NordicTrack C 5.5 Elliptical Cross Trainer

With a wealth of experience in building home fitness machines that most other manufacturers just can’t match, NordicTrack knows what it takes to build a successful elliptical cross trainer. We took at look at the NordicTrack C 5.5 to see how one of their mid-priced models performs.

When it comes to assembly, not all ellipticals are created equal. Some very few are quick and easy to set up, most are a little time consuming without being complicated, and some are fiddly and time consuming. If ever packets of grease that need to be applied to critical parts of the machine make an appearance in the assembly instructions this always firmly places said machine into the last category. The downside is that it takes longer and can get messy. The upside is that you know that the most important moving parts have been greased properly. The other downside? If the person doing the assembly doesn’t put enough on it’ll start to squeak soon enough and will require partial disassembly to sort out afterwards. The C 5.5 falls into this last category and while this is certainly no deal-breaker, there are upsides after all, it does make putting this machine together a job better suited to the more handy amongst us out there.

Stand back to look at your handiwork and you’re greeted with a substantial machine. With a footprint of 169cm x 63cm (66.5” x 24.8”) the C 5.5 leans towards the larger side of ellipticals without being huge and with a kerb weight of 79kg (174.2lbs) it’s in no hurry to move anywhere once built. To keep things smooth as well as sturdy NordicTrack has used a 7kg (15.4lbs) flywheel which does a reasonable job but the action is lacking that ultra-smooth feel that some other models possess. Use of a heavier flywheel would almost certainly have ensured that the prized premium experience was attained which is a pity, nonetheless the C 5.5 is quiet and it certainly can’t be described as bumpy. Ergonomically it’s sound with the substantial 18″ (45.7″) stride and the low q-factor (distance between the pedals) ensuring a natural striding motion. The pedals on each side sit on a single rail to glide along and while it’s operation is smooth and sturdy, we know the difference a dual rail design makes, and it’s not an insignificant difference, with a dual system providing a good deal more stability and durability compared with a single rail design. Overall this feels like a competent machine without ever quite managing to produce the wow factor.

Also featured is a five position incline system that makes it possible to adjust the shape of the ellipse that the pedals travel along, turning it from a flatter shallower motion to a steeper, more stepper style motion. This makes it possible to work a wider range of muscle groups which is always a good thing. The main drawback on this particular model is that the incline mechanism is manual rather than motorised so that it’s not possible to adjust the angle without stopping your workout and dismounting the machine to do so. Realistically this means that the desired setting needs to be selected before starting a workout. This does limit the functionality considerably compared with a motorised system that can be controlled from the console and allows the onboard programmes to control it mid-session. It’s a nice feature but does pale somewhat compared with an electronic incline system leaves one with that ‘almost, but not quite’ feeling.

There are 20 levels of resistance with the maximum level offering a decent challenge even if you happen to be quite fit and in terms of workouts there are 20 to choose from divided into calorie and performance categories. Unsurprisingly the calories workouts focus on burning calories and performance workouts focus on cardio improvement. There’s also a manual mode for those that just want to get on and go. All training data including calories, calories per hour, distance, pace, pulse, resistance, RPM, speed and time is displayed on the 5″ backlit display with a scan feature that cycles through the data on screen.

For those wanting more than this, the C 5.5 is iFit compatible. The iFit service provides access to a large library of personal trainer-led workout videos, access to races against other users across various courses and quite a bit more including dietary and sleep advice. While iFit is a paid subscription service a 30-day family subscription is included for free to purchasers of this model. For full details on everything iFit click here to visit their website.

Other features include a wireless heart rate receiver, integrated tablet holder, 3.5 mm audio input jack for mp3 playback, dual 2″ speakers and a water bottle holder. The C 5.5 also comes with NordicTrack’s 5-year frame and 2-year parts and labour

Best Price

The NordicTrack C 5.5 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

The C 5.5 elliptical trainer from NordicTrack is OK. It's built reasonably well, it delivers a reasonably comfortable, effective workout. It has a reasonable amount of onboard workouts too. All-round it's OK but there's nothing here that screams 'pick me, pick me" while the manual incline is a let-down and the single rail system would be so much better if it were dual rail. This makes it both a reasonably sensible and yet somewhat underwhelming choice at the same time. This makes it hard to recommend especially when there are some great deals out there to be had. Instead, we'd suggest taking a look at our elliptical of the month, the adidas X-21 which is one of the sturdiest ellipticals we've tested and one that also benefits from a great range of features including a self-powering motor. The X-21 will save you a good deal of cash too!

NordicTrack C 5.5 Specifications

  • 7kg (15.4lbs) effective inertia
  • 20 digital resistance levels
  • 5-position manual adjustable ramp
  • 18″ (45.7″) manual-adjustable stride
  •  5” backlit display
  • 20 workout apps + iFit bluetooth – 30-days Family membership included
  • EKG pulse grip heart rate sensors & wireless receiver (chest belt optional)
  • Audio: compatible music port for iPod®/MP3 player, two 2” speakers
  • Conveniences: integrated tablet holder (tablet not included), water bottle holder
  • SoftTouch upper body grips for a comfortable workout
  • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 169cm (66.5”) x 63cm (24.8”) x 169cm (66.5”)
  • Product weight: 79kg (174.2lbs)
  • Max. user weight: 125kg (275.6lbs)
  • Power: mains
  • Warranty: 5-year frame and 2-year for parts and labour (registration within 28 days of purchase)

NordicTrack C 5.5 Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

NordicTrack C 5.5 Elliptical Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • iFit compatible
  • Low Q-factor
  • Adjustable incline system

The Cons

  • Incline system is manual so cannot be controlled mid-session
  • Flywheel only 7kg. It could be, and probably should be heavier
  • Single rail design
  • Assembly is fiddly
NordicTrack C 5.5 Elliptical Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 4
Appearance - 6.5
Smoothness - 7
Comfort - 8
Reliability - 8
Noise - 7.5
Ease Of Use - 7
Controls - 7.5
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 6
Best Price

The NordicTrack C 5.5 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Also see our Elliptical Cross Trainer Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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