heart rate during a workout can be important for a number of reasons.
It could be that your doctor has set you a limit that you shouldn’t cross, or simply that you want to stay within a set range for a specific fitness goal.
That’s why the E 11.7 gives you two different options for transmitting your pulse rate to the console. Either using the CardioGrip™ touch sensors built into the static handles, or by wearing the NordicTrack® wireless chest strap (included).
The chest strap tends to be the more reliable option, as it doesn’t rely on you maintaining a fixed grip position throughout your workout.
There’s even an AutoBreeze™ workout fan to help keep you cool during high intensity workouts.
As with the E 8.7, the NordicTrack 11.7 gives you the option to manually adjust the fan speed, or set it to ‘auto’ and let it adjust automatically, based on your running pace.
Workout program selection
Before buying any new elliptical trainer you have to be sure that it can challenge your current level of fitness. This is something NordicTrack have achieved through a combination of iFit and onboard workouts.
Their E 11.7 elliptical has 32 onboard workouts to choose from, which is a clear upgrade over the earlier E 8.7 model (26 workouts).
These have been split between two categories: Calorie and Performance, to help you achieve specific fitness goals, with each program following a different profile.
The only downside with this console design is that there are limited navigation options for choosing your desired workout. This isn’t a problem for the later E 11.9 elliptical, as you can navigate a simple menu system using the touch screen display.
With the E 11.7, if you want to select an onboard workout, you have to repeatedly press one of the two workout category buttons until the profile you want to follow is displayed.
- Onboard workouts
Each of the 32 onboard programs has been designed by a certified personal trainer, and automatically adjusts the ramp incline and resistance level.
You have the option to override these values if you find the chosen profile too challenging.
- iFit workouts
Providing you have an iFit subscription, iFit module, and connection to a wireless network then you’ll be able to enjoy the iFit workouts.
These are personalized programs that can be downloaded to the console and navigated using the icons on the console.
But the workouts are only a small proportion of the health benefits iFit can offer, with a nutrition log and workout history also available.
They even have their own range of wearable tech, so that you can combine the results of your indoor elliptical workouts with those of your outdoor runs.
- ‘Set-A-Goal’ workouts
If you’ve used a piece of NordicTrack fitness equipment in the past, you’ve probably already used one of these programs.
This is a workout category that we’ve seen on every piece of NordicTrack equipment we’ve reviewed (with the exception of the spin bikes), and lets you set a target for distance, workout duration, or number of calories burned.
- Manual program
If you already have a specific workout in mind and don’t want to use iFit for inspiration, the manual program offers you complete freedom over when the ramp incline and resistance level changes.
This is a much more flexible option for interval training, where you can get an effective full body workout in a relatively short space of time.
Ease of assembly / maintenance required
The NordicTrack E 11.7 is the earliest model in their ‘E’ series to offer SNAP assembly.
This is a system NordicTrack developed to help simplify the assembly process, meaning the base frame arrives pre-assembled together with the console upright.
The upright even has the console already mounted, removing the awkward steps where you would normally have to thread cables up from the flywheel.
Once you have all of the packaging removed you can lift the console to its upright position, then lock it in place with just a couple of screws.
After that, all that’s left is to attach the base stabilizers and upper body arms and you’re ready to start your first workout.
If you want to get started with iFit straight away, you’ll have to set aside some time to sign up for membership and sign into your profile via the console.
But if you’re just looking to get setup and start with an onboard workout as quickly as possible, the entire process shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.
It’s so simple that the user manual only gives you 8 instructions to follow, each of which includes a written explanation and diagram showing how everything fits together.
You can’t escape the fact that the NordicTrack E 11.7 is a big machine, with a footprint much larger than their center drive FreeStride Trainers.
But despite the size and weight, it can still be moved to a different location after being assembled. This isn’t an easy process and does require two people, but it is an option thanks to the front-mounted transport wheels and rear carry handle.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Parts: 3 years
- Labor: 1 year