The NordicTrack C 970 Pro C Series Treadmill is an upgrade to the earlier C 630 treadmill of the same collection, with a larger running area, wider incline range, and faster maximum belt speed.
But how does it compare to later models, such as the C 990 and C 1630, and are the workout programs challenging enough for your current level of fitness?
These are just two of the questions we’ll be answering in this review, while taking a look at the design features, entertainment options, workout programs, iFit training, and assembly process.
Since the C 930 model, the NordicTrack C 970 Pro has seen upgrades to both the running deck and console, but it’s the running area that really stands out.
With the running area now measuring 60″ (L) x 20″ (W), this is a treadmill that’s much better suited to taller users and running workouts than the 55″ (L) x 20″ (W) running area of the C 930.
The maximum incline has also been increased from 10% to 15%, but it’s not until the top-of-the-line C 1630 Pro treadmill that you can also experience a 3% decline angle.
NordicTrack have also built in their FlexSelect adjustable running deck cushioning, which is slightly different to the cushioning found on their incline trainers.
On the incline trainers you’re looking at a firmer platform to push off at the back of the belt, with a softer impact absorption system to cushion your footfall at the front.
With the FlexSelect system that’s built into the NordicTrack C 970, you actually control the cushioning throughout the deck with rotations of the shock absorbers.
Rotate them one way and you can turn off the cushioning completely, resulting in a running experience that closely matches the feeling of running on the road.
Rotate the shock absorbers the other way, and you can increase the shock absorption to reduce the impact of your stride and offer maximum protection to your knee, hip, and ankle joints.
Motor power, belt speed, and incline upgrades
The motor power has also been upgraded from 2.5 CHP to 3.0 CHP, putting it on a par with the next model up in the collection – the NordicTrack C 990.
This DurX commercial pro motor combines with the rear roller system to create a treadmill that’s both quieter, and requires less maintenance than similar machines at this price point.
Strong enough to power the treadbelt to a top speed of 12 mph at the full 15% incline, this also results in more responsive speed changes in the belt when you use any of the OneTouch speed and incline controls.
With 12 incline levels and 12 speed settings to choose from, this is a real time saver if you’re looking to make sudden changes to the workout intensity (interval training, HIIT, etc.), but don’t want to take your focus off the run.
Underneath the treadbelt you have yet another upgrade, this time to the size of the rear rollers. Now measuring 2.5″ instead of the 1.9″ of the C 630 treadmill, this helps to reduce wear on the drive system and increase the lifespan of the internal parts.
NordicTrack C 970 – Features Summary
- 32 Workout apps
- 3.0 continuous horsepower DurX™ Commercial Plus Motor
- FlexSelect™ Cushioning
- 20″ x 60″ running belt
- 7″ Oversized Backlit iFit® Display
- Wireless Chest Strap Included
- 0 – 15% Incline
- 12 mph maximum belt speed
One of the more subtle upgrades since the NordicTrack C 630 treadmill is in the design of the display console.
The LED screen now measures 7″ corner to corner, compared to the 6″ of the C 630. Unfortunately the screen is still just backlit rather than full colour, and it’s not web enabled.
Unfortunately these are traits of the entire C Series collection, where even the top-of-the-line C 1630 Pro treadmill offers a marginally larger console screen at 8″.
However, the wide viewing angle and clear contrast does make it easier to view important workout stats mid-workout, such as speed, time, distance, calories burned, and heart rate.
There’s also a representation of a quarter mile running track on the screen, which records how many laps you’ve completed and acts as a motivator during any distance orientated ‘Set-A-Goal’ workout programs.
Although you don’t have the web-enabled console for browsing the internet and viewing your progress around a virtual running route (iFit and Google Maps), you still have a number of entertainment features.
Firstly, there’s the Intermix Acoustics sound system, which offers dual 3″ speakers for listening to your favourite workout music.
This can be done via the 3.5mm port that’s compatible with iPods and MP3 players, with buttons on the console for adjusting the volume.
You also have a tablet shelf, which on its own probably isn’t all that useful, but if you already have a tablet device will allow you to watch your favourite movies while working out.
Unfortunately the design has changed a little since the NordicTrack C 630, with the tablet shelf moved from the top of the console to just below the iFit control buttons.
This isn’t ideal, as it obstructs your access to some of the buttons (fan power, volume control, iFit workouts), but shouldn’t impact your visibility of the workout feedback via the screen.
Clear feedback of your workout stats
One such feedback metric is your heart rate, which is transmitted to the console by one of two ways. You can either hold onto the integrated CardioGrip touch sensors built into the handles, or wear a chest strap for telemetry heart rate monitoring.
Either way, having this as feedback is a real benefit for anyone looking to stay within a certain range as part of a specific fitness goal, or for health and safety reasons (recommendation of their doctor).
One final feature we wanted to mention was the AutoBreeze workout fan, which is designed to keep you cool during a workout, thereby improving your performance.
The speed of the fan can be adjusted manually using the buttons on the console, or automatically, whereby the fan strength will adjust depending on your running pace.
In terms of safety features, the NordicTrack C 970 is supplied with the standard safety clip and lanyard system that you will find on most other designs.
This is where you attach one end to your clothes and the other to the console. In the event of a fall, the clip detaches from the console, bringing the belt quickly to a stop.
Workout program selection
Compared to their C 630 treadmill, the NordicTrack C 970 offers an additional 12 workout programs, making 32 in total, each designed by a certified personal trainer. These are split into three main categories of ‘onboard’, ‘iFit’, and ‘Set-A-Goal’.
- Onboard workouts
If you’re looking to start a workout quickly but want some variation in the profile, these are the programs for you.
Each onboard workout will display the total duration and distance, maximum incline and belt speed, and profile of how the speed settings change throughout the course of the program.
The treadmill will automatically adjust to the speed and incline setting stored in the profile, so there’s no need to worry about making adjustments mid-workout. You can manually override these settings for each segment, but they will revert to the defaults when the next segment begins.
- iFit workouts
These require an iFit module, which slots into the console and allows you to download workouts to the treadmill, but only if you have a subscription and access to a wireless network.
- ‘Set-A-Goal’ workouts
If you want complete control over the speed and incline settings, but have a fitness goal in mind, then these workouts are going to be your best option.
You can select a target for the number of calories burned, distance, or workout duration, then work towards this goal at your own pace.
Having this variety of workout programs, and hundreds more available via iFit is an attractive feature for anyone that’s lacking variation in their current fitness routine.
Being able to switch between high intensity, incline based, speed based, and calorie burning programs helps to keep your body guessing and prevent a plateau or muscle adaptation.
Setting the running deck to its full 15% incline will help to burn more calories over the same time period compared to a flat running surface. It also leads to greater strength and definition gains in your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
Ease of assembly / maintenance required
For the most part, the assembly process for the NordicTrack C 970 is the same as for the C 930, with a part identification chart and exploded diagrams used to explain how the parts fit together.
The bulk of the assembly has already been done for you, but due to the weight of the running deck you may want to look into a professional home assembly service.
NordicTrack currently only guarantee curb side delivery, although an in-home assembly service is available in certain locations, and priced according to equipment type and region.
If the C 970 treadmill is already at the top end of your budget and you don’t want this as an additional expense, then the steps themselves are clearly written and easy enough to follow.
However, we did spot a recommendation for a second person to assist you with the assembly, even if it’s just for connecting the console cable to the running deck through the upright support.
This is really the only step that’s time consuming, resulting in an identical assembly time to the earlier C 630 model, at between 60 and 75 minutes.
Folding and transport
Not only does the NordicTrack C 970 Pro fold to preserve space when not in use, it’s also the first treadmill in the C Series to include an EasyLift Assist telescoping shock.
This effectively reduces the weight you have to lift when raising the running deck to its upright position (still weighs around 45 lbs).
You also don’t need to worry about controlling the deck when it’s lowered at the start of a workout, as you can simply press against the storage latch to have the deck lower to the ground on its own.
Transport wheels have also been fitted to the front and back of the base frame, making it easier to roll the treadmill between locations if needed.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and motor: Lifetime
- Parts: 3 years
- Labor: 1 year