The NordicTrack C 990 C Series Treadmill is an upgrade over the earlier C 970 Pro model, and part of a collection that also includes the entry level C 630 and top-of-the-line C 1630 Pro.
But which features got upgraded, and does the NordicTrack C 1630 actually represent better value for money?
In this review we’ll be taking a look at everything from the size of the running area and motor power, through to workout programs and the benefits of iFit to help answer these questions.
Design and safety features
When you’re buying a new treadmill you have to be sure there’s adequate space to perform your preferred style of workout.
If this happens to be jogging or walking then you have a lot more options open to you, but for taller users interested in running and sprinting, you’ll need to be a bit more selective.
It generally comes down to the size of the running area, which for the NordicTrack C 990 measures 60″ (L) x 20″ (W). There are very few treadmills offering more space than this, as it’s more than sufficient for all height ranges and body types.
Despite being an upgrade from the earlier C 970 treadmill, the maximum incline is still fixed at 15%. There’s also no sign of a decline option until you reach the next model up in the series – the NordicTrack C 1630 Pro.
The 3.0 CHP DurX Commercial Plus motor is also just as powerful as the earlier model, with only a slight increase available once you reach the top-of-the-line design (to 3.25 CHP).
This features the same dual fan internal cooling system for keeping the temperature of internal components down for less vibration and improved lifespan. NordicTrack are so confident of the motor’s build quality and ongoing performance that they’ve actually extended the lifetime warranty to cover the motor as well as the frame.
So if it’s not the size of the running area, range of incline settings, or strength of the motor, what is it that’s been upgraded?
Upgraded deck cushioning system
It’s not the maximum belt speed, although at 12 mph this is pretty much the maximum we’ve seen on any home treadmill, and should suffice for everything from a gentle walk to high intensity interval training (HIIT).
The FlexSelect adjustable running deck cushioning is the same as on the earlier C 970 treadmill, but does get upgraded to a QuadFlex system if you were willing to extend your budget to the NordicTrack C 1630.
But if the NordicTrack C 990 is the top of your budget, FlexSelect still does an excellent job of providing an impact absorption system that’s really leading the industry.
We’ve seen treadmill decks that offer varying levels of cushioning before (firm at the back, cushioned at the front), but FlexSelect actually lets you turn off the cushioning completely.
This is ideal for if you’re looking to closely match your indoor running to running on the road or outdoors. Alternatively you can keep the cushioning switched on for impact absorption that protects your knee, ankle, and hip joints.
One final feature we wanted to include in our comparison is the size of the rollers. This is something that varies between treadmills and impacts the level of maintenance required, as well as the overall wear and performance of the treadbelt.
At 2.5″ the rollers on the C 990 are the largest of any NordicTrack treadmill at this price range. This helps to reduce belt slip and provide even wear distribution on the belt for an improved lifespan. It even helps to reduce the noise of the treadbelt rotating around the running deck.
In the event of a trip or fall, you need to be confident that the treadbelt will quickly come to a stop if you want to reduce the risk of injury.
That’s why a safety key is available, which connects you to the treadmill via two clips and a lanyard. This is a feature NordicTrack have included across their full range of treadmills, which stops the belt if the clip detaches from the console.
NordicTrack C 990 – Features Summary
- 34 Workout apps
- 7″ Backlit console screen
- Innovative SpaceSaver® technology with EasyLift™ Assist
- Integrated Accessory Tray
- 0 — 12 mph Belt speed
- 0 – 15% Incline
- 20″ x 60″ Walking Belt
- Adjustable FlexSelect™ running deck cushioning
- 3.0 continuous horsepower DurX™ Commercial Plus Motor
- 2.5″ Roller
The console for the NordicTrack C 990 is a combination of the best features from the two earlier models in this collection – the C 630 and the C 970.
CardioGrip touch sensors have been built into the handles for heart rate monitoring, but you can also use a Bluetooth chest strap for wireless heart rate monitoring and great freedom of movement.
The 7″ LED screen is the same size as the earlier C 970 model, but there’s really not much of a difference between this and the top-of-the-line C 1630 treadmill (8″ LED screen).
Creating a wide viewing angle has given NordicTrack the ability to clearly display a large amount of workout feedback in a relatively small space.
This includes your speed, time, distance, calories, heart rate, and a representation of a quarter mile running track that lets you monitor the number of laps completed.
View workout data and watch films at the same time
With the NordicTrack C 990 we’re also seeing the return of the tablet shelf above the console, which is something that was available with the C 630 but lost on the C 970.
This can be used to securely hold your tablet device at a similar viewing position to the console screen, letting you watch your favourite movies and TV shows while you workout.
If you prefer to listen to workout music when you’re walking, jogging, or running, an iPod / MP3 compatible port in the console lets you connect your device and listen via the integrated speakers.
Button layout remains intuitive, with the iFit navigation buttons located directly below the screen, and OneTouch controls on each side of the console to control the incline and speed settings.
These offer a quick selection of 12 different speed and incline levels, reducing the time spent at the console and allowing you to focus more on your workout.
Hydration and cooling to improve your endurance
One feature that wasn’t available on either the C 630 or C 970 is an integrated accessory tray, which is useful for storing smaller items like a smartphone, towel, or water bottle.
As with most NordicTrack treadmills, the C 990 model has been fitted with a cooling fan to help increase your endurance during high intensity workouts.
To adjust the fan strength you can either use the buttons on the console (manual adjustment), or set it to auto mode, where the fan power automatically adjusts to match the speed of the treadbelt.
Workout program selection
As with other treadmills in the NordicTrack C Series, the C990 has been pre-programmed with three main types of workout – onboard, ‘Set-A-Goal’, and iFit.
- Onboard workouts
These are designed to suit a variety of fitness levels, with a profile of each program displayed on the console screen. By scrolling through the tabs in the display matrix you can find out what fluctuations to expect from the incline and speed settings.
- ‘Set-A-Goal’ workouts
Perfect for anyone that takes a more target-based approach to health and fitness. These enable you to set a target for the distance, workout duration, or number of calories burned, and aren’t based around any predefined profile. You are in complete control over the speed and incline at all times, rather than following a programmed pattern.
- iFit workouts
This type of workout is available as long as you have the module, a subscription, and a wireless internet connection. You can then download the workout you need directly to the console.
Pulse workouts are also an option, whereby the speed and incline of the treadbelt is automatically adjusted to keep your heart rate at a target level. This workout requires a heart rate chest strap to constantly transmit your heart rate to the receiver in the console.
Ease of assembly / maintenance required
Because the NordicTrack C 990 essentially combines the features of the earlier C 630 and C 970 models, you’re looking at a slightly longer assembly process.
This is to take into account the construction of the tablet holder and storage latch system, but shouldn’t require any more heavy lifting. However, there are more steps where NordicTrack recommend having a second person help you.
For certain models and locations NordicTrack do offer a professional home assembly service, but in most instances you’ll be limited to curb side delivery.
If you can find someone to assist you, then you’ll be avoiding any additional costs, and will cut down on the assembly time.
The instructions themselves are clearly written, with exploded diagrams and parts references used to explain each step.
If you want to take a look at the C 990 user manual for yourself, you can find it at the link below.
One of the reasons we include the level of maintenance in our reviews is because it tends to vary between fitness equipment and manufacturers.
Some machines will only require a quick wipe down after each workout, whereas others require special cleaning solutions or treatments. In some cases this isn’t just for keeping the machine at optimum performance, but also to keep the warranty valid.
Fortunately enough, for the NordicTrack C 990 all that’s required is regular cleaning of the walking belt with a damp cloth and mild soap, then drying thoroughly with a soft towel.
It’s important that liquids are placed on a cloth and not in direct contact with the console or equipment, but apart from that there’s really not much to it.
Some treadmills require you to lubricate the belt on a regular basis, but because the belt on the C 990 is already coated with a high-performance lubricant, this isn’t necessary. In fact, it’s advised against.
Folding and transport options
If space is limited, finding a treadmill with a running deck that folds away is often the best option.
The NordicTrack C 990 features a folding system that’s not available on the entry level C 630 model, and similar to what we’ve seen on the C 970.
EasyLift Assist telescopic shock technology takes a lot of the heavy lifting out of folding and lowering the running deck, although NordicTrack still recommend you’re able to lift 45 lbs.
With the running deck folded, you can securely lock it in the upright position using a storage latch. When it’s time for your next workout, you can simply press against this latch to release the deck, which will lower slowly to the ground.
This SpaceSaver design reduces the footprint and allows you to roll the treadmill to a new location using the built in transport wheels attached to the base.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and motor: Lifetime
- Parts: 3 year
- Labor: 1 year